Horse Camp Makes a Difference
GILROY - For the children attending the Teri David Patane Memorial Horse Camp for Kids from August 7 to 14, it will be the first time they have ever spent a night camping out under the starts. The 9–12-year-old children come from foster homes, single-parent homes, and backgrounds of neglect and abuse.
It’s hard to believe the radiant woman smiling out at me from the camp Web site with her horse Scooter has already left this world – losing her brave battle with systemic lupus at age 32.
Her father, Lon Davis and husband Carmen Patane formed the camp as a living memorial to Teri.
"Putting on a camp like this is exactly the kind of thing that Teri would be doing if she were here today," Patane says.
"What makes the camp special is the completeness of the experience," Patane told me. "The kids live on a ranch and camp in Henry Coe for seven full days. They ride horses upwards of 40 miles during the week, and in the process become competent riders. They have a great time, and also gain an appreciation for nature and the care of animals."
"When the children arrive at camp, they may only have one pair of pants for the entire week, but we outfit them with everything they need, " said Davis, "Including their own horse and all the necessary equipment."
David Cox, Executive Director of St. Joseph's Family Center, attended a recent ceremony in which the Gilroy Foundation awarded grants to individuals and organization doing great things in our community, including the camp.
Cox said, "While many spoke of how these funds would touch lives, Carmen spoke about how the funds would also help touch peoples' souls. When I heard that, it floored me. It crystallized a desire to live more passionately for others, knowing that life is more than what we do. Life is also who we are for each other."
Patante said, "Certain foster care program counselors have told us they believe the camp has a long-term impact on the kids. The experience of camp and the appreciation for what others gave to them stay with the kids in their memories for years to come. It makes all the effort worthwhile."
One young camper wrote: "Dear Camp, that week with you and everyone else was the best week of my life. Not just being away from my parents but having people to talk to. It was a lot of fun riding horses. I loved my horse Cash. I had the best time. I wish I were there way longer. But I'm just glad that I went. And knowing that I wasn't the only one having problems.
"I met so many new friends. I never knew I could meet so many new people who were so nice and helped me tin so many ways. And I know that I will ever forget that week or those moments for the rest of my life. You all helped me in so many ways, I can't thank you enough for all you did for me. You helped those times you had to tell us to go to bed, the girl walks, and telling me to face my fears."
$20.00 feeds 1 horse for a week
$40.00 buys a helmet for a child
$100.00 shoes a horse for 8 weeks
$250.00 buys a used youth saddle
$500.00 buys hay for 6 horses for 1 months
$1,300.00 sends one kid to camp