Cedar Bay Community Stable to receive provincial, federal funding
Reeti Meenakshi Rohilla - Staff Writer
Cedar Bay has been chosen as one of seven projects that will receive funding from the provincial and federal government to improve community and recreational facilities in Northern Ontario communities.
Friends of Cedar Bay Chair Bobbi Roberts shared that Cedar Bay applied for the grant to enable some long-awaited maintenance. “The barn is in good shape, but the electrical upgrade and the need for an accessible bathroom were the big drivers behind the grant. The loader was another essential item to continue the Stable’s operation, between moving those 900 lb. bales of hay and all the other work it is needed for, so it will give us peace of mind to be able to check these off the to-do list,” shared Roberts.
Friends of Cedar Bay shared that they will receive $31,280 from the federal government, $26,064 from the province, $10,000 from the municipality and an additional $11,000 raised by the community. Roberts shared that some community initiatives that helped contribute to the funds were the Smile Cookie fundraiser, a $500 donation from the Teamsters Rail Union at CN, and money raised by Friends of Cedar Bay member Joyce Timpson’s ski loppet, among others. Roberts added, “Programs like EAL (Equine-Assisted Learning) and community get-togethers like Boo at the Bay need the infrastructure there to support them, and that was just what this grant was about.”
Friends of Cedar Bay shared in a Facebook post, “Just before the pandemic hit, Friends of Cedar Bay was wanting to expand the very impactful Equine-Assisted Learning program, but we needed more community horses, a (not so scary) bathroom and a way to safely offer teachings and classes. We saw this grant as an opportunity to better support these types of programs... and we were successful!” An Ontario news release states that the upgrades at Cedar Bay will improve the safety and accessibility of the facility, and support the expansion of programs and services, many of which target high-risk youth.
Friends of Cedar Bay volunteer and co-op member Destiny Pryzner explained that Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) is a learner-based educational experience with a horse. More specifically, EAL is an effective approach to human development that encourages individual and team growth. Pryzner added that participants engage in objectively driven exercises and find themselves learning valuable life skills in a fun and exciting atmosphere while working with horses. A typical riding lesson is one hour in length and provides a well-rounded education from the ground and into the saddle.
“Going forward with this grant, we are hoping to expand the EAL program to offer horseback riding lessons, summer camps, a volunteer program, and Equine Assisted Therapy,” shared Pryzner. “We are currently looking to add two or three new Cedar Bay horses to expand existing programs and to offer horseback riding lessons. Cedar Bay Stables is fortunate to have a resident riding instructor who is certified through CHA, Certified Horsemanship Association, and has background education in equine sciences through the University of Guelph,” she added.
Pryzner shared that the Cedar Bay Stables first opened its doors in 1981 with the goal of offering a horseback-riding program to the community of Sioux Lookout. Over the years, it evolved and expanded to offer children’s day camps, outdoor education programs, and leadership training programs. She added, “The stable stopped offering riding lessons quite a few years ago but is “chomping at the bit” to offer this service again to the community. We are hoping to begin offering riding lessons sometime in mid-May or early June.”
EAL was brought to the community by the Sioux Lookout Youth Poverty Reduction Strategy, which provided funding for five community members to become certified. Pryzner shared that this group successfully launched and operated the program from the summer of 2018 to the fall of 2019. “There were plans to begin offering this service again in the spring/summer of 2020, unfortunately COVID hit and we were unable to re-launch the program. We are diligently working to get this program back up and running for the summer and fall of 2021,” she concluded.