All Kinds of News for July 11, 2018
Talking about something in its literal sense doesn’t always describe what is actually happening. Take Bow Drills for instance… The “Bow Drill” is a method of starting a fire using friction instead of a match. It is simply using a small wooden bow, a wood spindle, a hand-held stone, and a base board to create a tiny ember. This fragile ember is placed in a nest of tinder that catches fire, if carefully nurtured into a flame.
Starting a fire using the Bow Drill is a required assignment for new students at the intake campus of Turn-About Ranch. Why does a real working ranch program require its students to learn survival skills like starting fires without matches? Golden Trunnell, Manager of the intake campus called Roundy, explains how there is much more going on than what is seen with the eye:
“At first, there is anticipation; a sense of wanting to try something new that looks fun. The student watches others do it and it seems simple enough. They get instruction and begin trying to start their own fire only to discover it isn’t as easy as it is simple. Their excitement turns into frustration. They decide it is too hard to be fun and don’t want to do it anymore. But there is no way around it.”
Starting a fire with this method is a required “goal” for moving forward in the program. They are not allowed to do the rest of their required assignments until they pass off their fires. Some students say they even start to hate Bow Drills at this point. It has become an obstacle that they can’t get past instead of a challenge that they can accomplish.
Trunnell continues, “In some cases, the next step in this Bow Drill process is bewilderment: A sense of being at the bottom of a large cliff with no way out. It’s at these very moments when I love my job most. As the staff working at Roundy, we all fully believe that each student will accomplish this goal. We have zero doubt that they will work through it. This is when we can actually witness a transformation happening in front of us. We start to teach them about subtle changes: change in stance, change in effort, and change in attitude. They don’t become a different person but with a few subtle changes they begin to see the results happening right in front of them in the form of a small smoldering ember. Watching a young person’s demeanor transform from bewildered to elation, based on their very own efforts, is difficult to put in words.”
Descriptions from students about their Bow Drill experience include: “I know if I never give up I can accomplish anything.” and “I’ve never felt that sense of accomplishment before.” They tend to describe a fire that was kindled within them more than the physical fire they started without a match. As one Turn-About Ranch Staff exclaimed, “It is always exciting when the student gets their first fire, especially if it has been difficult for them. The best part of the Bow Drill is not the actual fire they create in their hands, it is the fire that lights up in their eyes!”
Why does Turn-About Ranch, a “real working cattle ranch,” begin their program with assignments like bow drill fires? The literal description of starting Bow Drill fires doesn’t explain what is really going on. The real value of Bow Drills isn’t in the physical skill of starting a fire. Rather, the real value is in developing a number of internal insights regarding accomplishment, determination, perseverance, and realization that they are capable of much more than they ever imagined. This experience creates a foundation for deeper understanding and growth as the student continues in their program at Turn-About Ranch. In this sense, Bow Drills are an excellent example of Turn-About’s motto, “Real Ranch. Real Values. Real Change.”
About Turn-About Ranch
Turn-About Ranch is a wilderness therapy and residential treatment program located in the heart of Southern Utah’s canyon country. Students experience life on a real working ranch while undergoing treatment to improve their life back home. Surrounded by multiple national parks and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Turn-About Ranch is the ideal location for youth of today to have the space they need to find healing and purpose.