|Kelly, Kyle, and Sandy figuring out the baking thing
Yesterday students from St. Mary's Catholic Student Center at Texas A and M came out, a whole slew of them! They'd wanted to do a service project, and we said, “Hey, why don't you do a Halloween thing with our residents? They'd love that.”
Everyone was game, so we worked a bit from both ends to set up and afternoon of fun and fellowship, and it was a doozie!
|Kyle rides his broom like the cowboy he is
The thing is, there's just something special about Aggies. We do have a few straggling Longhorns at the Ranch (and one real one), but the Aggies far outnumber them. One reason is that we've had a close relationship with St. Mary's since the late 90s, so much so that many of our campers and Ranchers either come from that area or have very close ties to the University.
|Not Quiddich–it's just a broom race
I guess it figures that Aggies would be attracted to Ranch life. Whatever the reason, by now the ties are so strong that the Ranch can deck itself out in maroon for any occasion.
The day began with everyone getting to know one another, moved on to cookie-backing, continued with the great scarecrow-stuffing-broomstick-racing-pumpkin-rolling event, and ended up by carving faces on the surviving pumpkins. In the middle of all that were hamburgers for lunch.
The St. Mary's students were easy and natural with the residents, and asked over and over how they could get more involved.
|Alan gets down and dirty with his pumpkin carving
I told them that kids and adults with intellectual disabilities spend a whole lot of time with people who are paid to be with them and precious little with anybody (excluding family) who just wants to be around them because they like them.
Therefore the St. Mary's visit was pure gold for us. Just give our people a chance and they'll steal your heart.
Soon they'll be on Facebook tagging their new friends, enjoying the chance to be like everyone else. The students will become hooked on the fascinating news from Down Home Ranch as disseminated by the Ranchers themselves.