Every fall, the Humboldt Association of Realtors (HAR) gathers together for the Annual Benefit Golf Tournament Auction at the Beau Pre Golf Course in Eureka. At the 24th annual, the Humboldt realtors selected Wild Souls Ranch as the non-profit benefactor. Wild Souls Ranch staff Dawn Watkins, Abby Samaniego, and Maddie Andersen dusted off their boots to attend the welcome dinner on September 13th that the Eureka Elks Lodge. After enjoying the camaraderie and steak dinner, the Wild Souls staff took the opportunity to thank the Humboldt Association of Realtors by educating the crowd on the “wild souls way.”
After a brief introduction from Operations Manager Dawn Watkins, everyone quieted to hear to Maddie Andersen’s personal story of healing through equine therapy. A 15-year-old ranch hand, Maddie found her way to Wild Souls as an unhappy and troubled youth. In her speech, Maddie describes her memories of feeling depressed and disconnected before she visited Wild Souls. The playful smile and gentle touch of the horses caught Maddie off-guard – she had never spent much time around horses – and her spirits start to lift. “I learned that the program is not about becoming a good horseback rider, it's about improving yourself as a person and working through your challenges with the help of horses,” writes Maddie.
Maddie began spending all her extra time at Wild Souls, helping out with ranch chores, learning to ride, and assisting Executive Director Savanah McCarty. Known around Wild Souls as “Mini-Savanah,” Maddie now has her sights set on becoming the Ranch’s next executive director. Fearlessly sharing her personal story with the couple hundred guests in attendance, no one could find a trace of the unhappy girl Maddie remembers before horses – and Wild Souls Ranch – came into her life.
With auction prizes ranging from Fire & Light glassware to a romantic getaway at the Benbow Inn, the annual fundraiser will make a huge impact for the Wild Souls Ranch non-profit budget. With big dreams of expanding operations to serve more at-risk Humboldt County youth, it was an honor to be selected as the 2018 benefactor. A huge thanks to the Humboldt Realtors Association and all this year’s golf tournament participants and organizers!