Gift Legacy

Ranch Reason from our Concordia Interns

Ranch Reason from our Concordia Interns

This week's blog post highlights the experiences of the interns from Concordia College, who blessed us with their energy, creativity, and kindness this summer. Be sure to check out the link at the bottom to see the video they created! -Janet…

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Outdoor Adventures at the Ranch

Outdoor Adventures at the Ranch

This has been a busy week for kids at the Ranch. Kids on every campus had the chance to get outside and experience nature.…

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Mending with Gold

Mending with Gold

I love the kids at the Ranch. They are young and amazing and broken. They are open about their mental health and, most of the time, they tackle their struggles head-on.…

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A Thank You Luncheon in Minnesota

A Thank You Luncheon in Minnesota

At the Ranch, we pride ourselves in being upfront and honest about the work we do. We share actual real-life stories of children we have known, loved, cared for, and helped to heal so they can realize their true potential. My job is to tell the story of our ministry and then get out of the way. The Holy Spirit will move you to the level of support He wants you to be at. It is not my job or desire to "strongarm" anyone into doing something they don't want to do. As the hymn goes, "I love to tell the story..."…

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Spending the Summer at a Treatment Center

Spending the Summer at a Treatment Center

Now, imagine what it's like to be a kid in residential treatment during the summer. All their freewheeling plans are put aside as they work towards their treatment goals. Life at home—including family reunions, outings with friends, and days at the pool—moves on without them. Therapy and psychiatric care continue just as intensely over the summer months as during the school year.…

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Going to the Pool

Going to the Pool

I walked into the lunch room and decided to sit down with a group of young boys and their staff. The boys were "chomping at the bit" to get going because they were headed to swim at the outdoor pool for the first time. Staff said they would leave after lunch but then needed to clarify that they first needed to get swimsuits and sunscreen from their rooms.…

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Coming Full Circle

Coming Full Circle

Last week, I took a call from a woman I'll call Cindy* who wanted to transfer stock to our ministry. I gave her the instructions she needed and asked how she first became aware of the Ranch. Cindy told me about her son Jeff*, who had been a Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch resident around 2001. He came to the Ranch after he started struggling in school and getting into trouble in the community.…

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A Child's Prayer

A Child's Prayer

I was sitting in silence before chapel last week. Our Minot chapel was built many years ago with beautiful stonework serving as the backdrop for a carved natural-wood cross. The pews are arranged in a semi-circle around the altar. Taking a deep breath, I could almost feel the thousands of prayers that have been said and the tears that have been shed in this sacred space.…

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Where the Coolest Kids in the World Hang Out

Where the Coolest Kids in the World Hang Out

It's summer and kids are out of school! At the Ranch, just like anywhere else, kids relish the beginning of summer break! Of course, Ranch kids take part in summer programming and many scheduled activities, but still, summer is summer. One of the first indications the kids are out of school is all the chalk art on the Ranch sidewalks! It makes me smile to walk to my office through all the flowers and rainbows and hopscotch and "welcomes"...and all kids of Ranch child wisdom. Some of the words are happy, some profound, some grieving...…

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Finding Your Way Without a Map or Compass

Finding Your Way Without a Map or Compass

If you took away my map and my compass, I wouldn’t be able to find my way out of a paper bag, let alone navigate the places we hunt; so I was enthralled by the stories in the book. The author’s premise is that simply looking at the details others miss enables a person to successfully navigate even the most desolate terrain. No doubt it was pretty amazing, even awe-inspiring stuff. But, I still believe if you threw ME into the middle of the wilderness to find my way without a map or a compass, you would be asking the impossible!…

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Never Give Up

Never Give Up

The Senior Banquet is truly a wonderful experience for our graduates. They invite a table full of family and friends for a delicious meal. Then teachers take turns reading biographies of each student and sharing stories that highlight these great kids. Some stories brought tears to my eyes, some made me laugh, but in all of them, I saw mutual care and respect.…

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Graduation from Dakota Memorial School

