Special Activities Day
Activities Day is a special time at the Sertoma Youth Ranch (SYR). It was developed and is sponsored by the Ranch Hands Sertoma Club for mentally and physically challenged children and adults. Volunteers serve lunch. There is wonderful food, lemonade, hot cocoa and cake. Boy oh boy, do they enjoy the popcorn! A volunteer band plays and we all sing and dance together while enjoying nature. During Activities Day we give everyone a hayride behind a big ole tractor through the woods. This event takes place four times a year and makes us all appreciate life.
What to do at the Ranch?
The Ranch is a bounty of nature and exploration. We offer Organized Youth groups the opportunity to camp for free. Over the last 40 years we have served over 1,650 organized youth groups. It is always open to any church youth group, Boys and Girls Clubs, Scout groups, and more to come camp and enjoy the woods. They are invited to explore the outdoors – nature’s classroom. There is a large open field to play sports or it can be as simple as bird watching. Families can come enjoy the campgrounds with their children and experience a quiet night under the stars. Did I mention the star gazing? Star Gazing is absolutely free every night!
We have a spring-fed creek that starts in the primitive area and runs through the park eventually emptying into Lake McLeandon. Kids love to wear their rain boots and walk through the shallow creek.
We have a fenced in playground not far from the lower bathrooms and café. There are several swings including a tire swing, two jungle gyms with slides, and a sand box; a true gathering spot for kids to find a new friend.
We just installed 3 new homes for thousands of new neighbors at the Ranch. Thank you Craig for donating two bat houses and a new home for friendly bees.
Sertoma Youth Ranch also features a Primitive Camping area – not just for camping, but to explore nature on the many wooded trails. You will see lots of citrus trees growing wild like oranges and tangerines. Be careful of these barbed, thorny trees! Be sure to visit our Wildlife section on our web site!
Where can kids go during our Bluegrass Events?
Sertoma Youth Ranch dedicates Friday and Saturday to our Youth Program during our Thanksgiving Bluegrass Festival. Following our success, other event promoters, that bring music festivals to the Ranch, have adopted similar programs for their festivals. Meet up is between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. with parents safely signing in their kid(s) with campsite number and contact information at the Youth Learning Pavilion. Each child will receive a name tag with a PIN to put on all their projects ensuring that they don’t get lost! The kids will receive a bag or backpack to decorate and carry all of their manyprojects in. We even supply a bag or backpack to decorate and carry all their loot back home!
The Ranch has enjoyed challenging the creative minds of our youth by indulging them in projects such as: tie-dye, holiday themed presents, projects using recycled items, and of course…musical related crafts! We also haven’t forgotten that kids just like to play, so we have been known to take them on hayrides, play various games, paint their faces up into playful characters and creatures, twist balloons into all sorts of things, and even beat up on a piñata. The kids that come to the Youth Program also get a rare opportunity to learn from professional musicians who join us to play music and then, giving a hands on lesson, demonstrate just how their instruments work. We highly recommend that you join in on this, if you have an instrument or not, and witness the gift of music being instilled in our next generation.
Our Youth Program is open Friday and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Although in the past it has catered to the ages between 5 and 12, we are branching out to include teens with some special events so don’t forget the teenagers!! Sertoma thoroughly enjoys doing what we do…so feel free to come on over to the Youth Pavilion as this is amazingly and totally free!!!
We hope to inspire and mentor the best characteristics needed in our future leaders. It is our goal to develop new youth activities over the years and to offer Mentors to teach children about Sertoma and Nature.
What is it like to grow up at the Ranch?
Steve Schadt, past President of SYR was just a young kid when his family started coming to the Ranch. His dad, Danny Schadt, was one of the pioneers in creating this place. Steve recalls camping, exploring the woods, playing ball, boating, the great hay rides and roasting marshmallows. Friends he met thirty years ago are still in his life today. Mentors like Steve’s dad along with many great people devoted over 40 years of their lives to the development and upkeep of the ranch. This is why he is serving as our President today. Steve remembers when there were no electric hook ups or showers, just lots of trees. With numerous people’s devotion and many years of hard work, we have beautiful campsites, nice bathrooms, hot showers, and a bunk house that can sleep 8 people, a kitchen with a snack bar. The addition of the Pavilion has added so much to the ranch. A great place to listen to music and enjoy great food.