Brotherhood on the Ranch

By Catherine Finch

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” – Micah 6:8 (ESV)

Rowan* has lived at Boys Ranch Town (BRT) since June of 2021. Initially, he felt apprehensive and a little sad when he moved to BRT, but once he found out he would be around horses, he was excited at the opportunity to explore the “cowboy lifestyle.”

“I like horses and being around animals,” he said. “My family doesn’t really have animals back at home.”

In his spare time, Rowan enjoys building and creating with block sets. Although he is not part of the horse program on campus, he does enjoy interacting with the animals, specifically the horses and dogs. He has been part of the adventure program and is currently in the work program. In the work program, Rowan joins other boys on campus in taking care of the BRT property and doing chores around the Ranch, under the supervision of the program’s director.

Rowan is learning responsibility and discipline through the programs and daily Bible studies on campus. Additionally, through the intentional and loving examples of his houseparents and the staff at BRT, he has grown and matured exponentially. Rowan noted that others have seen a change in him since he arrived at BRT. “People have said they definitely notice I don’t struggle with anger issues or frustration as much,” he said. “They say they have seen me mature more and more as I spend time here.”

Before he moved to BRT, Rowan had never lived with boys his age—he has two sisters and no brothers. Moving to the campus and into a home with up to seven other boys was an adjustment for him. However, Rowan has settled into life on campus and enjoys the comradery of the other boys at BRT. He has found brotherhood and friendship that he had not experienced before. “I had an older roommate named Matthew* when I first moved here, and I liked getting to play with him and wrestle and just talk about life,” said Rowan. “I never had that before.”

When asked how he would encourage a new boy on campus, Rowan thoughtfully responded, “Once you get to know everyone, you realize everyone else has been through hard times like you.” He continued, “We all share a lot of the same feelings from our pasts, so we can all share those feelings and help each other.”

Rowan also pointed out that because of the way his houseparents show kindness and love to him, he knows he can trust them, and they are there for him. “The best thing about BRT is everyone cares for you,” he said. “No adult leaves anyone out. They hear you when you have something to say, and they always show you compassion.”

For Rowan, the family and brotherhood he has found at BRT is an unexpected gift.

Read more about Boys Ranch Town.

*Names have been changed to protect their privacy.