The RAM Ranger program is designed to provide new experiences for at-risk youth and opportunities to explore their interests and talents in a non-judgmental venue vastly different from their day-to-day environment. Qualified volunteer adult teachers and mentors lead small groups of 12-16 year-old boys and girls in life skills development classes and technical instruction. Inner city children will discover the great outdoors and the joys of nature. Plains Indian kids will learn ranching and horse management while camping in the mountains of East Tennessee. Some Guyanese youngsters have taken RAM Ranger classes in First Aid and are learning alternatives to slash-and-burn agricultural practices while realizing a growing respect for the rain forest and its bounty.
What makes the RAM Ranger program different from other agencies whose common mission it is to redirect wandering young minds and hearts?
The RAM Ranger program is not a boot camp, summer camp, or Scout camp. It is a unique effort growing from the grassroots tradition that has made the organization a world leader in utilizing volunteers to deliver free health care to impoverished and geographically isolated populations here and in other countries. Trained, experienced volunteer guides and counselors will host groups on our nearly 200 acres of pastures, woodlands, and river frontage in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains.
In the immediate future, RAM will make the acreage available for use as primitive camping opportunities, day camp sites for church groups, Boys and Girls Clubs, 4-H chapters. Students will encounter few luxuries, but will develop self-reliance, inner strength, and self-esteem. A primary goal will be to infuse as many of the next generation as we can with RAM’s core values of respect, integrity, and compassion.
RAM recently adopted several Mustang mares from the wild horse overstocked range in Oregon and brought them to the RAM Ranger Ranch near Knoxville, Tennessee. A few more are on order from the United States Bureau of Land Management. We are going to breed them at the RAM Ranger Ranch, and the colts from these incredibly hardy animals will be donated to native tribal groups in Guyana to revive their livestock industry. Thousands of Wapishana and Macushi Indians in the region and have been a focus of RAM’s charitable programs since 1992.
Current Needs for our RAM Ranger Program
As we continue to expand our services, we require more equipment, personnel, and support.