Have you ever taken a cross-country road trip?
If so, it’s likely you knew your destination at the outset. Long before you strapped on your seatbelt, you surely pulled out the atlas, sat down and explored the most efficient or entertaining route to get you there. You may have explored various points of interest that might merit a stop along the way. Every possible route offered you a unique set of experiences or places to explore.
In each of our lives, we’ll take a number of journeys. Some, like the educational path we pursue, are voyages of choice. We chart these courses, often knowing full well our destination may change along the way. Other trips are thrust upon us by circumstance. A victim of cancer surely wouldn’t willingly choose such a difficult route for his or her life, but I know many a survivor who would boldly share testimonies of the strength, endurance and determination they gained along the way.
The roads we travel in our lives shape us in ways both subtle and profound. And, this phenomenon is no less true for organizations like Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch, too.
In our 80 years, Boys Ranch has changed as dramatically as the world around it. When our journey began, our state had less than 100 years of statehood under its belt, and was not far removed from the widespread hardships of The Great Depression. Boys Ranch began with no roadmap, only an idea for an incredible journey. As the years and miles ticked by, childcare organizations like ours developed a much-needed empathy for the youth we served. We came to know the transformative power of inspiring children, not simply warehousing them.
Our organization placed increasing emphasis on childhood development. The better our understanding of each child’s developing brain, the better we could understand the underlying causes of his or her behavior. Rather than trying to control behavior, our clinical experts learned to connect a child’s actions to the underlying emotional needs from which it sprang — and to respond in a supportive, effective way.
In short, Boys Ranch today has traveled far beyond those early days. Whereas the proverbial rise and fall of the road shaped much of our early travels, today’s Boys Ranch is a place of purpose, a loving community where each child enjoys the benefit of an entire team of professionals dedicated to his or her wellbeing and growth.
Today, our adventure has clear meaning, an undeniable destination:
• To inspire personal integrity that benefits everyone with whom our youth interact,
• To share faith in a loving Creator Who longs for relationship with and an abundant life for each of us, and
• To instill perseverance that empowers our youth to find success in the face of hardship
I’m proud to tell you the Boys Ranch adventure has only just started. And, it grows more exciting each day. In the beginning, our youth raised crops and animals. Today, they’re building robots and launching rockets.
Who knows where we’ll launch off to tomorrow!