As Rawhide celebrates 50 years of helping at-risk youth, employees reflect on fond memories from over the years. While our mission is serious, we do try to have fun in the process. 50 years contains more memories than we could possible cover, so here is brief sampling.

UnBEARable Pranks

Joel Walker, Director of Human Resources, recalls one of his favorite memories from the first year of the Starr Academy program. Joel was working as a Senior Residential Youth Care Worker and decided to take the students on a team building adventure. The other youth care workers suggested Joel dress up like a bear to prank the guys. Joel agreed, grabbed the closest thing he had to a bear mask (a gorilla mask), put on dark pants, the fuzziest black sweater he could find, and headed to the woods.

As Joel thrashed through the woods, his co-workers set the stage with comments like: “did you hear that,” and “I wonder if that was a bear.” While Joel created more bear noises, he realized his eyes weren’t adjusting from the fire, and he was having a hard time seeing through the mask. Thinking he had reached the edge of the woods, he got down on all fours and did his very best bear impersonation. Only he forgot about the 5-foot retaining wall between him and the guys.

Joel tumbled down the wall and made noises he described as “a train derailing.” As he rolled into the clearing, he opened his eyes to 12 guys staring down at him and wondering what he was doing. His fellow youth care workers laughing hysterically.

Inspiring Education

For Ken Price who’s held a few different positions at Rawhide, starting the Starr Academy program is his favorite memory. The day Ken began the program, 12 guys signed up for classes and 10 of those guys graduated Starr Academy with diplomas. Starr Academy has provided quality education to hundreds of guys ever since.

A Horse with a Mind of Its Own

Sheryl Dawson, Rawhide Content Marketing Manager, tells her funniest memory from when she first worked at Rawhide as a college student in the 1970s. Rawhide hired college students for the summers to help with adventure camps and administrative tasks. Summer staff arrived a week before the campers to get acquainted with co-workers and the ranch. At that time, staff could ride the horses for recreation. During one of the rides, a Labrador named Sheba ran up and nipped at Sheryl’s horse’s leg. The horse was not amused.

The horse took off with Sheryl in the saddle. Tree branches flew by, whipping her face and arms as the horse continued at a gallop. Verbal and rein commands proved futile in slowing the horse. Jan Gillespie noticed and sent someone on horseback to catch up and control the horse.

While not the most enjoyable, Sheryl reflects upon that moment as the funniest. Her favorite memories include rodeos, pig roasts, songs around the campfires, and getting to know the guys.

Taking the Plunge

Rawhide Director of Education Dan Birr’s favorite memory comes from his time as a house father. On a fall afternoon, Dan called his guys together for a house meeting with instructions to come with a swimsuit and a towel. The weather was anything but warm, and the guys were confused. Once they met in the living room, Dan informed them they’d be doing their very own polar plunge!

Dan took the guys outside, and they sprinted across their yard, jumping into the icy pond located next to their home. Everyone came back shivering but laughing about how much fun they had. When Dan catches up with the guys during monthly calls, they often reflect upon the icy plunge.

Meeting Bart Starr

Chief Financial Officer Paul Steffensmeier’s favorite memory came when he met Bart Starr. After an important event for Rawhide, Paul walked up to thank Bart for his participation and said “Hello, Mr. Starr.” Bart immediately turned to Paul and told him to call him “Bart.” Paul interacted with Bart for a short time and realized he was one of the most humble individuals he had ever met.

Check the Vehicle

I am Paul Malcore, copywriter at Rawhide. My favorite personal memory came a few weeks after I started at Rawhide in 2014. Three of us were heading to the 2014 Chalk Talk in Green Bay and had to pick up a novelty check for the event. After looking at the size of the check, we realized there was no way it would fit comfortably in our mid-sized sedan. After a lot of laughing and a little maneuvering, we were able to get the check in the back seat… with me in it. For the rest of the ride I sat under the novelty check, peeking out every so often to provide directions.

Start Your Own Rawhide Memories

These are just a few of the many memories that have blossomed at Rawhide Boys Ranch. You can start your journey to many memories by taking a look at Rawhide’s current job openings. Today is the day to make a difference in the lives of troubled youth.

Open Positions