A Bismarck couple started a ranch in 2011. The purpose? Building kids’ self-esteem, a sense of responsibility and their faith.
Randy and Pam Upgren started their ranch ministry as a way to mentor young children. They do this by hosting summer camp from the end of May through the end of September. There are games, opportunities to learn how to handle horses and share stories about life around the campfire.
“They love to talk about things that are going on in their lives and we’re always tying that to scripture,” said Randy, co-owner at Providence Ranch Ministries.
And part of the mentorship program includes teaching kids the importance of responsibility through chores with chickens.
“They have a job when they come. It’s their job to give them their feed, to change the water, anything we need to be done with the small animals,” said Pam, co-owner at Providence Ranch Ministries.
Mijah Hon, a 12-year-old from Bismarck who’s been to camp a few times now, says she doesn’t mind the chores.
“I like them,” said Mijah.
Jenn Hon, Mijah’s mother, says she’s seen a change in her daughter since she’s come back from camp
“She feels great about herself and she feels better about herself. You can tell her confidence is a little bit better,” said Jenn.
And not only is camp healing for the kids who attend, it’s good for the parents, too.
“I get to relax. I love relaxing. Just sitting there. Just being a part of it. Seeing the chickens come running out. It’s a time for us adults and parents to unwind as well,” said Jenn.
Most of all it’s the transformation the children make that means the most to the Upgren’s, animals and nature are just a bonus. The next camp takes place next week.
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