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Ranch life fosters growth
01/09/2020

Thriving through Ranch life

Thanks to the hard work and determination of our sheriffs more than 40 years ago, the Ranch is a place of hope and healing for Arkansas children. These children, whom we call Ranchers, have simply needed a place to call home. At the Arkansas Sheriff’s Youth Ranches, children experience Ranch life. Set on an idyllic 568 acres in the foothills of the Ozarks, the Ranch serves about 60 children per year.

children play in field ranchEach morning, the sun radiates across campus, highlighting rolling pastures, sturdy barns, secure cottages, and herds of cattle. Children attend school. When they return, they enjoy life full of laughter, play, sports, homework, and chores. The Ranchers thrive through Ranch life.

“At the Ranch, I am able to spend time with people I love,” one Rancher says.

Cheyenne Ingram, a houseparent at the Ranch for more than 35 years, partners with 22 other staff members.  Together, they manage the Ranch and care for current Ranchers. It’s a huge job and is deeply rewarding.

“Ranch life provides a really stable environment. It’s one of the things kids need most. With stability, love, and support, they thrive,” Ingram asserts. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, ‘my mom never cared if I did my homework.”

Fostering growth through Ranch responsibility

Ranch staff do care. And they work daily with Ranchers to foster growth.

child cattle

Tending Hereford cattle at the Ranch

The Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranch is a true working ranch. The children help tend to a registered herd of Hereford beef cattle as well as other farm animals, including chickens, ducks, and goats. At the Ranch, children perform regular chores, including caring for animals. The Ranch staff encourage children to develop a strong work ethic, sense of responsibility, and spirit of collaboration by expecting them to complete regular chores.

While many children detest chores and attempt to shirk responsibility, this isn’t the case at the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranch. One Rancher recently noted that she loves chores because “they keep me occupied.” This attitude toward pitching in and contributing to the cleanliness and maintenance of the Ranch is shared by many Ranchers.

“Chores make me more mature,” one Rancher claims, and another notes that “doing chores has taught me to be more responsible and cleaner.”

Gaining life skills on the Ranch

girl study schoolThe Ranchers gain invaluable life skills through participating in daily Ranch life. Ranchers fulfill regular chore duties, participate in tutoring, complete homework assignments and study for tests, and attend church on Sunday with houseparents. In this way, Ranchers become well-rounded individuals, growing spiritually as well as mentally, physically, and emotionally. A Rancher mentioned recently that “going to church teaches me to be closer to God,” and another Rancher enjoys “getting to be at church and listen to the pastor.”

Supporting the Ranch

Housing, counseling, guiding, and caring for 60 Ranchers each year while operating a ranch is an enormous undertaking. Thankfully, generous people and organizations support the Ranch through financial giving, corporate sponsorship, gifts of goods and services, and planned giving. Because of supporters, we are able to improve children’s lives and help them become responsible adults.

How can you support the Ranch today?

There are countless ways to support the Ranch. You can make a one-time or monthly financial gift of $10, $50, or more. Every bit of support we receive impacts Ranchers’ lives. Consider making a tribute gift or a non-cash gift, or you can leave a legacy. Reach out to us at www.YouthRanches.com to make a difference in children’s lives.

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