In 2015 we became a partner with the UNC BizHub which is a consortium between UNC, CSU and the Community Colleges in Northern Colorado. Their mission is an incubator that helps upstart businesses in the areas of Health, Energy and Agriculture. We at the Colorado Therapy Horses will be the FIRST Agriculture Tourism Business in Northern Colorado with a Therapeutic Twist.
Proposed Therapeutic Ranch
The board of directors of Human Interpersonal Services, Inc. under the guidance and vision of the CEO/Clinical Director, Richard C. McMahan has developed a master building plan that will be presented to potential donors/investors in the summer of 2015. This vision has come from 35+ years of experience and thousands of hours of research, investigation and focus type groups, assessing the needs of thousands of clients and their families over the past 15 years. These problems with the general population have really come to light with our Veterans returning from wars with PTS(D) and has escalated the need to build our farm as soon as possible.
It is essential that we engage the WHOLE family at the ranch. Most other treatment does not engage the family members even though they are part of the problem and are needed part of the solution. We are committed to engage the WHOLE family and welcome (and in some instances) demand their participation. As an example, in the Veteran families with PTS(D); when the veteran exhibits behaviors of PTS(D) the family gets scared and conflict happens. Then the uneducated and unsupported spouse children and family panic which many times results in separation and divorce sending the Veteran into depression and ultimately, suicide. Our programs are designed to have all family member involved at the ranch. Our goal is to engage with the spouse and children before the Veteran Discharges and then it is easier to get the Veteran to engage in activities at the Ranch. Now, because of the lack of therapists available compared to the number of Veterans needing therapy at the VA, there is often a long wait for a Veteran to receive help from a therapist, sometimes that wait is too long and the veteran seeking help doesn't get it in time or avoids seeking help because they have heard the stories and don't see the point in seeking help they probably won't get. This setup creates a potential crisis when the symptoms erupt. The ranch is designed to attract the children which will lure the veteran to participate. There have also been innumerable stories of Veterans adopting stray dogs while deployed and while they are intending to save the dog, in reality the dog ends up saving them, proving that animals are therapeutic for Veterans with PTS(D). Ironically, the criminal justice system is the same and works just like the medical model described above. The results are similar, maybe not the suicides, but the drug use, re-incarcerations, divorce and fractured families is the same.
Research shows that traditional therapy to deal Veterans and other wounded humans with PTS(D), depression, anxiety, substance abuse and most other forms of mental illness has not worked very well using the medical model of dispensing medication and just treating the symptoms. This is especially evident in the huge number of veterans with PTS(D) attempting suicide daily, 22+ to be exact. If we look at the general population and look at the issues of drug and alcohol use, incarcerations, joblessness, etc. we are seeing similar problems of traditional therapies not working at a level greater than the 7-9 % success rate. This is not acceptable, just as our warriors dying of suicide is not either. Something needs to change and the Colorado Therapy Horses has a unique answer.
WHAT ARE WE TALKING ABOUT?
Because part of the equation is to provide the job training, useful community service and employment with real wages while clients are becoming emotionally stable enough and have the resume & job experience to work in the community we will be describing our ‘cottage industry’ Job Training Program as we talk about our phases of building.
This crisis needs to be handled in a new and different way. Our way is using Animal Assisted Therapies, which has been around for centuries and is now just becoming an alternative to therapies in a sterile office environment and dealing with the problem out in the fresh air in an open setting. Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy is the newest of the animal assisted therapies. We at the Colorado Therapy Horses have been developing a form of this called Natural Humanship Training for the past 15 years and have seen remarkable results.
