Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

Pondering Happiness and Pizza!

Pondering Happiness and Pizza!

The Fargo Youth Home is a Qualified Residential Treatment Program of Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch. It is located in a residential area away from our main campus. The children who are at the Youth Home are generally 14-18 years old. They tend to have fewer family or social connections and are also in need of less intensive treatment and supervision. They are working on independent living skills, some hold jobs, some go to public school. They may ride public transportation or take driver's education. They are taking charge, and responsibility, of their own lives.…

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Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch the Recipient of a St. Joseph’s Community Health Foundation Twice-Blessed Grant

Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch the Recipient of a St. Joseph’s Community Health Foundation Twice-Blessed Grant

St. Joseph’s Community Health Foundation (SJCHF) distributed $20,670 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch to create outdoor learning areas at Dakota Memorial School, Minot—the on-campus school of Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch. Through the SJCHF’s Twice Blessed program we were able to raise $16,170 in addition to the SJCHF match grant of $4,500 to underwrite the entire project.…

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An Attitude of Gratitude

An Attitude of Gratitude

Many years ago I had the opportunity to hear a talk by Lou Holtz, the former head coach of numerous winning football teams...perhaps most memorably, Notre Dame. His message, as I remember it, was about how he stays enthusiastic, positive, optimistic. He made the point that when you are not winning is when it is most important to stay positive.…

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The Tom and Frances Leach Foundation Provides Funds for Technology Updates at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

The Tom and Frances Leach Foundation Provides Funds for Technology Updates at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

The Tom and Frances Leach Foundation awarded $25,000 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch to stabilize the IT network on the Ranch’s Fargo campus. The upgrade will support the increased load on the network created by COVID-related distance education and telehealth.…

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Otto Bremer Trust Awards Funds to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

Otto Bremer Trust Awards Funds to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

Otto Bremer Trust awarded a $100,000 matching grant to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch to be used for a remodel and update of the Bremer building on its Minot, ND campus.…

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The School Sisters of Notre Dame Central Pacific Province Grants $1,000 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

The School Sisters of Notre Dame Central Pacific Province Grants $1,000 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

The School Sisters of Notre Dame Central Pacific Province awarded $1,000 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch to replace outdated appliances in Butt Cottage, which houses girls ages 10-14 on our Minot campus.…

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Trauma is a Thief

Trauma is a Thief

Trauma is a thief. It steals one's sense of safety, predictability, trust. A generally accepted definition of Emotional and psychological trauma is "the result of extraordinarily stressful events that shatter your sense of security, making you feel helpless in a dangerous world. Psychological trauma can leave you struggling with upsetting emotions, memories, and anxiety that won't go away."…

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Can You Walk on Water?

Can You Walk on Water?

It was a beautiful North Dakota winter morning and the Ranch's Wildlife Club was just about to start its first fishing adventure of the season. Helping to unload the pickup was a very chatty 14-year-old girl who was relatively new to the Ranch. Since her early childhood was spent in the south, I knew she had never been ice fishing. With a twinkle in my eye and sincerity "dripping" from every word, I leaned over to her and whispered, "You CAN walk on water, right?"…

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Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church awards $267,000 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church awards $267,000 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church of Walnut Creek, California awarded $267,000 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch. The generously granted funds will be used as part of a rejuvenation project on the Ranch’s Minot, ND campus, specifically making necessary improvements to the Bremer building, one of the original buildings on that campus.…

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Tearing Up After Receiving Donation from Former Ranch Resident

Tearing Up After Receiving Donation from Former Ranch Resident

People from all across the United States help Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch wrap each precious child who comes to us in the care they need to find and become their best selves. Many pray for our staff and kids. Others donate time through servant teams, board service, or within our thrift stores. Still, others donate treasure, funds that are the result of the sweat of the brows of the givers. Regardless of where or who or how the gifts of prayer, time, and treasure come from, they are all blessings. They all contribute to the healing of these brave trauma survivors. Every gift has special meaning.…

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An Extra-Special Graduation Ceremony

An Extra-Special Graduation Ceremony

A couple weeks ago, three very proud young people were the stars of their high school graduation at Dakota Memorial School. That was kind of a funny time of year for a graduation. It also doesn't sound like a very large graduation class.…

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Blessing Us with a Servant Heart

Blessing Us with a Servant Heart

So many folks help make Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch a place of His healing and hope, including the members of our Boards of Directors. Our Boards are filled with some of the best people I have ever met in my life. Each brings a special gift or skill or expertise to their governance role, and in combination, they ensure we are Sustainably Excellent.…

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I Wore Pajamas to Work!

I Wore Pajamas to Work!

