Summer is underway which for many means – summer camp! In Guffey, Colorado, there is a very special camp underway. Nighthawk Ranch is a non-profit camp for kids ages 10 to 18 battling cancer. The goal of Nighthawk is to provide a safe and healing environment where these brave children are able to enjoy themselves, build up their self esteem and look towards a brighter future.
The camp runs for 4 weeks each summer and during this time fellow comrades fighting a war against cancer are able to come together and take a break to just enjoy being a kid again.
Each camper is responsible for looking after a horse for the week, the same horse they will learn to ride. Kathryn Ory, (Ory Photography) who volunteers her time as the camp photographer, noted that “most of the campers start the week a little standoffish towards each other, and somewhat timid around the horses. By the time the last day comes, they are totally different children! It is amazing to see the changes in them. I am so fortunate to witness it first hand.”
Justin Dunn (Justin Dunn Mustang Horsemanship) runs the equine therapy program. The horses that the kids care for and ride are all owned and trained by Justin. The horses are all trained and ridden bitless in his JDMH Signature sidepulls by Buckaroo Leather.
In addition to caring for their horse and learning to ride, campers get to experience other activities, like building log cabins, crafts, ropes courses, archery, camping and a cattle drive.
Tom and Dorothy Evans started the camp to provide a unique high mountain working ranch experience that encourages achievement through a variety of activities. They fund the camp out of their own pockets with the help of donations and the generosity of volunteers. There is never a cost to the camp attendees and their families.
Heath Marshall (Heath Marshall Horsemanship), is also donating his time this summer by providing an unforgettable experience for campers – a mounted shooting demo. Heath brought with him Cowboy Magic® products so the campers would have plenty of supplies on hand when grooming their horses.
Nighthawk Ranch is so much more than a summer camp, it’s a truly memorable experience for children and their families. Visit their website and Facebook Page today to learn more about Nighthawk Ranch and their mission.
Photos by Ory Photography.