Camp Allen would not be a beloved haven of respite for so many people without all of the incredible staff who work tirelessly to maintain the 1,100 acres of property, cook thousands of meals, prepare hotel and conference rooms, orchestrate activities, schedule bookings, direct internal programs, and run the numbers for all of those things! Hence, it's time for a Camp Allen staff profile (the first of many) so you can meet some of the friendly faces behind one of your favorite places.
Meet Crystal Sebesta, Manager of the Camp Allen equestrian center and New Waverly, Tx. native. Ever been at camp and gotten confused by the gleeful looking people you see making the long walk back from the barn? Crystal is responsible for that.
What exactly does Crystal do at the equestrian center when you aren't there enjoying a nice day of blue skies and horse trails? She leads a team of part time employees, directs the summer camp horse program, manages horse health and care for the 16 bought and donated Camp Allen horses, oversees barn and pasture maintenance, collaborates and works with staff at the conference center, and of course, leads trail and arena rides for guests!
Crystal studied Agriculture at Sam Houston State and Texas A&M in Kingsville, and has been managing the equestrian center for 2 years. She absolutely loves her job: "I get to do what I love. I get to meet people, I get to work with great people... It's the most awesome environment. I feel proud of what happens out here." Other than the day to day stuff listed above, what else could go on out at the barn? Well, Crystal gets to open the door to a whole new world for guests: "they get to experience what horses really are... [leading rides is] an opportunity to give [guests] something different they've never felt about themselves." What is this feeling exactly? Crystal describes it this way: "It's a feeling you can't get anywhere else. [Horses are] just like a best friend, they give you the wings you lack... The connection between me and my horse is unexplainable." The thing about horses is, if you can get past the possibly intimidating, definitely gigantic, and sometimes stinky exterior, you can see into their depths of what they really are and discover things you never knew about yourself along the way. Time spent with horses can be healing. They are gentle, intelligent, sensitive, and have a heart to serve: "they teach you so many lessons about yourself." So when you see all those people walking back from the barn, many times the impact of the ride does not stop when they dismount, often the time of self reflection, peace, and encouragement in the saddle will have a lasting effect.
A horse woman since 2 and a horse trainer since 13, if you can't find Crystal at the barn, you may find her at home in Anderson, Tx. training and caring for her own herd of 15, competing in state and nation wide rodeo, team roping, and ranch rodeo, or pursuing her hobby of photography. Whether you find her on the ground in a round-pen starting a yearling, in the saddle at full speed with lasso in hand, or behind the camera freezing moments in time, you can bet she'll be with a horse, which means she'll be at "home."