Saving Our Boys and Building MenOpinion
OPINION — As parents we always want what is best for our children. Sometime that is a very hard and difficult choice we must make but we make it because, we want what is best for our child. Oftentimes, it entails placing the child somewhere besides home and going to a residential facility. At this point you start looking at all of the facilities there are in Texas, then in other states. Being from West Texas, you are somewhat familiar with West Texas Boys Ranch so you call and get information to help formulate a plan to help your son or grandson. You, go through the screening process, then visit the ranch with your son and decide this facility is what is needed at this time in his life
The date arrives for your son to be accepted at the ranch, so you deliver him and drive away. Which is very difficult in many instances as we ask for at least a one year commitment from the boy. It is at this point the Boys Ranch and its staff of dedicated employees start earnestly working with the young man. Following are programs and ideas that will be presented to your son during his upcoming year.
As your son enters WTBR, it is going to be the exception for him to not wonder if he will continue to be loved. We immediately address this concern by making sure that we will love him but that we will confront misbehavior because we do love him and want to help avoid bigger problems in life. We focus on behavior, not the child. The boy knows what he has done wrong and is already uncomfortable with himself without us adding to or berating him individually. Rather, we focus on changing behaviors, it is a subtle difference when you tell a young man that a certain behavior is unacceptable instead of your behavior is unacceptable. We therefore are addressing the problem rather than the individual thereby reinforcing our concern and love for the boy.
Working with the boy started immediately when we accepted the boy into the program. Following, are a few of the things we implement here at the ranch through cottage parents, caseworkers, administrative staff, and everyone who works on the ranch. We operate the ranch like families rather than a institution. The boys are housed in cottages with cottage parents supervising and modeling positive adult behavior. There are eight boys to a cottage with meals being served in the cottage, prepared by the cottage parents and sometime helped by the boys. The advantage we have over the average family is that we focus all our attention on the boys. The average American family is stretched thin today, what with extra jobs, activities responsibilities and other pressing duties. Most troubled teens will require more time, energy and effort than most kids. WTBR tries to use every moment as an opportunity for learning. The concept of establishing daily goals in school work is a prime example. A planned day will be a successful day. Daily goal setting is imperative to establishing priorities and creates the pathway for completing work in a timely fashion; a learned skill for use throughout life.
The boys at WTBR attend Texas Leadership Charter Academy which is a smaller campus than the public school middle and high schools. In addition, the boys upon returning to the ranch in the afternoon have a study time with tutors from Angelo State University assisting them with their curriculum. We have found that grades have improved under this system and that boys who were a discipline problem at their home school are now fitting in with other students and being accepted for who they are.
West Texas Boys Ranch provides a safe home environment for boys who do not see themselves with a positive future. Each boy is capable of becoming a mature and dependable man when given the proper direction. At WTBR, they will learn to reach for their highest potential while being given the tools (role modeling as well as counseling at WTBR) and a challenging education at (TLCA). It is with these basic goals that we strive to maintain a program that promotes organization, discipline, physical fitness, and leadership. That provides emphasis on study skills and discipline, reading, and time management, that provides challenging experiences outside the classroom. With the above mentioned goals in place at the Boys Ranch there are certain objectives that coincide with the goals we have set. These are: To Provide a Godly atmosphere on the campus that is conducive to Christian growth. To provide opportunities for the physical development of each student through athletic programs and facilities for recreational activities. To provide our boys support for those who are troubled by personal, spiritual or academic challenges. To establish with the boy a structured schedule that allows sufficient time for study, athletics, recreation, personal development, meditation and rest.
The level of commitment exhibited by the staff at West Texas Boys Ranch helps the boy to rebuild relationships with family, society at large and ultimately with God, We (WTBR) operates as much as possible like a family, rather than an institution. What we have found through many years of working with troubled teens is that so much more time and energy required. Much of what takes place at WTBR is what you (parents, grandparents) did and tried to do; to just walk through the hours, days, weeks and months of life, with the boy, using every moment as an opportunity for learning. WTBR strives to present everything we do with a positive attitude that will benefit your son today and throughout his life.
West Texas Boys Ranch is extremely cognizant of the cost of raising boys; consequently, we are extremely judicious with all donations received to help us. We do not charge a monthly tuition fee as some juvenile facilities around the country. We depend on monies raised from concerned citizens to help keep the doors open. As the economy goes up and down, so do the contributions to the ranch but the cost of raising the boy remains the same. The up and down cycle of our economy has never interfered with our ability in 72 years to help boys become productive men. After all, what price do you put on a boy’s life?
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