I have found a small window of connection so I wanted to add a quick update. We are just leaving site 2 on our way to the final stop. The boys are doing great. They are learning a lot about themselves. The staff is making strong connections of their behavior and decisions here at camp to that back home. We have had a few minor set backs which we have had to work through together…all have been used as growth opportunities for the boys. By now, the boys have built enough trust and comfort with each other to allow some of their walls to come down. This creates opportunities for some great conversations, but also opens us up for challenges. In John 10:10 God tells us that the enemy, satan, comes to steal, kill, and destroy. And he has been at work this weekend to try and tear us apart. He has tried to create self-doubt in these boys. But God finishes that verse by telling us that He came so we could live life to its fullest! Through the amazing testimonies and unconditional love being shown through the staff, God is at work! Please pray for tonight’s salvation night that theses boys would be open to hearing from God and that they can begin a relationship with the true and lasting life changer!
We made it to the Manistee River Trail and the boys completely dominated the first leg of the trail! We arrived at the first site and were able to get tents up quickly, collect firewood, and set up for dinner. We spent the evening around the fire and have some great discussions. Dave shares his testimony of addiction and freedom in Christ and it was powerful! Tomorrow we hime to the waterfall site and will spend some time swimming in the river.
We were able to read some of the boys their blog tonight so please keep the posts coming!
Sorry this is short but the connection of a bit weak and just wanted to get a quick update out there to you all. I cannot get any pictures uploaded here but will try to post them on Facebook.
We started today with a devotion out of Psalms; we are all wonderfully complex and marvelous creations…and we then discussed the “masks” we tend to wear to protect ourselves from allowing others to see how we are really feeling inside. God sees and knows everything about us and accepts us just as we are. No matter how you feel inside; hurt, broken, depressed, etc. God loves us and wants us to know we are special, unique, valuable, etc. Later in the day, we did an activity to help the boys express how they were using masks. It was amazing to listen in to some of the discussions as the boys were opening up about their feelings, challenges and struggles. Our social worker, Ron, was able to follow up with some powerful one-on-one conversations around this topic.
At the barn today, the boys were able to drive a cart with a mini-horse to solve a problem in the arena. They had to work together through the challenge and take turns driving the horse. Both groups were able to complete the task, but o let by working together.
One of the more “plump” horses decided to escape today with Jorge! Against Jorge’s best efforts to turn him around, Magic, the horse, decided to push through the arena gate in search of greener pastures…and when I say “greener” I mean yummy grass! Luckily, the wranglers were quick to catch him and return him to the arena.
Just before lunch, the boys were involved in some great activities led by Next Generation Entrepreneurs. This activity helped the bots improve their communication skills.
In the afternoon, the staff was able to join the boys on horses for the trail ride. It was a great culmination of all the skills they have learned this week!
We spent the evening by the water enjoying each other’s company and watching the sunset on God’s beautiful creation! There was a great Facebook live video posted around 4:30pm today with the boys on the water slide!
Tomorrow morning we leave for the Manistee River Trail. Please continue to pray for the group as this is not an easy hike. The weight of the packs coupled with the terrain makes for a challenging first day. We may have limited connection so do not get nervous if you don’t see a post from us on the blog. Please check back daily on both Facebook and this blog and we will do our best to update you. For parents, we will see you at the celebration on Sunday!
Hi my name is Jacob. I am the junior leader, I was a camper 3 years ago then last year I came to the advanced horsemanship camp. The ranch has made some awesome changes in my life like helping me accept God in my life and it showed me the way to the next step in my life as one of Gods children.
Today we learned how to get our horses to trust us and we learned how to post and how to do a two point on a horse. We also watched the equine staff compete in a rodeo. We all wore funny cowboy hats to help support our favorite wrangler.
We learned about entrepreneurs and the value in taking healthy risks. Then we had a little friendly competition to see which team could build the tallest tower with few resources like tape and spaghetti noodles and marshmallows.
Then the wonderful chefs prepped some ham and turkey sandwiches with curly fries. Next we went and had lots of fun learning how to throw tomahawks.
Then we rushed down to get on the bus to go tubing. We all had a fun and cool adventure seeing all the different types of animals on the river.
Then we got back and went for dinner and we had grilled chicken with potato’s and biscuits. Then we finished up the day by sitting in side by the fire while Patty shared his testimony about some of his own struggles with girls and peer pressure. Then we hit the showers and went to bed.
Overall, it was a great day of growth for me and for the boys. Tomorrow is our trail ride with all the staff. I can’t wait for the hiking trail on Thursday.
Today in the stable the boys continued to learn and practice proper grooming skills, horse bathing, cleaning and feeding care.
From there the afternoon focus was on riding positions, technique and the use of various control maneuver activities which allowed the boys to gain a sense of confidence while riding on their horses. It was fun to witness the playful interaction between them, their horses and the wranglers. Check out our Facebook page @rranchmi.org to see a live video posted today covering the barn and arena time!
All of the boys also enjoyed spending time in the lake wrestling and attempting to “get” us leaders.
