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Archives for December 2016

4 steps to setting goals for the new year

Ahh, the much anticipated, and loathed, New Year’s resolutions. Everybody has them, but does anyone remember what they were when next December rolls around? If you are one who has those lofty goals still tacked on your wall, then you deserve a round of applause. Let’s explore positive and achievable plans for setting goals for the new year.

Shoot for the stars

Step 1: Entertain your wildest dreams. This is the fun part. Forget about possible limitations when setting goals for the new year to figure out what you really want to accomplish this year.

Do you want to ascend to upper management? | Support a charity? | Buy your own jet?

Write it down. And tell your friends and family or post it on social media. The more public your resolutions, the more inclined you’ll be to work at them.

Now break those dreams down

Step 2:  You have your goal. Now think: How can I meet that goal? Be specific and realistic in what you can accomplish. The more concrete and exact you get, the higher the chance you will meet your expectations. According to Psychology Today, the main reason setting goals for the new year fails is due to the fear of change and/or failure. To alleviate some pressure, focus on behaviors and actions that will lead you closer to attaining your goals. Focus on digestible tasks. Say you want to change careers, tasks could include:

Updating your resume | Networking with others in your desired field 

Taking courses at the local community college

Then break it down even further. To update your resume you need to gather your employment history and acquire references. To take a course, you will need to research which one will provide the most benefit. Harvard Business Review created a tool to help break your goals down into actionable tasks.

Set deadlines

Step 3: Decide what you can accomplish and when you can do it. This is where those resolutions can become a little frightening. Take it slow. Start with relatively easy tasks and work your way towards larger accomplishments.

Within 30 days: Develop a plan.

90 days: Complete small tasks (ex. updated resume)

6 months: Complete large tasks (ex. networking)

End of the year: Achieve your goal or at least making it more attainable

For the first 30 days, research college courses, volunteer opportunities, or look into different charities to sponsor. Whatever your goal is, take time to understand the ins and outs. The 30 day mark is also your chance to reevaluate long-term goals and adjust accordingly. Once you set your time frame, implement those small tasks and build upon them with each deadline you set at the beginning of the year. Succeeding is contagious. Once you get rolling, each passing deadline will not seem quite as daunting.

Step 4: Take some time to look at what you accomplished.

Did you meet your goals? | Did you at least make progress? | What went well? What didn’t?

If on the right track, give yourself a little reward. And think: What can you do to keep your momentum going into the next year?

Add supporting a charity to your 2017 new year’s resolutions

Helping others is commonly brought up when setting goals for the new year. We can get lost in fantasies of losing weight, going on a dream vacation, or buying a 1964 Aston Martin DB5 (ok, maybe that’s just me). But when thinking of ways to improve your life, consider looking into ways you can improve the lives of at-risk youth. Rawhide Boys Ranch offers a full-continuum of care for youth and families struggling to stay afloat.

Join us in passing along some of that New Year optimism to some young men and women in desperate need.

Schneider National plays Santa for Rawhide Christmas


For the guys at Rawhide, Santa’s “sleigh” looks a little different, setting aside the traditional red with orange instead. It’s because our Rawhide Christmas has been blessed by Schneider National for the fifth consecutive year.

For many Rawhide guys, this will be the first time they ever open a Christmas gift due to challenging situations. Thanks to Schneider National of Green Bay, the guys will receive a Christmas surprise that many Rawhide alumni call their favorite Christmas memory ever.

Hundreds of gifts for Rawhide guys

This year, Schneider brought hundreds of gifts for our young men, ranging from sports equipment, warm clothes, delicious sweets, and a variety of gifts from each young man’s wish list. The presents billowed out of a Schneider delivery truck with enough Christmas spirit to power Santa’s sleigh. WLUK Fox 11 and WBAY NBC 26 were even on hand to share the event.

The Schneider employees, proud to bring so many gifts to Rawhide, were greeted by Rawhide Executive Director John Solberg, who told the Schneider employees how much the gifts mean to the guys:

This is the first Christmas for many of our guys. This is the first time many will ever open a wrapped gift.

