Reverend James Crowe, a Methodist minister, had a vision of a working ranch where troubled kids could grow and learn. In 1952, he formed a nonprofit corporation and applied to the federal government for a piece of southern Idaho desert. In July of that same year, President Truman signed an Act providing the Idaho Youth Ranch with four square miles of land at the price of $1.00 per acre, per year, for 25 years. The IRS granted 501(c)(3) tax exempt status to the Idaho Youth Ranch in 1954. Work was just beginning. It took several years to cut roads, dig wells, and clear sagebrush. The first boy arrived at The Ranch near Burley in 1957*.
Over the years, The Ranch has expanded in size with facilities catering to residents, horses and cows, and services designed to meet the specific needs of at-risk boys and girls who benefit from the unique attributes of a ranch environment.
In 1983, a "thrift" store was opened to generate revenue for The Ranch from the sale
of donated clothing and household items. Today, an integrated network of 27 stores located throughout Idaho provides substantial revenue, work opportunities, and goodwill for The Ranch and its nearby citizens and communities.
Ron Ashley--the first young man to graduate from The Ranch--is now an active supporter of the Idaho Youth Ranch. He has served on the board of directors and was recognized in several national publications. You can read Ron's story at secondchances.pdf
*In 1996 the first graduate from the Ranch, Ron Ashley, was elected to the Board of Directors.