By Tim Priebe
December 20, 2022

Providing a home for boys in need

Boys Ranch Town houses Oklahoma boys with the goal of helping them heal.
Each year, Boys Ranch Town hosts a Christmas Pageant, open to the community. (Photo: Brent Fuchs)

One of four campuses operated by Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children, Boys Ranch Town is a residential home for boys between the ages of 7 and 15. Located on the outskirts of Edmond, it offers a structured environment for its residents with the goal of being reunited with their families.

A history of service

In 1953, J.M. Johnson and his wife donated 160 acres of land and a $500,000 trust fund to the Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma, paving the way for Boys Ranch Town. Following the loss of their only son, the couple was committed to helping troubled boys in Oklahoma.

The ranch’s first residents — a married couple and five boys — moved onto the land in June 1953, and a building project for additional housing began in October of the same year.

Administrator Charles Boldin served with his wife and children from 1956-1983 and was instrumental in building the foundations for today’s Boys Ranch. In the 70s, he began what turned into a decadeslong tradition: the living Christmas pageant, now in its 50th year.

Building a faithful foundation

Today, the ranch houses 32 residents along with the staff. Each of its four cottages is home to eight residents, a house mother, and a house father.

“Boys who come to us with trauma and who have had to adopt negative behaviors to survive do not come to a place of trust very easily,” said Melanie Drummon, the ranch’s campus assistant. “Staff members have to practice extraordinary amounts of patience and cling to God’s call on their lives.”

Since the ranch’s inception, residents have helped around the ranch, and today’s residents go to school, participate in extracurricular activities, and attend faith-based programs each week.

“We love to witness the growth of boys who come to us with various difficult life circumstances,” Drummond said. “Many times, we’re able to see them change from a posture of fear, distrust, and rebellion to one of hope, trust, and maturity as a result of consistent, patient love of our staff and a relationship with Jesus Christ.”

Connection through community

As the saying goes, raising children takes a village, and Boys Ranch is no different. In addition to relationships with Edmond area churches, Edmond Womens’ Club, and Edmond Public Schools, the ranch benefits from the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. An Edmond farmers’ co-op also donates produce each summer.

During its Christmas Pageant, Boys Ranch collaborates with community members and features live animals. (Photo: Brent Fuchs)

Support also comes from within. The ranch’s current executive director, Bo Blakey, filtered through the foster system contributing to a difficult childhood. And although not one of the ranch’s 1,000 alumni, Blakey directly relates to some of the residents’ struggles.

“We’re a ministry that provides hope and homes for children who find themselves in difficult positions,” Drummond said. “Boys Ranch Town is not a dangerous place; many of our on-campus staff live here with their families.”

In addition to the boys, staff, and their families, the ranch is home to horses and dogs, part of Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children’s animal program initiatives on each of their campuses. Caring for animals helps build the boys’ self-esteem, teach responsibility, and heal trauma. However, according to Drummond, the horses and dogs aren’t the only animal residents.

“We often have a cat on campus who likes to check out the Christmas Pageant. This year, he was seen licking Jesus’ fingers in ‘The Garden of Gethsemane.’”

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About Tim Priebe

Tim is a public speaker, author, publisher of Edmond Business, and the owner of Backslash Creative. He helps businesses that are worried they don’t have the expertise or time required to invest in doing their own digital marketing. He helps them plan where and how much to invest and often helps execute the plan.

Tim started the Edmond Business online magazine in May 2020 to fill a need in the community when The Edmond Sun shut down and stopped publishing their monthly magazine, The Business Times.