The Cleveland Home orphanage began in 1875 on 12 acres in downtown Versailles. In 1964, Judge Field McLeod donated 328 acres of farmland in Woodford County to The Cleveland Home which evolved into a residential treatment facility for troubled girls. The Home was known innovative Equine Assisted Psychotherapy on other outdoor programs.
Life Adventure Center achieved over program 50% growth while increasing costs by only 8% during 2014. We received national recognition for our innovative programs using outdoor adventures to help heal disabled veterans.
Simply put, Life Adventure Center Life of the Bluegrass (“LAC”) changes lives. Our safe, fun and challenging programs feature a challenge course (low and high ropes with climbing wall and zip line), horsemanship and expertly guided wilderness adventures - facilitated by some of the best professionals in experiential education. Beyond offering recreational opportunities, our programs produce skills that extend into our clients’ daily lives through the principle of “transference.” Our programs achieve measurable and life changing impacts. We improve grade scores for at risk youth, rebuild relationships for returning veterans and their families, enhance personal confidence of developmentally disabled adults and even improved communication for corporate teams.
LAC’s biggest challenge is our biggest opportunity – to secure additional funding to increase the numbers we serve each year. While financially stable, LAC suffered from funding cut-backs to schools and other groups. Funding for transportation and programming for disadvantaged groups has particularly suffered setbacks at the time when the demand for services increased. Our challenge is to increase donations to support the free and low cost programming we offer at risk kids, veterans and the economically disadvantaged.
Despite these challenges, Life Adventure Center has embarked on several new initiatives to serve Kentuckians. Specifically, we developed a beautiful equestrian and mountain bike trail system for public use, assumed management of the Clyde E. Buckley Wildlife Sanctuary and expanded scholarships for economically disadvantaged summer campers.
We are especially proud of our work with returning military service men and women. Our unique “Military Extension Adventure Camps” reconnect returning service men / women with their families through guided outdoor adventure camping/canoeing/climbing trips. Provided at no cost to military families, our facilitators guide participants through team building and communication initiatives through outdoor adventures. “I can’t remember the last time I was able to relax and spend this much quality time with my daughter… we will have a closer relationship because of [LAC].” –Bill, 15 year Special Forces veteran of 7 combat tours.
Qualitative indicators include testimonials from program participants. An example: "Your program has empowered a frightened, insecure little girl with some hurdles she had to overcome and turned her into a beautiful woman who can do and be anything she wants. Your program will always have a special place in my and my husband's hearts because you gave her the bridge to the rest of her life and tools she will need to meet any obstacles... and WIN."
Our board recently completed an extensive strategic plan. We also are members of the Kentucky Nonprofit Network and have completed compliance for KNN’s “Best Practices Partnership” through use of the Principles & Practices for Nonprofit Excellence in Kentucky program. With several board members reaching their term limits in the near future, we continue to pursue opportunities to broaden our board membership
Mr. Magill holds a master’s degree in Leisure & Environmental Resources Administration from Aurora University’s George Williams College – a degree created specifically for leaders in the fields of Environmental, Outdoor and Experiential Education. In addition, Mr. Magill brings 28 years of experience to LAC, having served in a wide variety of non-profit management, and fundraising positions in educational and recreation settings.
Beyond his administrative experience and educational background, Mr. Magill is an avid horseman, outdoorsman and instructor in outdoor pursuits - holding numerous certifications: Wilderness First Aide, Certified Horsemanship Association Level II Overnight Trail Guide and Western Horsemanship Instruction, NASP Basic Archery Instruction, and Red Cross Lifeguard, among other endorsements.
In addition to his focus on LAC participants’ experience, Mr. Magill focuses on measurable outcomes and stewardship of donors’ investment in our participants’ lives. He welcomes inquiries about LAC’s programs and impact on the community.
Tracey began with Life Adventure Center in 2001 when the organization was The Cleveland Home. She brings a caring spirit and a continuity to LAC having seen the organization through the transition from The Cleveland Home’s early mission dedicated to orphaned girls to Life Adventure Center’s programming impacting thousands of youth and families annually from across the Bluegrass Region. Her greatest passions are planning events that include gatherings for families and groups to build memories as well as enjoying the many resources offered at LAC. In particular, “Play Date with Your Mate” events for strengthening marriages and volunteer opportunities for families, youth and corporate groups are among her favorites. Tracey has three grown children and two granddaughters. Bringing laughter, hope and encouragement to her family is important; sharing these attributes with others is part of the legacy that she is dedicated to both at home and at Life Adventure Center. Her primary responsibilities include serving as a liaison between the Board of Trustees and the operations; promoting the volunteer services; and working with the Executive Director to promote and manage donor opportunities.
Cathy Terry joined the Life Adventure Center team as the Chief Financial Officer in May of 2011. She is a graduate of the University of Kentucky and holds her Certified Public Accountant license. Cathy brings over 25 years of combined accounting experience from the private, public and non-profit sectors. She not only provides practical knowledge, but brings sound judgment, professional and ethical responsibility and innovative thinking.
