Visitors to Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch campus often marvel at all the fun activities available for our residents. From horseback riding and kayaking to bicycling and even indoor rock climbing, there’s a near-endless array of options for the young people we serve.

But, as fun as these activities may be, each of them serves a significant purpose in helping our residents work through their individual struggles. In this way, experiencing healthy risk-taking in a positive, controlled environment serves as a bridge to allow the hurting children we serve express their natural need for excitement and accomplish very tangible therapeutic needs.

“It creates an opportunity for (residents) to get outside their comfort zone in a safe, measurable way,” explained Luke Benton, who heads Cal Farley’s Adventure Program.

Benton said sometimes a child who isn’t comfortable connecting with others can do so more easily in the context of a fun activity. It’s just one of many techniques Boys Ranch professional staff will use to reach children who otherwise might be unwilling to actively participate in their placement at Boys Ranch.

“I’m all about relationships. That’s our biggest intervention, getting a relationship between staff and the (youth),” Benton said.

Adventures that inspire

Adventures at Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch abound. For some of our boys and girls, adventure is the first step towards a brighter tomorrow. 

Sean: Clearing the hurdles

Few things impact a child more than losing a parent. That’s exactly the prospect Sean, now 16, faced when his father was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, more commonly known as ALS or Lou Gehrig ’s …

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Andrei: A time for truth

“I can’t lie as well as I did before. I just start smiling,” Andrei, 13, said, reflectively. He paused a moment, then added, “That’s a good thing, actually.” Actually, it’s a very good thing. Andrei, who’s …

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Alex: Finding focus

“We disobeyed a lot and we didn’t follow the rules.” In her trademark rapid-fire manner, Alex, 12, summed up very simply the source of discord in her home. Early in her life, Alex didn’t think much …

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Picture of Jake

Jake: ‘I like to smile’

Our founder, Mr. Farley, often said, “It’s easy to smile when someone cares.” And, if that’s true, then Jake, 11, has a lot of reasons to smile. Jake has lived at Boys Ranch, Cal Farley’s flagship residential …

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Picture of Austin

Austin: A bright future

At 18, Austin is a happy young man, who is excited for the adventure his life promises after graduation. A native of rural Texas, he’s lived at Cal Farley’s most well-known campus, Boys Ranch, for almost …

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Wendy: Focused on success

Wendy, 17, still recalls moving to Boys Ranch from Dallas as a seventh-grader. Up to that time, she’d lived with her parents, her aunt and her grandfather, attending six different schools in eight years. As the …

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