Blog

Wisdom Beyond Their Years

Wisdom Beyond Their Years

Many of the office doors in Bremer Hall (the central building on our Minot campus) have small 8" x 10" white boards hanging on them. These boards serve a variety of purposes. Some are used to list office hours. Some give location info like, "I'm in the barn with the kids until 3 p.m." Some ask everyone who passes to vote on an important life question, "Would you rather be 10 feet tall or 10 inches tall?" (If you're curious, 10 feet tall won by a landslide.)…

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Kiwanis Club of Minot Provides Funds for Cottage Furniture at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

Kiwanis Club of Minot Provides Funds for Cottage Furniture at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

The Kiwanis Club of Minot granted $744 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch to purchase furniture for Thatcher Cottage on the Minot, ND campus, which serves boys ages 14-18.…

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"I will pray for you."

"I will pray for you."

One of our kids is going home today. Of course, I am thrilled. We are here to “help at-risk kids and their families succeed in the name of Christ.” Part of succeeding is being able to live with a family. No child should grow up at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch…

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Like, when is your birthday?

Like, when is your birthday?

“How old are you? Like, when’s your birthday?” I had a chance to sit on the grass next to a circle of kids on one of our campuses. They were waiting for a tardy ice cream truck, and they were so patient. Their topic of conversation was age.…

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Kiwanis Club of Fargo Awards $2,500 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

Kiwanis Club of Fargo Awards $2,500 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

The Kiwanis Club of Fargo granted $2,500 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch to furnish a Balanced Learning Environment (BLE) in its newly renovated library/media center in Dakota Memorial School, Fargo, the on-campus school of Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch.…

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The Lutheran Women’s Missionary League Rocky Mountain District Grants $4,000 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

The Lutheran Women’s Missionary League Rocky Mountain District Grants $4,000 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch will receive $4,000 from the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, Rocky Mountain District during the 2022-2024 biennium to support its Spiritual Life programming. Funds will be used to update lighting fixtures in the Kruse Memorial Chapel on its Minot, ND campus, part of an overall renovation of the chapel.…

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"The Dunk"

"The Dunk"

One of the great challenges of being a trauma survivor is hypervigilance, which means being overly alert to danger. For children at the Ranch who have experienced abuse, neglect, or other traumatic events, nothing in life has been predictable and most surprises have caused pain. As a result, their senses and emotions are always on high alert.…

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Home.

Home.

With all she has been through, Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch is a kind of home to her. It is a place where people think about her, pray for her, cheer for her, and believe in her. There may be no other place that has met that measure for her. My prayer is that she and her fiancé’ can create a home for and with each other.…

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The Lutheran Women’s Missionary League North Dakota District Grants $500 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

The Lutheran Women’s Missionary League North Dakota District Grants $500 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch will receive $500 from the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, North Dakota District during the 2022-2024 biennium to support its Spiritual Life programming. Funds will be used to update lighting fixtures in the Kruse Memorial Chapel on its Minot, ND campus, part of an overall renovation of the chapel.…

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The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod Grants $10,000 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod Grants $10,000 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) granted $10,000 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch to support the Spiritual Life Program on its Bismarck, ND campus. Spiritual Life services on the Bismarck campus are offered in partnership with Zion Lutheran Church.…

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Healing minds, bodies, and spirits

Healing minds, bodies, and spirits

Every child experiences adversity. During a "typical childhood," a child will experience 3 or 4 ACES. When adversity is prolonged or extreme or consists of multiple types of adversity, those events begin to affect brain development and behavioral response.…

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Yes. That was the Olympic anthem you heard!

Yes. That was the Olympic anthem you heard!

For the last several years, our Minot Wellness and Spiritual Life staff have partnered to create a week-long “Ranch Olympics” during the month of August. The entire campus, kids, and staff, find ways to participate and engage. Very few of the children at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch have participated in organized sports. The trauma and chaos they have faced have made it hard for them to be "joiners."…

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A matter of skill, not will.

A matter of skill, not will.

