Summer Corral 2021
Legacies, Lifetimes, and the Latent High Cost of Childcare
I am often amazed by the number of people who think that they know everything that they need to know about me simply because they know my parents and they have a history of being involved with The Ranches. Human nature, I suppose, but there is a whole lot more to every story than our quick assessments and casual analysis. I did grow up at The Ranches and I am, indeed, a legacy employee, but I am not my parents and I have often felt the sting of the associated stigma of being a legacy employee in the nonprofit sector.
Had I taken over for my father in a for-profit business, that stigma would be all but absent as most would assess a second-generation leader as one with a lifetime of corporate knowledge and a lifetime of on-the-job training. In the nonprofit sector though, being a legacy employee tends to be met with a more cynical view. I’ve been asked if I was unable to get a “real job” and one man even asked if I was angry because my parents, “loved all them other boys more than they loved me!” Insensitive without a doubt, but the sting of any rebuke lies in the truth contained therein. I have struggled with feelings of inadequacy and a fear of being replaced by those with greater needs as a result of my childhood here.
Staff Kids’ Challenges
We all face challenges and those are a couple of mine. In an effort to give you a better understanding of The Ranches, I would like to offer an honest look from my perspective.
The first rule of being a staff kid is, “It isn’t about you”. Your parents are heroes and the kids that are at The Ranches are always the focus. I was just standing in the middle and sometimes standing in the way. The second rule of being a staff kid is that you don’t talk about being a staff kid. As a result of these two rules, this is very uncomfortable and difficult for me to write. I hope it is received in the spirit that it is written; with humility and self-reflection.
I’ve spent a lifetime feeling like most everyone knew me, but that no one really knew me at all. I was born at The Ranches and spent my formative years learning about the “risk” in “At Risk Youth”. That is not to say that it was awful or negative or an altogether different upbringing than so many others that I know. But my parents were most definitely the stars of the show that I grew up within. I just happened to be the “proof of concept” for their parenting. As such, many people feel that they know me and have told me as much. Unfortunately, reality is never really as beautiful as the visions of those that describe it. I wasn’t always easy, and I wasn’t always grateful, and I wasn’t always thrilled about my involvement in a mission that I did not choose, but that was chosen for me. Fortunately, I later learned that I was able to pass as normal due to my vast experience with seeing what not to do.
Heath Kull – President
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