Meet the Staff

 

 

 The Green Meadow Farm Team

 

Keri Altland - Lesson Instructor & Volunteer Coordinator  |  Occupational Therapist

Keri Altland - Occupational Therapist / Assistant Lesson LeaderWhenever I pull into the driveway of Green Meadow Farm, I feel like I am transported to another world. I feel peaceful and comforted and happy. This is a place that I truly enjoy working and spending time. My favorite places to be are the meadows next to the stream where I find quiet places to think and pray. My hope is that all who come to Green Meadow Farm experience these same types of transformative emotions. 

I am an Occupational Therapist and an animal-lover at heart. It has been a dream of mine for many years to combine these two loves into one passion. When this opportunity was presented to me, I was so very grateful and excited to join this team of amazing people who love horses and care deeply about children and families. 

I am married to my high-school sweetheart, Nathan. We have three children. Quinn joined our family in February 2012 by way of adoption from Ghana. She loves coming to the farm and loves to pet Belle. Mason is our animal enthusiast and loves all things furry or feathery. His favorite things to do at the farm are to feed the horses, play with Brett, feed the chickens, and collect eggs. Seth also joined our family in September 2012 from Ghana. He enjoys petting Domino and pulling "Ned" the water tank. In my spare time, I love to drink lots of coffee, bake pies, and go for long hikes.

 


Betty Baltozer - Lesson Instructor

Betty

For as long as I can remember I was “into” horses. It was a way to escape the life challenges in difficult growing up years.   As a child, I read books on horses, watched TV shows about horses, dreamed of horses, drew horses on every piece of paper I could get, played “horse” with my friends, rode the neighbor’s plow horses (as they were plowing) or a friend’s horse, but when I was 21 I finally got a horse of my own. 

Having horses of my own through the years, I’ve learned a lot about myself.  I’ve learned how to be patient, kind, nurturing, encouraging and when life calls for it, how to be firm and disciplined.  I was in rhythm with life on the back of a horse and working with horses!   It was through giving riding lessons to kids that I learned empathy and compassion for those that were hurting and facing those same challenges in their tender years.  I firmly believe that God in his infinite wisdom, privileged me with difficult young years so that he could use me to influence His Kingdom in my adult years.   For the last 14 years I have been employed full time at a local church in youth ministry. Prior to my current job, I worked full time for 15 years in the chaplain’s office at Philhaven, and before that for 15 years at, what was then, the Elizabethtown Children’s Rehab Hospital.

I heard about Green Meadows Farm from a couple different people in passing, and one day in the Fall of 2013 when I was out and about with a friend, on a whim we decided to stop by and check it out.  I liked what I saw and, as I spoke with Beckie, I felt the heart beat of the farm.  I was invited to be a part of the team and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it!  I enjoy the animals and, most of all, the children that I have been privileged to connect with in lessons. 

 


Bri Beiler - Lesson Instructor

I've always loved horses and was fortunate enough to be able to compete during high school, earning two varsity letters through the USEF.  For five years I focused on three-phase eventing with my thoroughbred horse.  I gained a strong relationship with him and learned how to communicate with, care for, and understand these big, beautiful animals.

I graduated from high school in 2016 and started working full time, making the difficult decision to find another home for my horse, as I knew that I could no longer give him the time and attention that I wanted to and that he needed.

It was in this tough season of life that I discovered Green Meadow - online.  I knew I needed to find another horse-y adventure to focus on, and I was intrigued by Green Meadow's strong desire to a) serve the Lord, b) work with children and c) work with horses - all things that I am passionate about!    

When I am not managing at Pine View Dairy, I love hanging out with my fabulous youth and young adult group, riding friends' horses, going camping, and spending time with my mom, dad, and brother.

 

 



Hannah Cargill - Lesson Instructor

Josh Baker

I heard about Green Meadow Farm while doing some research for work. I am a Children’s Advocate at a local shelter for children and adults who have experienced trauma through family violence. I came across a study by Patricia Pendry1 that determined that students who spent 90 minutes a week with horses had lower levels of salivary cortisol at the conclusion of the eleven week intervention. Knowing how harmful prolonged elevated levels of cortisol are for developing brains, I was curious if there were any local programs. A quick search led me to Green Meadow Farm; I was impressed by the program, and have been blessed by my time volunteering at the farm.

