Day 1 Agenda — May 7

Welcome by Kathy Alm 9:00-9:05 am MST

Welcome message from Kathy Alm, CEO, PATH International

Conference Moderator, Amber Bratt, PATH International

Session 1: Building Resiliency: Combining Social-Emotional Learning and Equine Assisted Learning for Youth at Risk DE9:05-9:55 am MST

Many youths today are experiencing great challenges, which ultimately can undermine their long-term well-being and health. These challenges include living in poverty, exposure to trauma and adversity resulting from insecure access to housing, food, health care, and safety. All children need supportive relationships and nurturing learning environments, but students facing additional stress have a greater need to be surrounded by caring adults who treat them as individuals with potential and inherent worth. When adults create this environment, children of every background can thrive at school, home and beyond. A recent report from the National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development states that “social, emotional and academic skills are all essential to success in school, careers, and in life, and they can be effectively learned in the context of trusted ties to caring and competent adults.” To address this need for social-emotional learning in a nurturing environment, our center created an experiential program combining Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) which has engaged 10 schools over the course of three years for full-day programming. Youth at risk learn SEL skills both in the classroom and in the arena to increase self and social awareness, relationship skills, decision-making, and self-regulation. These skills are developed using activities explicitly designed to augment the riding and groundwork sessions with the horses. Our goal with the school-based program is to impart social and emotional skills so that individuals can navigate school and life with more success. The program has proven to help youth at risk to sustain independent living, improve cooperative skills, and enjoy a higher quality of life. Participation in the program has been shown to increase the likelihood that participants become functional members of society by teaching transferable skills that enhance personal, school, family and community relationships. Outcomes for this program have been tracked through the use of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, which is a widely used measure and has shown to be psychometrically sound, with satisfactory reliability and validity. The program also developed a custom-designed monitoring tool to track outcomes. Results have shown statistically significant growth in the following areas: communication, self-confidence, and attitude. By exploring the themes of respect, empathy, self-respect and confidence, accountability, and conflict resolution the youth participating in our program are learning to navigate school and life with more success. These successes, in turn, radiate out to the greater community.

Real Time Chatbox with Presenter: Tamara Merritt

Session 2: Working with Parents During Stressful Times: Impact of Ambiguous Loss DE10:00-11:00 am MST

The purpose of this presentation is to review the development of parent-child (p-c) interaction from ages 0-3, and how that process is often impacted by the discovery that your child has a developmental disability or delay. We will compare and contrast the traditional trajectory of p-c interaction and the impact any diagnosis may have on families. Pamela Boss studied ambiguous loss in the ’70s, including her work with families experiencing lack of closure following the loss of a loved one through Alzheimer's disease and related losses. Her discussions provide a strong framework for understanding the process our families experience when they sense or determine that their children have a life-impacting developmental disability or differences. We will discuss typical development, the evolution of becoming a parent, typical communication development and how engaging their children in therapeutic horseback riding can help normalize their experiences as well as facilitate language skills.

Real Time Chatbox with Presenters: Karyn Searcy & Kaitlyn Siewert

Session 3: Facilitating Communication & Interaction: Collaborating with Speech-Language Pathologists DE11:05-11:40 pm MST

This presentation will highlight philosophical and strategic supports included in traditional speech-language therapy sessions and how they can be integrated into therapeutic riding, including playful obstruction and communicative temptations. It will define typical caregiver-child interaction and how families are impacted when initially discovering their children have a developmental disability. We will include video-taped interviews with parents reflecting on their initial responses to a diagnosis and review Pamela Bass’ work on “ambiguous loss” to help define the process, which is critical knowledge to be aware of when working with families. Also included will be videotaped examples of how the collaboration works and some pre- and post-outcomes. Data collection will also be explored, in addition to discussing how families participating in therapeutic riding are often impacted by seeing their children experience a recreational activity.

Real Time Chatbox with Presenters: Karyn Searcy & Kaitlyn Siewert

Lunch Break 11:40-12:10 pm MST

Take a 30 minute lunch break or join us with a LIVE Q&A with some of the presenters!

Session 4: Driving Center Sustainability through Trust-Based Leadership Programming CE12:10-1:05 pm MST

Are you looking for ways to add funding to support your center's mission and sustainability without disrupting current programming, without adding staff/volunteers, and without adding stress to the horses? Do you long for a way to help your center’s workers and volunteers see a longer-term career path at the center, and want to stay longer? Have you been struggling to find a way to get local visibility and donations at your center? The answer is right under your nose: learn how to bring in local companies/organizations for 1-day workshops on relevant leadership topics, such as Trust-Based Leadership, and generate funding for your center’s sustainability! You already know how to build trust with horses – so let’s teach local organizations the parallels between building trust with horses and building trust with people. Companies are willing to pay top dollar to learn trust-based leadership concepts in an experiential way, as this has been proven to drive significant benefits for companies and organizations. In this session, we will share an Equine-Assisted Leadership Development methodology proven in multiple PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Centers to help centers offer and provide trust-based leadership workshops for local organizations (corporate/professional), colleges/universities, veterans, and at-risk youth. The methodology focuses on advancing an individual or team’s trust-based leadership skills using Equine-Assisted Learning (EAL) – assisting organizations and society to develop better and more trust-based leaders while creating a unique and innovative additional revenue stream for your center. In a 2017 global CEO survey, it was reported that lack of trust is one of the four top-rising concerns for CEOs, rising to 58% of CEOs believing that a lack of trust is a threat to their organization’s growth. Research studies show the link between trust and economics for a business, as trust is a significant driver of employee engagement. The bottom line: teams and organizations that operate with high trust significantly outperform those who don’t. Teams and organizations led by a high-trust leader are more energized and engaged - they innovate and collaborate more effectively, operate faster, and achieve sustainable results. By combining the expertise of developing leaders in more than 20 countries over as many years with EAL that includes both passive and active participation, the methodology explained in this session will also highlight examples of activities and actual PATH Intl. center results that can be used in your facility to bring these trust-based leadership skills to local companies/organizations, and drive funding for your center’s sustainability.

Real Time Chatbox with Presenter: Jeff Arnold

Session 5: Play to Your Strengths! Generate Sustainability Funding through Strengths- Based Leadership Workshops CE1:05-1:55 pm MST

Strengths-Based Leadership (SBL) theory (also known as Strengths-Based Organizational Management or SBOM) is a method of maximizing the efficiency, productivity, and success of an organization by focusing on and continuously developing the strengths of organizational resources, such as people, processes, and technology. At the core of SBL is the underlying belief that people have several times more potential for growth building on their strengths rather than fixing their weaknesses. Gallup data shows that employees who have the opportunity to understand and use their strengths every day are 6 times more likely to be engaged in their jobs, and their engagement level affects how they care for customers. A “strength” is defined as the ability to exhibit near-perfect performance consistently in a given activity. Strengths-based organizations don’t ignore weaknesses, but rather, focuses on building talents and strengths and minimizing the negative effects of weaknesses. Strengths-based leaders are always investing in their strengths and the strengths of individuals on their team. Strengths-based leadership theory is supported by over 30 years of research from the Gallup organization and others. In addition, its core beliefs overlap a variety of other developing theories in personal and organizational psychology including positive psychology and appreciative inquiry.

Real Time Chatbox with Presenter: Jeff Arnold

Wrap Up 1:55-2:00 pm MST

Quick review of the day and preview of day 2.