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Friday, May 27, 2016

Home on the ranch

Thursday, September 27, 2012

These two unidentified youngsters couldn't stay still when inside the "bounce house," just one of the attractions during Saturday's spaghetti dinner to benefit Arrowhead Ranch in Normandy.
(T-G photo by Brian Mosely) [Order this photo]
Visitors to Arrowhead Ranch in Normandy not only got a belly full from the food on Saturday, but a better idea about what goes on at the facility, now in its third full year of operations.

Visitors to the Arrowhead Ranch grabbed a plate or two during Saturday's fund-raiser. The facility, which helps young boys develop needed life skills and responsibilities.
(T-G photo by Brian Mosely)
The ranch is considered a safe, secure place to call home for young boys who are not criminals nor violent. The Level One facility accepts guardianship for boys who come from different backgrounds, coming from six surrounding counties.

Arrowhead's founder Jeff Sweeney said that 33 boys have gone through the ranch's program since its opening, with 17 currently living on the grounds.

The number showing up for the annual fund-raising supper keeps doubling each year, with 150 their first event 300 last year and around 600 estimated for the 2012 event, with the hopes of raising about $20,000.

"We've grown tremendously, a whole lot faster than anyone expected," Sweeney said.

Growing quickly

The tables filled up with Arrowhead Ranch visitors on Saturday after a tour of the facilities, followed by a fund-raising auction and entertainment.
(T-G photo by Brian Mosely)
Saturday's event was one of the year's biggest fund-raisers, aside from the Run for the Ranch 5K and Tee Off for the Ranch golf tournament.

The property for the ranch was bought in 2008, with the first boys moving in during August 2009. The operations began with just one house parent couple, who are still with the ranch, and it has now expanded to four couples on the grounds, with each "family" housing four to six boys.

Sweeney said the event was a great opportunity for local folks to see what goes on out at the 182-acre ranch, which is bordered by a mile of the Duck River.

All the operations of the ranch are run through corporate sponsors, such as HSM Inc, a non-profit nursing home, Sweeney stated.

Keeping busy

Charles Rickett, a resident of Arrowhead Ranch, did his job to make sure that visitors had enough to drink during the facility's annual spaghetti dinner held to benefit their efforts.
(T-G photo by Brian Mosely)
The boys go to Cascade School, but also work the ranch when they're not tending to their studies, staying at least one year. As a working ranch, they raise cattle and also have an equestrian program on hand.

Welding, electrical work and plumbing skills are also learned, as well as the important duties of interacting with others and how to grow up and take responsibility. Sweeney also said that cell phones and other types of modern distractions are not allowed.

"Kinda like we did when growing up," he quipped. "I tell them we only had three (television) channels to choose from and they don't understand that."

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