Russell Hampton
National Awards Services Inc.
Bulletin Editor
Arnie Goldman
Nov 02, 2018
"Tunnel to Towers 5-K Run"
Nov 09, 2018
Nov 16, 2018
District Governor
Nov 23, 2018
Nov 30, 2018
Dec 07, 2018
Salvation Army
View entire list
Executives & Directors
President Elect
Immediate Past President
Foundation Chair
Board Member-at-Large
Board Member-at-Large
Asst Treasurer
EarlyRiser Presentations
GLO Fall 2017 Mission Trip
Eastern Europe Trip to Vienna and Prague Presentation
Avon Village Center Project Presentation
Club Information
Rotary of Avon-Canton - Founded 1973
Service above Self
We meet Fridays at 7:30 AM
Avon Old Farms Hotel
279 Avon Mountain Rd.
Avon, CT  06001
United States
DistrictSiteIcon District Site
VenueMap Venue Map
Upcoming Meeting Speaker
Director, Canton Senior & Social Services
September 7, 2018
Sergeant-at-Arms Report
August 31, 2018
Members Present: 35
Make-Ups: None  
Guests: Rauf Majidian (prospective member)
Visiting Rotarian: none
Happy Dollars: $
Raffle Winner:
Kathleen Parr, having recently celebrated her birthday, exclaimed "I love Rotary." Continuing she explained she had, had a number of people visiting her home recently to join her for an "in-home" picnic, a function she had won at an American Red Cross event auction. That same function was also contributed as a prize in our own auction, which was overall very successful, as was the tournament itself.  While the in-home picnic was not bid on ir remains available and Kathleen plans to still offer it to Rotarians for purchase as a Club donation.
Phil Ferrari noted that this birthday was, for him, a "milestone birthday", inasmuch as he is now 66 years young and just started to collect Social Security, after having paid in for 45 years. He joined Rotary along with Craig Buhrendorf 21 years ago and it has been great to see the Club grow. He enjoys Rotary which, he said,  "is why I am still here!"
Happy Dollars
Scott Nardozzi had 3 Happy Dollars for Larry Sullivan's amazing work on the golf tournament and the well organized check-in table, for Steve Morris and his FAVARH volunteers and finally to request our support for the November 16th FAVARH 60-Year Anniversary event. While attendance is $150.00/pp for individuals, tables of 12 are just $137.50/pp and Scott would like to see us fill two tables.
Bill Barnes claimed the first "ditto" to Scott's plaudits for the golf tournament. With respect to Phil Ferrari's special birthday, Bill noted he's almost been married longer than Phil has been with us! Having recently celebrated his 61st wedding anniversary, he's glad to be catching up to the Voorhees' number of years. Bill noted that in retirement, a couple are together all the time, which can bring its own challenges. As his wife Pat is fond of saying, "I married Bill for better or for worse, but not for lunch!" wink
Paul Mikkelson piled on with his own ditto on Scott Nardozzi's comments about the success of the golf tournament. Recognizing the hard work of Kathleen Parr and Colleen Sullivan-Grasso on the auction Paul reflected on how difficult it is to pull those events together and thanked them both. Paul went on to note the absence of Nancy Nation at the tournament, but recognized her steady behind-the-scenes work on all our behalf. He continued, congratulating all for work they did leading to the "big number" netted at the tournament and singling out Thor for his great job as master-of-ceremonies.
Don Bonner welcomed Jayden Kaplan to the club as an honorary member while, Jayden's mother, Rotarian Kaitlin Kaplan looked on proudly.
Robin DiNicola regretted missing the tournament due to educational obligations associeted with her position at Edward Jones. She recently drove her son to college, and with those obligations completed, she is glad to be back among us.
Larry Haber recently returned to Connecticut from Maine, where chaos followed him everywhere he went. Attempting boating with some friends, the friends discovered their boat lift abruptly nonfunctional, and with no way to get their boat into the water, had to cancel all their weekend plans for boating. At that point, any adverse luck associated with Larry's presence remained unrevealed. Next, in leaving the dock area, Larry's leg went through a portion of the dock, destroying it, and leading to the need for an evacuation by ambulance to a local hospital. There, after a three hour wait, and realizing his leg was not broken, Larry and his party decided to leave well enough alone and depart. [One can reasonably wonder if the doctors and nurses were hiding, huddled behind a door, concerned about what misfortune might happen next if they were to be in Larry's presence.]  Relieved to still have a functional limb, and thinking his troubles behind him,  Larry's trip home was uneventful.  That is, until entering his house to find that a watermelon had spontaneously erupted as if it was the Little Boy itself, coating his kitchen and surrounds with viscid watermelon entrails. Yecch!
From the success of this morning's Rotary meeting, one might infer that the jinx dogging Larry Haber has now subsided. Let's hope so! For Larry's sake, and our own!
Gary Miller also dittoed the just concluded, great golf tournament we've had, and explained the wine tasting event he won at the auction, commenting that he hopes to coordinate it as a Rotary Pub Night.
Linda Pendergast commented on how great it was to work with Sue Budde at the golf tournamant and how smoothly everything had run. She is glad to be back, having recently helped deliver a granddaughter to Harvard, where the young lady moved into a 4th floor dorm room absent air conditioning! Linda has 4 grandchildren in college at this time.
Phil Worley congratulated Thor Cheyne for arranging for the contribution of a Fisher's Island golf club foursome as an auction prize. The prize, worth $800.00 was bid up to $3800.00 before being awarded. "Nice job Thor", said Phil!
Calendar of Upcoming Events
Celebrate Avon Day will be held Saturday, September 29: Steve Harris announced that he still needs volunteers for the event.
Awards and Community/International Service Grants
Nothing awarded or granted today!
Cheryl Cleaves
Spirit Horse Therapeutic Riding Center of Canton
Brian O'Donnell introduced Cheryl Cleaves, owner and director of Spirit Horse Therapeutic Riding Center (STRC) in Canton. Ms. Cleaves explained the origins of STRC with the need to find ways to assist her autistic son, her and her husband's desire to have a small farm of their own, as well as  her love of horses. Since those beginnings STRC has grown to have a six stall barn, several resident horses, an indoor riding ring allowing year around activity as well as 32 volunteers and diverse programming for multiple stakeholder communities.
STRC is among many hundreds of SpiritHorse inspired programs nationally, with STRC the only such program in Connecticut. The original program's overall mission is to "“To assist individuals with special needs in achieving their full potential through interaction with horses.”
STRC has initiated multiple programs for those with disabilities, victims of abuse or violence and youth after-drug rehabilitation. STRC also has a second mission, to provide a kind, rewarding home and loving care for older show horses and ponies, and a proper burial on our ranch when they pass on.

