After finishing our house-sit in South Wales, we headed all the way back up to Scotland to one of our new favourite places, Teen Ranch. We were excited to see our new friends again and also to have a little glimpse into their summer camps, of which we had heard a lot about.
Our arrival back at Teen Ranch was a bit like a homecoming. It was really lovely how everyone welcomed us back, as if we had been part of the Teen Ranch family for much longer. We are truly thankful for our friends at Teen Ranch and hope it won’t be long before we see you all again!
This time at Teen Ranch was much quieter than our last visit, as there was only one camp in for the two weeks we were there. On the working days, Pete was busy again with maintenance jobs around the site, while Elena, Kilian and I occupied our time by jumping on the trampoline, visiting the horses and playing hide and seek in the house. Elena was so excited to be back, and all of her previous shyness completely disappeared. It was great to see her chatting to all the staff and running around like she owned the place. She loved trailing around the lovely house girls, Alice and Heather, and watching them iron. She would never watch me iron, but for some reason she was happy to sit and watch them.
We had a bit more time off this time, and we were very excited when we were offered tickets to the Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh with the Teen Ranch team. We set off early on the Saturday to beat the crowds, and had a really great day wandering around the show. The Highland Show is a bit like the Easter Show back at home, take away the carnival theme and insert much more agriculture. We spent the day looking at tractors and prize-winning livestock, watching show jumping and horse parades, sampling lots and lots of free food, and patting farm animals. It was really fun and we were so glad we could experience it.
The staff had a few days off before the start of their intense six weeks of summer camps, and it felt a bit like Hogwarts at Christmas. We went ice skating with some of our friends and Elena loved it! She was a bit of a champ, skating round on a little kids pusher with Pete close behind. We didn’t realise how much she liked it at the time (she has a pretty good poker face), but she has actually been talking about it ever since. She often says “I wish we could go ice skating again. I really love it”. We keep saying we will when we find one… we will eventually.
One of the things I love about Scotland are the berries. They are honestly the best I have ever tasted. So sweet and amazing. We found a strawberry farm nearby and headed over for some berry picking. It was so good. Kilian is a fruit fiend so we could hardly keep him away from the fresh, red strawberries. Elena, true to her nature, asked us when we were going home practically as soon as we got there. We picked heaps of strawberries (about 2.5 kg!) and enjoyed them for quite a few days after.
A highlight of our time at Teen Ranch was the Picnic. This was a day for staff, supporters and community to get together and enjoy Teen Ranch over lunch. We were fortunate to have a beautiful sunny day, and we really enjoyed meeting some ex staff, the bouncy castle, and tractor rides. Elena quickly found a dog to drag around, and loved taking it on the tractor cart with her. We really enjoyed this as a day to relax and enjoy our new friendships.
We managed to catch a glimpse of the Summer Camps before we left Teen Ranch. It was cool to see the staff keen for an exciting summer sharing Jesus and fun, and amazing to see how many volunteers turn up to serve – as many as the campers!
Teen Ranch Scotland, thanks heaps for having us again. We love you, and pray that God will make your ministry grow and flourish. And it goes without saying, if any of you are ever in Australia you should definitely come and hang out with us!