The 65th Annual Open House at the Florida Sheriff’s Boys Ranch came to a close the end of this past February.

We were able to spend February at the Ranch as Volunteers with the SOWERS ministry , to help prepare for the Open House. February is a very busy month since many preparations have to be made for the hundreds of Alumni, Visitors, Campers, Campers with horse trailers and all their gear, Sheriffs and Deputies from all over the State, Special Guests, and Visitors along with the taking care of the normal day to day operations of youth care. Every year the Open House is an “All Hands On Deck” operation with everyone working in the preparation. This includes all the staff from the Main Office, the Administration Office, the Teachers, the Counselors, the Chaplain, the Maintenance staff, the Farm staff, the Kitchen staff, the Recreation Director, the Mechanics staff, the House Parents and Youth Care Assistants and the Youth. The Sheriffs and Deputies also play a very big part.

Added to all the normal preparations was the enormous task of covering the horse arena. A generous donor provided the funds to cover the entire arena. Ranch staff spent countless hours and many sleepless nights getting the arena ready for use and looking good for the Open House. A lot of dirt had to be moved along with the water and electric lines. New drainage ditch tile had to be laid. New fencing had to be built and put in place. A retention wall had to be built. The old bleachers had to be torn down and new ones built and anchored in place. And of course, new sod had to be put down and watered.

Dave and the other SOWER volunteer helped in several areas. They built bleachers, set the bleachers, repaired and painted the announcers stand in the arena as well as pressure washed and weed-eated around several buildings

Besides cleaning the Alumni building and preparing the Ranch House for guests and the house for the Sheriffs and Deputies to stay in, Robyn and the other SOWER lady volunteer worked in the kitchen helping with the daily food preparation and the two open house meals that served several hundred people.

Here’s Robyn making one of the thirty 5-gallon buckets of cole slaw

It was a blessing to be able to assist with all the preparations and an even greater blessing, with all the other visitors to experience the full open house. We got to see the horse competitions, the Boys Ranch Riding Ranchers, the ever fun Buddy Pick Up horse competition, enjoy the two delicious meals we helped prepare and watch how much the crowd enjoyed the open house.

Some News ! I’ve been working on and writing this blog for well over a year now. Soon, you will find us mostly on our YouTube Channel. It’s called Escaping Normal R V. Be sure to check it out and subscribe. It’s a work in progress right now. As we keep adding to it, it will get better and better. Leave us a comment and let us know what you think of it.

Until Next Time….