Perhaps the most moving and meaningful activity of the day was the first testimony shared by Patrick and the follow-up activity which allowed the boys to an a very private matter identify in writing choices they have made in life that they know have hurt themselves or others and came from sin, which we been burned in a fire pit at the foot of the cross symbolic of being no longer a needed struggle. This activity helped the boys tap into some real emotions which allowed them to come together and support each other as they laid their struggles at the cross!
The food service provided to us continues to be awesome and enjoyed by all. Our evening concluded with a quite descriptive rendition of the scary dog-man story that left a few puzzled, inquisitive and a bit on edge. I thunderstorm end of the night which prevented any dog-man night hike, much I’m sure to the satisfaction of a few.
Hello everyone! Day two up at Cran-hill consisted of some awesome meals, fun team building activities, horsemanship skills and to top it all off… archery tag and ice cream!
Once we got all the boys up, we sat down for some morning devotions. Today’s devotional focused on the boys exploring their personal concept of God and learn what God reveals to them. Later in the day we headed down to Chapel, where we learned about who we are in Christ, the sermon had an impact on each one of the boys… check out this powerful video that was shared with us: CLICK HERE
Throughout the day, the teens explored different activities used to challenge their minds both individually and as a team. At first, it was hard for them all to connect, but some of the boys really stepped up as leaders, and the others followed. Soon the boys were listening to each others ideas and easily making it through the different challenges. Since these activities we’ve had teens comforting each other when they’re homesick, working together to get things done quicker, and even cleaning the tables and floors around the mess hall!
The boys had the opportunity to spend a little bit of time getting to know the horses and the equine staff today; they met their horses and learned to groom and tack. They had their initial riding assessment. We finished the day at the barn by helping to feed the barn animals. They are super excited to see them tomorrow and get to ride some more! If you don’t see someone here, check our Facebook page for more pics of the boys on horses…
We spent the evening playing archery tag and that is always a big hit with the boys!
Please continue to pray for the teens as well as the staff as they continue this journey of getting to know each other, and the Lord!
As day 1 comes to a close, I am reflecting on the last few hours and really excited for this group of boys and how they are already coming together as a team. There were a few of the boys who were very quiet on the van ride up, but once we arrived at Cran-hill, and started a fun name game, those quiet boys started to laugh and relax. They had to say their name and come up with a food that starts with the same letter as their first name. The boys got to know each other and found some things they have in common. We have also seen a lot inclusion with the entire group already as well; one of the boys was shooting basketball by himself as the others were playing gaga ball and we watched as a few of the boys noticed the missing team member and were quick to call out to him and them went to the basketball court and began shooting with him.
As we left for dinner there was thunder and lighting and a little rain rolling in, we weren’t sure whether we would be able to get on the climbing wall. However, after dinner, things cleared up. We walked to the climbing wall and the sun was shining through the trees. We have never had so many boys try all three sides of the wall…they were challenging each other and racing up each side.
It was a lot of fun to stand back and just watch as the boys encouraged each other and cheered as they reached the top and rang the bell.
We even had a few staff members get on the wall and race the boys to the top!
After the climbing wall we spent time at the gaga ball courts and then went back to the stone house and set up for an evening fire. We taught the boys how to start a fire with a flint and steel and once we had a nice fire, we pulled out marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers and finished the night with some good ole’ fashion s’mores!!
Please continue to pray for the boys as we have a few who are home sick and others who are already starting to open up and talk about some of their struggles and challenges. The staff is doing an amazing job responding, shining Gods love, and just simply being present with these boys.
Tomorrow we will be attending chapel in the pines, completing some more teambuilding, and the boys will be introduced to their horses. The equine staff does a great job to use the teen assessment notes from our clinical staff to connect each boy with a horse whos personality mirrors their own. Horses are really special animals…I can’t wait for these boys to meet their new friends tomorrow!
We are so excited to leave next Saturday for our August all-boys Wilderness Adventure Ranch! Our program team is excited to kick things off next Saturday with our partners at Cran-Hill Ranch near Big Rapids, MI. We will spend 5 days at Cran-Hill Ranch working with the horses and learning teambuilding and leadership skills. On day 6, we shoot over to the North Country Trail for an 11 mile backpacking trip along the Manistee river. AMAZING things happen for these girls when we get them out into God’s creation! We will be posting daily updates with pictures here on the blog from August 3 – August 11…please follow along and post encouraging comments to the boys!
We still need EIGHT of the TWELVE scholarships for these families. One $2400 scholarship covers a whole family (at-risk teen, siblings, parents) for an entire 12-months for in-home case management, in-school mentoring, follow-up events, and summer camp. If you know someone/church/business who may be interested to sponsor a family, please contact us for more details. Click DONATE to be directed to our secure online donation page; every dollar helps!
Thanks and God bless!
The girls have successfully completed their first day on the trail and they did awesome! They truly showed their strength and perseverance in the face of a tough new challenge. They encouraged one another and pushed each other towards they goal. Since there is little to no service on the trail, blogs posts will most likely not be available. Teens and staff are doing great though.
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. – James 1:12
Unfortunately the girls do not have great WiFi service connection so are unable to post on the blog right now. We will try again tonight. Please continue prayers for support as the girls are making connections with each other and with God…no WiFi connection needed! The did amazing on day 1 of the hike and arrived at their camp site in record time. They have solo time this morning and will be heading to site 2 today at the Waterfall.