Wyoming Cowboy ChalleNGe Academy visits HORAH

Nov 8, 2020 | Testimonials

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The Wyoming Cowboy ChalleNGe Academy, or WCCA, is a five-and-a-half-month-long residential academy designed to provide structure, instill discipline and help young men and women ages 16-18 recognize and achieve their potential in a quasi-military learning environment.

Each cadet must perform a minimum of 40 hours of community service to successfully complete this core component. Why? Giving back to the community is a great way to meet good people, help others, and be exposed to more and different life skills.

Studies have shown that altruism helps young people feel more connected to their communities, helps them take responsibility for a cause they find important, and helps boost confidence and a sense of pride. At the Wyoming Cowboy ChalleNGe Academy, cadets perform numerous acts of community service for non-profit organizations.

One such organization is Home on the Range (HORAH). This special place is one of the most important steps as the cadets learn what it is to serve others. Cadets travel to Laramie and perform 3-4 hours of manual labor. Cadets work on everything from fencing, cleaning the barns, building structures, pulling weeds out of the pasture, and any other task assigned. The hard work gives the cadets a sense of pride and accomplishment.

The Director of Home on the Range, Deb Roberts, then invites the cadets into the house for a home-cooked meal. This is an amazing experience for the cadets for several reasons. 1. For some, this is the first home-cooked meal they have ever had. 2. For others, it’s the first family-style meal they ever experienced. We sit around the table with other volunteers and have great food and wonderful conversation. This is imperative to their self-esteem and future social skills.

After the meal, we wrap up any lingering projects so we can dedicate the majority of the afternoon to animal therapy. Cadets are allowed hands-on time with the animals which truly is an amazing experience to witness. Some of our cadets come from unfathomable backgrounds of neglect and abuse. The unconditional love they receive from the animals is absorbed and retained by the cadets and it lifts their spirits. The animals at HORAH recognize pain and sadness when humans don’t. It’s amazing how the cadets with the worst demons bond to the less social animals. The cadets talk and vent their problems to these loving animals and leave with a full heart. There is no judgment from the animals regarding someone’s past, religion, economic status, gender, or ethnicity. Cadets take this experience back to share with other cadets to encourage them to complete the program.

Home on the Range is so much more than an animal rescue. The animals themselves come from poor conditions, often neglected, and turned over to slaughter when the owners no longer want to care for them. When they arrive at Home on the Range they are provided with quality food and more love than they ever thought possible. This is how Home on the Range is able to give back so much to the community. It’s a cycle we cannot let end. It’s not about one struggling non-profit, it’s about the love and joy of animal kinship with the struggling human to make both whole again.

Christi Parrish
Public Relations Specialist