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“Is there enough for my teenage kids to do while at your dude ranch?”  Whoa Nellie!   A better question might be “Can you get your teenager to put away their electronic devices long enough to look up into the trees, look to the sky and down the river canyon?”   The reality is, that Marble Mountain Ranch is a playground for young adults.  In our view, there is not a more supportive, enlightening, and frankly FUN place to spend a week.

Teenagers require a balance between structure and freedom in their transition to adulthood.  We provide that balance for the teenage guests at Marble Mountain Ranch by enabling their explorations of new and unfamiliar adventures that are as always, structured with risk management as the prime directive.

Teenage dude ranchers can do quite a number of our more challenging adventures that the younger kids just cannot do because of size and maturity constraints.  They will have the opportunity to navigate white water rapids in an inflatable kayak.  They can do longer adventure rides on horseback and ride horses through trails with creek crossings and other natural trail obstacles.  They will be instructed in the safe handling of firearms as they learn to shoot trap, .22 rim fire, archery, and black-powder muzzle loaders.  Teenagers can walk our paint-ball target course.  If they are 16 years old, they can also ride an ATV with us on some of the same trails that we ride on horseback.  Additionally, they will have the opportunity to disconnect from their electronic devices for a short period of time and practice some of the oft neglected skills of direct interpersonal communication.  This alone, might be worth the price of admission!

Teenagers Play King Of The Boat

Teenage River Games

In a nutshell, our goal is to provide a battery of exciting interactive experiences that are based in western traditions, and in outdoor adventure sports.  Your teenagers will be able to push the envelope of their comfort zones in a supporting and nurturing yet structured setting.  When the components of amazing food, spectacular natural settings, and non-judgemental staff are added to the equation we can maximize the chances of your teenager having a memorable and growing experience.  Who knows, it might be one of the best experiences he/ she carries into early adult-hood.

Natural peer grouping is a common experience with teenagers in a ranch guest population.  Teenagers hunger for increasing levels of autonomy, yet they search out peer groups to associate with while still defining their identities.   We acknowledge this need in teenagers.  However, our emphasis is more on choreographing scenarios where parents and guardians are active participants in our adventures along with their teenagers.  We are building less of a teenage summer camp, and more of a Western family adventure ranch.

A visit to Marble Mountain Ranch may be one of the best opportunities for you to bond and connect with your teenagers through sharing new adventures with them.  Communications with teenagers, even resistive teenagers, is best done in an uncontrived setting as natural circumstances evolve in shared spaces.  What better way to enlarge openings for communications could there be than by sharing time at great meals, in pleasant activities, shared adventures, and in spectacular outdoor settings?

A good example of our offerings targeted to teenagers is the chance to run rapids with us in while powering their own inflatable kayaks.  Most teenagers will have had little to no experience navigating white water rapids in an inflatable kayak.  If your teenager chooses this option for our river trip adventures (self determination and free choice is a key here), they will be instructed in proper paddling technique, they will be coached down the correct lines in the rapids, and they will be frequently assessed and asked for their feedback in the experience.   The individualized experience of kayaking makes it “about them”, but following up by sharing the events of the day at dinner and around the campfire allows recognition and verification of their efforts.  Peers, family, and the larger guest population will watch them navigate the rapids of the day and cheer them on in their personal performance.  While the teenager’s story is largely written autonomously, the sharing of the story connects them to the larger village.   Bonding (in families and in larger groups) happens easily when an individual’s story is shared and becomes the collective story.

While that authentic smoked rib dinner is being inhaled by your teenagers, and the stories of the day are retold with emphasis and artistic interpretation, the memories of excitement and adventure are cemented for longer term preservation.   “Yes Nellie!  There’s plenty enough to keep your teenagers occupied, engaged and well fed.  Yes, bring the family to the dude ranch, and especially, bring your teenagers.

Doug Cole

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