FLYING HORSE FARMS

Mount Gilead, OH   |  www.flyinghorsefarms.org

Mission

Flying Horse Farms is a medical specialty camp that provides healing, transformative experiences for children with serious illnesses and their families – free of charge. Located in Mt. Gilead, Ohio, camp first opened its gates in 2010 and hosts about 900 children and families each year. Flying Horse Farms serves children, teens, and young adults who live with cancer, facial differences, arthritis, rare diseases, and disorders of the heart, lungs, blood, kidneys, and gastrointestinal system. Many campers face co-occurring post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression and other mental health illnesses as a result of their diagnoses. A serious illness impacts an entire family and Flying Horse Farms also serves campers' siblings, parents and caregivers.

Notes from the nonprofit

Flying Horse Farms was founded in 2005 by David and Jenni Belford. Afterward, work began on funding the design and building of over 23 state-of-the-art facilities on our 200 acre site in Mt. Gilead, a central location for campers who come from throughout Ohio and beyond. In 2010, we hosted our first family camp weekend. In 2011, we hosted our first full camp season and were awarded full membership to the SeriousFun Children's Network (SFCN).

Ruling year info

2014

President and CEO

Nichole E Dunn

Main address

5260 State Route 95

Mount Gilead, OH 43338 USA

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EIN

20-3498125

NTEE code info

Health Support Services (E60)

Recreational and Sporting Camps (Day, Overnight, etc.) (N20)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Research shows that reduced quality of life is a consequence of chronic disease in children. Often isolated from peers and family due to hospitalizations and treatments, children with serious illnesses regularly experience fear, shame and frustration, and are often negatively affected by the uncertainty of their illness’ severity and progression. Many have difficulty reaching developmental milestones, experience anxiety and post-traumatic stress, and struggle with lower self-confidence and self-esteem. A 2019 study by the American Camp Association concluded that camps are excellent at promoting social-emotional learning. Given that these skills are key to success academically and in the 21st century labor market, camps play an important role in readying children and young people for successful adulthood. In this study, former campers reported several outcomes from their camp experiences that continue to serve them in their adult lives.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Summer Camps

Our summer camps are specifically for children ages 8-15 and are organized by diagnosis. Our intentionally-adapted programming and medical specialists offer children the freedom to explore a full array of traditional camp activities in a medically- and emotionally-safe environment. Although typical childhood activities may pose risks to the health of our youth, we design and adapt all facets of camp to allow them to reach beyond their illnesses and perceived barriers. Participation is at no charge and generates instantaneous fun, some mischief, respite from daily lives, and positive impact that lasts beyond a week.

Population(s) Served

Our family camps are held in the spring and fall. We welcome children ages 7-15 who have a serious illness and their family members of all ages. Sidekick volunteers join each family to help them enjoy camp to the fullest. Families stay in cabins and can participate in archery, boating, fishing, arts and crafts, nature, and sports and recreation activities throughout the weekend.

Population(s) Served

Ranger Camp, for ages 16-17 with a variety of diagnoses, is a servant leadership-based program designed to build valuable skills that campers can use within the camp community and beyond. Registrants interview with our camper & family liaison to attend these summer sessions. Camp projects can include making care packages for youth who are too ill to attend camp and assisting the dining hall and facilities staff. Program activities include facilitated teambuilding initiatives.

Population(s) Served

Serious and chronic illnesses define the daily lives of our campers and their families so we include siblings in our programming model. Summer camps include a week for siblings ages 8-15, who attend without the primary camper with the medical diagnosis. All campers stay in cabins and participate in traditional summer camp activities, including archery, boating, fishing, ropes course and zip line, arts and crafts, nature, sports and recreational play and group activities, such as camp bonfires and opening and closing ceremonies.

Population(s) Served

Adolescent/Young Adult (AYA) Camp is a fall weekend camp for new and returning campers between the ages of 16-21 who are not participating in the Ranger program. Campers who qualify for any summer camp program are eligible to participate in the AYA camp weekend. The weekend is reserved for campers only without parents or guardians and will allow teens an opportunity to connect with their peers.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Accreditations

American Camping Association (ACA) - Accreditation 2013

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of people on the organization's email list

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

No target populations selected

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of Facebook followers

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

No target populations selected

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of stories successfully placed in the media

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

No target populations selected

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Percent of campers who feel included at camp and believe they made a new friend

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

No target populations selected

Related Program

Summer Camps

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Percent of campers showing reduced isolation after attending camp

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

No target populations selected

Related Program

Summer Camps

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Percent of campers showing an increase in confidence after attending camp

