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v v CHAPTER 2 Cal Farley C al Farley masterminded the entire organization of Boys Ranch. He never requested government funds for his work because he did not want the government telling him how to raise his boys. He did not affiliate with any religious group, though he made certain that Bible teachings undergirded the principles of the ranch, and though he lived and worked in Amarillo, he rarely missed a Sunday at the ranch. After church, he had lunch with all of us in the dining hall, then walked around to each table talking with the boys. After lunch, many of the boys gathered around him. He was our hero. I never will forget the first time I saw Cal. I had expected a big, tall, powerful man. Instead, I saw a graying, short, stocky older man wearing wire-­ rimmed glasses. When he came to our table, I stood and shook his hand. He welcomed me to Boys Ranch, though I was disappointed when he called me “Dale.” I understood that he couldn’t have known my name yet. After all, there were more than 350 boys at the ranch, and that number grew nearly every month. Eventually, I thought, he’ll know my name. Cal made sure there was enough money in the bank to feed, clothe, and take care of a boy until he graduated from Boys Ranch. His goal was to help the bottom rung of boys, the lowest 10 percent that nobody wanted. Most of the boys had been moved around all their lives, just like my brothers and me. One boy, for example, was ten years old and had lived in twenty-­ two foster homes before coming to Boys Ranch. Cal was committed to each child equally. He believed they needed a permanent place to grow up. He knew that most of these kids would never finish high school, but he believed that if he could teach them Cal Farley • 13 how to read, write, and balance a checkbook, and if they could learn a vocational skill, they could become productive citizens. Boys Ranch was accredited by the state of Texas, so state funds contributed to teachers ’ salaries and the cost of running the elementary, junior high, and high school. Almost every boy was behind in his studies, so Cal made sure the student-­ teacher ratios were low, allowing the teachers to spend more time helping their students. When my brothers and I arrived at Boys Ranch, there were thirteen vocational programs—­ among them you could learn to be a cook, painter, plumber, bricklayer, barber, auto mechanic, or electrician. In the vocational program, each student received a small stipend for his work. If a boy wanted to be a painter, he apprenticed to an adult hired to paint Cal and Mimi Farley. Courtesy of Boys Ranch. 14 • The Grand Duke from Boys Ranch buildings at the ranch. Then when he graduated with his vocational skills, the goal was that he would have no problem finding a job. Upon graduation from Boys Ranch, graduates received one of two certificates: a high school diploma or a vocational certificate. Every boy walked across the stage in the same cap and gown, so nobody knew which certificate the graduate earned. A boy stayed until he turned eighteen or graduated with a diploma or a certificate. Cal Farley knew that most of the boys had never received any recognition or accomplished anything in their lives. To that end, he set up a competitive sports program in which ribbons and trophies were awarded to just about every boy. Dorms competed against each other in volleyball, baseball, basketball, track, and wrestling. The competitions were organized on an elimination basis, so ultimately the champion of the Hilltop dorms competed against the champion from the Valley dorms. Trophies were presented on the dining room stage, and all the winners were recognized. The first ribbon I won was for track, after I had been at the ranch three months. It was a green ribbon. I came in fifth place in a race, and I was so proud of my ribbon. I hung it in my closet so it was the first thing I saw when I got dressed in the morning. For many of the boys, this would be the first time they would receive any type of recognition, even for trying. This motivated a boy to try harder in whatever he was doing. Many of the boys at the ranch were violent juvenile...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781623496586
Related ISBN
9781623496579
MARC Record
OCLC
1031090706
Pages
336
Launched on MUSE
2018-04-16
Language
English
Open Access
No
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