One night Glenn and I picked Jay up and took him out to dinner wherever he wanted to go. His pick - Golden Corral. On our way, we just asked him a lot of questions and discovered that he REALLY loves the country. This totally took me by surprise, but when I looked back at his dreams, it made sense. He wanted to go fishing, ride a four wheeler and ride a horse. We have dear friends who have a place called Third Day Ranch where all of the above could take place. We had scheduled a trip once before but canceled it because Jay's behavior was bad. However...yesterday we decided to take him and his cousin for an afternoon of swimming and seeing the horses. We believed that this would plant the seed that his dreams CAN be a reality, however it also provides incentive for good behavior. I was completely thrilled when we saw the results. See, Jay usually walks around like he is angry at the world, however as we got off the interstate and got further and further into the countryside....the anger and intensity of him almost melted away.
When we got to Aunt Penny's, he immediately wanted to see the horses, but we told him that would come later on in the evening. First...swimming. Jay and his cousin swam and played. Jay challenged himself and kept stretching his swimming abilities, overcoming fears. I snapped this picture of him "relaxing", something I had never seen before.
After a meal of 2 grilled hamburgers, Cheetos and Fanta there was more swimming and then Jay disappeared. I walked around the side of the house and this is what I saw....Jay was watching the horses from the other side of the fence. .I LOVE this shot. It encompasses what the Dream Campaign is all about.
When we walked up to the house Jay asked me if he could please help clean out the dog kennels. Aunt Penny and her husband have 11 dogs. Who ASKS to clean out the kennel. So Wayne went with him and together they cleaned.
Then it was time.....we all made our way down to the barn where Aunt Penny introduced Jay to all of the horses and taught the boys how to cut up and measure the food for the horses. Jay listened to every word and followed directions.
After feeding the horses, we packed up and got ready to head back to the city. Penny and Wayne talked to Jay about the importance of doing well in school and having good behavior. They made a plan with him that he could come back to the ranch whenever he wants and depending on his behavior, they have some incentives and rewards lined out such as riding the horses, driving the 4 wheelers, etc. Did I mention that Jay wants to be a veterinarian when he grows up? Penny is setting it up for Jay to come out when their vet comes to the ranch so they can meet and Jay can shadow him.
On the way home (until he passed out from exhaustion) he talked a mile a minute about all of the horses and things he learned. Right before he went to sleep he said, "I'm gonna be really good this year."
A dream. A taste of something he loves. Motivation. Hope.
This is why the Dream Campaign exists.
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You can also see the entire photo album of Jay's visit: Jay's Trip to the Country