Idaho Youth Ranch founders, Reverend James Crowe and Ruby Carey Crowe, had a vision of a working ranch where kids in need could grow and learn.
In 1952, the Crowes formed a nonprofit corporation and applied to the federal government for a piece of southern Idaho desert. On July 11, 1952, President Truman approved an Act of Congress that granted Reverend James Crowe the right to buy 2,560 acres of land in Rupert for $1 per acre per year for 25 years with no interest. With the land secured, the work was just beginning. It took several years to cut roads, dig wells, and clear sagebrush. The first boy arrived to live at the ranch near Burley in 1957.
Over the years, the ranch expanded in size with facilities catering to residents, horses and cows, and services designed to meet the needs of the young people in Idaho Youth Ranch’s care. Eventually, the campus grew to include five large residential lodges, a full-size gymnasium, dining hall, education building, and riding arena.
In 1983, the first Idaho Youth Ranch Thrift Store was opened to generate revenue for the programs that supported the kids of Idaho Youth Ranch. Today, a network of approximately two dozen stores across the state provides substantial revenue that helps to fund Idaho Youth Ranch programs across the state.
In 2015, the decision was made to relocate the ranch facility from Rupert to a location closer to the state’s population center in the Treasure Valley. The same year, a 258 acre piece of property was purchased in Middleton to serve as the new ranch to be called The Hands of Promise Campus.
In May 2019, Idaho Youth Ranch opened the Equestrian Center at the Hands of Promise Campus. This expansive indoor arena boasts a large indoor space for conducting Equine Therapy, as well as space for more traditional therapy offices.