Baldwin County Boys Ranch
The Baldwin County Boys Ranch – It Is Easier to Build Boys and Girls…Than to Repair Men and Women
It is with sadness that not every child is born into a family that is able to provide love and care. These children often become victims of abuse, neglect, and abandonment. They suffer consequences into adulthood.
In the early 1960’s, the Alabama Sheriff’s Association envisioned a program that provided homes and guidance for troubled youth. Their dream was to provide homes that balanced “Christian principals, hard work, responsibility, and loving kindness [to] help [children] grow strong in body, mind, and spirit.” The objective was to reach out to at-risk youth before they had the chance to make bad decisions resulting in reform schools or correctional institutions.
During the fall of 1966, the Boys and Girls Ranch of Alabama warmly opened its doors. Within the first few years, the program launched six homes all reaching maximum occupancy along with a growing wait list. Thus began the expansion of multiple ranches across Alabama with more than 5,000 children receiving support to date.
“The discipline, leadership, and rules that was an everyday way of life on the ranch during my years growing up now carry over into my marriage and work. The Ranch made me better prepared for a life that incorporates these values every day.” Mark Hall, former ranch resident.
The Baldwin County Boy’s Ranch opened in 1984 and now includes two group homes supervised by house parents. It is a working ranch where children, also known as ranchers, are required to work and learn valuable skills in livestock care, farm work, and lawn maintenance. Children develop independent living skills while working together to support the on-goings of each house, which often houses up to ten children per home. Housemates participate in activities including meal preparation, grocery shopping, and household chores. Children are required to regularly attend church and school while participating in extracurricular activities including sports, band, and ROTC. “There are so many stories, and we are blessed to get to be a small part of what God does here” Mindy Harmon, Ranch Secretary. Ranch CEO, Nick Rauccio, is quoted, “The Ranches are an Alabama charity for Alabama children.”
According to the website, operating funds are raised exclusively through donations as well as fundraisers. A Board of Trustees, including several Alabama sheriffs and community leaders, manage the Boys and Girls Ranches of Alabama.
The Baldwin County Boys Ranch is scheduled to host its Annual Pig Roast with Live Auction in March. This is a fun, family event that also happens to be the largest fundraiser of the year for the local ranch. Last year they featured over 120 items for sale during both live and silent auctions.
The Annual Sherriff Taylor Wilkins Memorial Golf Tournament is another strong performing charity event also scheduled in March. The Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office sponsors this event and donates a portion of the proceeds to the Baldwin County Boys Ranch. Last year 22 teams participated in the golf tournament and raised enough money to grant a new Kubota tractor to the ranch.
The Baldwin County Boys Ranch has an immediate need for cleaning supplies and pantry items. Please call 251-989-6392 if you are interested in supporting the ranch through a canned goods/cleaning supplies drive.