More than 750 SpiritHorse associated centers in the United States provide recreational therapy, typically in group lessons. A much smaller number provide hippotherapy which is provided by occupational or physical therapists using horses as a modality. A small number provide equine-facilitated mental health, using a horse to foster relationship-building and problem-solving.

STRC also has developed a research-based program of equine-assisted healthcare, which is has a different goal than that of recreational therapy. It includes, for example, 178 specific steps provided in a one-on-one setting for intervening with its over 200 children who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.


STRC provides the only child development services some children will ever receive. We teach them many things also taught in public school systems to typical kids. For example, we teach those diagnosed with autism how to focus and stay on a specific task through having leading, grooming, and tacking-up, as parts of the lesson. We have seen miraculous breakthroughs with children when they start performing these tasks.

They have an agreement with the University of North Texas and their The Autism Treatment Center to study the results of biofeedback therapy coupled with our equine assisted healthcare for children with autism. Through brain imaging, the university will be able to provide more insight into the effectiveness of our methods and will allow us to refine them and develop new ones. A major SpiritHorse goal is to advance knowledge and develop more effective equine-assisted therapy methods for all types of disabilities, and share these methods worldwide.

Championing the use of retired show horses and ponies is also a major goal at SpiritHorse. These horses are ideal for this type of work because they have had years of professional training and show experience. These schoolmasters are the safest mounts for children with disabilities. We currently have have wonderful therapy ponies and horses that are selected very carefully based upon their gentleness, level of training, and love of their work. Since most of the work is walking and our children cannot ride for very long, it's not really much more work than walking around the pastures where they live 24/7. Our horses and ponies love their work.

We believe horses and ponies have the most accessible spirit of almost any creature and the vast majority have very beautiful spirits. They have one advantage over humans in that they do not have an ego to get in the way of their relationships. We also believe that children with disabilities have very accessible and beautiful spirits. We believe that this spiritual connection is what makes this intervention work. Our horses and ponies always greet the children who lead them from wheelchairs, walkers, and canes. They are so happy to see their riders.

The average age of our horses and ponies is fifteen years. They work here until our veterinarian advises that they are uncomfortable with the work, or unsafe (tripping, etc.). At this time they retire here on our ranch to live out their lives in peace and tranquility. When these wonderful old equines pass on they will be buried in the back pasture with a tree planted in their memory.

