(800) 765-3797  fsyr@youthranches.org
ServiceMaster 24 Hour of Tampa, FL, a client of RestorationMaster, held their first annual P&C on the Sea Fishing Charter event and successfully raised money for the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches organization.

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Blink and you’ll miss him! Jerrel, the lightning-fast, wise-beyond-his-years seventh grader at our Safety Harbor campus, is always active. Whether he is on his bike or running around the campus, Jerrel is always moving. When he joined the track team, he really began to shine.

“I was always running around,” Jerrel said in starting his story. “One of my friends at the Ranch said jokingly that I should try out for the track team.” He thought it might be something fun to do, but hadn’t expected to be the third-fastest out of all of the kids who tried out. “I would always try to run faster than my older brother, so I guess I’ve always been a little competitive.”

Two years later with numerous first- and second-place finishes under his belt, Jerrel is something of a track star, but he is humble about it all, reiterating that he just loves to run. To be on the track team, he has to maintain a pretty impressive GPA in all of his classes. His favorite subject is science. “I love that there is a method to it. I like seeing one thing be able to change into another.”

It’s no surprise that Jerrel is a fan of transformation. Since he came to the Youth Ranches, he has witnessed an incredible change in himself. “I was troubled,” Jerrel admits. “I was stealing, fighting. I was getting into a lot trouble.” He was at another children's home before he was given the opportunity to come to the Youth Ranch. “I was curious about the Youth Ranch, but I mostly wanted to come because I knew I would be safe,” Jerrel said. “My siblings were here already, so I knew I was coming to a place where I would be safe and protected.”

While he may have only been looking for a safe place to call home, Jerrel got so much more.

“It’s been amazing to see how much I can change even with just the power of words,” Jerrel said of his new attitude toward life since he came to the Youth Ranch more than three years ago. Work, Study, Play and Pray have been a daily part of his life at the Ranch and have definitely made an impact on this awesome young man. “The Ranch has taught me to grow. It is so great to look back at where I came from to where I am now and who I know I can be.” He still has a few years in school before he has to make any decisions about a career, but right now, he is looking at law enforcement — maybe even something like a SWAT team.

Jerrel plans to continue on the track team, but being as active as he is, he is looking forward to trying some new sports in the future as well. “I think I’ll definitely try out for football once I’m in high school and maybe even something like rugby,” he says with a smile. He does know one thing for sure, though: He will always keep running. “I like to put on my music and just go run to clear my head.” He adds, “It’s a time where I can just be with my thoughts.”

As fast as Jerrel runs, he still likes to slow down every now and then, and look at his journey and the transformation he has already made in his young life. “This is a great place to be,” Jerrel said. “I’ve changed so much and I know that I am safe. I am so grateful to get to be here.”

Summer Dates

Week 1: June 5-9
Deadline to apply: May 22, 2017

Week 2: June 19-23
Deadline to apply: May 29, 2017

Week 3: July 10-14
Deadline to apply: June 26, 2017

Cowboy Camp is a day camp for boys and girls ages 8-15. The cost of camp is $100 for the week. Payment is required with your application.

Space is limited to the first 16 applicants. Registration fees will be returned after the first 16 campers are confirmed.

Lunch and snacks will be provided.

Cowboy Camp begins at 8:30 a.m. Monday-Friday at the Boys Ranch.

Transportation

Transportation will be provided to and from the Live Oak Sportsplex Pavilion. Campers can also be dropped off at the Boys Ranch Administration Office.

All campers need to arrive at the Sportsplex Pavilion between 7:45 a.m. – 8:15 a.m.

All campers need to be picked up at the Sportsplex Pavilion between 4:45 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.

Equine Arts and Activities

Cowboy Camp is an equestrian camp providing youth an opportunity to learn how to work with and ride horses. Campers will also learn about the responsibilities of owning their own horses.

Cowboy Campers will also take part in activities such as: wood working, swimming, and hiking.

Camp Sign-up

Before the first day of camp, each guardian will be asked to complete the application form, riding release, photo release and medical form.

It is important for us to be aware of any special needs, whether they be health, behavioral or allergies to better accommodate your child.

What to Bring

  • Swimsuit/Towel
  • Sunscreen
  • Closed-toe shoes - Preferably boots
  • Change of clothes
  • Pants
  • Water bottle
  • Hat

Campers must wear long pants and suitable footwear. No camper will be allowed to ride in shorts or open toed shoes.

To download a brochure, click here.

To download the application packet, click here.

Jacob

When you stop and take a look back at your first car there is an undeniable nostalgia. It’s the sound of the engine or maybe the weight of your foot as it pressed down on the gas pedal. Perhaps it was that unforgettable “new car” smell.

For many teenagers there are few memorable accomplishments more important than getting their first car. The excitement of independence and the acknowledgement of responsibility are etched in our minds. For two of the young men at the Boys Ranch, their hard work and persistence has paid off and they are beginning the journey to self-reliance with their very first cars.

For a lot of us a car might not mean much more than a way to get from point A to point B, but for these young men it is a well-earned reward for their dedication to their jobs and diligent budgeting. Maybe more importantly than that, for Craig and Jacob, two of our graduating seniors at the Boys Ranch it is an opportunity for learning and growth.