The Colorado Therapy Horses (CTH) are a member of the UNC BizHub, which is a consortium between UNC, CSU, AIMS, and Front Range & North Eastern Jr. Colleges. Their mission is to help startup business in the areas of Agriculture, Energy and Health start new and innovative businesses of the future in Northern Colorado. CTH will be the first of its kind to embark on a business that is both the agriculture and health sector. This business will be a hybrid Agriculture Tourism Business with a therapeutic twist, where individuals and families can come work, explore, stay and heal on a ranch where each can enjoy a ‘city slicker’ experience. The twist is it’s a kind of place for Veterans and other wounded humans to heal emotionally. It also provides a place where those who are homeless because of PTS(D) or have been incarcerated and accepted into one of the Treatment Court Programs, to live temporarily, work at a real paying job and most of all heal emotionally for the wounds of War or the war of growing up in a dysfunctional family and/or making self-destructive choices that kept them from finding out how good they can become.
Now the story begins…
Acquire the property at 2203, 2209 and 2215 47th Avenue, Greeley, Colorado, which is an 80 acre farm about 3.5 miles North of Greeley off “O” Street.
This farm has many improvements, including three homes and a huge piped arena and other enmities that fit what we want to build. It also has a city water tap, 2 stock wells and adjudicated irrigation well, 2 shares of Windsor Reservoir, 8 shares in New Cache La Poudre River Water. With negotiable gas and oil well rites. This property will be a huge investment with the upside to lease the farm land we don’t use with enough for use to expand or vision.
Build a 200’L x 73’ to 100’W indoor horse arena – ClearSpan™ Hybrid Building - or Another Hyprid Building Item # 73200
This barn will face East and West and have…on the east end a two story office complex 50” x Width of Arena that will hold our offices, meeting rooms, group & therapy offices, lockers, showers, storage and gift store.
On the West end there will be an attached building 30” x 30’ for storage and a room- The FodderPro 3.0 Commercial Feed System - this will allow us to grow high quality animal hydroponic feed in six days. Saving 90% of the water and saving 2/3 the cost of earth grown hay.
On the South side of this Office/Indoor Arena complex will be a 250’+ x 24’ loafing shed with a 12’ alleyway that runs the length of the building that is used for feeding and access to the indoor arena. The shed will be open to the south, but designed to be converted with traditional 10’ x 10’ stalls with inner, outer doors and individual 30’ runs in the future. It will have 4 stalls with 30’ runs for our stallions and the remainder of the shed will have one or two big runs for geldings and mares. The runs will be make from 10’ gate panels; giving the ability to swing the gates either way for easy cleaning with a bobcat. The roof will be sloped from the Indoor arena out to the south with drains to remove the water from running on the paddock area. At the end of each stallion pen will also be 10’ gates in each of the gelding and mare pens that will also have the ability to swing both ways for easy cleaning. There will then be a series of alleys that all the horses can be turned out to the multiple pastures or into the outdoor arena without the need of haltering.
Miniature milk cows – which we can milk in one of our ‘cottage industries’
Miniature goats – which we can mild and make cheese or soap in one of our ‘cottage industries’
Sheep – to sheer and use the wool in one of our ‘cottage industries’
Alpacas - to sheer and use the wool in one of our ‘cottage industries’
Llamas - to sheer and use the wool in one of our ‘cottage industries’
Dog, Cats and a hedgehog for me
Becasue we are enviornmentally conscience we will provide our heat and some of our electricity by burning waste like horse manure that is mixed with wood shavings and other sompustible refuge that is typically trash on a farm such as corn stalks from the farm etc. We will use Natures Funace: We also will install solar panels were we can and possible use wind generating devices.
On this property we need places for people to stay. We also need a larger meeting room and another ‘cottage industry.’ Our next construction project will be two barracks that house 15 - 30. One for women and one for men with living room and showers. They will have dorm like rooms with two to four beds if bunked. The construction will be modular and placed on a foundation. There will be a Mess Hall with a commercial kitchen and large dining room that can be used for meetings and banquets. The kitchen will also be used for a catering business and banquet preparation as another one of our ‘cottage industries.’