I wore pajamas to work. Well, technically it was an oversized cotton sleep shirt/dress. And I wore tights and boots. Quite an ensemble. Why you might ask? Surprisingly, it is about normalcy.…

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One Child's Profoundly Simple Life Goals

One Child's Profoundly Simple Life Goals

Our mission at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch is to "help at-risk children and their families succeed in the name of Christ." Our work at the Ranch is to help children find their best selves. Ranch kids learn to think about goals and the future. I know I've mentioned it before in these writings, but when kids come to the Ranch, they are not future-oriented. They have been in survival mode (because of fear, hunger, abuse, and trauma) for so long that their goals are to make it through the day, or the morning, or this minute. The future is a concept without meaning when you have to scrabble through each moment. So we teach the children to stop and dream. Set goals. If you are your best self, imagine what your goals could be, your future could become.…

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Lutheran Services in America Presents Front Line Heroes Award to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

Lutheran Services in America Presents Front Line Heroes Award to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

Lutheran Services in America presented the Front Line Heroes Award to direct care staff, nurses, therapists, occupational therapists, and others who work directly with the children at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch.…

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Everyone Loves a Taco

Everyone Loves a Taco

One of the favorite lunch meals for children at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch is the "walking taco." For those of you unfamiliar with the term, a walking taco starts with a personal-sized bag of tortilla chips. You crunch the bag to break the chips into small pieces, then open the bag and add taco meat, cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, salsa, and possibly sour cream or guacamole. The gastronomical delight is eaten right out of the bag with a fork. Sort of a taco salad, but funkier. "Walking taco" is a fun name.…

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Otter Tail Corporation Foundation Grants $2,567 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

Otter Tail Corporation Foundation Grants $2,567 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

The Otter Tail Corporation Foundation awarded $2,567 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch, Fargo, to replace the appliances at the Fargo Youth Home.…

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The Lutheran Women’s Missionary League Michigan District Grants $7,000 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

The Lutheran Women’s Missionary League Michigan District Grants $7,000 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch will receive $7,000 from the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League (LWML), Michigan District to purchase furniture for Seegers Cottage on the Minot, ND campus, which serves boys ages 14-18.…

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Midco Foundation Grants $1,000 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

Midco Foundation Grants $1,000 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

The Midco Foundation awarded $1,000 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch to underwrite the additional costs (created by the pandemic) of safely operating the Bismarck campus of Dakota Memorial School (DMS), the on-campus school of Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch. Specific costs include purchasing masks for the children, disinfecting, Personal Protective Equipment for the teachers, and individual devices for the kids. Keeping kids safe, while providing the best possible care, is a top priority at the Ranch.…

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They Wear Sneakers

They Wear Sneakers

I recently attended chapel at the Ranch. That's not really newsworthy. We have chapel services on all of our campuses at 4:30 p.m. every Thursday. I like to attend whenever I can, and when I do, I always leave feeling pretty grateful for where I work, the people I work with, and the children we serve. Seeing the kids and staff in chapel helps me continue to believe in the good in the world, and God's love.…

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I Love Christmas!

I Love Christmas!

I love everything about Christmas, the music, traditions, sights, sounds, and most importantly, the opportunity to share the story about the greatest gift we will ever receive; and that is the gift of God's Son, Jesus.…

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Anita Burns promoted to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch Program Manager

Anita Burns promoted to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch Program Manager

Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch recently promoted Anita Burns to the Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility (PRTF) Program Manager on its Minot campus. In her new position, Burns will oversee the PRTF cottages, ensuring that all treatment plans and programming meet the specific needs of each child, and that the Ranch is a safe place for children to live, learn, and heal.…

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Lisa Cole Celebrates 45 Years at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

Lisa Cole Celebrates 45 Years at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

Lisa Cole, who started working at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch on November 25, 1975, is celebrating 45 years of employment. Cole joined the Ranch out of high school, working in the Minot Foundation office under the direction of Larry Knutson, President Emeritus.…

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Mack the Therapy Dog

Mack the Therapy Dog

Mack doesn’t like the Nutrition Center. He got really scared when he was there one day for lunch. Some kids were playing on the other side of the big, overhead doors that separate the Nutrition Center from the gym on campus. A ball hit the big metal door and the noise was sudden and loud. It startled Mack, just like thunder does, and now he doesn’t like going in there.…

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What Nearly Running Out of Gas Taught Me about Ranch Kids and Staff

What Nearly Running Out of Gas Taught Me about Ranch Kids and Staff

I suppose it isn't too weird that almost anything that happens in my life teaches me something about the kids and staff at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch. The Ranch is a big part of my life. But almost running out of gas? Yup.…

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