Rain and cool weather couldn’t dampen the spirit of youth, staff, and community members that came out to Buckland campus on September 19th to celebrate the program’s 20th anniversary.
“It’s the one day this whole summer that we had rain,” joked Kevin Mugford, director of the northern program.
The celebration kicked off with organized tours of the campus and a demonstration of equine assisted learning. The program is exclusive to the Buckland campus and popular with youth and staff across the province.
“Buckland campus has always had horses,” explained Amanda Snell, equine program leader. “We have been building this program for the last 10 years. It is a really exciting program and we wanted to showcase the benefits for the youth.”
The formal anniversary program kicked off with a welcome from Kevin, who also thanked the original Buckland landowners – the Robinson family, and greetings from Andrea Brittin the Ranch Ehrlo CEO.
“Someone had the vision and foresight to take this piece of land and developed what you see here today which is an amazing campus that is doing amazing things,” Andrea stated.
Malcolm Neill, vice-president of residential services, gave the crowd a history lesson. He discussed how plans were in the works since the 80’s to create a campus in the north.
“At that time the board of directors and the leadership of the Ranch realized that the best way to help young people was to help them stay connected and close to their home communities,” he explained.
All eyes and ears were focused on Sara*, a current youth, who shared her story about living at the Ranch and how she credits the staff for where she is today.
“Thank you so much for all the time, energy, and support. I’m sure that I’m just one of the many people that you have helped. I truly believe I would not be here today without all of your work.”
The last person to speak was one of the longest serving, current employee in Prince Albert, housemother Ingrid Sinoski. Ingrid was emotional giving her speech and was supported by a youth in her program. She talked about the start of her career in 2001 and the changes in staff and programing she had seen along the way. Over the years, three generations of her family have also worked alongside her in the agency.
“A lot of staff have come and gone. One thing that has always remained the same is the care given to the youth,” she concluded.
A round dance and barbeque wrapped up the celebration.