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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

/articleid/3700515/1/pictures/1798680">Photo - Resident John Cook, age 16, in the horse barn at Boys Town Ranch in Edmond Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2012.  Photo by Paul B. Southerland, The Oklahoman
Resident John Cook, age 16, in the horse barn at Boys Town Ranch in Edmond Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2012. Photo by Paul B. Southerland, The Oklahoman

The primary goal is for the boy to return to live with his family. If that's not a viable option, Boys Ranch Town can provide a home for the boys until graduation from high school, Thackerson said.

Words to remember

As the others talk about waking up at 5:30 a.m. so everything is finished before the school bus arrives, Alec Carpenter shakes his head.

Carpenter, 12, who has been at the ranch for about four weeks, said, “I'm not looking forward to that.”

“I've been up that early once or twice,” Carpenter said.

While the early morning isn't something he's excited about, Carpenter has come to enjoy riding the horses and feeding the horses and cattle.

“The kids that participate in the horse program or other small animal programs have grown so much more,” said Thackerson, who has worked on the ranch staff for more than 20 years. “They're so much more responsible.

“You can just see the kid's self-esteem and self-confidence grow from a kid who comes in and maybe didn't know anything about horses to one who can take care of horses.”

John Cook, 16, has been at the ranch for about three and a half years. He likes caring for the horses and cattle.

“It does teach you how to be more responsible,” he said.

Trent Henry, 16, has been a resident at the ranch for more than a year.

What is his favorite part of living at the ranch?

“Learning how to ride bulls,” he said. “I'd like to compete in the PBR some day.”

Goals are good.

Thackerson remembers when Endecott was in his teens. One day during a van trip, Endecott said, “Mr. Thackerson, some day I'm going to come back and be the horse program director.”

There's a lot about those days at the ranch that Endecott brought back with him, including lessons from two sets of houseparents.

Those lessons include reminders from Dee Riley.

“Mrs. Riley's saying has always stuck with me, ‘Justin, there's nobody that can change your temper but you,'” he recalled. “And she said, ‘There's only one you can ask for help and that's God.'”

“Day-to-day that's one of the things I pray for, ‘God help me with my attitude today, help me with my temper.' He does.”

And then Endecott grinned.

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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