Expanding the Comfort Zone
How fun challenges lead to meaningful growth
Eagle Ranch is not a summer camp.
From the outside looking in, summer at the Ranch looks FUN. Water slides, cookouts, ropes courses, horseback riding and more. There are smiling faces and there is laughter. On the other side of that, though, is hard work.
Children come to Eagle Ranch in need of hope and healing from the difficulties of life. Our goal through their time in the program is to equip and empower children and families with the skills they need to overcome current and future challenges.
For our boys and girls, Program Assistants fill this crucial role during the summer months through intentional time each day called Group Development. Carefully structured around the strengths and weaknesses of each group, Program Assistants create an activity that provides the group an opportunity to grow and develop.
Activities provide physical, mental, intellectual and emotional challenges to encourage teamwork and communication to accomplish a task. A ropes course, racing boats down the creek, building a shelter in the woods, and baking a dessert are few among many activities our children have participated in.
“I love group development. We have to work together to accomplish a goal and we have fun while doing it,” said Gavin, 12, of the Faith Home. “Some of the things I’ve learned are teamwork, creativity, communication and friendship. I want to use everything I’ve learned to my advantage so I can use it in my future.”
During this part of the program, the boys and girls learn about themselves and each other, while the staff at Eagle Ranch learns how each child functions and how best to help them.
“By pushing the children to be slightly out of their comfort zone, work together and solve a situation as a group, the boys and girls learn essential everyday skills that will benefit them in life,” said Benjamin Moffatt, Program Assistant for the Peace Home. “Many children in the program believe they are incapable or unable to complete a task. Through Group Development, we are able to watch those boys and girls overcome insecurities and past fears, learn how to push through when things get difficult or uncomfortable, and come out the other side more confident than before.”
Some skills that our children learn through intentional Group Development time are leadership, problem solving, working through frustration, perseverance, processing information, thinking flexible, regulating emotions, following directions, learning to improvise and self-confidence.