Boys Ranch Town provides care, stability
EDMOND — Jacob Jordan hadn't seen either of his parents since he was 7 and lived with his uncle, who worked for a rancher in the northwest Oklahoma community of Jett.
As Jordan grew older, he and his uncle regularly butted heads. At age 14, they mutually decided the teenager should try to live elsewhere — on a 145-acre working ranch in a rural Edmond setting.
Jordan's application to Boys Ranch Town, founded in 1953, was accepted by officials of the Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children.
Jordan lived on the campus and attended Edmond Memorial High School, and he's continued living on campus as an Oklahoma State University student.
He's majoring in agricultural education and travels to Stillwater in a pickup donated to him. He is also a resident adviser at the transitional living program for older students.
Jordan, 22, has fond thoughts and memories of Boys Ranch Town, where he said he matured during the past eight years.
“I can tell you that BRT is a safe haven,” Jordan said. “Our house parents didn't look at me as just another boy. I felt like their kid. I also got to see how a Christian couple interacts. Now that I have a girlfriend, I feel like I know how to treat that relationship.”
Boys Ranch Town is a great place for boys who are willing to better themselves, Jordan said.
“Every boy has a different story of why they're here. It's a great place for boys to grow up, to be mature men, and capable, caring Christian adults. Here, there are adults who support your goals and love you. All the staff here are happy to encourage each boy in whatever their dreams are.”
Jordan appreciated the ranch's system that helps the boys learn to earn privileges.
“You have to be respectful, do your homework, do your chores and get along with the other boys to move up in levels. As long as you're doing what you're supposed to, and taking care of business, you'll be able to have video game time, or for the older boys, driving or phone privileges,” he said.
As a high school student, Jordan was involved in football at Edmond Memorial. His senior year, he won the 2012 Shelby Hudson Football Memorial Scholarship, receiving $3,000 based on his personal motivation, heart and desire to excel, determination to accomplish goals, and perseverance in the face of obstacles, according to the award.
Boys Ranch Town was a dream for Mr. and Mrs. James M. Johnson from the time they lost their only son, Jimmy, in 1937. Their dream became a reality in 1953 when the Johnsons gave a large gift of money and land on which it is located.
Since 1953, more than 1,000 boys and men have called the ranch home, officials said. Boys come to live there between the ages of 9 and 15. Many come because their home life doesn't have the funds to support them.
Boys Ranch Town is not a treatment facility and cannot serve boys who are mentally or physically handicapped, severely emotionally disturbed, chemically dependent or who have long-standing delinquent behavior.
It has 40 cottages for boys and teens and 15 homes for men who are attending college or career technology schools.
Boys Ranch Town offers activities including 4-H, animal programs, sports, crafts, trail rides, camp-outs and rodeos. The boys attend Edmond Public Schools.
Animal programs include horses, cattle, sheep, pigs and a petting zoo. Caring for animals helps the boys develop patience and fosters caring, compassionate attitudes toward others and themselves, officials said.
Campus administrator Brent Thackerson said this about Jordan: “Since the first day that Jacob came to the ranch, he has been a source of joy for the staff at BRT. He has been a positive example for the younger boys. He is honest and is fun to be around. Jacob has taken advantage of the opportunities afforded him at BRT. He has turned out to be a very successful young man.”
For more information about Boys Ranch Town, call 341-3606. It is located at 5100 E 33rd Street in Edmond.