Tuesday, September 29, 2009
I see Birch Creek Service Ranch as one of the factors that shaped who I am today. The ranch taught me leadership skills, a new love and respect for the world in which I live, and the value of hard work. At age 15, when I first attended the ranch, I was not looking forward to the experience. Within the first week, the friendly atmosphere and the genuine interest of the staff made me feel completely at home. I felt like the staff really cared about each camper individually. They set great examples, and taught me all about the natural world. The ranch infused me with a love for nature, and prompted me to pursue more outdoor interests as well as to care for the environment. Three weeks is a long time to spend with the same people twenty-four hours a day. This taught me about people, how to interact with them, how to lead them, and how to deal with conflict between peers. I feel like this experience helped me throughout high school and the rest of my life. The benefits of the ranch are what prompted me to return as a counselor, where I saw the positive effects of the ranch on many campers. I also learned more from other staff members and as I interacted with the campers. The ranch provides an environment where kids will learn skills and principles that will help them in school, with friends, in jobs, and throughout the rest of their lives.