During this phase we will build a bed-and-breakfast so Veterans, wounded humans and their families will have a place to come and enjoy a sometime away on the ranch. Because I spent the first 7 years of my life celebrating Christmas at the Monfort Home outside of Greeley, I thought it would be a tribute to the family to produce a replica of that home and make it our focal point: http://tinyurl.com/knjq8we
We also will need comfortable places for the homeless Vets and wounded humans to stay temporarily while they are ‘grounded’ psychologically as they come home or come out of jail. We would like to build a series of 6-8+ cabins’ for ‘mini’ homes and have them scattered around the 30 or so acres we dedicate out of the 80 acres for the ranch. Each ‘cabin’ will have a sitting room/bedroom with a kitchenette and bathroom similar to design of a ‘business suite’ similar to Country Yard at Marriot. There will be enough space to house 2 adults and a couple of kids and provide living quarters until apartments or homes can be secured in the local communities.
Our experience says that failure comes from three factors: 1. not having a comfortable place to live; 2. not having employment that provides a fail wage and; not living in a supportive environment where the Veteran or wounded human feels “needed, wanted and loved.”
These additional series of amenities will also continue to provide useful community service and paying jobs for the clients who live on the Ranch.
As mentioned before, jobs and employment related opportunities are paramount for Veterans and other wounded humans to recover from their emotional wounds. Our idea is to get the person on the job as soon as possible. This requires us to have many diverse employment opportunities at the ranch. There will be a few jobs in service and maintenance just to keep the facility working on a daily basis. We see the majority of these jobs like, cleaning, feeding and caring for the animals and general maintenance around the ranch will be done by Community Service Volunteers. These are the men and women who are court order to do free labor for a non-profit as a consequence for the offence at the court level. Our plan is to have each and every person living at the ranch be responsible for at least one (1) animal. In case of the foul, it may be a flock. This will include feeding, cleaning and general caring for the animal(s) such as grooming, bathing and exercise. The objective of this is to immediately help the person engage with an animal, developing a relationship, learning responsibility and animal speak. Our plan is to have this intervention somewhat military in nature where, as an example, the person will have to get up at dawn and feed and water the animal before they go to the mess hall for breakfast. The three (3) things that are MAJOR contributing factors that cause a relapse for keep people from engaging in changing their behaviors are:
HOUSING – a safe and supportive place to live that is affordable.
EMPLOYMENT – a way to earn a fair living and provide for self and family.
FAMILY SUPPORT – a family that understand the problems and is engaged in the process of treatment. Fear is the evil and families that are scare can cause the client to relapse. It is essential to educate, treat and support the whole family.
The “Cottage Industry” concept will be the vital concept for helping the Veteran and other wounded human to become a contributing member of society. Next to a place to live and food in the belly, we humans need to feel that we contribute to our self, family and community. Contributing to these is having a job that makes us a living, provides for self and family and builds up our ego due to being successful at it.
What we have noticed for the many years of counseling is that; 1. Wounded humans don’t think that they have any talent; 2. Feel like they are worthless because they have been told so or have failed over and over again and are scared to try again; and 3. Are lacking the skills necessary to compete above the minimum wage. In the case of a Veteran he/she may not know what translates with their MOS and working in the civilian world.
Our vision is to have a series of different employment opportunities called “cottage industries” that are small business that each provide services for make something and charge a ‘fee’ that makes each an individual company that is self-sufficient in producing a profit. Each of the business will be run and managed like an independent business with a paid management team and paid employees. But, all can and will be subsidized by grants and donations in their creation and if the profit loss statements are upside down. Our vision is to have experts in the community to volunteer and mentor the management and staff similar to the concept of AA sponsorship. We also will heavily rely on the UNC BizHub collaboration and draw on faculty and students as management and advisory personnel.
One of the things we want to do is helping people find vocational success. The most efficient way to insure success is to start with a vocational evaluation that will ferret out his/her talents. Then we can place them in one of our ‘cottage industries’ for training a making a fair wage while the develop a resume, get work related experience, have references, learn the skills of interviewing, build their self-esteem, complete their recovery process and finally move out into the” real world of work” in the community.