Graduation from Dakota Memorial School

Like every other child, our Ranch kids are excited for the end of the school year. This week is graduation! We have six young men and women graduating from Dakota Memorial School (DMS) and we are honored to help them celebrate.…

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Until We Meet Again

Until We Meet Again

Spring in North Dakota is really a transformation. One moment the entire state is shut down due to a horrible storm with a foot of snow. Seven days later, the snow is gone, it is 75 degrees, the grass is already turning green and the trees are budding. It always makes me think of my Mom because she really loved this time of year. She would have turned 88 this past April.…

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A Sense of Family

A Sense of Family

When I think about the many ways I have been impacted by the Ranch, I keep coming back to the overwhelming sense of family and belonging that surrounds everything we do. I immediately felt welcomed by everyone I met, from coworkers and board members to the children we serve.…

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Easter Baptisms

Easter Baptisms

Children at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch celebrated Easter this year in many special ways. VP of Spiritual Life, Chaplain Rick Jones, has a tremendous gift for making the Word come alive in a way that resonates with our children. At the beginning of the Easter Morning service on our Minot campus, he came running out from the chancellery yelling, "He's alive! He has risen!"…

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He is Risen!

He is Risen!

"Jesus Christ is Risen. He is Risen Indeed! Hallelujah!" .…

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Finding Peace in the Storm

Finding Peace in the Storm

A huge part of my job at the Ranch is to thank people for their ongoing support of our kids. Who wouldn't love a job where you get to meet and thank loving and kind people committed to a ministry that helps children and their families succeed in the name of Christ? I've spent the week in Texas, visiting with several of those folks. I was honored to spend time with them.…

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Feeling Healthy Again

Feeling Healthy Again

When I don't feel well, I am more emotional, less sensitive to others, and less able to focus on my tasks. This last week has been one of those "not feeling well" weeks. As I pushed through the days, I started thinking about our Ranch kids and the days they push through.…

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The Love of a Horse

The Love of a Horse

This past year, I decided to sponsor one of the horses at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch. His name is Teddy and he is well loved by our kids. I grew up on an airport, so although we had dogs and cats, horses were never an option. It feels good to know "my horse" is helping kids heal.…

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Friends, Romans, Countrymen

Friends, Romans, Countrymen

"Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears..." If you can finish that line, it's probably because of an English teacher in your childhood.…

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With Wings to Fly

With Wings to Fly

Last weekend, Ranch staff turned out in numbers at the 96th Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Held at a regional art museum, the staff were there to celebrate two Ranch students whose work was submitted by their teachers at Dakota Memorial School. The Scholastic competition is the country's longest-running and most prestigious scholarship and recognition program for creative students in grades 7-12. This year, over 350,000 works of art and writing were submitted across the country. In North Dakota, 417 works were submitted, and 118 received regional honors, which include Gold Keys, Silver Keys, Honorable Mentions, or American Visions & Voices.…

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Connecting to the Life-Line for Lent

Connecting to the Life-Line for Lent

Life is a precious, fragile and amazing gift from God. Most years, I give something up for Lent, like chocolate, which was difficult for me! But, this Lenten season started out differently.…

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Getting Through

Getting Through

Whew! I don't know about life in your part of the country, but I am so thankful to be finished with February! Normally, I love the month that allows me to celebrate my birthday, Valentine's Day, and the bonus holiday, President's Day. However, my first February in Minot was cold, bitterly cold! For one three-week period in February, we had only one day in which temps were higher than 0. We drove on sheets of ice with windchills reaching -60.…

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The Gift of Today

The Gift of Today

The following is the opening prayer prayed at the Arizona Donor Appreciation Luncheons by Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch board member, Dick Shorma. Thank you for praying alongside us today.…

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Celebrating the Dedication of Our Donors

Celebrating the Dedication of Our Donors

Wow! Attending the Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch Valentines Luncheon in Arizona this past Thursday was such a blessing! Being out of the snow and bitter cold for a short time was wonderful, of course, but the real blessing was the event itself and the people who attended.…

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