“Let Your unfailing love surround us, Lord, for our HOPE is in You alone.” Psalm 33:22
What an incredible year 2015 has been! This December marks one full year of Bright Side Youth Ranch in operation as a 501(c)3 nonprofit. As we take a look back on all that has taken place this past year at the ranch, there is so much to celebrate. God has graciously provided for Bright Side, and He has done so through your time, generosity, prayers, and encouragement. The vision to Inspire the next generation toward Hope is taking shape.
Through God's faithfulness and your generosity, we have witnessed such amazing progress:
· over 90 volunteers serving in various capacities from work days full of fencing and clearing to weekly routines of feeding horses and cleaning pastures
· over 2200 feet of fencing completed and providing safe enclosure for the horses
· two horses given a new purpose and a new home at the ranch
· a 12x24 run-in shed to provide shelter for the horses and relief from the elements
· a mission team of 33 from Ohio who served and worked diligently in the Carolina heat this summer
· the first two major fundraising events called Bet on Bright Side and An Evening with Bright Side that enabled us to share about the cause and see God's hand at work through generous hearts
· interactions with the horses by over 60 children
· 14 official sessions for the first session season at the ranch that started in September and ended in November
These are all just brief glimpses of the larger story of what God is doing at Bright Side and in the hearts of those who faithfully give of their time, resources, and prayers. It is through your partnership in ministry and investment in the cause that God has continued to impact the lives of the next generation.
As stated above, this past September, we officially started Sessions at Bright Side. Sessions are more than riding lessons. Yes, we want kids ages 8-18 to learn confidence around horse and develop riding skills, but we desire for them to feel known, heard, loved, valued and empowered. We believe that a session can help provide those aspects through a relationship with a mentor and a connection with a horse.
Let us share with you about one of our first participants who will be referred to as Leslie. Leslie is an 11 year old girl and from all outward appearances looks like she’s got it all together. She has a loving home, is part of a growing church, does well academically, and is incredibly intelligent. However, she struggles with self-confidence, shyness, and anxiety. When she first came to Bright Side, she barely spoke to others and kept mostly to herself. This girl made an immediate connection with Lexi and began to open up to her mentor and to seeing deeper inside herself through time spent with a horse.
During one of the sessions, Leslie was working with Lexi on the ground in the round pen and discovering how to get the horse to trust and follow her. Leslie was told by her mentor that horses have to learn to trust us just like we need to learn to trust them. They need to know that we can be a safe place for them and that they can depend on us to lead and guide them. At the end of the session, when asked what she learned that day, Leslie responded:
“I feel like Lexi the horse needing to trust in a safe place. I need to trust God more - that He's my safe place and that He can lead and guide me.”
This is the impact you are making in lives of the next generation. God is using you in a mighty way. The impact is just beginning and already being felt.
God has provided for what He has called us to do this year. However, we believe He has so much more in store for Bright Side and the next generation in the Metrolina area, and to step forward into what is next, we have to grow in our capacity.
In order to do so, these are our areas of focus for the next 12 months:
· Increase the number of sessions - we held a total of 12 sessions during a short season of September - November 2015. In 2016, we would like to grow the number of sessions to 75.
· Add an additional horse - The horses are integral to the mentoring sessions, and Alex and Lexi are both fantastic with kids. However, they will need help sharing the session load if we are to continue to grow. Simply put, we need a third horse
· Financial support to care for another horse - As you can imagine, horses need quite a bit of care, from feed to hay to the farrier and the vet. It costs about $300 a month to feed and care for the horses.
· Grow our team - As we continue to grow, we will develop a larger team of volunteers, staff, and mentors.
· Build facilities and structures - We are planning for a Small Barn and a Riding Arena. We need a place to meet and welcome participants and families, store tack and horse supplies, and have a couple of stalls for horses. We also desire a large, safe, fenced-in space with correct footing to add more creative elements to sessions and provide participants with a larger area to ride that holds up well to the elements.
What can you do to impact the next generation? End of the year giving is a great opportunity to extend your reach beyond your touch.
Will you join us in growing Bright Side Youth Ranch by becoming a monthly champion or by making a generous donation of $50, $100, $200, or whatever you can afford today?
Your support is essential to keep moving forward in obedience to God’s vision for the children and youth in the Metrolina area. Together we can make a difference in the heart of a child, the life of a horse, and the influence of the family. With your help, we can inspire the next generation toward Hope.
Every dollar you donate will help us reach our operational and construction goal of $80,000 for 2016. For every donation of $250 or more, you will receive a commemorative horseshoe gift from us.
You can make a tax-deductible contribution through www.brightsideranch.com and help impact the lives of children in the Metrolina area.
Thank you for taking this journey with us. We certainly couldn’t do this without you!