Major donors to the Indiana Sheriffs’ Youth Ranch will break ground on the not-for-profits’ new peace chapel and bunkhouses at a special ceremony in Clay County on Wednesday, Oct. 30 at 10 a.m.
Representatives of sponsoring families and organizations will flank their local sheriffs and deputies in turning shovels of dirt and marking the start of construction on the academy’s new buildings.
“Without the use of tax dollars, sheriffs and deputies in April purchased the 62-acre property in West Central Indiana to have a permanent camp where they will mentor future law enforcement officers, bond with at-risk kids and comfort young witnesses and victims of crime,” said Scott Minier, interim executive director of ISYR. “With the help of the Indiana Department of Correction inmate workers, we were able to demolish four unsafe, unwanted structures from our property. Now, through private donations, we are commencing a new, bold commitment that our Hoosier hometowns can forever be safer from drugs, violence and other crimes.”
PEACE CHAPEL WILL BE FIRST
“A non-denominational peace chapel will be the first groundbreaking and first structure completed,” Minier said. “We think this sets the right tone and sends the right message to supporters of our non-governmental program. All youth visits to the chapel will be strictly voluntary and materials of all faiths will be available. Religion may already be an important part of our young visitors’ lives – or it may be exactly what they’re looking for. Here at the Youth Ranch, participation in this and any activities will be up to the youth leaders’ discretion.”
Elevatus Architecture of Fort Wayne designed the peace chapel free-of-charge based on photos of small country churches that were provided to the sponsoring family. “White clapboard siding and a steeple will distinguish the house of worship for youth campers and their families. Inside, exposed beams, whitewashed shiplap, a stained beadboard ceiling and natural light will offer surroundings suitable for individual prayer, group discussions, music and songs — even weddings and baptisms,” Minier said.
FOUR YOUTH BUNKHOUSES WILL FOLLOW
Four youth bunkhouses will follow the peace chapel at both the groundbreaking ceremony and in construction. The cabins will serve as prototypes for another half-dozen that will follow next spring. Ten cabins will be built in all, according to Minier, to accommodate up to 100 youth campers and 20 adult counselors at any time.
DLZ Architecture’s Indianapolis office donated their design talents on the two styles of cabins – the Traditional Lakehouse and the Western Storefront. “Both are essentially the same size rectangle with one style being wider and with less depth and the other narrower yet deeper,” Minier said. “Our cabins will each sleep 10 youth campers and two adult counselors in separate quarters. Cabins will be ADA compliant and will each include a handicapped-accessible full restroom. For a turnkey cabin complete with furniture and fire extinguisher, naming rights are just $55,000. That’s a valuable and greatly appreciated investment considering their longtime return and impact – changing kids’ lives and helping safeguard homes, schools and workplaces.”
OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
Groundbreakings on Oct. 30 are open to the public, but parking and seating are limited. To reserve a seat or to receive more information on naming rights opportunities at the non-profit Youth Ranch, please call toll-free 833-IN-RANCH, email Nancy@SheriffsYouthRanch.us or write to Sheriffs’ Youth Ranch, 5140 S. East St., Suite 117, Indianapolis, IN 46227.