The Ranch for Boys
Location: Central Florida
Gender: all male
The Ranch for Boys is a 15-month residential boarding school just for boys. It has an on-campus accredited, private school registered with the State of Florida. It is a safe haven for boys ages 12-17 years of age with out-of-control behaviors.
The non-profit program is designed to bring about a change in behavior and attitude for boys who are struggling with behavioral and motivational issues such as: falling grades, school suspension, anger, defiance, depression, attention deficit or attachment disorders. They are also successful in resolving drug and alcohol abuse and addictions, which often coincide with behavioral issues.
The ranch property is located on a 30-acre parcel, 10 miles west of Vero Beach, Florida in cattle and orchard country. The boys begin in a dorm setting and finish in a large home with house parents. The property features a well-equipped gym and weight machines, soccer field, baseball diamond, basketball court, pool, game room, fishing ponds, and professional sport fishing boats to take frequent fishing trips. They have horses on the property that are often ridden, and at times taken on camping trips. They form strong relationships with each boy and much of the life changing experiences take place while involved in these outdoor activities.
The staff works with each boy in cooperation with and participation of their family, bringing to the table a vast amount of experience. The therapeutic team helps repair the significant catalysts in each boy’s life that are bringing on their poor choices and self-destructive attitudes and behaviors.
Education is a priority at The Ranch for Boys. Leadership skills, developing integrity and the importance of work are also learned through indoor and outdoor responsibilities.
Residents are encouraged to challenge and encourage each other to live out their faith in everything they do and say. Residents pray for one another and challenge each other through positive peer pressure to walk in the righteousness of God, which is demonstrated through the Godly character traits such as purity, honesty, and generosity.
The program believes that the first change must be a heart change… leading an out-of-control teenager to a second chance at attaining a bright future of successful living.
Each student at our ranch has an opportunity to spend time in the mountain wilderness. In the mountains each boy will experience camping, whitewater rafting, hiking the Appalachian Trail and other wilderness adventures. This experience is to show students that life can be exciting and adventurous without the negative influence that was a part of their life in the past. Hiking, canoeing, camping, and outdoor activities are usually not a part of the lives of most young people today, but they are with the boys here. It is through these fun outings that we can get to the root of the issues in a boy’s life. It’s an easy place to talk and share hurts and pains; then the campfire that evening gives opportunity to further talk and pray for one another. These trips are memory makers that last a lifetime!
The Ranch for Boys provides focused and individualized academic attention for the students in its care. Education goes on and credits are earned, but education is not the program’s primary focus. Character, integrity, hard work, and respect for others are what we concern ourselves most with. If those attributes are in place, education is more easily accomplished on campus and when the boy returns home.
INDIVIDUAL AND GROUP THERAPY
Therapy is ongoing – all day, every day. Individual counseling sessions are not as frequent as the many 10-15 minute life coaching that takes place during school, work, or a sporting event. As was once said, the outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man. A simple horse ride can provide a life changing conversation in a young man’s life. The same can be said for a day on the lake fishing with a good mentor.
THE SPECTACULAR FINISH
Each student at our ranch has an opportunity to spend time in the mountain wilderness of North Carolina. In the mountains each boy will experience camping, whitewater rafting, hiking the Appalachian Trail and other wilderness adventures. This experience is to show students that life can be exciting and adventurous without the negative influence that was a part of their life in the past.
POSITIVE PEER CULTURE
The Ranch for Boys promotes and cultivates positive peer pressure. There are times when the students are taking charge. They run the chapel service every Tuesday evening. They take turns running work programs around the property. They are part of most everything that takes place on the property keeping a Christ-centered culture.
The Ranch for Boys understands that success in life transformation depends on a strong loving family atmosphere when going home. Unconditional love with clear well defined boundaries are just a few of the family dynamics we focus on teaching the family while the student is here.
Ranch for Boys specializes in helping boys who are exhibiting the following:
- skipping school, resulting in failing grades
- abnormal lack of ambition and depression
- outbursts of anger and destruction of home property
- absence from the home for extended periods of time
- stealing from family members
- poor choice of friends and suspected drug use
Lives are transformed by the power of God that is stronger than the bonds of rebellion or addiction. They help the total person with spiritual, emotional, physical, social and educational challenges to prepare them for their new life.
Spiritually: The student’s symptoms are indicative of deeper problems and conflicts; we understand that a new life in Christ will give them the power and ability to overcome these problems and live a more productive life.
Emotionally: The healing of the past is necessary. Bible studies enhance mental growth and serve as a foundation for creating new lives.
Physically: They care for the physical needs of the students.
Socially: Students learn to work through relationship problems with their peers and with their families at home. They will learn to apply the character qualities they learn in the classroom to their everyday lives.
Educationally: Ranch for Boys has developed a curriculum specifically designed to teach students about God and help them develop the skills required for them to become successful Christians.