What better way to kick off the crazy month of December than with a trip to Winter Wonderland and a benefit to help people with disabilities?
If you have kids or just want to enjoy a little holiday spirit before heading into the shopping frenzy, Arion Therapeutic Farm's Winter Wonderland event is the perfect thing for the first weekend in December.
So, on Dec. 1 and Dec. 2 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. a huge crew of volunteers throw a farm-themed carnival for families who might want to check the place out and help raise a little money for its programs along the way. There are pony rides and Christmas baking, crafts, a petting farm, a hay maze-and this year, they are doing tractor rides too.
Admission is free and activities and food range from $1 to $4.
The farm's staff and army of volunteers spend the whole year making sure the people in our community with some of the greatest challenges enjoy a better quality of life. They give up their time to make others' lives better. In other words, if ever there were a place to find the spirit of the holiday season, this is it.
The farm is based around something called equine therapy, which uses horses to give people with a wide range of disabilities a chance to enjoy the feeling of mobility, get some exercise, and work on muscles they might not be able to use in their daily activities or in other therapies. The benefits for those riding extend well beyond the physical as this therapy provides people with limited mobility a chance to share in that feeling of freedom walking allows most of us to enjoy naturally, and the time to get outside in the fresh air with a team of local volunteers who are there to have fun.
All of this said, running a therapeutic riding facility is obviously a pricy undertaking. This particular farm has over 100 riding clients, not to mention six adults with disabilities living on the farm in housing certified by Community Living BC. It runs after-school programs for children all over the Central Okanagan and holds summer camps, hosts birthday parties and has a petting farm. It's a massive undertaking and even with 200 volunteers and staff working hard year-round to make it all happen, the farm does need significant help.
This winter, the farm is also trying to raise $100,000 to cover its riding ring and make life a little easier for the staff and volunteers trying to host riding lessons in the snow and ice or blazing heat of summer.
Arion Therapeutic Farm is located at 2457 Saucier Road and Winter Wonderland runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Dec. 1 and Dec. 2.