Backpacking Nebo


Where can young people today develop work ethic, integrity, and the self-confidence to overcome challenges on their own? Young teens face a growing number of trials in a difficult world, and they are so programed with activity and technology, they are unable to commit the time needed to practice and prepare for independence. Opportunities are rare for authentic experiences in nature, away from smart phones and video games, where kids can build community, work, play, and develop resiliency to even greater problems they may face in high school and the years to come. The focus at BCSR is to teach 12-15 year old boys and girls to value nature and hard work, to think for themselves and overcome challenges, and to be engaged members of a community.

Each session of our summer service ranch,  provides opportunities for 30 participants, 15 staff, and many volunteers to engage with each other in daily community service projects, and challenging, creative, and educational activities. As we help an elderly couple with yard work or stack hay into a farmer's barn, we learn to value community, relationships and hard work. The community we serve, in return, benefits from our help and the interaction with the young participants. 

WE WORK HARD and WE PLAY HARD in the outdoors, and we discuss the process with all involved throughout the experience. We focus on principled living, demonstrating integrity, respecting nature, being mindful of the needs of the community—how our actions and decisions can have positive or negative consequences for others, and how facing and overcoming challenges, especially when we are helping others, can help us to feel better about ourselves and our own capabilities and goals.

The participants are 12-15 year old boys and girls. This is NOT a reform camp or treatment program. It is a camp for good kids who have not had serious behavioral problems in the past, who wish to have a fun and positive experience in Rural Utah. They will learn to appreciate the outdoors, engage in community, and develop lasting relationships with new friends.

The first BCSR session took place in June 2003. The years of experience since then have allowed us to develop traditions and focus our program to maximize positive outcomes for participants. We have done our best to build on the tradition of the Bennion Teton Boys Ranch, started by Lowell Bennion in 1963, in Teton Valley, Idaho. The Bennion Ranch operated for over 40 years before the nonprofit dissolved in 2005. We rely on generations of participants in the Bennion Ranch tradition to take ownership in our program and support BCSR, so we can continue to provide a similar, rural, character-building experience to young people. The ranch is located in Sanpete County, Utah. The beautiful location facilitates finding genuine work and service opportunities, and spending time outdoors in a variety of spectacular mountain and desert canyon locations, where participants can gain an appreciation for nature. 

Appreciation of hard work

Increased sense of civic-responsibility and engagement

New friends and appreciation for human relationships

Increased resiliency to life's challenges

Appreciation of nature

Better attention span and study habits

Increased self-confidence and integrity

Appreciation of simple, principled living