What is ICS
Inner City Slickers is an on-going “Old West Program” that was inspired by the film, City Slickers. We chose this program because the “Old West” symbolizes Strength, Perseverance and Hard Work and this program builds self-esteem, self-confidence, character and breaks down the social prejudices that are so prevalent in our culture today.
Our Slickers learn what it’s like to be a cowboy/cowgirl and they learn to live by the “Cowboy Code of Ethics“. Kindness, Dependability, Keeping Your Word, Being Responsible and they learn what it’s like to Trust and Respect the horses, themselves and each other…ethical and moral codes that will stay with them throughout their lives.
In addition, our Slickers learn to rope, groom, feed, sit and horse and work together as a team. The Inner City Slickers program is one of the only means we have seen that can virtually erase the color barrier between teens. With the Magic of horses and our expert volunteers, our kids are transformed. They change right in front of your eyes. They forget about color, peer pressures and their own challenges and they learn to concentrate on what’s in front of them — a magnificent animal! Our kids face the challenges we ask of them with Courage and Optimism and by the end of the event, they have learned to Trust…and have Hope.
There is something that happens, a magical thing, when a child and a horse meet for the very first time. Maybe some suspicion and distrust at first, usually on both sides, but as the child and this magnificent animal start to relax and see what is in front of them –that is when the true magic begins. As they develop a relationship and sense of trust, you find that both of their lives are being touched in a unique and profound way. There is a sense of peace, balance, and oneness, that only could happen between the meeting of these two beings –-helping each other learn the lessons of life.
Of huge importance after our Slickers have completed the program is ICS’ continued contact with them. We believe experiences at the Slicker event combined with our follow-up and contact provides a much better opportunity for them to become responsible, caring citizens. And that’s what Inner City Slickers is all about…Making a Difference in the lives of Children, One Child at a Time.
So, again, what is Inner City Slickers? On the surface it is an equine-based program that gives at-risk youth an opportunity to have a “Old West” experience, learn about animals and experience and understand what it is like to work with others. On a deeper level, it is a partnership between a community and its youth that says “we care, there is hope, and something can be done.” But the next level is the most powerful. The principle-based values taught become life tools for our youth; and by teaching and participating, the community volunteers become living examples of a more principle-based way of living and this shifts the entire culture.
The “Spirit of a Child” is a delicate thing. This emerging “Life Force” needs to be nurtured –brought along with trust, responsibility, encouragement and vision. Inner city Slickers not only helps the child develop the mechanics of living a productive and rewarding life, but MOST importantly, it addresses the MENTAL aspect of this Game of Life. This program is an intense and rigorous investigation of who these kids are as Human Beings. That is, what drives the child’s behavior, what part does FEAR play when making decisions, how does the past affect their future if there is no change, and what we can do in partnership with the child (and their parents) to manifest the possibility of significant, rapid improvement? The goal is to guide the children and give them the life tools to become well adjusted, balanced, alert and imaginative Human Beings: compassionate, fully expressed, responsible and empowered to think for themselves; children that are a true assets to the community: the Dream-Makers of Tomorrow.