Whalechaser's Musings

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Friday, April 3, 2009

An Arkansas Treasure

Today we ventured south to visit and tour the Donald W. Reynolds Campus of the Arkansas Sheriff's Youth Ranch. We met with Susan Harrison the office manager of the campus. She gave us a detailed history of the organization, funding of this particular campus and then took us to visit the lodge, a boys home, the gym and the barn and arena area.

What I found most interesting is that this is a warm and loving place for youngsters who find themselves in a bad situation.There are many reasons a child could find themselves here...orphaned with no other family members able to care for them, parents in an untenable living situation with no hope of near term solution, a bad economic impact or court ordered placement in lieu of foster home placement.

They offer counseling three times a week (group and individual), a family atmosphere is provided during their entire stay on the ranch. The children attend public school and have available tutoring and individualized instruction where needed. They also have access music study, bible study and a plethora of outdoor sports which include horseback riding, hiking, fishing, and swimming.

The organization is totally run on private donations and is experiencing the negative effects of the current economic conditions across the country. They have a boys home that is suitable for eleven residents but due to lack of funding cannot place the children currently. I do hope this economy turns itself around soon.

Here are some pictures that I took during the tour today. My visit confirmed my belief that this is a great organization to support. Please do if you have the means.

This is a typical bedroom shared by two boys on the ranch

This is the family room where the boys can get together after dinner and talk, play games, watch tv or relax
The is a kitchen in a residents family section
This is the horse training arena. it is where the annual rodeo is held and training takes place. This particular campus has 282 acres of beautiful wooded rolling hills with several lakes...perfect for young children to use up all that excess energy

Once a child is taken in at the ranch, they stay there until they graduate college or tech school. All the while getting the moral and physical support needed along the way. This is pretty amazing!

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