SOURCE: Elk Creek Ranch

April 17, 2012 13:00 ET

Western Summer Camp Experience at Elk Creek Ranch Helps Teens Become Self-Confident, Independent

CODY, WY--(Marketwire - Apr 17, 2012) - In a sea of endless summer camp options, Elk Creek Ranch rises to the top by appealing to a variety of interests and abilities, aiming to create a memorable and challenging summer for each teen in a supportive setting. That combination of challenge and support promotes significant growth in self-esteem, independence, leadership, social comfort, and friendship skills seen with children who attend summer camp* -- and that's something you just can't get from a movie or a video game.

Elk Creek Ranch, located 40 miles northwest of Cody, Wyoming, in the Shoshone National Forest, offers teenagers a unique summer camp experience in a traditional ranch setting. Family owned and operated since the 1950s, it's a rustic throwback to the "good old days" -- when children understood the value of teamwork and getting their hands dirty. The ranch activities -- working with horses, hiking the nation's pristine "wild west," and participating in challenging work project -- give each rancher a wider and deeper awareness of himself or herself.

"Ranchers walk away with more than a few weeks spent out west," says Richard "Hap" Ridgway, Elk Creek owner/operator. "Most of the ranchers over the last 50-plus years leave have left Elk Creek with a positive self-image and greater understanding of what it means to be part of a successful team -- qualities that are key for collegiate success and in today's workplace."

If anyone understands the need for a positive self-image and productive teamwork, it's Hap. Like everyone running the ranch, Hap's background is in education; he served as an instructor and prep school headmaster for years before returning to Wyoming to retire and rejoin the Elk Creek program.

Years after their time on the ranch, alumni comment on the impact their ranch experience had on their lives. Alumnus Nate Snow, Assistant Headmaster at White Mountain School in Vermont, say his visit as a teen to Elk Creek paved the way for a successful career and adult life. His story is just one of many that recognize Elk Creek Ranch for the part it played in ranchers' lives.

Elk Creek Ranch offers a traditional ranch program including work projects, riding and caring for horses, backpacking and fishing. The first session runs from June 19 - July 16 and the second session runs from July 17 - August 13. The cost for one four-week session is $4,350. For more information or for the 2012 application process can be found at

*Philliber Research Associates Study, 2005

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