Meet Kaeli: Our first Taking the Reins Junior Board President

People find fulfillment in a variety of places, relationships, and things. 15-year-old Kaeli felt that sense of completion when horses entered her life thanks to Taking the Reins. Not only does she love spending time with horses, but she is also grateful for the ways TTR has pushed her to be a better person.

From a young age, Kaeli has spent time in a variety of communities. “My mom has always made sure I was exposed to a lot of different people and situations,” Kaeli shared. “I know those experiences have made me a better person.” Because of her mom’s direction, she has seen the reality of underrepresentation her whole life. ​​​​​​​

This background mixed with her passion for TTR programming, made her a great candidate for the inaugural Junior Board of Directors, which started at the beginning of 2023. Last year. the TTR Board of Directors approached staff members about creating a way to get the girls more involved in setting priorities and making decisions for the organization. After a lot of communication and brainstorming, the 11-member Junior Board was created. Students were invited to submit applications for positions that they were interested in. Kaeli was selected as president.

When Kaeli heard that TTR was forming a Junior Board, she was eager to participate. “I knew that I wanted to be a greater part in Taking the Reins,” Kaeli reflected. “I want other people to have the option to speak up about things they like or want to change.” She continually thanks her mom for introducing her to people who come from different places, and knows that is what gave her the heart for helping others.

At just 15-years-old Kaeli is taking on a large responsibility as the first president of Taking the Reins’ Junior Board. The group held its first meeting a few weeks ago. They familiarized themselves with the budget and started making plans for the year. Girls on the Junior Board will present concerns, suggestions, and compliments to the Board of Directors, along with helping them plan events and fundraising initiatives.

Kaeli is most excited about helping students in TTR have their voices heard. In addition, she hopes the Junior Board brings girls together who might not otherwise have a chance to meet. She has been a TTR student since 2019, and a member of their show team since 2020. Her involvement with a variety of programs at TTR also made her a great fit for this job.

I felt I could do a good job as president because I am familiar with Taking the Reins, a good leader, and can communicate with different people,” Kaeli shared.

Kaeli’s awareness and concern for other people not only sets her up to be a good leader of the Junior Board, but also exhibits the core values of Taking the Reins. Respect is required at Taking the Reins. So, girls learn quickly how to work together to learn, provide, and flourish.

“On behalf of the board and staff, I want to share our excitement about starting the Junior Board,” Jane Haven, Executive Director of Taking the Reins shared. “Taking the Reins is meant to be somewhere safe, nurturing, and productive for our girls. In order to ensure those things remain true, it is important to get direct feedback from them. And furthermore, it is important to get them involved in the hands-on work it takes to make Taking the Reins all that it is. We are confident that Kaeli was the right choice to lead our girls at this time.

​​​​​​​In addition to her programmatic involvement with Taking the Reins, Kaeli was quick to reflect on the personal impact staff has on her life. “Liz has made me more passionate about horses,” Kaeli shared about equine program manager, Liz Aulestia. “I know I can go to her for anything and that she will always give me advice.”

As displayed by Kaeli’s words and eagerness to take on a brand-new role, Taking the Reins gives girls a sense of confidence they don’t find elsewhere. Kaeli and the board’s progress over the next year will surely showcase the positive dynamic between leadership and our girls.

Taking the Reins can inspire and provide life experiences for girls like Kaeli because of financial support from our generous donors. Please consider a gift today so that we can continue giving girls chances to grow and prosper.​