This time we want to tell you all about Teen Ranch. I have actually sat down many times to try and share some of the experiences we had here, but every time, I haven’t been able to start.
How to put into words what that three weeks means to us? We were only there for a short time, but we were so quickly welcomed into the Teen Ranch family that it felt like we had been there for much longer. We absolutely loved getting to know the staff and volunteers there, joining in with the excellent activities, and serving Jesus by chatting, washing up, sweeping and lawn-mowing (and more).
Teen Ranch is a Christian outdoor centre for Scottish kids, with the aim of telling them about Jesus, and encouraging them to participate in plenty of fun activities. We were encouraged by how the staff got alongside the kids at meals and activities and showed the kids what it means to follow Jesus. We were revitalised by going to a great church with a few of the guys there (even with both our kids whinging/crying/laughing in the back of the room). We were impressed by the maturity and initiative of the leaders as they organised and ran camps for kids of all ages. To put this into perspective for those playing at home – think about when you, or someone near you, has gone on a church camp as a leader. You live with the kids, chat to them, encourage them and spend most of your day with them. By the end of the weekend you are exhausted. Well, this is what the Teen Ranch Staff are doing – full time, six days a week. Most of them are in their late teens/early twenties, and all of them are dedicated and energetic, and content. I take my hat off to you guys.
Pete and I love camps. We have had the privilege between us to attend camps as kids, as leaders, work on camps, speak on camps and teach on camps. It was pretty special to see Elena and Kilian be completely absorbed by the camp experience. Elena was super shy the whole time we were there, but that didn’t stop her from telling me often how much she loved Teen Ranch, and that she’d made some new best friends. She got completely addicted to juice at meal times (cordial, for our friends at home), and was totally confused when we left and we didn’t have dessert every night. I barely needed to walk into the kitchen before Kilian was scooped up by one of his many admirers.
Elena loved having her first ride on a horse (and second, and third), chasing the swan while canoeing on the loch, trying her hand at archery, and rifles, and bikes (favourite part was jumping in the foam pit), doing new tricks on the trampoline, playing in the daffodil filled meadow, testing out the slip and slide, throwing sticks to the indefatigable labrador Quail, being excited by new campers coming in (although being too shy to be near any of them), Ethan’s guinea pigs, seeing two day old chicks and so so much more that is probably still in her little head.
Kilian loved playing with new toys, sitting outside and eating grass and flowers, and people, people, people. We are finding that Kili really gets a lot of energy from being around new people, and being outdoors. Teen Ranch was just perfect for him.
We loved being part of a friendly Christian community again, going to a new church with new friends, wildly and terribly dancing in a barn dance, being useful and working hard (mostly just Pete here – he spent his days working with the maintenance team, mowing lawns, being a kitchen hand, serving meals and helping with activities), enjoying the “Summer” weather (it probably got to about 20 degrees max while we were there), getting alongside kids at camp, being encouraged by daily Bible devotions and the faithfulness of the Christian’s that work there.
To sum up what was a full (in so many ways) three weeks, Teen Ranch Scotland, you’re pretty cool.
So cool, that we actually rearranged our calendar a little so that we could come back. We’ll see you all in a few weeks!
P.S. They kept us pretty busy while we were there, but we did manage to get out and do a bit of sightseeing:
Scone Palace – a highlight was the white peacock!
Dundee Botanic Gardens