The Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch is celebrating its 60th anniversary.
Sixty years of serving troubled youth. Sixty years of making a difference in countless lives.
Founded as the Yellowstone Boys Ranch, the 501 non-profit refuge for troubled youth was started in 1956 by Franklin and Merle Robbie as the Yellowstone Boys Ranch. The Robbies saw a need, for an alternative, to housing delinquent boys with adult criminals, as had been the practice at the time.
As times changed so did the needs of children, and so did the Yellowstone Boys Ranch, with one significant change being the inclusion of girls as beneficiaries of their services. So, the name was changed to the Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch (YBGR).
As part of their celebration YBGR will host a conference in September, focused on improving outcomes for kids and families in Montana.
Located on 400 acres, six miles west of Billings, today, YBGR offers residential services, chemical dependency, pastoral care and community based services in Billings, Lockwood, Shepherd, Laurel, Dillon, Livingston and Lewistown. It operates on multiple funding sources, but since the very beginning, it is largely supported by philanthropy in various forms.
YBGR serves youth (age 6-24) from across the nation, providing foster care for the younger children, and support employment programs for the older youth. Each year they serve 550 -750 kids.
Over its six decade history YBGR has touched the lives of over 10,000 kids.
YBGR has seven lodges on campus, and they operate a full-fledged K-12 accredited school, Yellowstone Academy. Among the Academy’s courses are art, music, welding, woodworking, horticulture, horsemanship and more.
YBGR’s services include: Assessment, Outpatient services, Therapeutic Foster Care, In-home Family Support, Case Management, School-Based Services, Residential/PRTF Care, Day School and Day Treatment services, Therapeutic Mentoring program.
“We focus on trauma informed care, cognitive behavior therapy, dialectical behavior therapy and other therapies,” according to Morgan Tuss, Public Relations Coordinator for YBGR. “We are one of few organizations in the Billings region that offers EAGALA therapy, and maybe the only that offers ropes course therapy.”
Kids are offered a wide variety of opportunities that give them hands –on experience and involvement, such as a new bee program, welding and woodworking, small machining, outdoor recreation like camping, hiking, fishing and more. YBGR offers Equine Assisted therapy and recreational/pet therapy.
YBGR’s Homes for Heifers farm and ranch program works with ranchers throughout the state to provide a source of financial sustainability for YBGR.
The kids also participate in community service projects with other nonprofits like Zoo Montana, and a partnership with Young Life Ministries in their Spiritual Life Program.
YBGR’s Pastoral Care program includes chapel service, individual therapy, mentoring, youth groups and youth camps.
The mission of YBGR has a large economic impact in the community, employing almost 325 people, including therapists, nurses, mental health workers, case managers, family resource specialist, administrative, maintenance, psychiatrists, teachers, para-educators and administrators. They also employ an additional 10 staff at the YBGR Foundation, which provides college scholarships to discharged students or alumni youth.
YBGR encourages staff training and has a comprehensive training department and they offer Bachelor, Masters and Doctoral Internships.