What is Sweetwater Youth Ranch?
Sweetwater Youth Ranch was born out of a calling to minister hope and healing to children and families in our own back yard. Our experience with horses and our faith led us to begin this ministry in 2012. Because of our faith we have learned to navigate the waters of stress, fear, disappointment, loss and discouragement and still have hope; that hope is foundation for every thing we do.
We are more a ministry than a therapeutic facility; however, horses are therapeutic on their own. Horses are transparent and have a special way of connecting with children. This connection helps develop trust and confidence, relieves anxiety and creates lasting good memories. No matter the walk of life or circumstance we are available for anyone who wishes to share this experience.
We are Phillip Sr. and Beverly Hughes.
Phillip was raised on a farm and together we have lived the farm life since we were married in 1983. Our experience with horses as a couple goes back to the day we met. Phillip was on a horse and I fell in love with both of them. Later on we were introduced to Natural Horsemanship and thought it would be a great way to teach our children safety. Little did we know that it would open a door that would lead to so much more. Natural horsemanship is based on relationship which develops through equal doses of love, leadership and language which simply is equal to acceptance, respect and communication; the very things needed in all relationships. The very thing that helped us raise teenagers! This Ranch is fulfilling a dream we have had for many years to be able to help children who are less fortunate or struggling with various issues which include but are not limited to a lack of confidence, mental, physical, or circumstantial difficulties. It is an honor for us to donate our time to make an impact in their lives.
March 2012 Sweetwater Youth Ranch became a 501-c-3 organization . Our daughters Natalie and Andrea have been a big part of the Ranch from the inception and now volunteer a great deal of time to the ranch. Their information can be found on the staff page.
Our son Phillip Jr. is a regular ranch hand. He does it all, even helps keep the hooves trimmed.
What to expect at Sweetwater
We offer one-on-one 60-90 minute sessions with one horse, one leader, and one child. These sessions include; grooming, learning safety/ground skills, obstacle solving and some riding. Each session also includes a chore. Our philosophy is that exposing children to anything with life in it automatically demands a response. We believe that horses are like a mirror. We’re both relational by nature; therefore, working with these marvelous creatures hopefully causes us to see the need for positive changes in our character and ultimately the need for a savior.
What does it cost
Feeding and taking care of several horses can be very expensive but in order to make this opportunity accessible to all children, we do not charge for any activities. How can we afford to do this? By the generous tax deductible donations of individuals, businesses and support of churches and fundraisers.
How you can help
There are several ways to help…
Work days / help with maintenance / landscaping projects
Organize fundraisers- example: groups or clubs hosting fundraising events
Mentor Leaders work directly with the children therefore will be required to apply.
Hospitality volunteers greet the children and visit with parents during sessions
MONETARY: Unless designated for special use, monetary donations will be allotted for the general operating fund which covers program expenses, horse care and Ranch maintenance.
ITEMS: Tack and Supplies:
New or used light weight saddles (synthetic), folding saddle racks, saddle pads, helmets, brushes, combs, manure forks and buckets
Fly spray, Grooming products, Ropes and halters (natural)
Granite screenings, Gates, Fencing materials, Building materials, Gravel for the parking area, Fertilizer and ground nutrients
AREAS FOR DESIGNATION
All donations are tax deductible and appreciated.