APRIL 2018


From The Director's Saddle

By Brandy Crago, SSTM Executive Director
Four weeks into our Spring Riding Session and the main question on everyone’s mind is “when will it start to feel like spring?” The weather has been crazy but this one issue is something that everyone seems to be able to relate to and agree on. We are all ready to feel the sunshine and warm days.

Even for something as simple as the weather, it’s refreshing to be in agreement. To have a basis of understanding that others relate to.

One of the things I enjoy seeing at SS is the way families and volunteers support each other. It could be celebrating the achievements of a rider or encouraging a parent through difficulties their child is experiencing. In these 4 short weeks I’ve watched volunteers and families pray, cry, and laugh together.

One devastated father, embarrassed by his child’s behavior, was reassured by a participant that nothing was out of the ordinary in this place. No one was there to judge him or his child, only to help them through this season of stress in their lives.

Whenever a rider overcomes an obstacle in their life, we want to celebrate it together. Something that seems as simple as completing a 45-minute riding lesson, to a parent of a little girl with autism, that can feel like a miracle!

Many of the families that ride or work at SS are familiar with the challenges that a disability adds to a life. We can all relate to one another because of that basic understanding. We agree and pray that God will continue to use the horses to accomplish His work of healing and inspire us to encourage one another in love.

2 Corinthians 13:11
" joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other.Live in harmony and peace.Then the God of love and peace will be with you."


Exciting Happenings

Shining Stars All Around

Cross Keys Village/ The Brethren Home

By Mindy Becker, CKV Communication/Gift office

Fifty years after its founding, the "old folk’s home" of 1908 evolved into a nursing home, and a quarter century later, it began the transformation into what is now called a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC). Today, Cross Keys Village – The Brethren Home Community is the 8th largest, single-site, non-profit CCRC in the country, dedicated to “enriching the lives of older adults.”

Director of Community Life, Mary Van Buren believes that life should be without limitations for the residents in the Health Care Center. One of her most successful collaborations is with the Shining Stars Therapeutic Ministries, which takes place at the Shining Stars Arena at 3185 York Road, Gettysburg. Residents who are mobile using a wheelchair are able to enjoy horsemanship by boarding a cart which securely holds them while sitting in their wheelchair. This is Cross Keys Village’s seventh year participating in the program, and it continues to be a popular activity for the residents.
Chocolate egg fundraiser total was $4,086.00!!! Wonderful job to all who helped!

Best Wishes to Kelly Clifford

By Brandy Crago, SSTM Executive Director

We are sorry to see Kelly Clifford leave our barn staff. She has done a wonderful job keeping our horses pampered, stalls immaculate, and buckets clean. Kelly worked in the craziest weather conditions and rarely   missed a day (even holidays!) Kelly's reputation has landed her a wonderful job opportunity in New York with the harness racing industry. Congratulations Kelly, we love you and will miss you like crazy. Praying God's best for you in New York!

Volunteers Are Special

The Heart & Hands of Our Programs
April is National Volunteer Appreciation Month
By Karen Bowling, SSTM Newsletter Editor
Every Shining Stars Therapeutic Riding student is served by a dedicated team of volunteers, trained & ready to facilitate a successful lesson.  Our volunteers play an invaluable part in touching the lives of each participant and their family   As a volunteer, the work is sometimes hard, but always rewarding.
Volunteer time, caring, and energy invested in our Shining Stars programs is what gives our organization its life. There would be no Shining Stars without the heart & hands of our valued volunteers. In helping the students & families, the larger community is also improved.  Shining Stars is blessed to work both inside and outside the "arena of life." We have made so many friends!

This year, during National Volunteer Week April 15-21, in a simple yet fun way, we will be honoring our volunteers with a "Wall of Fame" mural/poster created by our riders & their families. All are welcome to participate by drawing hearts, horses, stick figures, suns, volunteer names, etc, and words of praise/appreciation on the Wall!!
Also be on the watch for the colorful April 16 Gettysburg Times Volunteer Appreciation newspaper insert sponsored by the United Way of Adams County.  SSTM is proud to serve the community along with so many other non-profits who depend on volunteer dedication & energy!!

Coming Events

Mark your calendars...
Spaces still available for the Shining Stars Spring Bazaar!
If you do direct sales or make crafts we'd love to have you.
If you're doing some spring cleaning and want to
set up a yard sale spot this is the event for you!
Contact Melissa Bowlin at 717-253-8520
Save the Date for the Shining Stars Christmas Dinner Show!!

This year we are excited to announce we will be hosting Keystone Theatrics as they present this year's Christmas Show! Come ready to take an exciting Christmas journey with us this November. You will be thoroughly entertained through song, dance, and story telling. Make sure to come come hungry as our Christmas Dinner is always a big hit.
To see what else Keystone Theatrics is up to please visit their website at:

 2018  Bucket List

Spring TR Session           March 12- May 11
Yard Sale                         May 19
Boots, Bolos & Boogie     June 2
Summer TR Session        June 11 - Aug 3
Golf Outing                      June 23
Horse Show                      Aug. 4
Horse Camp                     Aug. 6-10
Fall TR Session               Sept. 10-Nov. 9
Pippinfest                         Sept. 29 & 30
Silent Auction                   October 5
Christmas Dinner Show    Nov. 16
click here to see our past newsletters!


Brandy Crago, Executive Director  

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 SHINING STARS Therapeutic Learning Center/Indoor Arena is located at
 3185 York Road, Gettysburg, PA 17325

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Shining Stars Therapeutic Ministries · 3185 York Road, Gettysburg, PA, United States · Gettysburg, PA 17325 · USA

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