This week the kids program has taken over our social media accounts. During this time we thought it might be fun to blog about out why it’s so great to be a VVR kid. As my own kids have jumped head first into the kids program the past few years, I’ve been able to see the value of the kids program here from a mom’s point of view. And, if I was a fan before having kids, as a mom I may now be the kids program’s #1 fan.
Here are our top 10 reasons why we all wish we could be a kid on a dude ranch vacation at Vista Verde:
1) Freedom- When else do kids get to run free without any worry or restraint? Most parents don’t even know where their kids are when they are here, and they are perfectly comfortable with them out roaming the ranch! This may sound crazy to you, but it happens, and it happens within the first few hours of arrival. You see, here at the ranch it’s safe, fun, and that freedom fuels their independent spirits.
2) Role Models- This is coming first hand from a mom who is picky about who her kids look up to as role models. The VVR staff are the kind of people I want my kids to look up to, emulate, and admire. They are top notch people, with good values, and a true desire to care for others. It’s pretty common that even the most clingy kid, or the one who never likes a kids program, will be begging to head off to go find the kid wranglers to join the program for the day. We have had to tell kids that no, they can’t go wake up a kid wrangler early in the morning. These super heroes need sleep to keep up with the kids all day!
3) Confidence- Want to see a shy kid come out of their shell, open up, and blossom? Bring them to a dude ranch, put them on a kind horse, with caring and thoughtful instruction, send them out into the woods, and let them ride, ride, ride. Then, fill their days with a loving group of people, lots of dirt, and outdoor activities. It’s a good chance you won’t recognize the kid who leaves at the end of the week, even after you scrub off the dirt. They’ll be covered in a layer of self-confidence, pride, and accomplishment.
4) Compassion- Whether it’s the tough kid who knows it all or the shy kid who doesn’t believe in themselves. Learning to handle a 1,000 animal, with it’s own thoughts and opinions teaches a kid compassion. They learn they can’t jerk on the reins when they get frustrated. They can’t yell at the horse when it won’t do what they want. They have to stay calm, be consistent, assertive, and kind to get results on a horse. Kids learn it’s not all about themselves, and sometimes one has to put another’s needs ahead of their own. And when they do that, amazing things happen in their relationship with their horse, which carries on into their relationships with others.
5) Dirt & Fresh air- Kids need dirt. Dirt likes kids. We have a lot of dirt here. That’s a good thing. We also have a lot of fresh air. The kids are out in it all day long, and much of the evening. Oh, and did we mention there are no TV’s in the cabins and rooms, and also you can’t stream videos or games? Crazy thing is, the kids don’t seem to even miss it during their ranch vacation!
6) Fish- Think your kid doesn’t have much patience? Just wait until you see them out on the pond with their little fishing rods for hours on end, just waiting for that first bite. It’s always amazing to me how long the kids will stand there, willing those fish to bite. The fishing rods and the stocked pond are a kid magnet. We go through them like they are water, as the kids break them daily. But, it’s a worthwhile investment in the kids. What a great lesson for them to wait, keep casting, wait, keep casting, and then BAM! They catch their first fish!
7) Mom gets a vacation- Ok, so this one isn’t as much about the kids as it is about moms (and dads too). With such an engaging kids program and knowing that the kids are safe as they roam around, moms get a vacation while they are here. No worrying about what to do to keep everyone entertained. No worrying about what to feed everyone, or organizing the day. Chances are your kids will up before you, get dressed by themselves, and head out the door before you’ve even had your first cup of coffee. You do need to make sure they have sunscreen on, but other than that, relax and enjoy a breath of that fresh mountain air. We’ve got the rest covered for you.
8) Experiences- During a week at Vista Verde, your kids will get the chance to ride horses, play with foals, ride on an antique fire truck, “gold” pan, learn about bugs, ride mountain bikes, catch a fish, rock climb, square dance, find wildflowers on a hike, and all that without us even mentioning the pool where you expected you’d find your kids most of the time. They may have a few minutes at some point to jump in, but they are going to be busy with all these other amazing experiences!
9) Connection- So, does it sound like with all that running around freely, and an engaging kids program, that you’ll never see your kids? For some, this can be true, if that is what they choose. But for families who want to spend time with their kids, you get them without all the distractions of the real world. You get to walk through the woods with your kid, talking or just soaking up the silence. You get to share new experiences together, laugh a lot, and enjoy the little person they are becoming. Those are priceless moments and lifetime memories.
10) Tears- My kids cry a lot. Too much. It makes me crazy. But, the tears that kids express on Sunday as they leave the ranch fill my heart. I’ll take those tears any day. Kids cry a lot on Sunday. They don’t want to leave their horse. They don’t want to leave their friends. They don’t want to leave the staff. They don’t want to leave the ranch. Did we mention our Rebooking Special? Another time…..