The boys at the Kinloch Price Boys Ranch spent a week in Chicago last month along with some of the ranch staff and their families.
“There were 21 of us in all”, says Zach Massey, lead house parent.
The purpose of the trip was largely experiential, says Zach. “To see what life is like in a big city, to see what life is like in an urban church community, and what it’s like to give back.”
“They get to do that on occasion at home, but getting to do that in an environment that is different and where the need is a little more obvious is great,” he says.
They stayed at La Villita Community Church, an inner city community that works in a primarily Hispanic neighborhood. The church is very active – they hold boxing clubs, vacation Bible Schools and more – but is very small with only 50-60 members.
The boys were able to help the church with cleaning, sweeping and mopping, Zach says. They helped paint and picked up trash around the neighborhood too.
“There’s a sense of overwhelming awe when you’ve never been to a city like that. Experiencing the big city for the first time is pretty amazing in and of itself,” Zach says. “And to get to experience something of significance like this together really helps to fortify relationships among the boys and the staff.”
“For us the biggest win with something like this, is in developing the community side of the ranch,” he says.
The boys would have a devotional and debriefing time in the evenings. Zach says the conversations during those times would focus on topics like, the meaning of being “brothers” at the ranch, the role the boys play in each other’s lives, and the influence they have on each other.
In addition to helping out at the church, they toured downtown, did some hiking and enjoyed some nearby waterfalls.
The trip was funded thanks to the generosity of some of our supporters from local churches. Getting the chance to work, play, and be adventurous together was exceptionally beneficial, Zach says.
“Developing that emotional camaraderie,” he says, “That’s probably the biggest gain from a trip like this.”