The Summer Youth Program has been visiting the Arapaho Ranch for a decade to participate in what we call the “Ranch Safari.”
In year five, we began cleanup at the Arapaho Mansion and Ranch HQ, along with conducting our place-based education across 450,000 acres of the ranch. From fall 2018 through spring 2020, summer youth workers participated in an NEA-funded program to restore the Mansion’s original furnishings, which were discovered in the mansion bomb shelter.
Other activities for Ranch Safari participants have included:
- Erecting the tipis they will sleep in
- Conducting service-learning projects at the Field Station
- Visiting petroglyphs, tipi rings, and buffalo jumps
- Riding horses
- Cooking traditional foods (Chokecherry Gravy and dried meat) with Elders
- Making traditional Arapaho art with Elders
- Learning to calculate tonnage of feed for livestock
- Learning to conduct water testing in the Owl Creek Mountains at the center of the Ranch
- Making short films with Alan O’Hashi of Boulder, CO
- Writing poetry with Montana’s Poet Laureate, Henry Real Bird, of Crow Nation
Youth and Elders have been central to the Summer Ranch Safari, and through their experience comes an attachment to the place and the buildings. Together, the Youth and Elders cook in the kitchen of the mansion, eat in the dining room, and attend class sessions in the living room.