What is E.L.P.?Feven, 10McKenna, 13Isaac, 8Taryn, 17Coleton, 14Fatima, 17

Experiential Learning

Cal Farley’s strives in everything we do to provide nurturing and healing to the hurting children we serve. The time they spend in a campus environment that emphasizes faith in God, participating in their community and superior education equips our young people with the emotional tools and real-world training to become eager learners and productive workers long after they’ve left our campus.

Among the ways young people living at Cal Farley’s learn the skills they’ll need to obtain and maintain a successful career is the Experiential Learning Program, or E.L.P. Through E.L.P., our youth are exposed to a broad range of vocational fields, from traditional trades like woodworking or horticulture, to the latest high-tech fields such as robotics and rocketry. In E.L.P., Cal Farley’s youth learn invaluable skills and participate in positive mentoring relationships through intentional educational courses . . .

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Feven is from Golden, Colo. She’s lived at Cal Farley’s about a year, and has made lots of friends and done many exciting things. When Feven grows up, she wants to be a reading teacher.

“Reading is my favorite subject,” she said. When Feven is old enough, she wants to be a part of Cal Farley’s Experiential
Learning Program, or E.L.P. Feven said she wants to learn about rocketry in the Emerging Technology Lab.

“I want to … be the person who’s launching the rockets,” Feven said.

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Makenna has learned a lot in the year-and-a-half she’s lived at Cal Farley’s.

“I’m reading a lot about cells and science,” she said.

That’s just the thing for an aspiring wolf biologist to do. But, Makenna recently read something else that helped her decided what Cal Farley’s Experiential Learning Program area she’ll one day be a part of.

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Isaac is still very new to life at Cal Farley’s. He’s lived at Boys Ranch a little more than six months and, like any boy his age, he’s drawn to the many fun activities available to our youth.

“I want to play football, basketball, (build) rockets — and tennis!” he said, his voice the epitome of youthful enthusiasm.

Such activities are all part of the experience of living at Cal Farley’s. Through organized activities like sports or an experiential learning club, young people like Isaac learn to relate with others and how to build relationships that help, rather than harm, their development.

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Taryn, 17, has spent two of her three years at Cal Farley’s learning in the campus horse program. The high school senior plans to attend college in the fall and pursue a career in the agriculture or equestrian fields.

Taryn enjoys spending time with her peers and adult mentors, citing those relationships as a strong motivation for many of the changes she’s made in her time at Cal Farley’s. She also enjoys spending time with the horses, and even helps some of her younger peers polish their riding or horse-grooming skills.

“It’s taught me a lot of responsibility and a lot of time management,” she said. “You learn how to manage your time according to your schedule throughout the day.”

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“I fell in love with 3-D design and printing,” said Coleton, 14, explaining what makes Cal Farley’s Experiential Learning Program so significant to him.

Developing projects with computers is an exciting process for Coleton as he sees his designs come to life through machines that can cut and print his creations from steel or plastic. It’s known as digital and computer fabrication, an industry in which he hopes to one day make a career.

“There are a lot of jobs that would need IT, a tech person,” he explained.

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Fatima, 17, has been at Cal Farley’s less than a year, but her participation in E.L.P. has helped her catch on to one of the most important goals of life at Cal Farley’s, healthy interaction between youth and their peers or mentors.

“I love being around the people in the photography club. It’s just like a little family,” she said. “I love it.”

When she began her E.L.P. experience, Fatima expected to learn a lot, but she also found it to be an exciting, collaborative, learn-as-you go experience.

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