We have two main programs that we run here at Pathfinder Farms. The first program that we start with is the after school development and the summer work program. In the near future we plan on a second year program that will continue the relationships that we have forged in the after school program and eventually hook the second year program with a local outdoor Christian school. We hope that after going through these programs the young men well mature in their Christian walk and use these skills and knowledge to make good life choices. Also, we hope that many of them will come back and help other young men overcome the challenges in their lives.
We work with a single group of boys each school year that are at risk or in the court system. We meet every Tuesday after school from 3:30 till 7:30. During that time we are interacting with them in several consistent ways. We start out with a healthy snack, then we either do team building games or some sort of group activity that will teach them life skills. If the weather is nice (sun out and dry) we try to be outside and keep them moving as much as possible. The main activity(things like outdoor navigation, fishing, hiking and nature walks) will take most of the time. We always try to relate our activities with the bible.
In the winter months it’s almost never dry so we keep them inside for the most part. We have a wood shop that we use for making our projects. We always do safety training first and any tool or situation awareness that applies. In most cases the boys keep whatever they make and use them for gifts or to put in their survival kits. Then after clean-up we head to the pond house (small 2 car garage by the pond use for outdoor meals and gathering) for a home cooked dinner and fellowship. Clean up again and then bible study.
I should note that we pray several times during the evening... when we first come together, at meal time, when we study the bible, and to end our night together with the Lord’s Prayer.
Generally we have 1 adviser to 1 young man. We do have some female support that helps make it all come together.
At the end of our school year we let the boys plan an overnight outing held here at the farm, in the woods, and pond house. Activities that they have to plan are meals, games, horse backing, about anything within reason are on the table. It can be one Saturday or a Friday night and Saturday, or it can last till Sunday. This always turns out to be a lot of fun and a real bonding time. It will also be the last time we see these boys in this program and emotions run very high. We find out just how much the boys have learned.