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Dash’s Story: A Decade of Camp

“The horse program at camp is a memory-making, life-changing experience for the campers” explained Pastor Shari Schwedhelm. “The camp horses help create some of those memories that last a lifetime, and they are a blessing to the staff, the campers, and the families that are a part of Carol Joy Holling Camp.”

Pastor Shari was a Summer Ministry Team member and is also a camper parent and Summer Ministry Team member parent. You could say she’s also a camp horse parent—Dash’s owner.

Dash taught Pr. Shari and her daughters to ride

“Dash taught all five of our girls to ride. He even taught me to ride,” she reminisced. “But we have a little joke about Dash… he will do anything but dash! As the girls became better riders, we realized we weren’t spending the kind of time with him that he deserved.”

“We always knew that the camp horses got such great care and are such a valuable part of the camp ministry. When it came time to decide what was the best for Dash, [Carol Joy Holling] camp was the first thing we thought of,” Shari said.

That was more than a decade ago.

Pr. Shari and Dash at CJH Camp in 2021

While Pastor Shari was at camp this past summer with her Confirmation students, she visited the barn—and Dash, of course. She mentioned to the wrangler, “whenever he gets ready to retire, we want to bring him home.”

“It was about a week later that Roger Maxon contacted us and said, ‘This is Dash’s retiring year. Would you still like to bring him home?’ And I said, ‘Absolutely!’”

Dash spent one more week taking campers on trail rides, before heading back to the Schwedhelms’ for retirement.

“Now he greets me every morning, and as I get ready to go out he’s nickering from the fence,” Shari shared. “He’s made our house a happy home again. It’s just complete with him there.”

Because a number of horses, like Dash, have retired over the past two years, the Carol Joy Holling Camp herd needs to grow by 10 horses before next summer.

To meet that goal, all funds raised on Giving Tuesday this year will go toward the Carol Joy Holling Camp horse program. The goal is $30,000: $20,000 to purchase 10 horses, and $10,000 for feed, tack, and supplies for the whole herd.

Giving Tuesday is November 30. Denny & Gail Russell and Jeff & Michele Willer are generously providing a $10,000 challenge match, which means every Giving Tuesday gift will be doubled (up to $10,000)!

Learn more and give at

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