From mentoring, to grounds-keeping, gardening, to administration and in every area in between, Refuge Ranch volunteers are the heart and hands behind all that we do. With a small staff, we rely heavily on the incredible community of volunteers who keep this place safe, beautiful and functional for the kids and families we are privileged to serve.
Together, we can do far more than we could ever accomplish on our own. Many of the jobs here are far from fun or glamorous. Pulling weeds, picking up manure, raking up hay, staining fences, and the list goes on. However, these are the day to day tasks necessary to keep the Ranch operational.
Other opportunities include but are not limited to clerical work, fundraising, landscaping, volunteering with our special needs riding program, gardening, caring for the Ranch chickens, praying with parents and families, providing craft opportunities for our kids. Volunteer opportunities are only limited by our creativity! There is a place for everyone to serve. Come be a part of the family at Refuge!
When can I volunteer?
Volunteering is limited to Ranch open hours. Volunteers will be scheduled according to time and availability, convenient for both the staff at the Ranch as well as the volunteer. For basic volunteer opportunities such as watering flowers, weeding the garden or assisting with other basic grounds maintenance and tasks, individuals and families may volunteer any time during our open hours which are listed on our home page.
I don’t have any horse experience. Can I still volunteer at the Ranch?
Absolutely! There are a multitude of volunteer opportunities at the Ranch! We ended last year with a significant waiting list in our mentoring program. It takes a great deal of time, commitment and perseverance, but so do most things that are worthwhile. If you possess a heart for relationship and sharing the Gospel we can teach the rest!
In addition, each year the Ranch has many opportunities to serve kids by hosting events and outreach for organizations like Big Brother, Big Sister, Compass for Kids, Family Service Center, to name a few.
Perhaps you have no desire to learn horsemanship, but you just love the outdoors? There are a multitude of volunteer opportunities that simply allow you to work in the fresh air and support the care and upkeep of the Ranch, not to mention administrative tasks, fund raising, and perhaps most important, prayer!
Can I volunteer directly with the children and horses as a trainer or mentor?
The opportunity to work with our kids and horses as a trainer or in the capacity of a mentor/riding instructor is reserved for our consistent, long-term adult volunteers. We ask that these volunteers first spend some time working at the ranch and volunteering in other capacities. This gives them the opportunity to get acquainted with our system and gives us the opportunity to train them in our method of teaching. We do offer weekly mentor training for approved volunteers.
A criminal background check will also be completed at the volunteer’s cost of $10.00 to ensure the Ranch remains a safe place for children.
Can I bring my children when I volunteer?
Absolutely! Empowering children and bringing families together is what the Ranch is all about! However, there is no childcare available at the Ranch, so we ask that you are prepared to be responsible for keeping a close eye on your children when they are here. While the Ranch is very child friendly, there are many ways to get hurt on a working farm!
Can my youth group stay overnight or camp out on Ranch property when volunteering?
Unfortunately, our current set up and insurance does not allow this kind of activity. However if you are interested in setting up a short term mission trip, please contact the Ranch for nearby housing and/or camping ideas and suggestions.
Can my child volunteer at the Ranch alone?
Because the Ranch is committed to bringing families together, we strongly encourage you to volunteer
alongside your child! This is priceless time for sharing work and conversation, as well as instilling the value of hard work and service in a child’s life. If a parent has volunteered for a time with an older child, and we determine that child is capable of working and completing tasks on their own, we may make an exception to this guideline.
How do I get started?
The first step is to contact us here or call the Ranch at 217-498-7679. Someone will be in touch to set up an initial appointment for a volunteer orientation where you can learn more specifically about volunteer opportunities and pick up the necessary paperwork to get you started. If you would like you can download the necessary paperwork here and bring it with you once you have scheduled an orientation.