What is Ranch Kids? In late 2012, Beverly deGero (JCRC) submitted a proposal to present “arts education” classes to the students of the Three Creek School in collaboration with Dena Pollock, their teacher. Beverly named it “Ranch Kids” because these are the children of local ranchers and their employees. The Three Creek School is, in many ways, a slice of Americana: a one-room schoolhouse with 10-12 students of all ages located in a rural ranching area. By contrast, the school has some pretty high-tech equipment including a computer for each student. The Three Creek School Board approved the program and funded it.
The 2014 school year will be the third year of Ranch Kids. Below you will find deGero’s description of the Ranch Kids program as it continues to evolve:
The Creative Process
"I have a particular interest in the creative process, so the emphasis of the Ranch Kids program has been weighted toward designing experiences for the students that will stimulate them to tap into their natural creative potential. As an artist, an arts administrator and teacher, I have found it remarkable how many adults believe that they are not creative and even shy away from arts and cultural events with a self-deprecating statement like, "I don't have a creative bone in my body!" There are volumes written about creative blocks, inhibitions and fears that often develop in childhood and prevent that vital facet of the human experience from being enjoyed and expressed.
My goal has not been to teach creativity, which I believe cannot be taught: it is an innate ability that is most accessible by children. What I endeavor to do is facilitate each student's creative self-expression by designing environments where they feel free to experiment and express themselves along with experiences that peak their curiosity and spark their intuition, spontaneity and self-confidence. In this way, as they grow chronologically, students also gain in self-reliance, emotional maturity and inventiveness. Each time we meet, I use various techniques to reinforce a few basics:
■ Everyone is "creative"
■ Creativity is fun
■ Leave judgment out of it
■ Don't worry about the product
■ Be fully present for the process
Creativity Can be Stimulated, Nurtured & Encouraged . . .
"Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is exhausting for children to have to provide explanations over and over."
-Antoine de Saint-Exupery
The Little Prince
"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist when he grows up."
"May what I do flow from me like a river-no forcing, no holding back-the way it is with children."
-Ranier Maria Rilke
"Pure creativity is a means for children to grow and explore feelings"
"Education sows not seeds in you, but makes your seeds grow."
Ranch Kids 2013 School Year
It Takes a Village!
As we see arts programs often targeted for budget cuts in our school systems, we can lament the loss for our school children and we can truly appreciate the Three Creek School Board, teacher Dena Pollock and the students' parents for their amazing support and participation in the Ranch Kids program.”
Give Yourself the Gift of a Mountain Retreat
We call it The Eagle’s Nest—you’ll call it Paradise:
A Retreat for Artists, Writers & All Who Love Nature, Peace & Quiet