UPDATED to include photos
UPDATE: Due to the increasing likelihood of winter weather on Saturday, the annual Boys Ranch Christmas lights contest has been rescheduled to Thursday, Dec. 13. The public is invited to view campus homes’ decorations from 5 to 8 p.m. that evening.
For the first time, Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch is inviting the public to share in its Christmas cheer as Boys Ranch homes will glow with festive lights Saturday, Dec. 8, in an expansion of a tradition that’s been part of Christmas at Cal Farley’s for more than a decade.
Each year, the boys and girls living at Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch decorate their group homes with colorful lights and decorations. At 7 p.m. Dec. 8, a group of Boys Ranch alumni from the Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch Alumni Association will view each brilliantly decorated home, judging each display and rating it on aesthetics and overall creativity. The public can drive through the picturesque Boys Ranch campus to view the homes’ decorating efforts from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. that evening. (Visitors are asked to remain inside their vehicles.)
“Our children deserve to experience the joyful spirit of the Christmas season, and this is a fun way to accomplish that,” said Dan Adams, Cal Farley’s president and CEO. “We’re proud of the relationship Cal Farley’s has with the Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch Alumni Association, and I’m pleased they’ve again agreed to be our guest judges for this event.”
All the Christmas excitement has roots that go back at least 40 years, but the practice of having Boys Ranch alumni judge their successors’ decorating skills has been an annual tradition since 2005. The judges’ picks for the top three homes this year will receive a monetary award, with the winner claiming a traveling trophy marking their success until next year’s event. The winning homes will be announced following the annual Boys Ranch Christmas cantata on Dec. 16.
“It will be a very enjoyable evening for the alumni who agreed to help with the difficult task of judging the Christmas lights,” said Jimmie Boatwright, alumni association president. “The alumni appreciate the participation of the homes and all of the judges. This is always one of the best times of the year, when we gather with friends and family for some fun competition.”
Nearly 250 boys and girls between the ages of 5 and 18 live, learn and play at Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch. While many will visit their families at Christmastime each year, a number remain on campus. Cal Farley’s prepares a number of special activities for these children, including home Christmas parties and visits from a certain jolly old elf, in addition to the more routine Christmas-themed projects they might enjoy in their homes.
“Events like this create normalizing experiences for young people who may not have always associated Christmas with joy or good times,” Adams said. “As childcare professionals, it’s important that we help our youth feel the full warmth of the Christmas season.”