Young people have a lot of pressure on them. Some adults don’t remember what they felt like as teens. Maybe they no longer recall the peer pressure that exists. They might not remember what it feels like to experience teasing or bullying.
Teens need to navigate a minefield of hormones. They might have friends offering them drugs or wanting them to engage in sexual behaviors before they’re ready. It’s not easy to know what to do in these situations.
If a teen or young adult has their parents paying close attention to them and giving them advice, that can help them a great deal. However, some teens still get into trouble, even if they have parents that keep an eye on them to make sure they stay on the right path.
If you’re a teen living in Texas who’s experiencing some of these issues, you might benefit by going to a youth ranch. We’ll talk about youth ranches in the following article, so you’ll understand what we mean when using this term.
What is a Youth Ranch?
Youth ranches are not a unique concept. If you look around the US, you’ll find examples of them all across the country. For instance, you can stay at the 3H Youth Ranch in Texas if you live close enough to make that a viable option and you meet the criteria to spend some time there.
Youth ranches are usually nonprofits that exist to help at-risk or troubled teens and young adults. You can stay at some of them if you’re as young as ten, though some won’t admit kids younger than twelve or thirteen. You can usually stay there up to age eighteen when you’re legally an adult.
Youth ranches are places with close adult supervision. You might go there if you’re having trouble fitting in at your school. You may not have many friends, or perhaps you’re experiencing bullying or teasing that makes your life difficult.
You might spend time at a youth ranch if you’re getting into trouble with drugs. Maybe your parents or guardians want you to stay there for a while if you’re having inappropriate sexual relationships. Perhaps you’re vandalizing things or acting out in other ways.
What Do You Do at a Youth Ranch?
Youth ranch models vary a little, but they usually follow the same general idea. Adults take care of groups of kids as they let them explore nature. Maybe they’ll engage in horseback riding, arts and crafts, swimming, etc.
In a sense, it’s kind of like a summer camp. You’re with kids your age, and you can make friends with them. At the same time, though, you usually engage in talking sessions where you can speak about what’s going on in your life and the pressures you face.
The adults there usually have mental health backgrounds. They moderate the sessions and ask the kids questions to try and get them to open up.
These ranches exist to get the teens and young adults that visit them back into safer mental and emotional territory. Hopefully, if you spend time there, you can better learn how to conduct yourself in school, at home, and elsewhere. You learn about empathy, standing up for yourself, and basic life skills that you can use now and in the future as you get older and become more independent.
What Else Should You Know About Youth Ranches?
Sometimes, if you get in trouble with the law, a judge might send you to a place like a youth ranch if your lawyer or parents plead for leniency. They might not let you go there if you keep getting in trouble. If you’ve had several run-ins with the law, you may have to go to a juvenile detention facility instead.
Most teens find youth ranches a much better option. You have more freedom, though you’re not supposed to leave until your parents say you can. You’ll likely enjoy better food and activities that you might come to like if you give them a chance.
You will sometimes see a religious element with these ranches, but not necessarily. If you go to one with a religious undertone, then hopefully, your parents picked one that’s the same denomination that you follow. It’s also sometimes possible to find nonreligious ones, though.
If you end up at a youth ranch, you might find that you enjoy your time there. It’s less of a punishment and more of an opportunity.