Youth Service Corps FAQs
For whom is the Youth Service Corps directed?
The Youth Service Corps (YSC) program at Ghost Ranch is an opportunity for youth in middle school/junior and senior high school to provide valuable service both on and off the ranch. Youth can register as part of a group or enroll as individuals (who have come to Ghost Ranch with their parents or guardians). Exceptions can be made to the normal age requirements on a case by case basis.
How many chaperones must we provide and what are chaperone responsibilities?
Ghost Ranch requests a ratio of 1 adult to 7 youth. If both genders are represented within a group, Ghost Ranch requests that an adult of each gender be a part of the group. Adults are normally not housed with students, however, they will be in adjacent rooms. Adult chaperones will need to serve as drivers to work sites and are encouraged to participate in the work projects. Ghost Ranch provides counselors to work with the group throughout the day, however, chaperones are responsible for night supervision of their youth.
What is a typical day like?
While no day is the same, one can expect to begin the day with intergenerational worship and follow this in the morning with service work. The group will then break for lunch and in the afternoon either continue their work, experience a cultural or recreational activity, or have free time until dinner. In the evening, different activities often occur on the ranch and the day usually ends with a reflection/debriefing and vespers.
Additionally an orientation sets the tone for the week and allows for the YSC staff and participants to begin bonding. Finally, YSC registrants are invited and encouraged to attend worship on Sunday at the conclusion of the week.
How much service work will be performed during the week?
Normally, the YSC will perform approximately 20-25 hours of service during the week; approximately half the service work will take place on the ranch and have off the ranch. Included in this is time getting to service venues. Depending upon the weather and other factors, the number of hours may vary slightly.
What type of work can the YSC expect to perform?
YSC participants can expect to perform a wide variety of meaningful work both on and off the Ranch. In 2012, service work off the included volunteering at the Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo’s Boys and Girls Club; Adobe in Action (a non-profit that builds adobes houses for low income families; Adobe Build at Ghost Ranch, The Northern New Mexico Teen Project (located in Abiquiu) working with local teens on an organic farm, and Christ in the Desert (a Benedictine Monastery) to name but a few.
On the ranch activities included creating a Xeriscape garden; painting and beautifying the dorm social rooms; trail maintenance; working on the Ghost Ranch Farm; creating murals for public spaces; and working on a recycling campaign, again to name but a few.
At each venue, the work is contextualized and the YSC participants are introduced to the organization and activities for which they are providing assistance, with emphasis on better understanding the culture.
Will the YSC be working on one project or many?
One of the goals of the YSC is to expose its participants to the richness and diversity that is found both on the ranch and in Northern New Mexico. By offering a variety of projects (some lasting one morning, others a few days), this goal is likely to be achieved. Furthermore, with this approach, YSC staff finds that the youth do not encounter boredom. Sometimes, however, there may be a need to undertake a multi-day project. The completion of such a task can lead to a great sense of accomplishment. In general, projects will vary depending upon the needs of the ranch and the organizations with which the YSC is working.
What about cultural and recreational activities?
Built into the YSC program are cultural and recreational activities. Opportunities may include, for example, hikes on the ranch, visits to cultural and historical sites such as Poshouinge and Bandelier, interfaith conversations at the Dar al Islam Islamic Center in Abiquiu, NM, and tours of the three Ghost Ranch museums. Participants can also visit the library which is open 24 per day, walk the labyrinth and meditate in the Zen Garden, have a campfire, and exhibit their talents at the weekly Coffee House. Finally, swimming and waterfront (canoeing and kayaking) are usually scheduled.
In addition to these, YSC staff builds into the program free time for rest and relaxation.
How much does the program cost?
The cost for Youth Service Corps is $350 per week for each participant (youth and adults). This includes housing (dorm style) and meals, registration, and a Youth Service Corps T-shirt. To secure spots, a $100 non-refundable but transferable deposit is required for each participant. Final payment must be received 45 days before program start date.
What should one bring?
It is important that participants bring clothes that they do not mind getting dirty. These include jeans (or other durable long pants), a light-weight long-sleeved shirt (to block the sunlight), a hat, shorts, short-sleeved shirts, and a pair of close-toed shoes (i. e. hiking boots or sneakers). Work gloves, if a participant has them, come in handy. A swimsuit is highly recommended as well (to use at the waterfront or in the pool). Sunscreen, a water bottle, a flashlight, a water bottle, and an umbrella are also essential.
It is also important that each participant brings with him or her signed copies of the Confidential Medical Form and the Ghost Ranch Release Form.
Bear in mind that Ghost Ranch is 6,500 feet above sea level and that the body takes time getting used to this change. The temperature can be very high in the summer and the weather is susceptible to rapid and violent changes.
Will there be other participants in the YSC when our group is at Ghost Ranch?
Usually, yes. Most weeks the YSC will be composed of a variety of groups and individuals from around the country. This means that as the week progresses and as the YSC begins to bond, wonderful new friendships are made. YSC staff regularly commences the week with group bonding exercises at orientation and on the ranch’s low ropes course.
Is there a degree of flexibility built into the program? For example, can I take my group to Santa Fe for the day?
Flexibility is key to the overall success of the program and to ensuring that the needs of registered groups (and individuals) are being met. The staff works very closely and tries to tailor activities each week to the participants in it. Each evening before dinner, YSC staff meet with the leaders to check in to make sure the day went well and that goals and objectives are being met. Finally, while nothing can be guaranteed, with foresight and planning, particular requests can often be honored.
What about other opportunities in ranch life?
Each day begins with intergenerational worship which YSC participants are highly encouraged to attend. YSC participants are often asked to take a leadership role at one or more of these services. In midweek, the college staff always hosts an “open mike” coffee house and talent show. At the end of the week, there is a celebration night where ranch guests highlight their important achievements of the week. Here, YSC has the opportunity to make know what they have accomplished and to express how the week has impacted them and others in the community. This can be done in a variety of ways (e. g. through song, drama, PowerPoint presentation).
Is Youth Service Corps only in the summer?
While YSC is a formalized summer program, Ghost Ranch is willing and able to assist groups interested in performing service on the ranch or in neighboring communities during other times of the year.
After making contact to arrange your group:
Step 1: Youth Registration Form (please send with deposit) YSC_GroupLeader_Registration Form-2
Step 2: Individual Registration Forms for each participant (due prior to arrival) YSC_IndividualParticipant_form
Step 3: Medical Disclosure and Photo Release Med and Photo Release (2)-2
Step 4: OA Waiver YSC OA Release (1)-2
Step 5: Service Agreement Release Addendum Form-2