As the sun rises over the Utah desert, Turn-About Ranch is already bustling with activity. The crow of the roosters marks the start of the day as the pigs, cows, and horses wait to be fed. Our students awaken early, enjoy a hearty breakfast, and then turn their energy and attention toward a day that will be packed with school, therapy, meaningful ranch projects, and horsemanship.
Students participate in a rotating schedule of activities before and after lunch. Some will attend classes at our fully accredited school, while others will practice new skills and riding techniques during horsemanship sessions led by experienced and qualified instructors.
While therapy is integrated in everything we do here, students also participate in weekly individual and group counseling sessions. At mid-term and prior to graduation, family therapy sessions are added to the schedule.
As a working cattle ranch, there are projects that students complete every week that contribute to the functioning of the ranch. By participating in projects like cutting wood, harvesting crops, hauling hay, ranch cleanup, and community service, teens learn valuable lessons—including teamwork, leadership, coping with frustration, and the value of hard work.
One of the highlights of ranch life is being able to ride horses, hike, and join in on cattle drives through the hills, valleys, and sandstone canyons surrounding the ranch. Turn-About Ranch students have many opportunities to enjoy and be inspired by the majestic natural environment that makes Escalante such a beautiful location.
At dusk, the cows come to pasture and the ranch falls silent as teens enjoy a few minutes of quiet time to read, journal, or write letters before bed. As they look back on the day, students are satisfied seeing the fruits of their labor and knowing they contributed to something bigger than themselves.
My 14-year-old daughter graduated from Turn-About Ranch about 2 months ago and is the best she has ever been. After 3 previous hospitalizations and years of working with different (highly qualified & experienced) therapists, the light bulb finally went off after a 120-day program at the ranch. – AJ Training (Google Reviews)
Our fully accredited academic program allows teens to continue their education while participating in treatment. Students attend school two to three times per week in four-hour block sessions. Available courses include science, English, math, social studies, and physical education.
During horsemanship, teens learn about horse anatomy, safety, and the basics of caring for these amazing animals. Once they master basic knowledge and skills, students may begin arena riding, trail rides, and buckaroos (cattle drives). Horsemanship is a form of equine therapy that teaches students to build healthy attachments and care for individuals other than themselves.
Every week, students help with traditional ranch work, including fixing/building fences, cutting wood, working cattle, harvesting crops, hauling hay, ranch cleanup, community service and other activities. These projects are one of the students’ favorite parts of the week because they are active, outdoors, and working as a team to complete projects making real differences on the ranch.
Because students engage in hands-on learning and overcome challenges throughout each and every day, therapy occurs around the clock at Turn-About Ranch. Every activity is designed to build character, teach values, and promote self-improvement. There is also time set aside for more formal individual sessions, group therapy, and family counseling with on-site professionals.
Our vocational program teaches students valuable life skills in the culinary arts, building trades, animal husbandry, sewing, auto mechanics, gardening, and other areas. In addition to learning practical life skills, students may discover a passion leading to a new educational pursuit or career path.
