Joy plays an important role in treatment at Yellowstone Boys & Girls Ranch. We believe that while growing up, every child should experience some kind of joy each day. Therefore, recreational activities play a crucial part in daily therapy and the lives of the youth living at the Ranch.
Activities are offered both on campus and off campus, depending on where the child is in their phase of treatment. Recreational therapists as well as direct care staff participate and guide these activities, engaging youth in games to help build specific skills - problem solving, working in teams, enhancing trust - as well as allowing youth to just have fun and release their energy.
Youth in residential care have access to a fully equipped athletic facility, the John H. Uihlein Recreation Center (the UC) as well as several athletic fields and a tennis court. Dedicated staffing allows these areas to be open every day and evening for use by the youth for organized and leisure activities.
On campus activities include the following favorites:
- Bike Riding
- Floor Hockey
- Ropes Course
- Dodge ball
- Horseback Riding
- Weight lifting
- Wii games
- Flag football
- Floor Hockey
- Boys basketball
- Girls Volleyball
Off campus activities are offered once youth have progressed to appropriate levels of safety and treatment. These activities range from attending cultural arts performances at the Alberta Bair Theater to semi professional baseball games at Dehler Park, both located in nearby Billings. Longer outings can include all day hikes in the nearby mountains, canoeing trips on the Stillwater River, and camping and exploring the great outdoors in Yellowstone National Park.
Youth also participate in community service projects in the surrounding communities. These projects include:
- Helping at the Beartooth Nature Center in Red Lodge, placing bark on walkways, shoveling snow, laying rock boarders, etc.
- Pulling weeds and picking up trash around Lake Elmo and Pioneer Park in Billings
- Working with the Billings chapter of Eagle Mount, leading horses and serving as side-walkers for children and adult riders with physical disabilities
- Washing dogs and cleaning cages at the Yellowstone Valley Animal Shelter
- Organizing clothes at Family Services in Billings
- Serving food at the Montana Rescue Mission
- Playing Bingo and participating in activities with the elderly at St. John’s Nursing Home
- Loading trucks with food at the Billings Food Bank