Summer holidays and events are in full swing.
June brought some very special groups to The Ranch. Leading up to Father’s Day, we hosted two brothers who brought their 3 young children continue the grandfather’s legacy of sharing this incredible place and the activities with the next generation. As we embrace and work this land combining traditional and new methods, we get a greater sense of our heritage. Perhaps every generation laments the disconnection of the youth to their roots, but certainly those of us alive now have had instant or near-instant gratification in so many things for so long that the disconnect is very real.
As kids we are told parables and aphorisms, folktales and fairytales, legends and myths that seek to teach us the value of work, and yet we seem to forget how very practical those lessons are by the time we grow up. How many today actually know the story of The Little Red Hen? While we raise cattle and not grain, our Ag Foray and Agritourism experiences bring the origins of the meat we eat through the lifecycle of the animal and its very real impact on our planet. For ourselves and for our progeny we do not believe in cutting corners here. Regenerative Ranching is more than the newest greenwashing buzzword, it is a very real practice with actual tangible evidence to its efficacy.
This is why we are not only grateful to the grandfather and his sons for sharing their legacy with the youngest generation, we celebrate them doing so. Not only did they go on an Ag Foray with Dakota and Melissa, they also went fishing, rode horses, and learned to safely handle a shotgun. I personally got to assist our fishing guide with the 3 young new fly-fishers, it came to me how many of the details I was struggling to remember from lessons with my dad on the riverbank. If you’ve ever tied a fly onto tippet, you know how wily that line can be and how much it likes to unknot itself if not secured properly. Or how well it tangles when you don’t pay attention to your casting fundamentals. The old adage of “teaching being the best way to learn” resonates strongly as I look back on this recent fishing excursion.
Even as we see our energetic littles struggling to sit still for the foundation lessons, we have our own struggle of wanting to be the cool guide, guardian, or parent. And we can want to skip the process or drop it for something more engaging for them. Jump ahead to hooking that granddaddy fish and the excitement and play of reeling it in. Or just go swimming ourselves or looking for frogs (my own tendency growing up). But it’s the preparation and every step of the process that makes the whole successful.
Respect for each step is important in our professional lives as well, and those sentiments certainly came up over the course of the recent Downrange Advanced Leadership Course as the participants went through military-style exercises. Certainly, activities themselves are empowering. I don’t think anyone who rappels down a cliff for the first time or groups their shots well on the target without a reminder of right thumb over left on their pistol grip will not feel a sense of pride and accomplishment. Especially as they go back to workshop how the lessons can be applied at home, with their family, and back at the office with their team for the advancement of all.
If all of that sounds fun and not at all like work… well you may have a point. But during this you are out in the elements, in uniform, and loaded with a rucksack, combatting the local insect life, and getting slightly fewer hours of sleep than normal after the long days. This experience is authentic, and the extraneous fatigue-inducing conditions are a valuable part. When we’re tired is often when the “little” steps get skipped but also when they are the most critical. The Downrange instructors do an incredible job of allowing mistakes to happen within safety considerations and thus further drive their lessons home. And at the end of the day, they listen. Everyone gets a chance to be heard and to share.
I saw younger new employees earn the respect of their peers and supervisors. I witnessed an openness to learning and to new and difficult experiences that inspired me. I heard harrowing stories of the real-life experiences of the instructors and the students through their non-profit organization that reminded me humility and gratitude for what I have.
And I heard from parents and grandparents about how the course reminded them just how much they cherish their families and children.
Whether they were at the base of the cliff “on belay” for their colleague, at the range practicing target shooting and familiarizing themselves with different weapons and shooting positions, in the conference room for class, practicing knife fighting in the pavilion, out trekking through a nighttime rescue mission facing possible ambush and hunger, or back safe at the Guest House and playing pool to unwind; everyone participated. Everyone grew. And I know we look forward to their return for a continuation of these lessons as much as they do.
We couldn’t let them leave without a quick stop at one of our local wineries. We were able to make a quick stop by Twee Wingard Plaas or TWP Winery and see Edwin & Shari on our way to drop this crew off at the Grand Junction Regional Airport. A much needed refreshment after the vigorous work of the last few days. We only wish we could’ve taken them to a couple more of our favorite local spots, but those will have to wait until next time. We would love to share The High Lonesome Ranch with your group, organization, or multi-generational family. Stay tuned to our Journal to see how not even the sky is the limit as we prepare to host approximately 100 paragliders in September for the first High Lonesome Fly-In.