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Ranch Hope

Ranch Hope
Ranch Hope has helped countless adolescents in the South Jersey area for decades. This organization is well respected and offers troubled youth a variety of caring outlets to turn to. The Rev. and Mrs. David L. Bailey founded Ranch Hope in 1962. While Rev. Bailey was in the pastorate, he gave a speech to a local service organization entitled, "Youth in Trouble." After the meeting, a member of the organization challenged Rev. Bailey to do something about the problems he had outlined in his talk. The seed was planted to back up his concern with action. At the same time, a fifteen-year-old boy from the community was placed on probation with Rev. Bailey, and the Reverend began to see the tremendous problems facing delinquent youth. After talking to a local judge, a plan began to form for starting a Ranch to help pre-delinquent teenagers. When Rev. Bailey’s "dream" was made known to the public, an insurance man in Bridgeton, New Jersey made the first contribution ($20) to begin the work. It was this gift that launched Ranch Hope.

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With the assistance of Hiram Strang, a local dairy farmer, Rev. Bailey was able to purchase a 115-acre farm in Alloway, New Jersey. The farm had a non-reducing first mortgage which required meeting only the interest payments each month. Mr. Strang took the second mortgage with no interest charge. Rev. and Mrs. Bailey and their two children moved to the old farmhouse on the property to begin work. On May 25, 1962, the non-profit corporation, Ranch Hope, Inc. was formed. Five trustees were elected, and a Board of Managers was formed. A number of interested ministers, businessmen, farmers and housewives joined Rev. Bailey in raising funds for the first home. On May 5, 1964, the first boy came to the Ranch from the Woodbury Probation Department. Within a few months, the first residence for 12 boys was filled. Rev. and Mrs. Bailey, with their family, served as the first houseparents. A small school was also started on the campus with teachers donating their time.

It was soon evident that the work must involve more staff and additional facilities. A couple was hired as houseparents, and Rev. Bailey began to serve as Executive Director and fundraiser for this project. In the years that followed, Ranch Hope expanded on its 130-acre farm to care for 48 boys from 10 to 16 years at intake. Four additional cottages were added, with two houseparents for every 8 boys. Also added were a special education school including shops for training in mechanics and woodcraft, a gymnasium, barn for the horses and steer, director’s residence, chapel, cafeteria, and administration buildings. The program and staff increased proportionately, as did the $22,000 annual budget that was in effect during the first year the Ranch was in operation.

In 1986, an expansive program revision was designed in order to meet the needs of a more troubled clientele. This up-grade emphasized therapy, especially family therapy, and a highly structured activities program. Greater client supervision via an increased childcare staff was also provided. The goal was to provide intensive services to 40 moderately emotionally disturbed young men. Now the organization serves over 140 young men and women daily.

The program of Ranch Hope has always centered in the three key areas of a boy’s life: mental, physical, and spiritual. Rev. Bailey has followed what he calls the "ABC" of Youth Work: " Any Boy Can be helped." Ranch Hope is open to boys of all religious backgrounds, and is supported by all faiths.

Ranch Hope, with a deep commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ, ministers to children and their families by identifying and addressing their emotional, mental, physical, social and spiritual needs and providing excellence in adventure activities, camps, counseling, independent living, residential treatment and special education services. They accept boys and girls regardless of race or creed who qualify for their programs.

Depending on the girl or boy’s problem he or she will be referred to one of Ranch Hope’s treatment programs. Ranch Hope's mission is to serve "at-risk" children and families throughout the Delaware Valley. This mission is accomplished by providing a continuum of services including: Out-patient Counseling, Residential Treatment, Special Education, Independent Living, Adventure-based Activities, and Day Camps.

Ranch Hope's Residential Treatment Center in Salem County, New Jersey, serves 56 adolescent males on a 24-hour basis. Ranch Hope accepts referrals for young men between the ages of nine and sixteen that are experiencing emotional or behavioral problems to the extent that he requires temporary removal from his community. The average length of stay is 18 months. The majority of their referrals come from the Division of Youth & Family Services in New Jersey, but private referrals are also accepted.