With the assistance of their instructor, lessons start with the rider leading the pony or horse from the pasture gate to the barn. Our ponies and horses can lead from wheelchairs, walkers, and canes. Many of our youngest children with disabilities lead their ponies independently. If the child is in their parents arms we place the lead rope in their hands and they lead their pony. We encourage all to participate.

The rider then assists with grooming (ie. brushing) to the ability they have and can develop. They carry their own saddle or blanket or girth, depending upon their ability at that time, and help saddle their pony or horse. We have found that this participation becomes a very important part of the lesson to our riders. Those with cognitive disabilities learn sequencing, two step task execution, following instructions, and work-reward. They also develop a stronger bond with their pony or horse. Many of our riders look forward to this element as much as they do their riding lesson. The leading, grooming, and saddling portion of the lesson usually lasts approximately 15 minutes.

Riders lead their horse to the mounting ramp and the instructor leads the pony into the ramp. At least one of the parents is required to be a "side-walker" for their child. We require this because we believe parents are the world's expert on their child. They assist the rider up the ramp, where over time we work to have the rider become self-sufficient in mounting. This provides a greater sense of control and pride in being able to do most of the mount on their own.

The riding portion of the lesson starts with a trail ride down a wooded road and trail, lead by the instructor and protected by one or two side-walkers, depending upon the riders needs. As the lesson progresses and the child starts to develop balance, we provide exercises and riding development in a very small ring, in which the pony or horse is controlled by the instructor using a rope called a lunge line. Over time when the rider develops sufficient balance, we begin to have the side-walker step aside in the ring so that the rider will develop stronger balance, and with this development, safe riding skills.

With safety methods paramount, we proceed in methods and tested steps to develop the rider's balance and horsemanship skills. It is our goal to eventually have each of our riders be independent, under controlled conditions.

The movement of the horse or pony engages the rider's vestibular system (adjacent to the inner ear) which not only controls balance, but coordination of all voluntary movement of the body, including speech. Half way through the lesson, our students who have under-active vestibular system (one form of sensory integration dysfunction) can become more active vocally and physically. Riders also learn vital skills such as: following instructions, focusing, task sequence, participation and self-confidence.

In fifteen years of operation at SpiritHorse International in Texas, as the result of their research and development and the faithful application of  these methods by certified instructors, 64 previously non-verbal children spoke the first word of their lives,  48 previously non-ambulatory children took their first steps to reach their ponies, and 38 children sat up for the first time. A study by a leading medical school showed that we helped 24 severely autistic children achieve just mild autism, and one to non-autistic status with just six months of intervention with our research-based, award-winning methods.

For victims of abuse and violence the STRC therapeutic program provides individual therapeutic horseback riding lessons together with one-on-one mentors to children who are victims
of abuse, which promotes internal healing and improved mental health. Lessons are provided on a weekly basis, year-round, with short holiday and seasonal break.
STRC also has programs for veterans, for Girl Scouts, a mentorship program for teens and a program in association with Bulkley High School for disadvantaged youth. Particpants range in age from 2 to 70 and are tailored to the participant's needs. Our 33 volunteers are all local and includes high school students fulfilling their "days of service" requirement. STRC is privately funded, with support also provided from grants. Riders pay a modest participation fee of $50.00 per hour lesson out-of-pocket as they proceed. Canton Community Health Fund recently donated 75 lessons for Canton students. A private foundation funded the new indoor pavilion with a rant for $25,000.00. The City of Hartford has funded the Bulkeley High School program. Ms. Cleaves and her husband have full time jobs, but operate STRC 5 afternoons a week and all day on Saturdays. Generally riders use English-style saddles to both avoid the potential of inadvertent injuries from Western-style saddle horns, as well as to encourage strengthening core muscles and balance, two skills even more necessary to ride with English-style saddles, which have no saddle horns at all.
Mail Bag
Nothing this week!
Photo Credits 
Photographs courtesy of Phil Worley unless otherwise indicated.
Editor's Notes
Submission Deadline: Members are kindly encouraged to submit all materials for each week's Early Riser as early as possible. Please note that some editions may be published and distributed as early as the Saturday following our meetings, and during those weeks further contributions to the Early Riser will be included in the subsequent week's edition.
“The FOUR-WAY TEST of the things we think, say or do”:

1. Is it the TRUTH?
2. Is it FAIR to all Concerned?
4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?