When you take ownership of your first car it’s easy to think of it as all fun and games. For Jacob it meant he would have his own means of transportation to his job in town at a local fast food chain. Jacob quickly learned being out on the road driving himself that he was not only responsible for the car’s upkeep and his own safety, but he was also responsible for the safety of his passengers and his fellow drivers on the road. “It’s a lot of responsibility.” Jacob said with a grin.

For our guys, the responsibility of car ownership started long before they ever put their foot to the pedal. Proper maintenance is one of the keys of responsible car ownership. Each and every day we are trying to prepare our Ranchers to be productive and self-sufficient citizens when they leave our campuses. As part of their vocational rotation in the automotive shop both Craig and Jacob learned the basics of car maintenance and upkeep including replacing a tire and changing the oil in their cars. “We learned how to work on a car before we ever bought a car,” Craig said as he was changing a flat tire on his 2008 Dodge Avenger. “It’s nice to know if something goes wrong I know how to fix it.” Craig, who plans on going to college and studying organic chemistry to pursue a career in the neurosciences field, sees his car as the icing on the cake for everything the Youth Ranches has done for him since coming to the Boys Ranch 5 years ago.

For Craig and Jacob, owning a car is a role that puts them in charge, helping to build a strong sense of self-reliance. It is an integral part of becoming a successful adult and both these young men are clearly on the road to success.

“We worked with Sheriffs Ranches Enterprises (SRE) to find cars that we could afford and would be reliable,” Jacob said, while showing off his 2000 BMW. “I feel proud knowing that I was able to save my money to buy this on my own. I feel like I’ve earned it.”

Both Craig and Jacob were successfully able to find reliable cars through SRE, thanks to the generosity of donors who gift their good-condition, pre-owned vehicles.

Sheriffs Ranches Enterprises has six locations throughout the state and an automotive sales lot at the Live Oak location.

This article originally appeared in the Spring 2017 edition of "The Rancher" magazine. If you'd like to subscribe to "The Rancher", or learn more about what we do, call 1-800-765-3797, or email fsyr@youthranches.org.

If you'd like to invest in the future of the boys and girls in our care please click the button below.

Each summer, the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches gears up for a summer camp experience like no other. Our Youth Camps are able to give so many kids a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity they would normally not have access to. Camp is a safe place where kids can let loose and be adventurous, show initiative and build confidence. These benefits are a result of the core foundation that we teach at camp: teamwork, communication, cooperation and commitment. These are skills that will help them tackle any challenges that may come their way.

Those cornerstone beliefs open up our campers to countless benefits from their week at camp. We put together a list of the top 10 things camp can do for kids.

10. Become more confident by experiencing success – Camp helps children build self-confidence and self-esteem by removing the kind of academic, athletic and social competition that shapes their lives at school. With its noncompetitive activities and diverse opportunities to succeed, camp life is a real boost for young people.

9. Gain resiliency – The kind of encouragement and nurturing children receive at camp makes it a great environment to face setbacks, try new things and learn that improvement comes when you give something another try.

8. Spend their day being physically active – Since children spend so much time these days inside and mostly sitting down, camp provides a wonderful opportunity to move. Running, swimming, jumping, hiking, climbing and our exciting high ropes course are just a few ways our youth stay active at camp each day.

7. Disconnect from technology – When youth take a break from TV, cellphones and the Internet, they rediscover their creative powers and engage the real world— real people, real activities and real emotions. They realize that there’s always plenty to do and a great imagination can be their best tool.

6. Develop life-long skills – Camps provide the right instruction, equipment and facilities for kids to enhance their sports abilities, artistic talents and adventure skills. The wide variety of activities offered at our camp makes it easy for boys and girls to discover and develop what they like to do.

5. Become more independent – Camp is the perfect place for kids to practice making decisions for themselves. Children welcome this freedom to expand and blossom in new directions. Camp helps children develop who they are.

4. Have free time – Free from the overly structured, overly scheduled routines of home and school, life at camp gives children much-needed free time to just play. Camp is a place of carefree living where kids can relax, laugh and be silly all day long.

3. Reconnect with nature – Outdoor experiences enrich campers’ perceptions of the world and support healthy child development. Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches Camp gets kids back outside and in nature.

2. Learn social skills – Coming to camp means joining a close-knit community where everyone must agree to cooperate and respect each other. When they live in a cabin with others, kids share chores, resolve disagreements and see firsthand the importance of real communication, and teamwork.

1. Make true friends – Camp is the place where boys and girls can make their very best friends. Free from cliques at school, camp encourages our campers to relax and make friends easily. All the fun at camp draws everyone together—singing, laughing, talking, playing, doing almost everything together.

At the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches, we aim to touch and change the lives of young boys and girls across the state, and summer camp is one of the ways we can reach out to our communities and make a difference. For the children, it only seems like a week filled with fun and games, but what they don’t know is everything else that comes with it.

If you'd like to financially contribute to help us continue our summer camp programs please click the button below. Just select "Camp" from the Campaign drop-down menu in the online giving form.