Horses have been a source of comfort for me through difficult times in my life, and after hard days, I always am excited to go to the barn and spend time with my two horses, Princess and Peppy. I was given my Welsh pony, Princess, as a child, and Peppy, my Quarter Horse, joined the family a few years later. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of sitting on a log and reading my bible with Princess. In the 17 years that we have spent together we have done everything from hunt seat shows to barrel racing, trail riding, parades and sleigh riding in the winter.  

When I have free time, I enjoy running in the woods, reading, and spending time with friends and family.

 


 

Gemesen Carper - Lesson Instructor

Gemeson - All Around Horse GirlI heard about Green Meadow Farm through a friend at church. She knew about my heart for working with horses and children and thought the farm would be a great fit.

My heart for the program is to connect children through horses, to their families and others. I hope to be able to share my passion for horses and Christ with the kids and their families.
As the children come and learn more about horses and the other animals on the farm, my desire is to help them to see God’s love and sacrifice.

My favorite place on the farm is out with the horses! I love being with them, whether out in the pasture, in the barn, or riding and grooming.

As for my family, I have two brothers who constantly entertain me. I enjoy hiking, cooking, reading, photography, and working on cars in my spare time.

 


 

Emily Hill - Lesson Instructor

Growing up, I always wanted to ride horses. I finally got my wish when my parents signed me up to attend a week of summer horse camp. Every year, that was my week to ride. Eventually, I started volunteering at the same camp and began teaching riding lessons. I’ve learned so many life lessons at the barn over the years and have always found horses to be a comfort on difficult days. In college, I was blessed to be part of a therapy team at a local barn, helping children ride and receive therapy at the same time.

I graduated with a bachelor's degree in social work and now work as a permanency specialist, assisting children from foster care to adoption. In my free time I like to cook, drink tea with friends, and hike national parks with my husband.

Horses, children, and healing have long been connected for me, and everywhere I go, I want to be a part of what God is doing through horses. When my husband and I moved from Washington state to central Pennsylvania, I was excited to look for horse programs in the area. I knew about Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch in Oregon and after looking for similar ministries in Pennsylvania, found Green Meadow Farm! It is such a blessing to be involved here and a joy to show love to both kids and horses.

 



Jenica Messner - Lesson Instructor & Training Coordinator

Horses have been a part of my life since I was four years old when my parents purchased our first pony. I took that pony everywhere. I mostly did trail riding but as soon as I was able I joined the 4-H club and started showing locally.


As I got older I began focusing on training horses to better my horsemanship. At a young age I also had the opportunity to give lessons to kids who wanted to learn more about horses. Although I enjoyed working with the kids around the horses it wasn't until I worked on a ranch in Montana that I truly felt God wanted to use me to help kids cope with life challenges through a  horse ministry.  Although I knew that was what God had in store for me I didn't know how to start. My prayer was for Him to open the doors for me. I waited several years for that green light.


One day my older brother told me about a couple from his church who was starting a program to reach kids through horses and farm life atmosphere. I spoke with John and Beckie and they invited me to be a part of the team. I am so excited to see how God’s plan continues to unfold!

 


Carolyn Polonus - Lesson Instructor  |  Masters in Counseling

Carolyn - Master in CounselingLong ago I decided that Green Meadow Farm was the most beautiful farm in Lancaster County.  I was fortunate to live near it and drive past its fenced-lined meadows, enjoying its amazing natural beauty.  Little did I know that event by little event over a ten year period would allow me to be part of this amazing venture on this beautiful piece of God’s creation.

My dream as a young girl was to become a physical therapist, to own my own stable, and to provide equestrian therapy to those with physical disabilities.  While I have been disappointed in each of those unmet goals, I learned that a small group of people wanted to start a therapeutic riding center whose focus would be on social and emotional issues, instead of physical needs.  Amazingly enough, I had just completed my Masters in Counseling, and I knew I wanted to be a part of this venture. 

I love horses, and was given a year of horseback riding lessons for my ninth birthday.  This blossomed into quite a passion, and I spent the next several years riding every day, participating in Pony Club, and competing in three phase eventing.  My first love was definitely a horse!  At Green Meadow Farm, I hope to combine that love and knowledge of horses with my interest in helping youth succeed, to encourage their confidence, to wholeheartedly listen to them, and to provide a safe place for them to learn and grow.

The Fern in me (the girl in Charlotte’s Web) comes out each time I walk into that big red barn, my favorite place on the farm.  I love the rustles of animals moving, the crunch of the cat eating, the camaraderie of the people and the animals…even the smell does my heart good!

