Calf Rescue Program
A residential treatment center set in a ranch for boys setting offers unique opportunities for personal growth. For example, the Calf Rescue Program allows your son to develop and practice skills such as empathy and responsibility. All of the calves in the Calf Rescue Program are male calves from local dairy ranches. If Discovery Ranch for Boys (DRB) did not adopt the calves, then the calves would die. Because the male calves do not produce milk, dairy ranchers do not invest in their care. Rescuing the calves provides the animals with an opportunity for a better, longer life; as well as giving troubled teens an opportunity to learn essential life lessons.
The Calf Rescue Program is the perfect program for teens who have been resistant to traditional therapy. In this behavior program, your son will learn what it means to be responsible for a life other than his own. The wobbly baby calf will be completely dependent on your son.
Boys must feed the calves three times a day; morning, noon, and night. In icy snow, rain, or hot weather, your son will have to go outside to care for his calf. By caring for the calf, he will focus on something other than himself. Over time, caring for something other than himself will become a daily habit.
Sometimes, even with the best of care, calves die. Rather than being sheltered from the pain of the experience, therapists and staff members will help your son to process the loss.
When the calf is about four months old, he will be sold to local ranchers. Again, therapists and staff members will help your son to process this experience and learn from it. Rather than protect your son from emotional stress, the Calf Rescue Program teaches him how to deal with it.
Most young men care for more than one calf during their time at DRB. After they develop the emotional growth by caring for the first calf and experience his loss, they receive another calf. The learning process begins again, giving the boys a chance to uncover new insights. These experiences allow troubled youths to develop empathy and understanding towards their parents.
The Calf Rescue Program is a way for your son to experience difficult emotions in a safe, supportive environment. He will learn the value and joy that comes from caring for someone or something. After participating in the program, your son will better understand grief, loss, attachment, and detachment. That greater understanding will help him to relate better with the people in his life and provide him with the skills necessary to cope with emotionally complex situations.
Your son will be assigned a job based on his abilities and level of responsibility. These jobs are intended to challenge the boys. Sometimes, young men thrive in their assigned roles. Other times, challenges are greater than their current abilities, and they must step down. Either way, they learn from the experience. Throughout the process, they are encouraged to advance toward their highest level of ability.
When your son first arrives, he may be responsible for filling bottles to feed the baby cows. After he learns more about caring for animals, he may become responsible for supervising other boys in the Calf Rescue Program. In this position, he would be responsible for the care of all the calves, regardless of the calves’ age or health. Your son would monitor which calves are sick as well as the medical treatment they receive. He would also keep all the relevant charts up to date.
Skills such as leadership, personal responsibility, and the ability to delegate responsibilities to others are some of the skills that your son will learn as part of the Calf Rescue Program. These skills will be vital to your son’s future success in whatever profession he chooses.