ALGOMA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — As summer camp season kicks into high gear, many are in need of volunteers in order to be successful. 

“We need a lot of extra hands to make the classes work,” Kelly Alcock, program coordinator at Equest Center for Therapeutic Riding, said.

The center, located north of Rockford, has been serving the community for 33 years. It has expanded from seven to 35 acres since its inception. The growth has allowed Equest to open services to more clients, but it has also led to a greater need for volunteers.

During the school year, Equest hosts daytime and evening riding classes. In the summer, day camps are added in addition to regular riding classes, which means the center is extremely busy. 

The summer camps are a mix of kids with and without special needs. They are open to horse lovers of all abilities from beginner to advanced. Alcock said the nonprofit depends on volunteers to give everyone the best experience possible. 

A horse at Equest Center for Therapeutic Riding.

“We have a small staff, and when our classes are actually going on, volunteers are helping get horses ready and bringing the horses in and out — from outside and then in the riding arena, they’re helping lead horses, walk next to a rider while they’re riding. That can be helping a small 2- or 3-year-old just for safety, to helping an adult who has low core strength helping them to sit up or rebalance themselves,” Alcock explained. 

She added that there are a variety of ways to get involved beyond the therapy classes. 

“We take our ponies on the go to do Make-a-Wish, hospice (and) nursing home visits. We also have a veteran’s program, we have a vocational volunteer program, so there’s a little bit of something for everybody,” she said.

Summer riding camps start on June 12. Although Alcock said camps are full for this summer, she encourages those interested in Equest’s services to reach out to her.

Anyone interested in volunteering with the center can find more information about opportunities available here