Sunday, January 01, 2006

The Utah Boys Ranch

I spoke at the Utah Boys Ranch Today (Recently Re-named Westridge Academy). For those of you not familiar with the Boys Ranch, it is an early intervention, residential, Christian Based treatment center for boys (and now girls too!). It is located in West Jordan, Utah, and is not too far away from my home. Our Stake is responsible for sponsoring two LDS Church Branches at the academy (one branch for the boys, and another branch for the girls). I am usually assigned to speak at their church services twice each year. I was originally scheduled to give today's talk last week (Christmas Day), however they had a special program they wanted to do last week, and asked me to come this week instead.

Here are some of the kinds of treatment options offered at Westridge Academy:
  • Drug and Alcohol Use
  • Depression
  • Bipolar
  • Behavioral Problems
  • Divorce and Family Conflict Issues
  • Adoption Issues
  • School Problems
  • Poor Peer Choices
  • Runaway and Curfew
  • Minimal Legal Issues
  • Accountability and Responsibility Issues
  • Integrity
  • Self Esteem and Emotional Issues
Westridge Academy is a charitable organization, and is funded by donations, along with tuition charged to the families of youth who are entrolled there. The academy is not affiliated directly with the LDS church. However I believe the church's charitable arm, the LDS Foundation is a major donor to the facility.

Spiritual Growth is an integral part of the program at the Boys Ranch. Here is an excerpt from their web site:
"We are committed to helping our students grow spiritually. We seek constantly for ways to help our boys fulfill their spiritual potential. The spiritual principle approach does not just integrate truth into subject content or give it a Christian appearance, it approaches subject matter assuming that God is all knowing and knowledge is given through him We firmly believe that as a student gains knowledge he gains a closer relationship with his Father in Heaven. . . . By helping students understand the world about them, we give them knowledge of the Creator. The spiritual principle approach brings a child to logic and faith whether it is in algebra, language arts, sports, or study hall. Our curricula and methods of teaching and learning cultivate our youth unto full spiritual potentials."
Part of that spiritual program is provided by the LDS Church Branch. For those who are not LDS, there are non-denominational church services available as well.

When I entered the chapel at the academy this morning, there was a line of about 10 "church service" missionaries there. These are generally retired couples who live in the Salt Lake area who volunteer 40 hours + per week. They do a great work there. They are the ones who help provide spiritual guidance to the young men and women throughout the week. The church service missionaries work closely with the Branch Presidency. It was my privilege to contribute to those efforts, in my own small way on this New Year's Day. I have posted my talk over on my Gospel Study blog, if you are interested.