Horse ranch blooms into summer camp - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Horse ranch blooms into summer camp

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ELLENSBURG, Wash. -- A local family has turned their horse ranch into a summer camp. 10 years ago the Laukala's took over 150 acres of land deep in the beautiful hills of Ellensburg. Last summer the idea of sharing their love for horses with children became a professional reality. That was when the Laukala's officially opened Caribou Creek Corral.

10 weeks out of the summer their staff teaches how to properly care for and ride a horse. The adults on site really love having the children around. "These are like all my kids. There's just an amazing group of counselors and wranglers. And when the kids come up, it's just a week full of joy," exclaimed Janette Paulson, a volunteer at the camp.

Horseback riding is the most popular activity with the children, but they also take advantage of the broad landscape, learning lots of outdoor and survival skills. 

Ranch proprietor Dennis Laukala and his wife, Phylis, put a lot of time and thought into their investment. "It was kind of my retirement dream. It's something the lord put on our heart--and it took a little convincing from my wife. She didn't think this really sounded like retirement," Laukala said.

The camp is open for its second summer and still has more sessions available.