Greetings from the Wolfe Ranch! As we are writing this blog, Iowa currently has a blustery windchill of -53 degrees on this chilly January day ….brr. Here at the Wolfe Ranch, we are busy planning for (and dreaming of ) warmer days, and we are excited to share the 2019 calendar with many NEW events SOON! In the meantime, here’s a chronological look what we accomplished in 2018.
In April 2018, there were some key ranch staffing changes as David (“Cowboy Dave”) was hired as the new onsite Ranch Manager, and Melissa came on staff to help with office management, and marketing/programming.
In June, summer horse riding lessons were added, and a new program “Story Time At The Stables” was held for children with story time in the barn, songs, crafts, meeting “Cowboy Dave”, and petting horses/ponies.
“Grooming 101” was held for school aged youth and taught the basics of horse grooming and safety. We had over 60 youth attend these three camps in June. We also successfully hosted our first ranch themed birthday party!
In July, the ranch ended up playing a very unexpected role in helping the Marshalltown community with tornado disaster relief. Through word of mouth and media, we were able to reach out to the community to provide meals here at the ranch (the meals were prepared/donated by various restaurants), and provided a place for people to shower, do laundry, or stay if needed. Many families and a Disaster Relief Team ended up physically staying here and maxed out the ranches sleeping capacity over a period of three weeks. Those who visited and stayed here, could not believe what beautiful accommodations they had been blessed with, and were thankful for our hospitality.
In August, the ranch staff donated 6 riding lessons and two camp admissions to a Marshalltown Strong Community Fundraiser Event, and 100% of this events funding went to MICA for families in need. The ranch staff also met with the Marshalltown Library Children’s Director, and donated two children’s camps for an upcoming drawing.Finally, the ranch donated 6 free riding lessons to those who registered at the Family Services/Wolfe Ranch/Hope4Healing Booth at a Carnival in the Park Event in Newton, Iowa. The riding lesson winner was drawn via FaceBook Live in our barn.
Fall at the ranch went by quickly as we were busy making hay, repairing fences, marketing, and hosting booths at community events. Dave continued to teach Fall horse riding lessons, and we began boarding horses at the ranch. The ranch hosted a new volunteers meeting and we were thankful that several new volunteers came on board to help out with projects and camps.
In September and October, the ranch hosted My Pretty Pony Camp, and Cowboy Camp. The camps were a huge success and a lot of fun for the staff, volunteers, and the campers. We received positive feedback from the campers and families as to how much the young people loved coming out here, and at the end of the day, many of the kids didn’t want to leave. Another favorite Fall activity was the Marshalltown Oktemberfest parade, in which the ranch float was pulled by a team of four Clydesdales owned by one of our board members, Steve Fevold. It was a great time for all!
In November, the ranch launched our Caring for Our Horses campaign to help rebuild our front fence along the Highway. If you are interested in learning more about this campaign click here.
Our end of the year finale, Christmas in the Stables, was held at the Wolfe Ranch December 14-15, 2018. The event was a tremendous success, and was well attended! The 50 degree Iowa December weather was incredible, and even our 4-legged friends enjoyed getting dressed up for the occasion.
Our barns were beautifully decorated by area businesses and organizations that competed in a stall decorating contest. Canned goods were collected for our local Salvation Army’s food pantry, and inside the ranch house was beautiful holiday decor, Christmas lights, music, and Santa. Vendors helped holiday shoppers finish last minute shopping. Finally, two non-profits, NEI3A and Hope4Healing, procured and decorated our ranch bedrooms with Christmas trees of all sizes and decorations for those who had lost their decorations during the Marshalltown tornado and flooding afterwards. It was rewarding to see the smiling faces and tears when the trees and decorations were given out to those in need.
As we gear up for 2019, the ranch staff is putting together many new programs for youth including a new line-up of summer day camps for children and new programming for our Veterans. Don’t miss out, follow the Wolfe Ranch on facebook, or go to our website at https://www.wolferanchquakerdale.org/ for more information about future events! We look forward to serving you in 2019!