More often than not, guys who come to Rawhide did not have a positive role model prior to their arrival. They looked up to persons with questionable character and often found themselves on a problematic path as a result. Earl Schmoll aims to change that. He believes in leading by example in the About Face Program, exemplifying good work ethics, respect, and strong self-discipline. Earl hopes to positively influence the guys, and equip them to make better choices once they leave Rawhide.

Rawhide Finds Earl Schmoll

Earl Schmoll grew up in New London, Wisconsin and attended high school with many Rawhide guys before our Starr Academy was built. Even though he had spent much of his life near the ranch, he did not consider working there until after he attended college. After much thought and encouragement from friends, Earl started working at Rawhide in 1989. A few years later, Earl left to serve his country. He returned to Rawhide in October of 1999 when he heard about the About Face Program, and has been a leader in the program ever since.

What is The About Face Program?

Young men in the About Face Program go through a two-week rotation of attending school at Starr Academy, Rawhide’s on-campus private school, followed by helping with a number of community service projects. Counseling and physical training are also parts of their daily routine with an emphasis on behavioral change and life skills.

Each Day is a New Adventure

While Earl has been affiliated with Rawhide for 26 years, he finds new adventures through the About Face program every day. “From a personal point of view, the variety of projects is nice because it might be landscaping one day, then setting up an old car show the next.”

No matter the task, Earl digs in. He demonstrates initiative, leadership, teamwork, and dedication—hoping it will rub off. Earl admitted to having a favorite project — Habitat for Humanity. Recently, the Habitat Restore Project chose Rawhide Boys Ranch to be a designated co-sponsor for one of the homes the organization is restoring. This means Earl and the About Face guys will have a chance to restore a home for a less-fortunate family and learn how to help others.

Community Service Projects

The community service projects for About Face guys come from word of mouth and long-standing partnerships. New projects seem to appear as the guys are ready. Some of the projects they have assisted with or are planning to help with in the coming months are:

  1. Habitat for Humanity Restore Project
    • Assisting with restoring a home in bad need of repair
  2. Navarino Nature Center
    • Constructing a handicapped-accessible trail
    • Expanding the boardwalk by 300 feet
  3. Waupaca County Fair
    • Setting and cleaning up as needed
  4. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
    • Cleaning debris from trout streams
  5. Mosquito Hill Mud Run – a fundraiser for Harbor House Domestic Abuse Programs
    • Setting up and testing the obstacles for the course
  6. Shiocton Archery Range
    • Building the archery targets

About Face

Teaching Resourcefulness

Earl taught the guys how to be resourceful with a Navarino Nature Center project. The project needed wood, and it just so happened that the deck surrounding Rawhide’s Carriage House had been removed recently. So Earl salvaged the lumber, took it to the Navarino Nature Center, and used it to rebuild a wagon with the guys. “We doubled the lumber up, and now it’s sturdy as heck!” Earl said.

Learning Respect and Life Skills

If there’s one thing Earl wants the guys to take away from the time with him, it’s respect for authority. Earl feels that the majority of guys do learn that throughout the program, along with a good work ethic. Some guys discover a possible career path from one of the projects which gives them hope for a brighter future.

Earl says the guys love being out in the community and lending a helping hand. One quote in particular has stuck with Earl since he began helping with About Face: “I like About Face because every place looks better when we leave than when we arrive.”

Your Donations Impact Your Community

If you have ever donated a vehicle or cash to Rawhide, your donation helps in many ways:

  1. Funded programs for troubled youth like the ones in this blog
  2. Because of the program, our guys freely help community organizations with their mission or events. The guys even help clean up natural disasters.

To help continue programs like these, learn how you can help.