Dr. Joahn Hall and her late husband Howard Hall always had a passion for mentorship and creating a sense of unity in Kansas City, and they knew exposure to nature could play a huge role in it.

The couple owned land, the Buffalo Six Ranch located in Richmond, MO, and dreamt of bringing youth from urban areas together on the ranch to expose them to horses and the outdoors.

“The Buffalo Six Ranch provides a place of comfort, serenity and productive living to positively shape and influence the lives of youth from urban areas, whose exposure to nature and wildlife is often discovered only through the lens’ of movies, pictures or television,” said Dr. Hall.

After her husband’s sudden death in 2016, Hall created the Howard A. Hall Foundation in his memory and has been hosting annual youth retreats at the ranch ever since.

The Howard Hall Foundation’s mission is to “Nurture with Nature,” which Hall said is critically important for developing young people’s creativity and problem-solving skills.

Studies have proven that time spent in nature improves academic performance, reduces attention deficit disorder symptoms, improves nutrition, eyesight, social relations and self-discipline.

So, every year Hall hosts about 20 kids from the Kansas City metro area, many who may have never been outside the city, on her 280-acre ranch.

This year’s overnight camping retreat will begin at 5 p.m. on Fri., July 23 and will have activities like hiking, fishing, stargazing and stories around the campfire.

Participants will also attend a horsemanship class, which Hall, who is a physician and equestrian, said can be extremely beneficial to children.

Time with horses, Hall said, can help children learn about overcoming their fears, problem solving skills, leadership skills, and helps reduce stress. Hall, a family medicine specialist, also uses horses with her clients for physical therapy and counseling sessions.

At the retreat, kids will learn how to groom, feed and mount a horse. They will also hear a presentation about leadership.

The retreat is $25 per child and $10 for each additional child in the same family. It’s recommended that campers wear boots or tennis shoes, jeans, long sleeve shirts and bring bug spray, a change of clothes, a towel and wash rag.

KS State Sen. David Haley is sponsoring scholarships for Kansas City, KS children to attend the retreat. For more information, call Hall at (816) 776-8004.

Jazzlyn "Jazzie” is the former senior reporter for our team, who joined the company in 2020 in the midst of the pandemic, through the Report for America service program. For the past two years, she covered...

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