Residents learn skills, responsibility at Boys Ranch Town in Edmond

Early morning responsibilities figure into lessons of responsibility for residents of Boys Ranch Town in Edmond. Residents will have a busy morning before the school bus arrives
by Bryan Painter Published: August 13, 2012

— The grimace has turned to a grin.

Most days, Justin Endecott would fall out of bed, get dressed and walk across the road to his school in Dover.

That's until he came to live at Boys Ranch Town in Edmond in October 2002.

He was told that he'd be waking up — or rather waked up — at 5:30 a.m., so he could do his chores, eat and have a Bible study with the other seven boys and the houseparents in his cottage. That brought the grimace.

But recently while talking about how current residents will be doing the same beginning with the start of school this week, Endecott grinned.

Now 24 years old, he's married, has a son and serves as the horse program director at Boys Ranch Town. He grins because he said as much as he despised getting up early and completing chores, the lessons in responsibility saved him from what he thinks would have happened.

Where do you think you would be if your parents hadn't said you needed to come here?

“Honestly, if you were interviewing me at this time without me coming here, you'd probably be talking to me with a sheet of glass between us,” he said. “I'm serious about it. That's how bad my temper was in school.

“I tell guys all the time they need to get their tempers under control, because it doesn't take you to a good place. I know for a fact, that's where I'd be — jail.”

Responsibility

There are currently about 45 boys at the ranch. While some are in Department of Human Services custody, others come after parents, grandparents or other caregivers have completed an application and the boy has been accepted. The reasons for a child coming to the ranch vary. For some it's behavioral issues.

In their cottages and around the ranch, resident's time and activities are organized to help them learn responsibility and caring in a structured living situation, said Brent Thackerson, administrator at the ranch.

There is a level system with boys entering the ranch on Level 1 and moving up in level based on behavior, school, and cottage performance. Each level of move brings added privileges and gives boys more freedom.

Boys come to live at Boys Ranch Town between the ages of 7 and 15 and may continue to live at the ranch until high school graduation, if needed. The average length of stay is about 18 months.


by Bryan Painter
Assistant Local Editor
Bryan Painter, assistant local editor, has 31 years’ experience in journalism, including 22 years with the state's largest newspaper, The Oklahoman. In that time he has covered such events as the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah...
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