Here are some of the ‘cottage industries’ we are considering. The goal to have ones that can each be run as an independent company and support the employees they have financially with the least amount outside support from donations and grant writing. Each ‘cottage industry’ will have a Mentor and mentors from the community business community to guide and support the management team and employees of each industry. This will be a type of ‘sponsorship’ similar to Alcoholics Anonymous.
All of the proceeds from these ‘cottage industries’ will be used to page wages and support the Therapeutic Discovery Ranch.
Each ‘cottage industry’ will be evaluated and needs to be something that fits on the facility. It also needs to be able to create jobs and make money. Each business will be teaching units where the emphasis is on teaching job related skills while the client get a living wage. Clients do not have to live on the ranch to be involved in the ‘cottage industry’ programs.
Some of the initial ‘cottage industries’ that we have thought of. This is not a complete list and subject to revision:
- Growing Fodder Hydroponically to feed the herd of horses and other animals by raising ‘seed to feed’ in 7 days.
- Milking a small herd of Cows to produce the milk needed for the Mess Hall and used internally and sold to the public via a store and an online store.
- Milking a small herd of goats to produce soap and cheese and other products that can be used internally and sold to the public via a store and an online store.
- Two (2) + Green Houses where we can grow vegetable and other crops year around to feed the people staying on our facility and selling excess to the public.
- Raise chickens to harvest eggs to feed our people living at the facility and sell remainder to the public.
- Raise hogs for food consumption at the ranch and sell to the public.
- Breed and train horses. We will raise foals every year to add to our aging therapy horse herd, but there will always be those that can be trained and sold as outstanding sport horses. This may be rare, but an option for the Ranch to create cash flow.
- Rent out the indoor/outdoor area and Mess Hall. We can rent out the arenas for outside horse show, conventions, and other activities when we are not using them for our activities with the idea of using the people we work with as personnel for the events.
- Our herd of Sheep, Alpacas and Llamas will be sheered for their wool. We will have a wool processing and weaving business to teach skills and produce items to sell to the public.
- Bee Keeping Business that will have bee hives on the property and harvest honey and produce products from it and the wax.
- Lumber and log cutting business we will have at least two (2) crews of six (6) clients that will go into the Rocky Mountain Forrest and cut down ‘beetle kill’ pine under a contract with the Forrest Service, bring the logs to the farm and use the wood for furniture and firewood. All waist will be burned along with the dried manure and shavings in the furnace that produces heat and electricity for the Ranch.
- Labor Ready Day Employment will be a unit that provides day labor to local farmers and other business.
- Therapy Ranch Moving Business that has a couple trucks and moves people’s homes and business.
- On Ground Car Repair Shop that will employ and teach mechanic skills to those who have aptitudes or experience. It will serve Weld County residents that need vehicle repair. We can help elderly that can’t afford car repair as a public service.
- Welding Shop that produces something that will be determined later.
- Manufacture Something – we have been asked by a friend who is in the manufacturing business to be a contractor to produce a product for their product line.
- Ranch House Cleaning Business – we will have crews of cleaning people and yard people that can contract to people in the community.
THIS IS NOT A COMPLETE OF FINAL LIST AND WILL BE UPDATED AS NEEDED
During each person’s work week she/he will be paid for one (1) hour of training in basic skills needed to get a job like resume writing, interview skills, personal finance, and other skills to be announced. Then when they have reached the competence and are ready to leave the ‘nest’ and get a job in the community, they will be paid to put in applications in the community each working week. Each week on their off days they will be asked to volunteer with groups of people coming to the Ranch for an Animal Therapy Event.
Our goal is to give people a hand up and not a hand out. Our focus will always be on the education, training and upward mobility of the client while we give them a place of refuge when time gets tough. We also will require each graduate to volunteer and mentor other client coming through the program. Our firm belief is, “the more you give away of yourself, the more you learn about yourself and the more psychologically healthy you get.”