Want to help?
Kansas Cerebral Palsy Ranch donations can be sent to KS Jaycees CP Ranch, P.O. Box 267, Augusta, Ks 67010. Put “Save the Ranch” in the memo. It is still a 501c3 nonprofit so all donations are tax deductible.
EL DORADO – A last-minute fund-raising campaign has saved a southeast Kansas ranch that has served as a camp for thousands of people with cerebral palsy and other disabilities, at least for now. The Kansas Cerebral Palsy Ranch was slated to go on the auction block Saturday, Aug. 27.
Thus far, supporters have donated about $12,000, but they must raise $ 65,000 in 45 days. At that time, the facility will again be in danger of being sold.
“Individuals from all over the state of Kansas go to the camp, with the Barton County area having a large percentage of those who attend,” said Deby Newsome, an employee with Great Bend-based Sunflower Diversified Services which has sent several campers over the years. “Several of them even go to two sessions each summer, as they enjoy it so much.”
Newsome said she’s helped transport campers to and from the facility. “Their excitement is awesome. They learn, enjoy and make new friends.”
The Kansas Jaycees Cerebral Palsy Foundation Ranch opened in 1964 as a joint venture of the Kansas Jaycees and the Cerebral Palsy Research Foundation. It occupies 147 acres near El Dorado in Butler County.
The Jaycees supported the ranch with $100,000 a year until a decade ago, and the camp was in serious financial trouble. Funding became harder to find, forcing the ranch to shut down this summer.
About 12,000 camped at the ranch over the years. Backers hope to use the money raised at auction to continue some programs at another location.
“It’s awesome that it gets to stay here lots and lots of people are so happy,” said Cheryl Schmeidler, a board member with the ranch on the camp’s website.
Most of the funding for the ranch came from the Kansas Jaycees‘ over the years, but membership has dwindled and so have the donations.
When former Jaycee Ted Boatwright heard about the troubles, he stepped in and called other Jaycees and camp supporters.
“There are still several thousand past Kansas Jaycees in the state and folks that really care about this ranch that are more than happy to help,” Boatwright said.
The ranch Board of Directors and the Jaycees now have a fundraising plan to get the ranch financially stable.
“We all kind of got together and said, ‘We’ve got to figure out a way to stop this,’” Boatwright added.
What they did already seems to be working.
“People are out there and they care and that’s what we need at this point,” Schmeidler said.
“The grass will be cut, the pool will be clean, and we will be operating like we have in the past,” Schmeidler said.
According to Newsome, donations can be sent to KS Jaycees CP Ranch, P.O. Box 267, Augusta, Ks 67010.
Put “Save the Ranch” in the memo. It is still a 501c3 nonprofit so all donations are tax deductible.