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April 2024
First Nature Notes: Much to share from the Ranch
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Dear Friends of First Nature Foundation,

Last month we mentioned that we’d had a great spring rain, and this month we are hoping and praying for more. It’s been dry, dry, dry, with forecasts showing high probability of rain shrinking in the days and even hours soon before it’s due to get to us. The grass is still green but starting to get yellow and crunchy in dry spots, and no rain is forecast for at least another week and a half. Our pastures are not irrigated, so we are at the mercy of the weather. We have been supplementing with hay so the horses don’t put too much grazing pressure on our pastures. There’s only so much we can control, and weather isn’t something in that category. Keep some good thoughts for rain for us, please!

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We are enthusiastic to announce that in May we are starting programming with Help Now of Osceola County, a nonprofit shelter organization for survivors of domestic violence. Their key staff visited the ranch this month and feel our organizations are highly aligned. They are very excited about bringing their folks to the ranch for our programs. They are working on how they would like to structure the programming, but they are trying to fit in the women, the kids, the entire families, as well as their staff. So we will likely be offering multiple programs for them over the course of the next year. These include Horses Healing Hearts for their women, offering solace, empowerment, and some joy; Horse Sense for Teens for the kids, and Horseplay for Leaders for their staff.

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We are finalizing the details for our upcoming Appreciation Day. If you’re a First Nature Foundation donor, volunteer, staff member, or sponsor we would love to welcome you to the ranch on May 19 from 1-3pm. If you’re not yet a donor or sponsor or member, click those words to take action right now! The event will include delicious light refreshments from some local businesses, some giveaway and raffle items, join up or obstacle course demos, and a professional photographer to take your photo with the horse of your choice! We offer these events once per year as one way to express our gratitude to those of you who have been supporting us through your efforts or financial contributions. Here’s a reminder: if you donated to us through Facebook, we are so thankful…AND please note that we do not receive any notification of who donates or when, so we’re apologizing if you have donated and haven’t heard from us! If you did donate through Facebook, please let us know and we’ll include you on our invitation list!  

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Recently, a leader in the community contacted us about hosting an event. Thus, we are pleased to announce that we will be hosting a Meet & Greet for one of Osecola County’s candidates for Sheriff, Russ Gibson. He has booked the ranch for the afternoon of May 11 from 1-4pm. If you’re local and available, please plan to join us for hamburgers, hotdogs, photos with horses, and more, and learn about how Mr. Gibson plans to reshape law enforcement in this county.

 

We are also scheduling another IntegrateHer retreat program for November 10, with additional activities with the horses. They are so excited to be coming back and doing more that aligns with their self-leadership coaching. There are additional private events we are working on for the summer and fall, so if you’d like to rent our gorgeous space reach out soon to discuss possibilities.

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Our Horse Wisdom for Heroes continues to be a great success. We’re almost half way through our second cohort of 2024. During their second session they participated in a flower competition – imagine grown men picking wildflowers! They teamed up in finding different wildflower species and the team with the most species won cupcakes. We all had a lot of fun, their competitive streak was on display, and it was an engaging and novel way to promote a connection with nature, improve focus, and offer a mindfulness experience. We also taught them some basic horsemanship safety skills, which involve creating and maintaining boundaries and being sufficiently assertive while not being aggressive. These are key life skills for anyone who has not yet mastered them!

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Are you (or do you know of) someone whom suicide has impacted? If so, might you consider donating or sponsoring to help us continue this program? Or passing along this information to someone you know whose life has been impacted by suicide?  We are still looking for sponsors for our PASOS program. PASOS stands for Parents and Spouses of Suicide. We host this a grief support group, which turned out to be our very first offering in January 2021 virtually due to COVID. We pay Michele Kratochvil, a Florida-based mental health professional, to co-facilitate our twice-monthly Zoom meetings. Those joining us are from all over the country: Arkansas, Colorado, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Washington state, and elsewhere. Some have been attending for years now.  

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Have you been thinking of volunteering at the ranch? You don’t need to have horse experience, just be 14 years old or older and have some enthusiasm. We have had a number of high school students earning Bright Futures scholarship hours, or hours needed toward required community service, or towards a veterinary assistance or other high school program. We also have adults from their 20’s through their 70’s volunteering each week. Interesting in finding our more and applying? Click here!

You may remember that we were ready to open for programming as of July 2020, just at the first big peak wave of the pandemic, and then had to wait until 2022 to begin to offer in-person programming. We spent 2022 and 2023 proving the value of our various programs, and in 2024, our plan is to pull in the donations and sponsorships that will help us continue these programs. If you’ve read one of these newsletters you know that your financial and moral support keeps them going. We do depend on you, our fan base, to connect us with potential sponsors, connect us with interested businesses who want to book a date for our Horseplay for Leaders playshops for their leadership teams, and nudge your friends to donate, maybe through a Facebook birthday fundraiser. Is there a friend or colleague you think would be interested in what we do at First Nature Foundation? If so, please do take a moment and forward this newsletter to them so we can expand our reach and our impact?  And please see below to learn about other ways you can help us.

How Can You Help First Nature?

Each person is bestowed with gifts or resources that are valid and valuable. Every little bit helps, and your support can make a big difference in our mission and out community. Below are some ways First Nature is looking for assistance:

 

  • Advocate: Let your connections know about us. Share our posts on social media. Forward our newsletters to a community leader who could use staff development for their team.

  • Fundraise: We’re looking for someone to help us with grants and sponsorships. Have you helped a nonprofit with fundraising? If so, reply to this email and let’s talk!  

  • Donate: There are a variety of donations we accept; one time, recurring, in-kind gifts, etc. You can find out more and donate here

  • Volunteer: Your time and skills help us maintain our horses and facility. Get the application here. Or are you interested in serving as a board member for our nonprofit? We are still looking! 

  • Sponsor: Make an impact in the lives of a veteran, a teen, a survivor of domestic violence, or a parent or spouse of suicide. Become a program sponsor or just sponsor the whole organization! Learn more here.

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Full of Appreciation,

Kerul and Crew

 

 

 

First Nature Ranch / First Nature Foundation  

“Where the past, present, and future of leadership come together for the dignity and benefit of all.” 

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