Not Horsing Around
CHESTERTOWN, MD—Horses need homes, too. That’s why on Saturday, Sept. 7, a capacity crowd of volunteers from the Washington College campus community ventured to SummerWinds Stables in nearby Worton for the College’s first Community Day of Service.
Organized by the Habitat for Humanity club on campus, the service day completed substantial renovations to the nonprofit horse-rescue and riding-therapy facility. More than 150 volunteers from various academic and administrative departments, campus clubs, Greek life, and sports teams joined together to begin restoration of the rescue’s newly purchased Kent County facility, which is located on 27 gently rolling acres off Cooper’s Lane.
When need for the project and its scope were brought to the attention of WC Habitat for Humanity in April, student members and club advisor Maria Rose Hynson immediately set out to recruit more help. The club joined forces with the WC Western Equestrian Team, which uses SummerWinds as a training facility, and received sponsorship from WC Dining Services, which generously provided both lunch and dinner for the volunteers.
“This was the biggest project that the Habitat club has ever taken on,” says Habitat for Humanity advisor Hynson. “We’ve been a part of big blitz builds before, but have never planned one ourselves. And when we first saw the size of the project, we thought, ‘We can’t do this alone.’ It seemed that we were looking to do the impossible, until Dining Services agreed to help. Having that one piece of the puzzle made us think, “we CAN do this.”
Hyson called the amount of cooperation and collaboration that happened during the planning and execution of the event “truly phenomenal. It wouldn’t have happened without each and every person who volunteered their time and energy to making this Day of Service happen.”
In the course of the 9-to-5 workday, volunteers began renovations to an old barn, where they cleaned the hayloft, restored a small office and classroom, and cleaned and painted the lower-level interior. They also worked in teams to rebuild fences, remove unsafe trees and reconstruct a debilitated jumping course. They also bathed groomed and bonded with the stable’s 26 horses.
At the end of the hard day’s work, the volunteers enjoyed a Shore dinner of crabs and barbecued chicken and pork catered by Dining Services.
“Words cannot express how deeply grateful we are to everyone who came to the Day of Service on Saturday,” said SummerWinds co-owner Elena DiSilvestro. “The repairs and improvements we made are apparent, but the positive energy and love that flowed on Saturday was truly a gift. Everyone at the SummerWinds Stables — especially the four-legged residents, are so deeply grateful for all your help, hard work, and friendship.”
– Kimberly Uslin ‘14