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

No target populations selected

Related Program

Summer Camps

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Percent of campers who are more open about their diagnosis after attending camp

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

No target populations selected

Related Program

Summer Camps

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Number of camps offered

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

No target populations selected

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Number of campers enrolled

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

No target populations selected

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Flying Horse Farms’ primary goals are to provide respite and build each camper’s capacity for resilience. Programs are intentionally designed to create opportunities for campers to: 

develop a positive self-identity by improving their sense of personal power and accomplishment; encouraging positive self-esteem and self-efficacy; and encouraging a positive view of their future; 
build strong relationships by creating a sense of belonging; valuing youth and community; and developing positive peer influence and adult role models; and 
gain a sense of adventure and exploration by developing achievement motivation; valuing accomplishment and effort; and encouraging creative activities.  

In addition to these overall goals, Flying Horse Farms has developed objectives for each program area within the camp environment. Below are samples of activity-area goals:

Arts and Crafts:
Strengthen artistic talents and foster a sense of creativity.
Create a collaborative learning environment where creativity is validated and appreciated.
Develop positive self-identity.

Boating:
Provide the opportunity for campers to learn proper canoeing skills.
Encourage teamwork and communication.

Free Play:
Provide an unstructured time, facilitated by trained staff, for children to play creatively.  
Encourage cooperation, compromise, and problem solving amongst campers.   
Allow children to take ownership of their camp experience by making their own decisions of how they would like to spend their time.  

Nature and Discovery:
Encourage children to ask questions and make observations.
Stimulate curiosity about the natural world.
Teach children to interact responsibly with nature.
Increase interest in topics relating to STEM, nature, outdoor living, recycling, and more.

Flying Horse Farms serves children, teens, and young adults who live with cancer, facial differences, arthritis, rare diseases, and disorders of the heart, lungs, blood, kidneys, and gastrointestinal system. Many campers face co-occurring post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression and other mental health illnesses as a result of their diagnoses. A serious illness impacts an entire family and Flying Horse Farms also serves campers' siblings, parents and caregivers.

Camper recruitment takes place year-round in partnership with nine pediatric hospitals. Online registration opens in January and evaluations of the medical and behavioral status of prospective campers take place in the spring. Concurrently, medical volunteers, program volunteers, and seasonal staff are recruited. The camp season begins with Spring into Camp, a one-day program for new families to explore camp and meet full-time medical staff, and a ten-day leadership training for seasonal staff. Camp sessions run from May through October and include:

1 spring Family Weekend
5 six-day residential summer sessions organized by diagnoses for children ages 8-15
4 six-day residential summer sessions focused on service learning for teens ages 16-17
1 six-day residential summer session for campers' siblings
3 fall Family Weekends
1 Adventure Camp for adolescents/young adults ages 16-21

Through all activities, Flying Horse Farms provides nearly 900 camp experiences each year.

Off-season planning includes certification renewals for camper safety, mental health services, and activity areas; outreach programs and CEO visits with partner hospitals; accreditation and membership renewal with the American Camp Association and the SeriousFun Children's Network; property maintenance with volunteer support; speaking engagements, special events, and fundraising activities to raise awareness and resources for c and special Final Campfires as requested during a camper's end-of-life care.

Both the natural and built environments at Flying Horse Farms serve as learning labs for traditional camp activities and outdoor experiences. Our site features rolling hills, lakes, and woods. Our facilities include 12 cabins, a dining hall, Angie's Arts and Crafts center, a sports court and activity field, a recreational center, an outdoor amphitheater, an archery range, a boating/fishing pond, a zero-entry pool and warming shed, four teepees for outpost camping, a high ropes course and zip line, a 24/7 “WellNest" medical building, a HappyTimes Woodshop for traditional woodworking activities, and the Big Red Barn with offices for our year-round staff and dormitory accommodations for seasonal staff and volunteers.

Flying Horse Farms is the only camp in Ohio equipped with an on-site medical facility and year-round medical staff to meet the unique needs of children with serious illnesses. The WellNest, camp’s 24/7 medical facility houses exam and trauma rooms, space for psychosocial and behavioral support, and a licensed pharmacy. Care is provided by a physician, wellness and nursing director, child life specialist, seasonal staff, and medical volunteers. All year-round medical staff are certified in basic life support and pediatric advanced life support. Camp’s medical director is a Board-certified pediatrician with fellowship training in Emergency Medicine. She received Columbus CEO Magazine’s Healthcare Trailblazer of the Year award in 2016 and the ‘America’s Best in Medicine’ award in 2019. In addition, camp’s Wellness Director is certified in Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support and camp’s child life specialist is certified by the Association of Child Life Professionals. All staff and volunteers are trained to manage campers’ daily medical needs, routine illnesses, and any emergencies that arise.  

