The Easy Does It Ranch Program
The Easy Does It Ranch is a 501c3 Public Charity set up for the sole purpose of enhancing the
recovery possibilities of teenagers aged 13 -18 who are in alcohol and drug addicted families as well as teens that are recovering from substance abuse themselves. For the past 11 years we have been holding the free camp on the 41 acres we rent in Halifax County Virginia.
The Easy Does It Ranch is funded solely through contributions made by private and corporate donations. Attendance to the ranch is free to approved campers. The ranch is a summer camp where teens come for a week of experience, fun and work. The teens are assigned a horse to care for, feed and ride for the week. All the while doing chores, going on trail rides, preparing meals at the chuck wagon, and attending three 12 Step meetings a day. This experience provides teens the opportunity to take on responsibility, learn leadership skills, as well as the value of hard work and discipline while having fun.
History Of The Easy Does It Ranch
After growing up in a family with alcohol abuse myself. I sought recovery from the effects of that experience. The "Easy Does It Ranch" was formed as an idea to help children who have or are experiencing the same effects in their lives. The original thought came to me in July of 1998. My idea was for the camp to be a working ranch. Teens already in recovery could come for a week of camp, be assigned their own horse to care for and ride for the week. The kids would work on the ranch and perform all the necessary chores during their week. They would also attend 12 step meetings daily and assist in preparing meals.
I had experienced ranch life in 1996, 98, 99 as a drover and chuck wagon cook for the LX Bar and MW ranches in Colorado.
We did various chores on the ranch and I gained a basic understanding of how they operate. Our day to day operations are patterned after the working ranches out west. The chuck wagon was added when we had collected enough funds to have the first week of camp in August 2002. The facility we looked at for the camp, which we have been using since, did not have adequate kitchen equipment available inside. I began looking for a wagon to use and found one in Laurenburg NC. I purchased it for $500.00 and made it into the chuck wagon with the help of friends. I contacted a lady in Raleigh that sponsored a 12 step group of teens in Al-ateen to ask if she knew kids that might want to come to a ranch for a week to ride horses and go to meetings. She responded a few days later with 10 kids and the first week was set for August 9, 2002. Since that day we have had camps for 12 more summers and had fall and winter sessions. We have always been able to have camp even when we lost funding, which has happened on two different occasions. We have served over 200 kids in recovery and some of them now are married and have their own children.