Pictured from left to right: Brandi Watts, one of our riders, Patricia Watts (another of our superstar volunteers!)
We’d like to feature all of our awesome volunteers so that the community can get to know the awesome people that help out at the ranch and make it a success. This week, we’d like to feature Brandi Watts – Equine Director.
Brandi was the first volunteer to help startup Hope Retreat Ranch 10 years ago! Her willingness to work with the horses and learn how to operate therapeutic riding sessions was paramount to our success.
When did you get involved with this organization?
Jason and I got involved before the nonprofit organization was established. That was back in 2010.
What attracted you to the cause?
Of course my love for horses was the initial attraction but knowing we were going to use the horses to serve the community was a huge draw for me.
What attracted you to this organization in particular?
Well as I said I got involved before it officially was started. Walter shared his and Janet’s ideas they had for utilizing the 30 acre property that God had blessed them with. A few weeks after we were shown the property God had blessed us with 6 horses and Walter already had 2. Jason and I began researching how horses could be used to bring health and healing to others. It was at this time that we were introduced to equine therapeutic activities. We both have a lot of respect for Walter and Janet and began meeting with them and talking about starting a nonprofit organization. We were excited to be able to be a part of seeing the vision God had given all of us come to life.
What are your activities and what do they involve?
I am in charge of the equine therapeutic riding program. My activities include all horse-related activities. I am involved with the day-to-day care and training of the horses. I work with the other volunteers that are involved with the equine therapeutic riding program. We have therapeutic riding classes from April through October. The classes are on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday evenings. I head up the classes, organize, and come up with the activities for the riders for each class.
What motivates you to stay involved?
I really enjoy serving others and HR Ranch gives me a lot of opportunities to do so. We have an amazing group of volunteers that I am fortunate to serve with and the families that utilize our services are wonderful. It is such a blessing to be involved.
In your opinion, what is the most important work that this organization does?
Providing a place to come to serve or be served. A place to come and relax, enjoy nature, and to be safe from the tough things that everyday life throws at us.
Why do you volunteer/donate?
I believe God led in the development of HR Ranch and I believe He is still guiding all those involved. I want to help where God is working and serve the community.
What do you hope the organization will achieve in the near future? In the long term?
I hope the organization will achieve in the near future ….. be recognized as a retreat for businesses, churches, schools, daycares. For the community to see all the ranch could offer. For the community to support the ranch.
Long term I hope the ranch is financially stable. For the equine program, I hope we could have an indoor riding facility, several instructors, and enough volunteers to allow the riding program to go almost year-round.
Does anyone in your life play a role in supporting your involvement? In providing inspiration?
The Bible tells us in John 15:12 This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. I think a great way to show love the way Christ does is to help others.
Do you have an anecdote about this cause/organization that really moved you?
I have been moved by many things that have gone on with this organization. From the beginning God has made things possible in starting this organization that have been amazing! We have seen wonderful transformations in riders, volunteers, and other people who have participated at Hope Retreat. What an awesome blessing to be involved here.
What other organizations or causes do you support?
Between the ranch, homeschooling my two kids, and caring for my family and home…there isn’t time for much else. I am part of a home church that tries to stay active serving our community.
Do you have a message to share?
We are all busy with things in life and it can be a struggle to give more time to help others. God is working all around us…..the times we choose to partner with Him we can find much joy.
Thank you Brandi! If you have any comments you’d like to share, please leave them below.