Nutrition is also part of Flying Horse Farms’ continuum of health. In a typical summer, kitchen staff and volunteers serve over 20,000 meals a year, complete with laughter, singing and dancing in the dining hall. Weekly menus are based on each camper’s medical needs and accommodate tube feedings, over 80 food allergies, and diets restricting gluten, dairy, soy, and egg. High-quality food is purchased or provided in-kind by Kroger, Gordon Food Services, and The Mid-Ohio Foodbank. Camp’s food operations staff have earned their Level 2 SERV Safe Manager Certification in Food Protection and one member secured an award in Food Policy Action’s 2016 Plate of the Union competition for leading a student campaign for just and sustainable food.

Flying Horse Farms’ programs and activities are overseen by a camp director and staff whose certifications include: Therapeutic Crisis Intervention, Mental Health First Aid, Wilderness First Responder, Basic First Aid, CPR for the Professional Rescuer, Lifeguarding, Archery Level One, Archery Level Two, Small Craft/Canoe, Stand Up Paddle Board Level Two, Rope Rescue Technician, Structural Steel Welding, and Camper Protection. These skills enable the team to create adaptations in all camp activity areas – swimming, boating, archery, high ropes, and more – to ensure each child benefits from the camp experience. In addition, the “Challenge by Choice” philosophy at Flying Horse Farms allows each camper to participate in activities that fall within their “comfort” or “stretch” zones where growth occurs. This philosophy is the foundation of new virtual programming as well.

Outcomes of a Flying Horse Farms camp experience include increased feelings of inclusion, reduced stress, strengthened family interactions, and improved sense of self-image as reported by parents and caregivers. Desired change ranges from “increased enjoyment” to “decreased focus on illness,” from “opportunity for respite” to “strengthened relationships between family members,” and from “had a memorable experience” to “increased competency and compassion in working with others.”  

In 2019, camper surveys showed that: 
97% returned home with a reduced sense of isolation; 
97% felt included at camp and believed they made a new friend; 
96% gained an increased feeling of normalcy; and 
95% could express a range of emotions to adults present in their sessions. 

Caregiver surveys following 2019 camp sessions showed that:  
99% found an opportunity for respite and reduced stress; 
98% saw an increase in their child’s confidence and self-image after c 
97% believe their camper is more open about their diagnosis after c and 
95% trust their child to be more independent in their medical care. 

Flying Horse Farms partners with its sister camps in the SeriousFun Children’s Network to develop program goals, outcomes, and evaluation methods. As of 2019, Flying Horse Farms also collaborates with Columbus-based GroundWork group to create surveys, collect responses, and analyze results. Through the Network’s Evaluation Academy and with the support of GroundWork group, Flying Horse Farms is adapting from satisfaction-based assessment to outcomes-based assessment in 2019-2021. Through this process, Flying Horse Farms will expand program evaluation to include intermediate- and long-term outcomes as well as the short-term outcomes listed above.

Financials

FLYING HORSE FARMS
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

FLYING HORSE FARMS

Board of directors
as of 8/10/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Kara Lewis

AB Bernstein

Term: 2020 -

Kathleen Starkoff

Orange Star Consulting

Veronica Hawkins

Medical Mutual of Ohio

Francie Henry

Fifth Third Bank

Jenni Belford

Founder, Flying Horse Farms

Andrew Alexander

Red Roof Inn

Juan Antunez

California Closets

Habiba Bankston

L Brands

Michael Bonadies

Community Advocate

Gerard Boyle, MD

Cleveland Clinic Children's

Samir Dahman

Kohman Jackson Krantz LLP

Bill D'Onofrio

Greif Inc.

John Gabrielli

Abercrombie & Fitch, Co.

Kevin Hake

M/I Homes, Inc.

Greg Hall

AEP Energy Partners

Scott Hauptman

Grange Insurance

Nick Lashutka

Ohio Children's Hospital Association

Jaime Meek

American Electric Power

Patricia Raimer, MD

Akron Children's Hospital

Renee Romano, PhD

Oberlin College

Joseph Ross, MD

Dayton Children's Hospital

Mike Schlonsky

Big Lots

Ola Snow

Cardinal Health

Nate Tansky

Tansky Sawmill Toyota

Joseph Vandermark

Ernst & Young

David Belford

Board Emeritus

Chuck Fowler

Board Emeritus

Kathleen Starkoff

Orange Star Consulting

Habiba Bankston

L Brands

Michael Bonadies

Community Advocate

Michael Bonadies

Community Advocate

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes