Recreation helps children’s bodies to stay active and their minds to stay healthy.
A long summer is almost here. This year, some Boys Ranch residents will attend summer school, and some will focus on their Experiential Learning Programs.
For almost all of them, recreation will help fill in free moments with fun activities to stretch their bodies and minds.
Boys Ranch is an ideal environment for energetic children. Recreation will help by giving them plenty of room to run, play and grow.
This summer, the recreation staff will help children find productive ways to express their excess energy.
Recreation helps residents stay in shape, said Shelli Miner, director of youth activities.
“There are a lot of kids who don’t do anything active,” she said. “We try to make sure they have plenty of opportunities to be busy outside of their houses.”
All summer long, those children will have the opportunity to play friendly games of kickball or engage in sack races. They’ll be able to go fishing or kayaking.
Recreation Helps Children Connect With Others
Some children have never been able to compete on organized teams. They are able to be on teams for the first time at Boys Ranch. Fun recreation can help them understand teamwork.
“Their circumstances have never allowed some of our residents to be on organized teams,” said Miner, whose degree is in recreation.
“We try to introduce them to things like nine-square or ultimate frisbee to help them understand that recreation comes in all forms.”
Recreation is a safe space for many Boys Ranch residents. While formal games can be competitive, no one keeps score when a child shoots hoops for an hour for fun.
Recreation helps many children quiet their minds. The rhythmic activity of bouncing a ball and shooting at a goal or taking a walk can help children feel more regulated.
“Activity helps our kids regulate themselves,” Miner said. “Recreation is one more way to engage our youth and build those important relationships.”
Another recreational opportunity for Boys Ranch residents is at the Bivins Recreation Area across the highway from the main campus. Activities there range from hiking to stargazing and hayrides to keep young minds and bodies active.
“The important part is to get them outdoors so they can enjoy the fresh air and form peer relationships,” Miner said.