The Therapeutic Value of “Co-Ed”ucational Events
Co-educational activity: Discovery Ranch for Boys meets periodically throughout the year with its sister program Discovery Ranch for Girls to enjoy a fun-filled day of co-educational activities and social interaction. These events are always a blast and end up having a significant therapeutic impact for the students and staff who decide and qualify to participate. (Discovery Ranch for Girls is located near Cedar City, UT in the southern part of Utah)
In an all-boys program, the benefits of a co-ed social event can have a strong therapeutic impact as explained by our very own Program Coordinator, Chase Morgan.
By: Chase Morgan
Discovery Ranch for Boys
While working for Discovery Ranch I’ve been a part of quite a few co-educational events, always from the girl’s program perspective until now. Having previously worked at Discovery Ranch for Girls, I was able to see the anticipation, set up, and process that goes into the Co-ed social. During that time, I formed the opinion that the Co-educational event is one of the most therapeutic activities we at the Ascent Companies (parent company for both Discovery Ranch programs) put together for these students.
Having recently transferred my job position to Discovery Ranch for Boys, I was lucky enough to handle our end of the most recent Co-ed event; as well as travel with the boys and participate in all that the event had to offer. The buildup started about a week in advance and the boys were nervous, excited, and everything in between. On the drive down to Discovery Ranch for Girls, the boys were constantly discussing the upcoming event, and how it might turn out. The boys said things from, “just a bunch of treatment kids being awkward” to “this is going to be wack” I myself don’t quite know what wack means, but it wasn’t meant as an endearing term (Maybe a short form of whacky or crazy!?).
The drive down was mostly uneventful other than a few bathroom stops. On the drive down, one van got ahead of the other and when we pulled into the girl’s ranch 5 boys jumped out of the first van. Outnumbered 20 to 5, the boys felt very uncomfortable, especially with a few ice breaker activities starting. Not long after, however, the other van showed up and with all the boys there everyone started to warm up to the situation, and decide how things were going to go. The students went from super quiet and cautious to very friendly and involved quickly and naturally. The different personalities all showed up, quiet, loud, show off, reserved, you name it, and between the combined 34 students, it all showed.
The girl’s ranch staff went above and beyond to provide the students with awesome activities from zorb soccer, to a beach party dinner, ending with a bonfire fireside group. There wasn’t much downtime, which was effective in keeping the kids all socializing. I say hats off to those staff for all the time and effort that went into putting this event together.
The fireside group was a time when everyone could really see how much appreciation there was for one another, and for the opportunity to have events such as this one. While running a group involving sand, glass, fire, and the process involved, I allowed the students to be proactively involved in discussing how this process also plays out in their own lives. There was some very insightful and genuine input.
Everyone said goodnight and went their separate ways and we were able to keep the boys out at the fire to hold a debriefing of sorts and just collect ourselves. There was nothing but appreciation from the boys and staff as we locked arms and gave a round of affirmations about the day, gazed at the full moon that so conveniently enhanced the moment, and went off to bed. The next morning on our way out, the boys were so grateful and thankful for the opportunity they were given, and multiple requests of “can we go back” were heard the entire trip back to the Discovery Ranch campus.