Strang School is an accredited and certified Special Education school located in Salem County, New Jersey. Strang School provides educational and vocational services to the fifty-six young men of the RTC as well as 20 "day students" from outside school districts. Ranch Hope has been affiliated with The Midway School since July 2000. Located in Lumberton (Burlington County), New Jersey, Midway provides Special Education services to over 40 students each day. Midway School provides classes from kindergarten through 12th grade for students classified as Multiple Handicapped. For additional information regarding the Educational Services provided by Ranch Hope for Boys & Girls, please contact Dr. Charles Hawn, Educational Services Administrator.

Ranch Hope's Independent Living Program, known as Hope for Independent Living and Life Skills (HILLS), is a program designed for males 16 years of age and older. Located on Ranch Hope's Alloway Campus in Salem County, HILLS has ranch-style homes, each housing a total of three young men. HILLS will provide a young man the opportunity to experience independence and learn valuable life skills in an apartment-like setting.

Throughout the summer months, Ranch Hope hosts a variety of Day Camp experiences in sports (Basketball and Soccer) and activities. Since 1993 the Alloway Campus has hosted a six-week, day camp serving over 200 children of local migrant workers, providing arts & crafts, athletics, swimming and meals.

Out-patient Counseling is provided for children and adults at their offices located in Burlington, Camden, Gloucester and Salem Counties in Southern New Jersey. Ranch Hope also provides Residential Treatment at Victory House, a group home environment for adolescent females located in Williamstown (Gloucester County), New Jersey. Ranch Hope accepts referrals for young women between the ages of fourteen and seventeen. The average length of stay is 12 months.

In July 2000, Ranch Hope opened Camp Edge, a camp, retreat center and Challenge Course designed to enhance the personal goals and objectives of individuals by offering initiative games and high ropes programming. Camp Edge serves public school groups, church youth groups, Boy Scout troops, as well as adults and corporate teams. There is an upcoming Christian concert event at Camp Edge. On Saturday, July 9th is Edgefest. Edgefest 2005 schedule is as follows: Gates Open at 1pm; Father, Child Reunion (Praise & Worship) at 2pm on Stage 1; EverAfter 3pm on Stage 1; Monk & Neagle 4pm on Stage 1; Special Guest Speaker: David Burke at 5pm on Stage 1; FUSEBOX at 6pm on Stage 1; Giants of New Jersey & Friends at 3:30pm on Stage 2; Shattered Silence at 5pm on Stage 2; and Revelation XXII The Band at 6:30pm on Stage 2. For more information and ticket prices call (856) 935-1555 or (856) 935-4831 and ask for ext 172.

There are also clinical services available. These are held at Christ-centered counseling centers. Their friendly and knowledgeable staff conducts therapy groups and individual counseling sessions. Additional conferences with Social Services, Home Life and School Administrators are scheduled periodically. Crisis counseling is always available and a consulting Psychiatrist becomes involved when this is warranted. Spiritual counseling is provided by the Chaplain or by clergy requested by the family. Family counseling is provided to families on a scheduled basis.

To make the transition to the outside world easier for those who have no suitable place to go upon completion of the program, an aftercare facility has been opened for boys who wish to remain under the supervision of the Ranch, but with freedom to pursue a job or further their schooling off the Ranch.

Youth come here for an indefinite period. The amount of time a child is there is determined by their progress in overcoming their problems. Some children have been helped within one year while others have remained longer. A child stays at the Ranch as long as needed. It takes time to rehabilitate a troubled child, but they are convinced it is worth every minute spent with them!

Anyone may make application for a child to come to Ranch Hope. It is important that you write or call and make an appointment to see their social worker. Most young people come through the Division of Youth and Family Services in the state of New Jersey. Out of state young people would come through their own agency. A child need not be remanded to Ranch Hope by legal authorities. For more information contact the Social Services Department at (856) 935-1555 Ext. 419 or send a fax to (856) 935-7928.

There are positions available for volunteers as well as potential employees. If you are interested in volunteering or a job please send an email to and request additional information. You may visit Ranch Hope on the web at

For more on local Organizations, visit our South Jersey Organizations page.

Author: Margo Harvey


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