Mr. Marlowe has worked with Life Adventure Center, since 2010. He started as Program Coordinator, became Program Manager in 2011, and then in 2013 became Program Director.
Before embarking on his career in business and non-profit management, Byron served as a team leader in the United States Army. Byron’s outdoor experience ranges from leading 34 students on a 10 day, 250 mile sailing expedition to leading a team of men in Iraq for a year. Byron has led military and civilian courses in: Canada, Mexico, Iraq, the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean, the Bahamas, Haiti, and across much of the US.
Byron currently holds a B.A. in Business Administration and an A.A. in Biology from the University of Kentucky.
LAC is proud to attract and employ some of the best trained, most experienced, professional and respected facilitators in experiential education. We similarly pride ourselves on best practices - evidenced by our certifications with the American Camp Association, Certified Horsemanship Association, Association for Challenge Course Technologies, Wilderness First Responder, American Canoe Association, and American Mountain Guide Association, among others. Our ongoing challenge is to ensure continuing education and resources are funded to maintain our staff’s skill sets – additional opportunities for donor support.
Our Low and High Challenge Course (LCC; HCC) and Mobile Unit (MU) programs offer an innovative workshop of discovery and development for groups of almost all sizes and ages. Groups may visit our HCC and LCC on our 575 acre farm, or we can bring our MU to their site. Our professional facilitators design programs customized to meet the needs, abilities, and goals of each individual group! The LCC and MU offer ground level problem solving initiatives that give participants opportunities to build life skills while working together to solve the challenges set before them. This is the heart of each program as it provides a rich framework to transfer the experience to real life. The HCC includes a Climbing Wall, Dual Zip Line, 8 High Elements and a Giant Swing all 30 + feet in the air! Corporate Team Building has evolved as an exciting opportunity to serve the business community and expand our name recognition outside of the youth and education areas.
Participants are encouraged to practice and explore their leadership style, individual and group strengths and weaknesses, teamwork, conflict resolution, effective communication, problem-solving and effective decision-making skills. They also have the opportunity to learn the importance of personal responsibility, cooperation, planning, and integrity. Our high course helps individuals conquer perceived limits while building their confidence in themselves and others. It provides participants an opportunity to set and achieve personal goals in a safe environment and learn firsthand the power of giving and receiving positive and encouraging support while exploring the limits of their own personal boundaries and abilities.
Groups can hope to see increased productivity, passion, unity and commitment from their team members. These changes begin as the individuals within the group begin to identify and understand the importance and uniqueness of their own role within their group. This understanding comes as the group explores the dynamics of how they work together, and as they develop and define a clear and unified goal together. As our program continues to grow and serve more groups; it will help to build stronger individuals and communities who are more outwardly focused and dedicated to leading and serving those around them. Individual participants will gain lifelong skills that will enable them to step up as leaders with the skills to communicate clearly and to work with others to identify and solve potential problem areas in their community. These individuals will be able to set higher goals in life and use the skills they have learned to obtain the resources and support they need to reach these goals.
"In terms of group bonding, cooperation, communication, team building, and just plain fun, this was the best thing we have ever done." Bluegrass Prevention leader
“I feel that since our last outing here, our group became closer and worked better as a team. I tell parents and friends that one day here does more for our youth group than months of youth group.” Georgetown First Presbyterian Youth Minister
“I never in a million years though that I would climb a rock wall. It was tough, but I really felt a sense of accomplishment finish it. The encouragement from my co-works was so important.” Shelby Co Pre-school
“Students who usually sit back and don’t participate were speaking out and showing leadership. I also saw students from different groups who don’t typically interact, working together.” Bloomsfield Middle School
“I feel I grow as a leader each time I see you in action! I take away nuggets of priceless wisdom while watching you interact with the kids.” Girl Scout Troop 858 Leader
The Life Adventure Center is dedicated to excellence in the equestrian industry. With a background in English riding, dressage, jumping, and vaulting our CHA certified instructors are committed to educating all levels of riders from children to adults and recreational to competitive. We have a large variety of horses to suit many different needs. The Life Adventure Center is dedicated to safety, good horsemanship, and fostering that special bond between people and horses. We believe...
Our instructors follow the Certified Horsemanship Association's curriculum to measure student's growth in their riding/vaulting skills. We use student/parent surveys to measure success in more subjective areas like gaining confidence, better communication, and leadership skills. The Life Adventure Center uses horses to help riders and vaulters overcome challenges which simultaneously teaches the student to ride/vault better while also imparting important life lessons that relate back to other areas of their life. Each semester students set goals for themselves and we work hard to meet these goals. Goals can be anything from jumping higher, taking a horse to a show, or even refining a skill they already have. These short term successes help set the foundation for great successes along the way both at the farm and in their lives outside the farm.