Schneider calls Rawhide family

The Schneider-Rawhide Christmas gift tradition began with what Schneider is best known for… trucks. Rawhide needed a truck and Schneider was proud to donate one. A few Schneider employees visited Rawhide to see how the truck was working, and like many before them, fell in love with Rawhide’s mission.

Schneider employees wanted to do more for the boys and chose Rawhide through their adopt-a-family program. A Christmas tree soon appeared in the Schneider lobby decorated with ornaments, featuring names of the Rawhide guys along with their interests. It didn’t take long for employees to gather gifts for all the guys, exceeding, their needs and wishes.

Gift Rawhide Christmas through The Plentiful Project

The Christmas gifts don’t need to stop with Schneider. You can make Christmas complete with the creature comforts of home for our guys through The Plentiful Project. A $75 donation provides a full week of healthy meals and two changes of clothes for one Rawhide student. You will also receive Bart Starr’s book: My Life in Football.

We need your help. Your gift will help feed our young men and give them plenty of warm, comfortable clothes. Please click below to help gift the basic needs many take for granted this Christmas season.


Strong work ethic built at Rawhide

“I was, I guess, a troubled youth; I had been in juvenile lockup about 10 or 12 times. There was no way I was going to make it,” Rodney recalled. Through a series of fortunate events he ended up in a large chateau on the Wolf River. And everything started to change.

“When I came to Rawhide there were actually people there to show me how to do it right.”

Building a strong work ethic

Back in the 70s Rawhide Boys Ranch was, well, an actual ranch. Rodney remarked, “Back then things were a little bit wilder, nothing like it is now.” He doesn’t mean that he was allowed to do whatever he pleased, but the setup was a bit different. The boys rode horses, drove cars, built barns, and chopped wood. It was more out of necessity since Rawhide was in its infancy and the number of staff and boys on ranch were much, much smaller than it is today. In 1973, Rodney graduated from Rawhide. He found some direction, but he is quick to point out it wasn’t all roses: “I didn’t just stop getting into trouble because I came to Rawhide. It took me a while.” But the lessons learned at Rawhide sent him in the right direction.

Good use

After leaving Rawhide, Rodney searched for a job. He went to work at a cattle farm, but quickly lost interest. Looking for a new challenge, he joined the Navy, where he traveled the world for 4 years. He ended up working at a power plant for 33 years and is now retired. Looking back on his career, Rodney said, “I’ve done good.” He attributes the success he’s had to the fresh start he got at Rawhide:

“The biggest thing was the strong work ethic; accept responsibility for rights and wrongs.” Laughing, he added, “Lord knows I cleaned a lot of barns.”

Learning to trust others

That strong work ethic came from watching and observing John Gillespie and the other men at the ranch. Rodney explained, “John could be real stern, but he could crack it up with the best of them.” The idea that life could be both fun and adhere to societal rules was new to Rodney. Trusting the Rawhide program was difficult, but rewarding:

“To a new guy, my first thing was ‘What is this here?’ I had all types of ideas. Let things happen and find out for yourself. If you don’t go with the program you won’t be here long, and this is the place you want to be.”

A lot of that trust was bridged by John’s wife, and Rawhide’s mother, Jan Gillespie. Rodney called her “the solid foundation of Rawhide.” She was loving and steadfast in her expectations of her guys. She wouldn’t waver, and left a lasting impression on Rodney.

Rawhide’s future is bright with your support

Rodney, along with thousands of former at-risk youth, continues to turn lessons and supportive relationships formed at Rawhide into productive and enjoyable lives. They say it takes a village to raise a child. At Rawhide, it takes more than what we provide on these 600 acres. They need you! And for over 50 years, supporters like you have always been there. Click below to see how you can help serve at-risk youth.

16 tips for beating holiday blues

We sing carols of happiness, love, and joy during the holiday season, but for some people it can be quite the opposite. This time of year can be a time of loneliness and sadness for many. When others are joyfully anticipating the celebrations and being with loved ones, how do you beat the blues when you don’t have such festivities or family time on your calendar? Here are a few tips for beating holiday blues pooled from friends and staff when they’ve needed to beat the holiday blues.

