OWL Center Programs
The OWL Center of Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home is a busy, exciting center of activities! Here are highlights of the active programs of the OWL Center.
Ferns grow and Mums bloom! We have two 90 foot double-bay hothouses located at the OWL Center where we grow our ferns. The youth from the Home help plant the ferns each August/September and they are available for sale during the months of March and April. There are 6-8 different varieties of ferns: Macho, Asparagus, Fluffy Ruffle, Boston, Hills Boston, Kimberly Queen, Fishtail, and Rabbit’s Foot. They are priced at $12.00.
We also have an outdoor area where we grow mums each fall. The youth come out around August and we start planting again! We grow an array of colors including: white, yellow, pink, orange, burgundy, lavender, and more! They are available starting in October. The mums sell for $6.00/pot.
Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP)
Equine Assisted Psychotherapy is an experiential form of therapy in which horses are used to help participants achieve emotional growth and learning. Our youth participate in activities with the horses and then discuss the feelings, behaviors, and patterns uncovered during the activity. These results can then be used to help the participant learn about themselves and the ways in which they relate to others. Equine Assisted Psychotherapy is a collaborative effort that involves a licensed therapist as well as an equine professional. The majority of activities take place on the ground and focus on skills such as non-verbal communication, assertiveness, teamwork, problem solving, and leadership. EAP can be used with individuals or groups and is useful in treating a variety of mental health disorders.
The goal of the Horsemanship Classes is to provide our youth with the basic skills necessary to safely and effectively handle horses. Through hands-on experience, they learn how to catch, halter, lead, and groom their horses. Youth may also learn to saddle their horses, work them in the round pen, and ride. Different aspects of horse husbandry, such as feeding, veterinary care, and horse psychology are also discussed. Often we are able to draw parallels between the horse’s behavior and his handler’s and discuss how this might be changed. During these classes we also discuss boundaries and respect for/from others — all in relation to the horses — but applicable to the youth as well.
Summer Recreation Program
For almost eight weeks every summer the OWL teams up with the Recreational Services department on our main campus, Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home, and hosts part of the Summer Recreation Program at the OWL Center. Some of the activities our residents participate in at the OWL include fishing, hiking, canoeing, challenge course, field games, crafts/painting, Frisbee® golf, maze, mountain biking, swimming, horseback riding, and many more! At the end of every summer we have the OWL Championships. The residents of the Children’s Home participate in field relays, puzzles, and team cheers to compete for ribbons and prizes. It is fun that is enjoyed by both residents and staff!
The OWL Center offers additional activities. Some of the special events and programs at the OWL include:
Winter Break OWL Championships
Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home residents come out for the day during their school winter break. Teams compete in both volleyball and softball. We have a large cookout and give out awards for MVP, best sportsmanship, etc. Some of the prizes include: candy, food gift cards, and phone cards.
The OWL Center joins up with the Recreational Services department of Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home to host the Fall Festival every year in October. Our Residents participate in game booths, hayrides, horse rides, cakewalks and of course, food. They also have a blast dressing up in costumes. This event is made possible by an army of volunteers including: Kappa Delta Sorority, Kappa Sigma Fraternity, Gamma Beta Phi, Louisiana Tech’s Baseball Team, and the Grambling State University girls soccer team. They help man the many booths and provide candy/prizes to the residents of Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home.
Volunteer Work Program
Many residents of the Home jump at the opportunity to be outdoors, especially helping out at the OWL. Some of the volunteer work projects include:
Barn and Stable Duties
There is always work to be done at the barn. Picking and stacking up hay which is quite a process when we harvest square bales. Volunteers also help with cleaning stalls, watering, grooming and feeding the horses.
Youth helped with this program by planting over 1,100 ferns and 750 mums! They assisted in preparing the hothouse, and installing an irrigation system for our mum bed. They also helped to plant our first ever OWL vegetable garden.
Many of the youth come to the OWL to help out with everyday maintenance such as changing tires, painting fence, trash pick-up, etc.
Another way we keep our residents active is by having a weekend recreation program. Residents of Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home rotate weekends and come out for several hours to ride bikes, hike, play volleyball, field games, and enjoy tons of other activities.