Eagles' Wings Youth Ranch
Eagles' Wings Youth Ranch
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Stories from the Ranch
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What Makes Us Different?

There is so much to look forward to when camp time rolls around. We meet new campers’ families, we get to better know new and returning staffers, and campers are always affected by Jesus’ love. Many can’t comprehend the forgiveness and compassion shown to them here at the ranch. On the first day of camp, we explain that when a camper does something naughty and realizes their mistake, we forgive them because God forgives us and we don’t bring it up again. That’s not something they experience in their everyday life.

Our campers enjoy simple things we take for granted every day. Some are happy to sleep in their bunk beds. If they have a bed at home, many times they don’t get to sleep alone. They get three meals and three snacks a day and they wonder why we eat so much! Many of our campers go hungry at home during the week. The youth who come here are starved—not just for food—but for affection. Hugs and attention when they talk or do something well is not something they know from everyday life.

We celebrate everything here. Playing a game with good sportsmanship gets a “YEA!” Cleaning a plate at dinner wins a “WAY TO GO!” Being scared, but getting on the horse or shooting an arrow anyway, receives a “I KNEW YOU COULD DO IT!” Sitting still during movie time earns “BRAGGING RIGHTS!” Our campers blossom under so much positive encouragement.

Of course, the most important thing we do here is teach campers how to make better choices; 1) Consider the choice, 2) compare it to God’s word, 3) do it God’s way, and 4) count on God’s protection and provision.

Every game we play, every activity we do is debriefed. Who had good ideas? What worked? What didn’t? Did you do your best? Did you give up? Could you do it by yourself or did you need help? How can you use what you learned when you go home?

Even at horsemanship, campers are asked about the differences in the horses and how it feels to ride each one. Then we talk about how God makes all of us different as well as the same. That how the staffer leads them on the horse is how God will lead us in our everyday life as we trust Him.

When people think about camp, they think about tag games, activities, and camp food. But there is so much more to it. Our camp is here to build up kiddos who have no self confidence, to love    campers who get little love at home, and to teach them that doing the right thing is always the best way to go.

Our camp is all about the love of Jesus and the love of Jesus is all about our campers!

 

Jessie’s Story

Roger was introduced to Jessie during a regular pre-camp home visit. This is her story in his words: “I was invited into the home by the grandparents. It was obvious we (the Ranch as well as myself) were being scrutinized. As I shared more about us, they opened up. Then they revealed to me that Jessie had lost her mother to suicide a year ago, and her father was living with his girlfriend. She was struggling with this whole situation. When she arrived home and plunked herself down at the table, I could tell she was hurting and had built up a “tough girl” attitude. I shared my story about the loss of my little girl who was killed 7 years ago. As I was speaking, her heart softened, and tears welled up in her eyes as she expressed her sadness for the loss of my baby girl. From that moment, we were visiting like we had known each other for a long time. Grandpa walked me out to the car. He put his hand on my shoulder and said, ‘I hope you know what a Godsend you’ve been today.’”

Another mentor and his protégé visit over dinner.

During another visit after camp, Grandma expressed her thrill with what had happened at camp saying, “This was the best thing that’s happened to our little girl since her mom’s death”. She went on to share how Jessie was all “bubbly” when she recounted the stories and shared pictures of herself from camp with friends and extended family, and she also told me how she is not the same person she was!

Just a few weeks ago, Jessie was matched with a new friend, her mentor Jackie. They are embarking on the wonderful journey of developing a trusting friendship. They played games together, visited about the death of Jessie’s dog, and the feelings she has of being “weird”. This is the beginning of a long term friendship centered on Christ. Please pray for them as they walk this road together.

Volunteers Make it Happen

This fall we were blessed with two groups who came to help work on the ranch grounds. We want to thank both groups: Park Hill Baptist Church out of Oklahoma and Hoffmantown Church out of Albuquerque.

Park Hill workers added a beautiful landscaped garden in front of our   bunkhouse. It is adorned with various plants, rock borders, and a few small trees. They also accomplished much on the donated house outside the ranch gate by scrubbing down walls, pulling down old sheetrock, and framing in two closets and bedroom doors.

The Hoffmantown group did a lot of clean up around the ranch. They cut down a dead tree in the front yard of the ranch house and other dead trees and stacked the wood. They also winterized the facilities, worked on the donated house outside the ranch gate (pulling electrical lines), and helped with the barn restoration.

We are grateful to have partners who are willing to go the extra mile (hundreds of miles literally) to see that Eagles’ Wings is a safe, beautiful place for at-risk, vulnerable youth to come and learn about the God who created and loves them.

 

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