This is a story about a day in the life of a Buckland house parent. It is also the first in a series of stories about the day in the life of staff in various positions and locations at Ranch Ehrlo Society.
Andrew Brown is the housefather for Alex Guy House on Ranch Ehrlo’s Buckland campus outside of Prince Albert.
Andrew works Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and handles running the household in the group home.
When he arrives at Alex Guy, he checks in with the night staff for any updates. Then he begins to make the youths’ lunches. Sometimes it’s a hot lunch. Sometimes it’s sandwiches. He likes to give the youth variety, so they don’t get bored.
Then it’s time to wake up, everyone! The participants decide what they want for breakfast which could be cereal or hot food.
Andrew said he uses this time to get to know the participants and their individual personalities. “I only get two hours with them every day. I really look forward to the days they’re off from school so I can spend eight hours with them,” he said with a smile.
After breakfast is finished, Andrew will sometimes play a game with the youth, visit, or help them with a chore until it’s time to go to school. He drives the participants who attend school in Prince Albert.
If a youth is home sick, Andrew is there to nurture them by making them soup and helping them to be comfortable.
He goes grocery shopping after everyone is at school. Then back home to prep for supper, and the evening snacks. He usually prepares everything, so the staff only serve it.
“I prep for success. I also do the basic day-to-day chores that I need to do to keep the place running and clean and sanitary,” he explained.
Andrew loves when the youth want to help in the kitchen. He encourages all the participants to suggest recipes they would like to have, and sometimes they want to help make something.
He explained that the Buckland campus is a stunning place to work. There is lots of space for activities including volleyball, baseball, basketball, soccer, hiking, and even slip-and-slides in the summer.
“People in the city would have to drive out to a park to have what we have here. We can also drive a few minutes from here and we’re at a beach,” he said.
Since Buckland is so close to Prince Albert, they also have access to all the city amenities.
“I love my job at the Ranch. I’ll be doing something, and one of the youth will ask if I want to play a game, then suddenly I’m getting paid to play baseball,” he said.
He added that the Ranch offers excellent wages, benefits, and training opportunities. “I’m not living paycheque to paycheque by any means,” he said.
His advice for anyone thinking about working at the Ranch is to be energetic and have fun.
“For someone who likes to help people and wants people to have a better life this is the place to work,” he said.