When residents enter the program, each lives in a cottage with nine other residents of the same gender and a married couple who act as Resident Advisors. The family-style approach helps them learn how to function as family members and develop healthy peer relationships. A transitional living program is available for young people who are 16 or older who have completed the majority of the program components and can function without reminders to do their chores, manage their time and schedules, and prepare meals. This cottage is co-educational and provides individual rooms for the residents and is also supervised by a married couple who provide guidance and skill development needed for independent living.
Although admission into the Boys and Girls Ranch program is voluntary, there are specific program expectations set for each resident by their parents, counselors, Ranch staff and themselves. While at The Ranch, the residents encounter circumstances that challenge them to learn to control their own behavior and build positive life skills. Their daily behavior choices and goal achievements are measured on a level system. Licensed counselors meet weekly or as needed with each resident and administrative staff provide oversight of each young person’s progress in the program.
Residents attend school on campus and in town. As an accredited extension of the public school system, the curriculum is designed to bring students back to grade level and includes computer and Internet skills. Anger management, conflict resolution, leadership development, peer relationship development, time management, goal setting and other life skills are also taught. Attendance in local public schools is considered for long-term residents who are doing well in the program.
Structured activities designed to teach teamwork, responsibility and self-control are regularly scheduled. A pool, gymnasium, playing field, and horseback riding are available to the residents living at The Ranch. Residents learn responsibility through the 4-H program by learning to care for animals and participating in other 4-H projects. Camping, hiking, fishing and educational trips are planned when possible.
Church and Spiritual Life
Christian values like care and concern for others, honesty and gratitude are important to our program philosophy. The residents attend church services in the community or on campus, and age-appropriate Bible studies are offered on a voluntary basis. However, The Ranches is not affiliated with any church denomination, and residents make spiritual decisions based on their own choices.
Contact with family members is encouraged (when possible) and visits on campus are scheduled each month. Visits home are generally two weeks at Christmas, a week for spring break and two weeks in the summer. Thanksgiving visits may be arranged, and weekend visits at home are scheduled monthly prior to program completion. Special arrangements are made for children who do not have family members they can visit.