It was a sunny day. The air was fresh, the wind cool. The
excitement of children filled the campground. I walked hastily to the barn,
hoping I would not be late for my fourth-period class. After I got to the barn,
I sat quietly on the benches waiting for the class to begin. I tried to not let
my excitement get the best of me, but I’m sure the staff could tell.
everyone had arrived and the class began. My group got to go first! I walked up
to the gigantic beast, a beast who had become a friend, and began to mount onto
its back. Rocky, he was my favourite. We began the trail ride, and my horse and
I effortlessly made our way through the trails—he already knew the way; I was
just simply a passenger.
the ride was over, I dismounted with a heavy heart. It was Friday, the last day
I got to be with him. I gave him a hug, kissed him on the nose, and said a
quiet goodbye, praying I would get to see him next year. Unfortunately, I never
did. I was seven then, and 13 years later I have gone from being a camper with
an excited heart, to the Horsebarn Director with a stronger passion.
impact these animals have had on me, and the difference I have seen them make in
so many other people’s lives, is phenomenal. I could share so many stories of
the experiences I have gained through my job at Camp Frenda. They say the way to heaven is on horseback, and I couldn’t be more convinced God
smiles every time a horse and human fall in love.
of my favourite moments on the job are seeing a girl who was too scared to even
touch a horse the first time, begin to cry on the last when it is time to say
goodbye. Or seeing the young boy who struggled to accept himself get so
excited when he realizes the horse finally understands him. Or times when we’re
able to use the horse to illustrate how God loves us, even more so than the way
we love our horses, and seeing the pondering look on campers’ faces trying to
make sense of it all.
Horsebarn at Camp Frenda plays a uniquely powerful role in people’s lives. I
have seen every willing soul from the old man with a cane to a young girl in a
wheelchair, and people from all walks of life, be blessed by the ministry we
are able to bring them.
The barn has gone through a fair
share of challenges these past few years. From constant changes in leadership,
aging equipment and infrastructure, and limited staff experience—the barn has
struggled recently to maximize its potential. By God’s grace, I hope to turn
the barn around. I hope to inspire those who come after me as people before me
have done. I hope to make my barn more than just a summer camp activity, but a
sanctuary for both beast and man to show each other God’s love.
I look forward to the day when we all
get to heaven and I can hear all the stories of everything that has happened
inside that small red building at the bottom of Horsebarn hill.
Some people may never set foot in a church, but in my barn, there isn’t much of a difference.
—Matthew Mann, Horsebarn Director at Camp Frenda