Saturday, November 18, 2018 was Xenophon’s day to honor our amazing volunteers. As soon as lessons were finished, a gang of helpers converted our arena from riding center to outdoor cafe. The taco truck arrived, the food materialized and the party started. Keeping with tradition, the afternoon was kicked off by cheers from each day’s volunteers and they did not disappoint. Wednesday pranced in to a classical march with lead horses AND their “drivers” doing quite the piaffe. We had singing renditions and clever poems. While some of the staff made a valiant attempt at a “Cheers” singalong, it was decided they should start practicing now for next year. The Connected Horse crew joined in the fun and the Tuesday veterans group brought tears to our eyes as they shared their experience . Who knew we had so much talent amongst us?
As is also tradition, we honored a volunteer teen with the Patience Honorary Teen of the Year award. This year’s winner was Kaitlin. Parodi. Kaitlin has been volunteering for Xenophon for a year. In that time, she worked her way from sidewalker to groom to horsehandler. Kaitlin has come to the center for multiple shifts per week,giving generously of her time despite a rigorous school schedule. From her first day at the center, Kaitlin demonstrated a n enthusiasm and willingness that set her apart. She could be found cleaning waterers, mucking stalls, cleaning tack and fitting helmets. You rarely found her in the lounge, even to get a drink of water. She always managed to make herself an integral part of the lesson program. It was a joy to honor this special teen and we were thrilled her parents could join us for lunch and the award. Katilin received a plaque and her name will be added to those of other teen winners on the perpetual plaque in the office.
Of course, the day concluded with the awarding of the coveted “Xen wear” to those who earned their T-shirts, hats and gifts. Our gift awards are a small token of appreciation for the house that each of volunteers give. They come with the deepest of appreciation.