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News & Views - Feb, 1994 Issue #26 

THE FAITH RANCH WILDERNESS EXPERIENCE
Summary of a paper
by: Nathan Johnson, MA, Staff Administrator
Uvalde, Texas
210-232-6611 

(Faith Ranch is a Christian program for boys which has been in existence since 1971. C. Roy Glasscock is the Administrator. The summer of 1993 was the fourth wilderness trip the Ranch sent its boys and prospective enrollees out on.) 

Due to the impact of our fast-paced, value-deficit, comfort-prioritizing society upon the minds and emotions of our children, Faith Ranch has responded with a wilderness experience to complement its residential school program. 

Our Purpose 
Faith Ranch is using the wilderness camp to accomplish three objectives: (1) train young people to relate to authority (2) strengthen their interpersonal skills with each other, and (3) help youth get in touch with themselves and their Creator. Ultimately, through the use of the beauty of God's handiwork we want to bring young people back to the principles that made this country great. 

Why the Wilderness? 
The wide open wilderness is an unknown environment that creates a new sense of dependence upon those in authority, each other, and God for each person who explores it. In addition, it provides an effective platform from which to teach our children values, character, and responsibility. More importantly it lets them have the chance to encounter our Lord without distraction. The outdoors are a stark contrast to our mechanized society with its shallow stimulation and immediate gratification of whims and desires. 

The Wilderness Potential 
The wilderness camp moves young people from their "comfort zones" to participate in something bigger than themselves. They are made aware of a wonderful world with which most of society has lost touch. The ruggedness of the wilderness experience challenges all to grow spiritually, emotionally, and physically. It is a catalyst that helps each person discover individual skills, confidence, self-worth, and life values. It also strengthens teamwork, basic problem-solving techniques, and self-discipline. Often a person will find contentment outside the comforts of civilization. 

The Nuts and Bolts 
The wilderness camp is broken down into a four-phase program: #1 Orientation, #2 Expedition, #3 Team-Working, #4 New Beginnings. Each phase is specifically designed to dove-tail into the next one and prepare the young person for the new challenges that await them: whether that be on the trail or in real life back home. Phase one begins at Faith Ranch and continues in the wilderness. Phases two and three occur on the trail. Phase four is the student's re-entry back into the mainstream of life through the Ranch. 

The Results 
The wilderness program is a once in a lifetime experience that is a lot more than backpacking, camping, rock climbing, ropes, and rappelling. It is the opportunity for youth to experience the adventure of their lives and to gain practical skills coupled with biblical principles that will last a lifetime. With the unique combination of the wilderness program and the residential living experience, Faith Ranch offers one of the most complete and effective programs today. 

Copyright 1994, Woodbury Reports, Inc. (This article may be reproduced without prior approval if the copyright notice and proper publication and author attribution accompanies the copy.)

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