It Sure Makes a Difference When You Know Somebody Cares
(the motto for YBGR since 1957 - sound somewhat familiar, Grace Youth?)
Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch (YBGR) is a place for kids who are emotionally disturbed. I worked there for about three years (quit when I had Elizabeth to be a stay-at-home mom). This is the place I credit with giving me a love for kids to the point that I started working with youth at Grace Church. I miss these students, but was able to see a few of them (who are now in their 30s) when we went to the 50th Anniversary Celebration a few years ago. One of them was shocked that I would still have his picture that he drew for me when he was a teenager. He was there with his wife and kids. Wow!
Below is a picture with the founders of YBGR. Mrs. Orth was standing in for her husband who had passed away back in 1963. It was great to also see Franklin Robbie and Bob McFarlane and they are both still involved with the Ranch, of course. Franklin wrote “A Legacy of Caring - The First Fifty Years at Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch,″ which was published to kick off the 50th anniversary celebration. If you want some inspiration, read this book about a man and a vision and a call from God. When I worked there, most of the staff were Christian - leaders, houseparents, admin, etc. We went to church at the Chapel on campus. It was fun to be there and to be a part of the lives of the kids there - and they were a blessing to me.
Well, the reason I wrote this for Treasured Token Thursday was for a special token I received while at the Celebration. A tradition was started after I left, letting each person who was leaving the Ranch choose a stone as a memorial of the time they spent at YBGR and how God had blessed them while there. I put it in a frame with the following explanation:
Samuel used stones as a memorial when God’s people wanted to remember His goodness and faithfulness. 1 Samuel 7:12 says that when God enabled the Israelites to defeat the Philistines, the Prophet Samuel “took a stone and…named it Ebenezer, saying, ‘Thus far has the Lord helped us.’” Joshua also used stones to help God’s people remember His goodness. After wandering in the wilderness for 40 years, the Israelites experienced the power of God to roll back the waters of the Jordan River, enabling them to cross over and take possession of the Promised Land. Joshua then commanded them to build a memorial of stones as a public testimony of what God had done for them…stones that would remind them to keep on praising Him. At the 50th Anniversary, the staff from the past was given a memorial stone as a way to remember our time at Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch and what God had done for us. They wanted those of us who left after they started this tradition to also have a stone. Each decade prayed with the Chaplain who served during their era. Chaplain Wendall Wilson was serving when I was there … the 80s.