KW Legacy Ranch in Hiko is a place for troubled youth and a drug rehab treatment facility which promotes itself as being a family focused adolescent program that utilizes a real working cattle ranch as the therapeutic approach to changing lives and playing a small part in helping transform the family’s legacy.
Teens from ages 12 -18 come to Legacy Ranch, as co-founder/executive director Luke Hatch says, “not at the order of the court, but referrals given by outside professional family therapists working with either the family groups or individuals. Many are advised that the child may need more “intensive residential treatment,” for any number of reasons which may include drug abuse, depression and anxiety, etc.
Hatch explained the last six months the ranch has been “going really well. We’ve been able to work with 30-40 students in the last three years.”
Current enrollment is about 15 from all parts of the country, not just the western states.
A visit to the ranch’s website :www.kclegacyranch.com.will give more detail on the why and how of the program.
Currently, the ranch also has four girls enrolled.
“Eight months in the average length of stay for most students,” Hatch said, although some have stayed longer. “And we usually can see a change in their outlook on life even before the time is for them to leave. But it’s a process, too, as we work with them transitioning back into their home life, and what additional support groups might be helpful for them. We try to stay involved. We tell them the time at KW is a starting point, now they are to put those tools to use at home, and when they are in the world on their own.”
“We also give credits for the work the students do on the ranch, Hatch said. “We give credits for the work experience, welding, animal care, and receive Ag Science credits, and P.E. credits for horsemanship. There are some specialized credits the girls can take as well, but he didn’t specify what those are. He said, “The school work is pretty much individualized for whatever that student needs. “Some recommendations are even given to us by the school where they came from.”
Legacy is a working ranch with cattle, horses, pigs, sheep, goats, chickens, “and we also put up all of our own hay,” said Hatch. “In addition, we do a lot of horsemanship. Also a lot of therapy, group, individual, and family. We generally have families in town every week.”
The general comments for parents who have sent their kids to Legacy have been quite positive. “We’ve gotten really good reviews from every family we’ve worked with,” he said. I think we have a very high success rate.”
“We have testimonials on our website,” Hatch said. And some who have completed the program at Legacy and gone on, have found satisfactory, meaningful, and even profitable lives. “We try to maintain contact with the person and the family after the time they have spent here,” he said.
Hatch said Positive Peer Culture is one of the models used at Legacy Ranch. “There is a book of that same name,” he explained, “but we don’t go strictly off what is written there, and not to the strictness outlined there either. As long as you keep your group going forward in a positive way, kids tend to take part, so we stay positive.”
He added, “What we are doing is to help change lives, not for any other reason.”