Step outside of yourself

“It is more blessed to give than receive.” – Jesus (Acts 20:35)

“It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

We think Jesus and Ralph have it right. What better way to overcome holiday blues than to help someone else? Our first tip is to step outside of yourself and consider what you can do for others this time of year. Here are a few ideas:

        1. Volunteer to serve a Christmas dinner to the homeless.
          Look for local churches or soup kitchens that need your help doing this. It’s very rewarding and humbling. Spend some time conversing with the people you serve—show that you care by listening. You’ll be surprised at how grateful you’ll feel for all that you DO have instead of focusing on what you don’t have.
        2. Make Christmas cards for children in the hospital.
          Imagine bringing a smile to an ill child’s face who is spending Christmas in a hospital room. Add a little whimsy, glitter, sparkle, and love to the card. It will mean the world to them.
        3. Join or organize a group to go Christmas caroling at a nursing home, hospital, or senior center.
          Not only will music lift your spirit, but your audiences’ as well. And remember to give hugs, lots of hugs.
        4. Volunteer at the local animal shelter or humane society. 
          Even some animals have to spend the holidays alone, and they sure wouldn’t mind some extra snuggling and a walk! Besides, do you know a better source of unconditional love, besides God?
        5. Host an “orphans” dinner.
          Invite others who would otherwise be alone over for a holiday meal and a little cheer. Sing carols or play games.
        6. Perform an anonymous act of kindness
          Consider making an anonymous donation to a non-profit. Rawhide’s Plentiful Project is a great campaign to donate to!
        7. Do something you wouldn’t normally do
          Step outside your comfort zone and try something new. Maybe take your family ice skating or snow tubing! Embrace your inner child.
        8. Limit your time online
          Extended time online can cause social media users to compare their life to others. Instead of spending so much time online, make memories in person.
        9. Be with loved ones
          Surround yourself with loved ones to remind yourself what the holiday season is truly about.

Focusing on others will give you a different perspective. You’ll get a taste of what the holidays are like for them and even be able to share a few moments together. When you help someone else, you’ll also be helping yourself get past those holiday blues. We have found that it is in giving that we receive. This is true of giving love to others as well.

Treat yourself like a best friend

In giving to others during the holiday season, remember to give to yourself as well. That can be done in numerous ways—from making time to do things you love to cooking yourself a festive dinner. Here are some ideas:

      1. Splurge on a tasty treat What’s your favorite cheat day treat? Is it a frosty glass of Mug root beer? A fancy drink from the coffee shop down the street? Whatever it is, treat yourself to it this holiday season.
      2. Put up the Christmas tree or decorations anyway.
        No need for you to miss out on the beautiful sights just because you have time alone. Turn off all lights except the tree lights and have a Christmas movie marathon or listen to Christmas music that warms your heart.
      3. Purchase a special gift for yourself, wrap it, and put it under the tree.
        You still ought to have a present to unwrap, even if it is from yourself.
      4. Cook a holiday meal for yourself.
        It might seem strange to make a special holiday meal like a turkey for yourself, but you deserve the fabulous left overs too! Share the bounty with a neighbor or co-workers.
      5. Recharge your battery.
        Since you’re spending the holidays alone, you might be tempted to work extra hours. Be careful—don’t get burnt out. Make resting and unwinding a priority.
      6. Read a literary classic 
        Have you just not had time to read a novel everybody has been talking about? Curl up on the couch and start reading! There are few greater joys than a nice, warm drin and a good book while the snow falls outside.
      7. Plan a vacation or an easy trip
        Start planning your next vacation! It’ll help make the cold days more bearable and the holiday season less stressful

What are your yips for beating holiday blues?

We hope these tips for beating holiday blues help you experience some Christmas joy. If you have a tip we didn’t mention, we’d love to hear it! Let us know in the comment section.