My son was struggling and TAR helped him and gave him life skills. He is home now and doing amazing! Not to say there are always bumps in the road, but this facility is one that works.- Sandra Baker, August 2021
I highly recommend TAR. Their people and approach really do work. Trust the people and the process. My son had been to two quality programs consecutively before TAR. Before starting these programs, he was depressed, suicidal at times, and had oppositional defiant disorder. After 8 months of these programs, there was some progress but he was nowhere near ready to come home. At the other programs, he was resistant to buy in, resistant to change though 'wilderness' had more beneficial aspects than 'residential.' At TAR, doing real work, solving real problems daily was the game-changer. He wasn’t repeating a chemistry lab that had been done thousands of times with the expectation he must get the same answer as everyone always has. It was more, “we have to fix this fence” – experience helps, but so do creativity and hard work. And with a wide variety of teaching/coaching styles of staff, he came to appreciate the variability of people working for common goals in different ways. They addressed issues, such as non-productive or harmful interactions with peers or staff as they came up. The issues were real. And, they were addressed real time, not “wait until therapy at 3:30 on Thursday.” He grew and learned from these direct interactions and the lessons within them. The advice was consistent and persistent. The staff and therapists would prod my son to explore and explain his point of view and actions, while providing simple, basic guidance on better verbal, physical or thinking approaches. TAR provided time and reason for reflection and, over time, it had positive, beneficial impacts on my son. My son has learned how to express his feelings more frequently. He listens more carefully and expects to be listened to. He has come to understand the benefits and value of hard work. He is respectful. He understands himself better and has become engaged in setting goals for himself. My son had been on a negative trajectory for 2-3 years before beginning wilderness. Wilderness and residential therapy helped to stop the negative trajectory. TAR turned it into a positive trajectory. We have a long way to go. But we have more positives and more potential to move forward on a positive trajectory than we have had in many years. I believe TAR is responsible for the change in trajectory and I am very thankful and grateful that we were finally able to get him to this program. I did not think it was possible for him to come back home in 100 days. I was researching boarding schools as the likely best next future step. Instead, he is back home and we are all moving forward, not stuck in a rut or on a negative trajectory. He has a positive self-image, we are talking through issues and challenges, he is taking more initiative and responsibility than we have seen in years. He will re-start at our local high school in a few weeks. I firmly believe none of his would have happened without TAR.- Robi Robichaud, August 2021
We sent our son to Turn-About and I can't say enough good things about this program. The first time I spoke with them (it took us over a year to pull the trigger) they actually gave me some things that they thought I could do at home to possibly work through our issues and not have to use the program! I was immediately impressed that they were concerned with my son and not just selling an enrollment. My son learned so much there and loved all of the staff members. They put their hearts and souls in to helping the kids that are there. My son got caught up on all the school work he was failing at, matured unbelievably, learned valuable skills like horsemanship, welding, etc. He came home a whole different person. They also did a great job at coaching me and my ex wife on changes that we needed to make in ourselves / our parenting styles. And they gave us a ton of resources to make sure we keep the momentum and have a smooth transition back to home life. Again, I just can't say enough about this program. It was life changing for everyone of my family members that were involved (me, my ex wife, my son, and my daughters).- Anthony Detrick, July 2021
This place has made all the difference, and saved our 16 year old daughter’s life. Previous counseling, hospitalization, and medications did not work, and we were about to give up on her. She’s come out of this program strong, honest, and positive with herself, and future. The people employed at the ranch are caring, genuine, and simply put, one of a kind. Thank you, for giving us our daughter back.- P. Bell, July 2021
My 14 year old daughter graduated from Turn About Ranch about 2 months ago and is the best she has ever been. After 3 previous hospitalizations and years of working with different (highly qualified & experienced) therapists, the light bulb finally went off after a 120 day program at the ranch. She was transferred here after being sent to another program where she was discharged due to repeated problems and restraints. I probably never would’ve chosen this program knowing that she would be forced to live in a nearly wilderness type environment, and also that we would only be able to communicate by letters for the duration of her program… additionally, I wanted a program that spoke therapy, therapy, therapy and wouldn’t have thought a working cattle ranch would be the place for that, but I am beyond grateful that her journey led her to the people who are so gracious, patient, and brutally honest. (Also, insurance considered this a higher level of therapeutic care than the other program and therefore paid more). They were non-confrontational and gained her interest and trust by providing tools she needed. This is where the most effective therapy took place for her… where she learned to turn suggested tools/ideas/concepts into action and have her eyes opened to new better ways of shaping her perspective, relationships, communication, and living life by higher morals and values. We’ve had a few ups and downs since she’s been home, (mostly with moods and challenging rules, nothing major) but with the pre-discharge plans set in family therapy, continued therapy with a local counselor here at home and supportive community she is getting even stronger/independent and steering her ship on the trajectory she was able to establish in her time at TAR. I highly recommend them for a multitude of reasons… so from a mom who has seen other programs who try hard but miss the mark… this one does it right! And if all this wasn’t enough, my daughter loves them, misses them and wants to visit on her one year anniversary… but she doesn’t want to return as a resident either… it’s really brilliant!- AJ Trainer, July 2021