Our success depends completely on the generosity of our volunteer farm and ranch hosts. As a volunteer host of our teens, you’ll welcome one of our kids to your farm or ranch, where they will live, work and learn, just like they were one of your own. We’ll ask you to watch over them, teach them and mentor them. Your guest teen will live down the hall in your guest room or the empty room where your own used to sleep. Or, maybe they will live in the guest house or above the garage.
Our host farms and ranches can look like just about any farm or ranch in this colorful nation. You might be a commercial cattle, horse operation. Or, you may be a therapeutic riding or equine boarding and lesson facility. Maybe you and your family operate a fresh fruit and vegetable operation and sell your produce at farmers markets on Saturday mornings? Or, maybe you grow crops or fruit, and have some 4-H calves in the barn.
Regardless, our requirements for our host farms are, in general: Safe, family-values atmosphere, interesting and active. We favor some kind of livestock. But, that doesn’t always mean horses or cattle. Maybe it’s show calves or rabbits. However, a large crop farm with very few chores, animals or moving parts may not be enough stimulation to give our teens something interesting to do, learn or experience. But, talk us into it!
We want our teens to sweat, work, learn some new skills, experience what we know is the amazing role of nature in producing, growing and harvesting the food, fiber and livestock we create every day in this amazing breadbasket. What we avoid is larger, commercial operations if that means our teen will be living with other hired hands alone, or not have a close family bond with an owner/manager/operating family who can watch out for them, nurture them and help us make sure they are attending regular counseling sessions on the Internet or down the road at a professional’s office we have arranged.
As part of the process of bringing you on as a host, we’ll need to perform a background check and an in-depth interview with our Clinical Director to ensure the best possible matches as well as the safety of all involved. We’ll ask you to agree to participate in a regular conference call with our team and a coordinating committee of parents, docs and our Clinical Director. This team will give you help, support, coaching and determine how often the teen will need to see a counselor or doctor. And, if you run into real challenges during their stay, this team will help decide whether to send our teen home or suggest ways to fix problems and handle tough decisions about discipline, guest visits, visits with friend and social time, etc.
We ask our hosts to plan to have our teen on their place for at least 8-10 weeks during their initial stay. Then, if you and our team agree, we may explore a longer stay if it fits the interests of the teen and works for you. But, none of our hosts are obligated to maintain a stay longer than 10 weeks or any longer than they are completely comfortable with if the teen is struggling or disrupting your home and routine.
Our teens are carefully screened by our team and their participation has the endorsement of their referring physician, guardian or parent, and our Clinical team, which is led by a psychiatrist and experienced mental health professional.
Finally, we believe this experience will give you and your family great satisfaction and an extra set of hands, as we instruct and expect our teens to work hard along side you, just as you would have expected your own kids to do growing up on your place. Families with children in the home, or empty nesters are eligible, but we will work hard to place a teen who fits your environment, including age, gender and personality.
Please see the flow chart below fro a description of the application process. Thanks for considering, and if you want to explore this opportunity to serve, please call us today at (317) 258-1007.