The McCrossan Approach: Ranch Supports Many Opportunities for Youth

McCrossan Boys Ranch prides itself on the quality of opportunities offered to the young men in its care. In most cases, the youth who come to McCrossan are working toward returning to their home environments and need to be able to function accordingly in their homes, schools, and communities. McCrossan offers an environment that is structured and safe, but at the same time offers residents freedoms, the ability to make their own choices, and opportunities to practice learned skills that they will need in the community.

McCrossan Approach Story

One of the many areas of pride at McCrossan is its accredited school. The school operates year-round which allows many residents, who have had academic struggles or truancy issues, the ability to get caught up or even move ahead in accumulating their credits. The McCrossan School offers the traditional core requirements as well as elective classes, a buildings/trades vocational tract, on-line courses, and even a GED tract if that is in the best interest of the resident. Because some residents have the ability to take on-line courses for credit completion, there are normally five different times of the year when residents can complete their graduation requirements and earn their diploma.
McCrossan provides excellent therapeutic and medical services as well. Each resident who resides at McCrossan is assigned a licensed therapist who the resident will meet with at least once per week. If needed, additional individual sessions can be set up weekly, and family therapy is also offered. McCrossan contracts with Avera for its psychiatric services. Dr. Soundy and Dr. Gammeter each come to the Ranch once a month to meet with residents to review psychiatric needs. McCrossan also contracts with Dr. Picasso to provide any psychological testing deemed necessary. Keystone Treatment Solutions provides chemical dependency services to the Ranch, including assessment, prevention, aftercare, and intensive outpatient groups. McCrossan has its own full-time Nurse and Medical Case Manager to address immediate needs and set up appointments for residents for medical, vision, and dental needs.

Sports and recreation play a key factor in the lives of the residents at McCrossan. It is critical that the residents stay active, healthy, and learn positive interactions like sportsmanship and teamwork. Much of the afternoon and weekend times find residents playing a variety of sports and recreation activities. McCrossan has a large recreation field, an outdoor basketball court, an excellent weight training room and a gymnasium. Residents enjoy many different activities, such as: basketball, flag/touch football, soccer, horse shoes, whiffle ball, dodge ball, volleyball, kick ball, and frisbee golf, to name a few. There are also sports teams sanctioned by the South Dakota High School Activities Association that residents can join. In the fall, McCrossan has a cross country team that competes throughout the state. In the winter, residents can join the basketball team and compete in an intramural league in Sioux Falls or play on the school team which competes against other local schools. In the spring, the Ranch competes in track and field. Besides physically active sports, the Ranch offers a large recreation room which holds foosball tables, ping pong tables, and pool tables, as well as a lounge for video games or movies and a resident store where they can purchase snacks with their money. In the Cottages, there are various card and board games so the residents can keep their leisure time active and productive.

Sports Update Pic

A critical component of the Ranch is spiritual programming. Whereas, McCrossan is not affiliated with a religious denomination, it considers spiritual development an important opportunity area in which residents can grow. McCrossan employs a part-time chaplain for various services and to meet with residents individually if needed. There is a non-denominational Sunday worship service offered. There are also weekly Bible studies and a weekly Fellowship of Christian Athletes huddle offered to the residents.

Another area that McCrossan believes strongly in and provides opportunities for the residents is that of community service. The value of generosity is stressed at McCrossan and practiced consistently. McCrossan provides hundreds of hours of volunteer work annually to various organizations, individuals, and events in the Sioux Falls and local areas. Some of the volunteer opportunities that residents have helped with this year are: the Moving Assistance Program, the Banquet, 4-H food stands, Adopt a Highway, Lions Club pancake days and Rake the Town, Parson’s Produce, Horsepower therapeutic riding program, the Food Bank, the Food Pantry, as well as numerous other individuals requesting a variety of assistance.


Work opportunities are a significant aspect of the McCrossan program as well. All residents in our Independent Living Preparation Program gain either part-time or full-time employment, depending on whether they’ve completed their high school education. Residents in the Cottages (Group Care program) can also obtain part-time employment if they’ve reached an age and a level of trustworthiness to do so. Also, McCrossan regularly has opportunities for residents to be a part of a paid work crew, working on a variety of projects such as landscaping, weed pulling, hauling bales, and cleaning stalls. Besides these paid work opportunities, the residents can practice a positive work ethic around the Ranch by completing community service projects like trash clean up, cleaning vehicles, helping in the kitchen, and raking and shoveling. All of these opportunities provide an avenue in which the resident can grow in character, work ethic, and develop a sense of pride in a job well done.

The Ranch is a very culturally diverse program. Accordingly, McCrossan employs a part-time Cultural Advisor. The Culture group meets weekly and explores various cultures through discussions, art projects, field trips, and trips to the multi-cultural center in Sioux Falls. Because the Ranch has a large Native American population, the Culture Group regularly attends Pow Wows and has a sweat lodge (Inipi) on Ranch where ceremonies are normally performed quarterly.

Finally, as a working ranch, McCrossan has numerous opportunities working in the barn and with livestock. Each day, there are residents who volunteer to help with various chores in the barn area. Besides chores, residents can participate in riding lessons and equine therapy, which is offered through our own certified equine therapist. Residents can also join the 4-H program which runs through the spring and summer months. Residents compete in showmanship and driving at several local and state fairs. McCrossan is also regularly involved with its hitch team (horses and wagon), riding in many parades and fairs. The hitch team also gives many wagon rides for various individuals and events throughout the year.

McCrossan Approach Horse Picture

McCrossan Boys Ranch has a very diverse and successful program thanks to the many opportunities we provide for youth. For more information on McCrossan Boys Ranch call our Admissions Department at (605) 339-1203.

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