I am married with three kids and a dog.  My daughter lives in Chile.  My oldest son lives in Charlotte, NC, and my youngest son is a senior at Warwick High School.  I enjoy reading, tennis, skiing, and walking with my dog. I love to go out with my friends, and my favorite place in the whole world is Silver Bay on Lake George in New York.

 


Rachel Tress - Lesson Instructor & Horse Care Coordinator & Marketing and Media Specialist

Rachel - Lesson Instructor

When I was almost 9 years old, my parents had decided to become missionaries to Australia. Having a strong interest in animals, as soon as I found out there were horses on the ministry's property I eagerly accepted the offer to learn how to ride. It was love at first sight and I knew I would spend my life with horses ever since that day.

After my opportunity there I continued to seek out ways to involve myself with horses by, completely out of character, taking it upon myself to contact barns and people who could help satisfy my thirst for more when each door closed over time.

After coming back to the US when I was 17 I continued with the thought that I would work with horses for the rest of my life but slowly saw God close that door. After struggling to accept what felt like a loss, I was given the opportunity to help with a children's Christian camping ministry teaching young children how to ride horses. It was an amazing experience that showed me a completely new way to reach out to people while still using my love of horses.

Unfortunately after that short chapter of my life it appeared horses would not be a viable option for me and I began to pursue a career in art as an illustrator. Still longing for more interaction with horses I came across Green Meadow Farm through Melanie. (It's a funny story, you should ask us some time.) I quickly fell into the program here and have found an amazing opportunity to share my love of Jesus and horses with people who might feel the same need that I did when I was young.

I am a graduate from Pennsylvania College of Art & Design with a BFA in Illustration. I work both as an illustrator for children's illustration/books, and here at the farm.  When I can find a moment to myself I enjoy all things creative, spending time with my numerous pets while watching movies, practicing dog agility, and having adventures.

 

 

Patty Walker - Lesson Instructor

Rachel - Lesson Instructor

Green Meadow Farm has truly been the place where I have been able to "restore joy in the journey".  From the first time I drove up the lane I felt the peace, love and joy of just being in the beauty of God's creation and the warmth of connecting with the horses and all the people who open their hearts to a hurting world.  They do it all with excellence!

As a child from a hard place my escape was often in books and dreams of horses and riding off into the sunset.   Many afternoons I would escape to the neighbor's just to visit with their horses on the other side of the fence, bringing them tears and treats.  I know the power of the special connection God has put in the equine spirit.  As a young adult with my first full-time job, I purchased my first horse.  

Years later while participating in a study of the Purpose Driven Life and reading Hope Rising, God placed on my heart the desire to use my journey to help hurting children find hope and healing with the assistance of these "Equine Angels".  Often children have been so hurt by people it is hard for them to open up and trust. We can use the horses and fun activities to bridge that gap, giving us a way to find a path to their hearts and share the hope and love that Jesus has for them.  

My other interests include travel, especially short term mission trips, reading, music, movies, skiing, and spending time with my friends and family.

 

 

John and Beckie Thompson – Founders of Green Meadow Farm

John and Beckie - Founders of Green Meadow FarmWe, John and Beckie, moved to Green Meadow Farm in the summer of 2004 when we purchased 23 acres of the original farm from Beckie’s parents.  So I guess you could say John was drawn to the farm by marrying the farmer’s daughter!  And Beckie returned to the farm that she grew up seeing her parents share with so many others, ready to follow in their footsteps.

John’s heart is to create an environment that fosters an atmosphere of peace and beauty by his hard work, creativity, and perseverance. In addition, our team is well aware that we could not do this without his administrative abilities.  Beckie’s heart is to encourage the wonderful staff, welcome children and families, and continue to learn and grow through our journey together.

On the farm, John loves being in a hammock, on his tractor, or casting a fly rod (which doesn’t happen often enough).  Beckie loves sitting on the back porch overlooking the meadow, walking with our dog out the back lane, and sitting with her feet in the creek (which doesn’t happen often either).

John and Beckie have two sons.   Aaron is employed by Apple in Cupertino, CA, and is a fascinating person with many interests.  Evan is married to his wonderful wife Annie. He also works for Apple as an electrical engineer.

Off the farm, John enjoys skiing, playing trumpet, and martial arts. Beckie enjoys riding bike, hiking, cooking, and going out to eat with John and friends. Together we enjoy playing tennis, spending time with Brett our beloved Border Collie, and THE BEACH!!!

For more history on how God planted the vision for Green Meadow Farm in our hearts, and then opened our eyes and hearts to what it is becoming, go to How it All Began