Dr. Hannah Baczynski, Dakota Family Services Psychologist, showed this video in a staff training she did on understanding children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Her training centered around debunking myths about children with ADHD, one of the greatest ones being they could quit their behaviors if they just tried hard enough. With most of the children at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch having some level of ADHD or a related diagnosis, it is important we understand their reality.…

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A baptism, a dog, and friendship

A baptism, a dog, and friendship

On Monday of this week, I was in the nutrition center with Sydney when one of our girls came up. She had been one of the first girls Sydney had interacted with and had seen Sydney learn, while she herself was healing. They have a special friendship.…

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How many sisters?

How many sisters?

Yesterday at lunch I sat down next to a child I hadn’t met as he has only been with us for five days. He’s a handsome child—dark eyes, dark hair, those kinds of gangly limbs kids get in their teenage years. He looked at me through too-long bangs.…

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The Lutheran Women’s Missionary League Oregon District Grants $4,000 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

The Lutheran Women’s Missionary League Oregon District Grants $4,000 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch will receive $4,000 from the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, Oregon District during the 2022-2024 biennium to support its Spiritual Life programming. Funds will be used to update lighting fixtures in the Kruse Memorial Chapel on its Minot, ND campus, part of an overall renovation of the chapel.…

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Midco Foundation Awards $1,000 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

Midco Foundation Awards $1,000 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

The Midco Foundation granted $1,000 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch to do safety upgrades on its Bismarck campus. Specifically, funds will be used to update the fire alarm system.…

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Bingo Night!

Bingo Night!

When I first came to the Ranch and learned this, it surprised me. Here are kids with all different kinds of trauma-related behaviors. Some have attention deficit issues, others deal with anger or noise triggers, and others are uncomfortable in groups. They may be depressed or anxious or struggle with bipolar or schizophrenia diagnoses. They have seen much in their young lives. Yet, they like old, boring, low-tech Bingo.…

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Four braided dog toys

Four braided dog toys

Anyone who has worked in any kind of workplace has been approached to purchase “stuff” from the children of co-workers. Boy Scout popcorn, Girl Scout cookies, wrapping paper, butter braids, and raffle tickets. You name it, I’ve bought it. Actually, one of my life rules is, “Buy what kids are selling.”…

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Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch Granted Funds by Minot Area Community Foundation

Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch Granted Funds by Minot Area Community Foundation

Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch will receive $4,542.44 from the Minot Area Community Foundation. Funds for the grant were made possible through The Mike & Dorothy Dolan Fund. The granted funds will be used to purchase a financial literacy program for Dakota Memorial School, the on-campus school of Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch.…

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How many chances?

How many chances?

Yes, some of the children at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch have “gotten into trouble.” One hundred percent of the kids at the Ranch have endured some sort of trauma.…

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Minot Community Endowment Fund Grants $5,000 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

Minot Community Endowment Fund Grants $5,000 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch will receive $5,000 from the Minot Community Endowment Fund, a component of the North Dakota Community Foundation. Funds will be used to upgrade the lighting fixtures in the riding arena on the Ranch’s Minot, ND campus.…

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What's wrong with that child?

What's wrong with that child?

One of the great tenets of working with trauma survivors is, “Never ask what is wrong with the child. Instead, ask what happened to the child.” A child who has survived trauma will have developed ways to survive. Once they are out of the painful situation, they still rely on those maladaptive skills.…

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The Lutheran Women’s Missionary League California-Nevada-Hawaii District Grants $2,072 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

The Lutheran Women’s Missionary League California-Nevada-Hawaii District Grants $2,072 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch will receive $2,072 from the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, California-Nevada-Hawaii District during the 2022-2024 biennium to support the Music Ministry on its Minot campus.…

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Painting a Masterpiece

Painting a Masterpiece

What he realized, he said, was that life wasn’t a cohesive, well-put-together journey. The stories came out of order and at unexpected times. They didn’t necessarily build on each other, but rather stood alone as life lessons.…

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