- What is the Quality of Instruction? How many instructors are available? Additionally, are the instructors qualified to teach a variety of levels, ranging from first-time riders to those with an advanced skillset? Moreover, in addition to being qualified to teach, how do these coaches interact with children? Finally, what is the instructor to student ratio? At Forest Acres, all riding instructors are members of the Mount Holyoke College riding team. Lessons range from three to five campers and one staff member.
- What is the Quality of Horses? It is essential for camper safety to ride horses that are dependable, experienced school horses that are used to lessons. Additionally, it is important that instructors know and understand the limitations and abilities of each horse and marry that to the student’s ability. While camper safety is a top priority, so too is the care that the horses receive (no overuse). Keeping this in mind, Forest Acres horses have daily turn out (FA does daily turnouts and most camps do not).
- Learning environment. The Forest Acres riding program provides an interactive, ever changing lesson format in which campers learn different riding activities. In addition to learning proper riding technique, campers have the opportunities to take vaulting lessons (gymnastics on horseback), drill team lessons, trail riding, and swimming on horseback.
- Stable Management. What campers learn on the horse is just as important as what they learn off the horse and in the life of the barn. Stable Management provides opportunities not just for riders, but for campers who may be apprehensive to ride horseback, but have a love for animals. During stable management, campers learn about how to take care and care for horses.
- Variety of Competitions. To demonstrate all that the campers have learned, Forest Acres provides the opportunity for campers to participate in friendly competition between camps. Horse shows allow campers to demonstrate the skills that they have acquired or improved upon. Some horse shows stray from the technical and incorporate games, such as apple bobbing and eating donuts off a string line.
Horseback riding encourages many to step outside their comfort zone and attempt an activity they may have never tried. Alongside a friend, campers often feel encouraged and empowered to try something new. Camp promotes a judgement free zone, in which it does not matter how good an individual may be at an activity and emphasizes the joys of being young and carefree.
An example of one of the top horseback riding camps is:
Indian and Forest Acres, separate brother-sister camps, sit on the Saco River in Fryeburg, Maine, located only two miles apart, in the heart of the Mount Washington Valley, where the shore meets the mountains. Set in a valley sheltered by the White Mountains and near 6,288-foot Mount Washington, the camps have large evergreen forests, grassy playing areas and sweeping views of the river and mountains. They are counted among the best horseback riding camps in Maine.
Forest and Indian Acres Camps strives to assist campers in developing physical, social and leadership skills through learning to set and achieve goals, experiencing risk in a safe and supportive environment and gain a sense of personal and community responsibility. A successful summer at camp is filled with many accomplishments both on and off the field and not measured by wins or losses, but in the effort that goes into their skill development and the journey they have taken to further develop their skills. The key to our success is individual attention. Indian and Forest Acres encourage as much independence as a child is capable of handling to achieve their goals.
In today’s society, children are consistently feeling more anxious and facing more challenges as the demands and expectations placed on our kids increases. According to the American Camping Association, “Camps provide positive developmental environments for youth, especially in providing supportive relationships with adults and peers, and in skill building.” Moreover, they report, “All camps have the potential to provide positive experiences foundational to practicing essential life skills.”
Camp is an opportunity for children to continue to foster a positive self-image, create social bonds outside of the classroom, and have the opportunity to be fully engaged in a technology-free environment. When searching for your child’s summer home, parents may consider a camp that is nurturing, understanding, acknowledges and encourages creativity, teaches resiliency, and helps to develop grit and leadership in our youth.
The program at Forest and Indian Acres is structured so that all campers are active during the day, and provides choices to meet personal needs. Although both camps offer a wide variety of activities ranging from land sports, water sports, outdoor adventure, and the arts, one activity that we are most proud of is our topnotch Horseback Riding program, directed by Carol (C.J. ) Law.
In the off season, C.J. directs and coaches the Mount Holyoke College riding program. For the past thirty plus summers, C.J. has brought her skillset to our camp and trained campers of all levels to become confident and capable riders.
To learn more about the riding program and other activities offered at Forest Acres and Indian Acres, please read about them here.
Lisa and Geoff Newman met and graduated from the University of Maryland in 1986. Along with their fondness for all things Springsteen, growing up in New Jersey, and their love for children, their passion for camp spans almost a combined sixty years. When they are not at camp they reside in Fort Lauderdale Florida and are parents to their three daughters, Melissa, 26, Paige, 24 and Nicole, 20. During the off season Lisa and Geoff enjoy the sandy beach of Fort Lauderdale. Lisa and Geoff are excited to be at the helm of IA/FA and are looking forward to adding new activities, facilities and programming to an already top flite award winning programming. Lisa and Geoff are proud to run an American Camping Association accredited camp. Additional memberships include the Maine Youth Camping Association. Recently Indian and Forest Acres was nominated for “The world’s greatest” TV show as one of the best camps in the nation!