Located in the heart of Canaan Valley, The Farm is 15 acres of pasture, with a riding arena, large barn, 2 small ponds, vegetable gardens, fruit trees, and an outbuilding converted into a chicken house. The heart of The Farm is the Farmhouse. It has 5 bedrooms, a large sunroom, kitchen, den, 2 full bathrooms, mudroom and basement.
Why the Farm?
It gives clients an opportunity to experience things most young adults take for granted or never have the opportunity to experience – getting connected to nature, learning to care for animals and developing a connection to them. Clients develop the ability to provide for themselves by gardening, raising chickens, pigs and understanding where your food comes from. They also learn to eat healthier by planning around what foods we will be growing and harvesting.
The young men run a fully functional farm, including all the chores and maintenance that goes with it, including building the riding arena, to fixing the fence, building and repairing the chicken coop, weeding and tending to the garden, and caring for a herd of horses. While doing this, they develop a great sense of ownership and pride in successfully operating the farm.
Each day begins early; everybody has to be up and ready for the day by 8 AM. Everyone completes morning chores, including feeding all the animals, and each young man shares in the responsibility of taking care of their “home”.
Breakfast and lunch are planned and prepared on their own, and dinner is planned as a family. They all eat dinner together and each young man prepares a meal for the rest of the house. This preparation, planning and execution of a meal for up to 8 people helps develop better executive functioning skills, social skills and also a sense of pride when everyone sits together and enjoys a meal.
The bedrooms are comfortable, and each young man will most likely share a room with a roommate. They can decorate and fix up their rooms however they see fit (as long as it’s appropriate). They each have a laundry day assigned, as well as specific chores that rotate each week.
Some of the young men have jobs in the community, or within the Q&A businesses such as the Breakfast Nook Restaurant, Deerfield Restaurant, Deerfield Mini-Golf, Q’s Corner Thrift Store or the lawn care business, Go Green. With these opportunities to develop core job skills within the program, most clients will be able to move on to other jobs in the community.
Double S Stables
One important part of The Farm is the operation of Double S Stables. With a herd size of about 23 horses, the daily care and management of the horses is critical to the operation. All the young men receive training on the care and handling of the horses. During the summer, Double S Stables hosts several summer camps for local children as well as a therapeutic program for families and children with Autism. The horses require a lot of work, including handling, riding and grooming. The young men learn how to care for horses and work with them, regardless of their level of experience. Each client gets a chance to be involved at an appropriate and comfortable level. Many of the young men volunteer to work with the kids and families and really gain a great deal of personal satisfaction.
With such a large operation, The Farm requires constant maintenance and work, keeping everyone busy most of the day and into the evening. Daily activities can include collecting the eggs provided by the chickens, preparing harvested vegetables for the farmers market, repairing a broken piece of equipment, cutting and loading hay, fixing a broken door, installing a toilet, working on the vehicles or caring for a sick or injured horse. The young men are involved at every level and are taught the skills needed to make The Farm run smoothly.
Aside from The Farm, the young men live in an area with 3 ski resorts, and hundreds of miles of rivers and trails. Through adventure activities such as skiing, snowboarding, hiking, fishing, exploring, and whitewater rafting, they get a chance to experience the wonderful outdoors while building individual skills and experiences for themselves. There are also many art galleries and local community activities in which clients can become involved. Along with civic volunteerism, our clients help some of the elderly members in the community who need help stacking wood, shoveling snow or getting groceries from the store. The young men learn to develop positive relationships in the community.