Philip Ives, Chief Operations Officer, recently reflected on 2020. Like all children, the children who call the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches home experienced some tough times throughout the pandemic. As a result, Ives committed to making the summer of 2021 extra special for Ranchers. He felt Ranchers deserved a fun-filled, adventure-packed summer full of learning opportunities. With the support of Ranch staff, he set out to create a fresh Summer Enrichment Program.
“We’ve already begun teaching life skills to Ranchers. Designing a true Summer Enrichment Program is one more way to ensure the kids stay busy, active, and engaged this summer,” Philip shared.
About the ASYR Summer Enrichment Program
During the summer, Ranchers will participate in various summer enrichment activities each week. However, Ranch staff can’t pull off the program by themselves. They need the support of the community. Ranch staff are currently seeking involvement from local artisans, makers, subject matter experts, and business owners willing to share skills, knowledge, and talents with Ranchers. Many community leaders and experts are already on board, including:
- Crumbs Up Bakery
- Batesville Junior High coach Rian Puckett
- Lyon Women’s Wrestling coach Kevin Corbett
- Old Independence Regional Museum
- barber Troy Dixon
- social worker Miriah Bruce
- yoga instructor Alexis Schwinghammer
- artisans Janet and Dustin Morgan
Some experts will conduct on-site hands-on workshops and demonstrations. Others will host Ranchers at their business or organization site for field trips or workshops.
In addition to the summer enrichment sessions led by community experts, Ranch staff will take the Ranchers on excursions and adventures throughout the summer, including the Batesville Aquatics Center, fish hatcheries, and Arkansas State Parks. The summer isn’t just about fun. Staff will also lead academic enrichment sessions (funded by the Batesville School District) and life skills training sessions. Math, reading, and science sessions will be provided for all Ranchers. Another aspect of the summer enrichment program includes age-appropriate life skills sessions. Topics offered include CPR certification, financial literacy, soft skills, career development sessions, and more.
Other summer experiences for Ranchers
That’s not all. Ranch therapist Maylynn Staggs will lead a summer camp for the Ranchers as well. The camp will feature life skills sessions, swimming excursions, art days, and more. Ives and supporting staff, along with houseparents, will host on-campus group activities. For example, Ives is planning Friday Night Fun, including pizza parties and movie nights.
“We’re still looking for community experts and leaders to get involved. We need experts from all industries to host on-site demonstrations, presentations, training sessions, and hands-on workshops. The more we can involve kids and let them try things out, the more real experience they gain. This helps them build self-confidence,” Ives stated.
Do you have expertise or talent you’re willing to share with the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches this summer?
Please get involved! Contact Philip Ives, Chief Operations Officer, at 870-793-6841 to volunteer to host a session or workshop. Ranchers range in ages from 6-18. Your session may include all Ranchers or specific Ranchers (depending on your expertise and skill level of participants).
If you don’t live nearby but want to support the Summer Enrichment Program, you can make a financial contribution to support the program. Donations help fund pizza parties, travel expenses, and more. In addition, the Ranch needs supplies and snacks for the program, including:
- pre-packaged nutritious snacks and treats
- canned or bottled drinks
- outdoor game and sports equipment
- water sports and recreational gear
- group yard games.
To make an in-kind donation of goods or materials, call the Ranch at 870-793-6841.