Billy was eight years old when he first met Morgan the llama. It was Morgan's first year as trail leader, and he was just three and a half, still not fully grown. Billy was a loud child, who cursed a lot and was not very happy with his life. It turned out that his family only had him home four or five weeks a year, during Christmas vacation and the end of the summer. The rest of the time he was in a special residential school or at a special camp. He was on the trail with Morgan almost every weekday for that whole summer, and they learned together. Morgan got better and better at remembering the trails and crossing the streams and Billy got better and better at concentrating on where they were going and taking care of Morgan. As the summer went by, he cursed less and began to talk a little more with some of the other children. Over the following winter, Morgan grew a lot, and so did Billy. When the first trip went out in June, there was Billy asking to lead Morgan and there he stayed for all of that summer. Now Billy knew how to load and unload the llamas, how to set up the llama feeding, and he helped teach the other children. He spent a lot of time with Morgan, sitting with him in the evening, talking to him or just watching the moon and stars. He was a quieter boy when he left that summer, more mature. The next summer, he returned, and again asked for Morgan. They greeted each other as old friends, just picking up where they had left off, spending their time together but also introducing each other to their other friends ,llamas in Morgan's case and humans in Billy's. That summer was very wet, and the two friends spent a lot of time walking silently through the rain, making sure they kept their friends from stepping where they might slip and get hurt. At the end of the summer, Billy had a long talk with Morgan. He had to say goodbye. He was going to be twelve before the next summer, too old to continue in the program. He told Morgan he had learned a lot from him. The two friends had learned a lot from each other, three summers on the same trails, helping each other, then helping others. Morgan was full grown now, Billy big for his age. They had both grown up.
Billy had the opportunity to have this experience only because of the generosity of donors to Challenge Adventures.
Organizations and other agencies that serve children like him do not have funds for therapeutic adventure activities. It costs less than $100 per day per child. Our expenses are low because licensed therapists donate their time.
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