Where Young Men Come Alive


"Comradery, friendship, brotherhood."

– by Joe Lanigan

With a plethora of planned activities, sprinkled with a dash of chaos, and with wilderness and adventure around every corner, camp is a place where boys come alive. Wether they are tromping through a swamp searching for frogs, and feeling how slippery they can be or gazing into a glowing fire, amazed by the wonder and mystery within, boys get to embrace a side of themselves at camp that they rarely get to experience at home. A freedom comes when they come to camp. They get to decide who they want to be that week. 

Wilderness, adventure, chaos, mystery, amazement, discovery, freedom.

If that doesn’t describe the heart of a young boy, I don’t know what does.

One of the only things better for a young heart than being in an atmosphere like that, is being there alongside others experiencing the same thing. Sleeping on a bunk bed in a room full of new faces seems daunting at first, but by the end of the week those faces are ones they will never forget. Friendship forged in adventure creates strong bonds that can last a lifetime.

Comradery, friendship, brotherhood.

Experiencing all these things is powerful, but perhaps the most powerful thing for a young boy is seeing the older boys, the older campers, the leaders in training, the cabin leaders and camp staff, embracing the same things. It’s someone you look up to modeling and demonstrating what it looks like to dive into adventure and comradery. The young heart yearns to be “just like my cabin leader one day!” And are they ever surprised when just a couple years later they hear the same thing being said about them.

Camp doesn’t necessarily change boys, it empowers them. It doesn’t necessarily add anything to them; it unleashes something inside them that was already there. It draws them out and shapes them into something truly powerful. Camp turns boys into men, by simply letting boys be boys.

Joe has been involved with the Ranch since the summer of 2013. After his third summer at the Ranch, Joe enrolled in the very first L.E.A.D. program at Circle Square Ranch Big Clear Lake (Arden). In the fall of 2017, Joe joined the full-time team as the maintenance manager. He has a heart for the ranch and the ministry that it provides.

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