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!
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!
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.
Our first day was AMAZING! The girls are really connecting and beginning to support each other already.
It was powerful to see all the parents of the teenagers placing their hands on their daughters as we prayed for complete transformation this week. Some of the girls were in tears while others nerves and emotions were high with anticipation of the unknown.
The van ride was quiet at first, however after about 30 minutes the girls began to talk….then smile….then laugh. When we arrived at the Ranch, the girls were already beginning to build a bond.
Dinner was great!! We had chicken tacos with chips and salsa. After dinner, the girls hiked over the the climbing wall.
At first, the wall is intimidating at 60 feet high. However, after a few girls began to climb, everyone took their turn challenging themselves to overcome their fears. They were supporting each other and setting personal goals to get higher each time they tried. It was so great to hear the cheers as each girl finally reached the top and rang the bell to signal their amazing accomplishment!
Our Youth Leader, Michelle, did a great job processing with the group around the climbing wall. Many of them brought up examples where they saw each other stepping out of their comfort zone and supporting others on the wall. Stacie was able to get higher on the wall than she did last year. Sophia reached the top of every wall. Amelia mentioned how Hailey was very supportive of her when she was on the wall. Jenna made a great comment about Samantha getting out of her comfort zone and reaching the top. Great Job Girls! As our Junior Leader, Janelly is already building relationships and stepping up as a leader.
We finished the day around the camp fire teaching the girls about their bibles and how to navigate God’s word. The girls learned that God speaks to them through their bibles, prayer, their leaders, and through the experiences they will have this week.
Please pray for the leaders as they are trying to see where they can best impact these young girls. They are trying to connect and break down any walls. Pray for strength and courage.
As I sit here thinking through the day. I am humbled to be part of this experience.
We are so excited to leave this Saturday for our June all-girl Wilderness Adventure Ranch! Our program team is excited to kick things off this 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 June 15 – June 23…please follow along and post encouraging comments to the girls!
We still need THREE of the ELEVEN 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!
Hey everyone! We will not be posting daily blog posts for the advanced program. Please watch our Facebook page for daily pics and updates. We will, however, read all posts on each teens personal page to them and allow them to respond. See you Thursday!
This year we had a lot of difficulty with cellular service on the trail and were not able to post on the blog as much as we hoped. We did read the blog posts to the boys so thank you for continuing to post comments on their pages! The comments gave them a lot of needed encouragment. The boys hiked hard and played even harder! They really bonded in a big way…by day 2, they were encouraging each other and helping each other without any prompting from the leaders. Our hope and prayer is that they would remember their time here and the lessons they learned, the people they met, and the God that loves them.
On the last night of the trail, we stay in a special place we believe is covered by the grace of God! Seaton Creek Campground is managed by an amazing man of God, Bob Robertson. Bob is a Vietnam POW Survivor and Warrior for Christ. He came and spoke to the boys tonight about the Vietnam WAR that took 4 years of his life and the WAR he battles everyday for Christ! What a powerful testimony for this man of God! The boys loved him!
This last day is a culmination of all the small God-moments and we always celebrate with a cool-out, music, and dancing! Tonight we had 5 boys make a decision to ask God into their hearts!
From here, the boys will transition into our aftercare portion of the program which includes a full year of in-home case management and in-school mentorship. We also bring the boys back together for multiple follow-up activities. The support helps remind them of the commitments they made while at Camp and helps support their decisions to follow Christ.
You will not see anymore daily posts about this group, but we will post prayer videos. Please be sure to like our Facebook page for updates on the program. We still have multiple teens/families who are in need of scholarships. If you or someone you know is interested to help sponsor a family, please go to www.RRanchMI.org and click DONATE.
Thanks and God bless!