Our long-term success can be gauged by specific goals and are something the Equestrian Program is quite proud of. We have the privilege of seeing students year after year in most cases and this allows for us to see them grow and develop both as riders and as people. To properly and safely interact with a horse, students must learn good communication. They must show their horse that they can be confident and assertive leaders and they must also treat their horse fairly and with compassion. These things are inherent to becoming a good horse person and are lessons that are not taught but experienced. Our staff and horses have the honor of having a hand in leading students toward better self-esteem, confidence, leadership skills and so much more. This in turn improves relationships with others and the student's ability to make their way through the world. We have a student we have watched grow up in our program who exhibits extreme shyness. Her time at the barn learning to ride has built her confidence and allowed her to learn to be assertive. Her parents have commented that her time at the barn has played a huge part in her getting over her shyness issues. A child that was not able to look an adult in the eye is now interacting in lessons, joking around with other students and being assertive with a 1200 lb. animal. Horses allow students to overcome challenges in a positive way which helps them learn to positively handle challenges in the real world.
We measure skills acquisition by following CHA standards for riding. Students are able to take a test for each level and get and become certified at that level. We also have a student horse show at the end of each semester for our students to highlight what they have learned that year. For our camps, we have a set of skills campers work toward. Depending on the number of skills accomplished they will gain "Gold, Silver or Bronze" levels in both riding and ground work. As stated earlier, we use parent and student surveys to measure the soft skills learned over time (i.e. leadership and communication skills.) We also use surveys to set goals for the upcoming semester.
The number of unduplicated participants has increased from 985 in 2012 to 1448 in 2013. Our first round of CHA testing in 2014 showed a 90% pass rate.
~"There is no where our daughter would rather be than at LAC, riding a horse, caring for a horse, or just being at the barn! The equestrian instructors at LAC have helped her build confidence and courage; as well as nurture her love of animals." ~ Parent
The Outdoor Adventure Program is a single or multi-day wilderness immersion program designed to increase self-confidence, leadership, and communication within a group. Participants will first learn basic survival skills in the wilderness, then learn to live in the wilderness, then to teach others how to do those things, and finally how to transfer those outdoor skills into long term life skills. Strong emphasis is placed on Leave No Trace and having participants begin to develop their own set of outdoor ethics. Programs range from 1 day to 2 weeks and can serve between 5+ participants per course.
At the end of each program, participants demonstrate an increased aptitude in wilderness skills. As a result of being able to easily accomplish something that originally they believed to be impossible (or very difficult to say the least), their self confidence and problem solving skills are increased. Finally, while it might take some time to change the wilderness ethics of a whole community, it only takes one course to effect the ethics of one person.
Ultimately this program will begin to affect the overall outdoor ethics of Central Kentucky. As more and more participants are served, the principles of Leave No Trace will begin to filter through the community. This will result in a more environmentally conscious community as well as a generation of young people ready to assume the mantle of wilderness preservation and environmental conservation.
At this point, the Outdoor Adventure program has only existed for two year. Success is monitored by continued participation, demonstration of solid outdoor skills and the verbal and written feedback provided by participants and group leaders.
Simply put, Life Adventure Center Life of the Bluegrass (“LAC”) changes lives. Our safe, fun and challenging programs feature a challenge course (low and high ropes with climbing wall and zip line), horsemanship and wilderness activities - facilitated by some of the best professionals in experiential education. Beyond offering recreational opportunities, our programs produce skills that extend into our clients’ daily lives through the principle of “transference.” Our programs achieve measurable and life changing impacts. We improve grade scores for at risk youth, rebuild relationships for returning veterans and their families, enhance personal confidence of developmentally disabled adults and even improve communication for corporate teams.
LAC’s biggest challenge is our biggest opportunity – securing additional funding to enable us to increase the numbers we serve. While financially stable, LAC suffered from funding cut-backs to schools and other groups. Funding for transportation and programming for disadvantaged groups has particularly suffered setbacks when the demand for our services from these groups has increased. Our challenge is to increase participation by “mainstream” groups and individuals to financially support (through program fees and donations) our work with disadvantaged populations – to whom we offer free or low cost programming.
Despite these challenges, Life Adventure Center has embarked on several new initiatives to serve Kentuckians. Specifically, we are ready for the grand opening of an extensive equestrian and mountain bike trail system for public use. In addition, we will expand our impactful programming for “at-risk” school groups, veterans’ groups and developmentally challenged adults.
We are especially proud of our work with returning military service men and women and plan to expand these programs in 2013. Among other military programs, our “Military Extension Adventure Camps” reconnect returning service men / women with their families through guided outdoor adventure camping/canoeing/climbing trips. Provided at no cost to military families, our facilitators guide participants through team building and communication initiatives while . “I can’t remember the last time I was able to relax and spend this much quality time with my daughter… we will have a closer relationship because of [LAC].” –Bill, 15 year Special Forces veteran of 7 combat tours.
We hope donors will increase giving – joining us in this measurable, positive, life changing work "Transforming Lives thru Outdoor Adventure."
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
In an ongoing effort to ensure financial security and sustainability, our board recently reduced the amount of annual, operational costs our small endowment can support. This appropriate move to preserve long term stability challenges us to increase donations to our annual fund. Thus, we hope to engage more constituents in the months and years ahead.
Copyright © 2014 Blue Grass Community Foundation
499 East High Street, Lexington, KY 40507