People Watching 

 May 12, 2013

By  Jana Hassett

The traffic in our Gallery has been huge this week.  I’m grateful for the traffic and the sales.  But it’s always a wonderful time to people watch, probably one of my favorite things to do.  Lots of foreign citizens traveling through and a large number this week were French.  They tend to have limited English language skills so communicating with them is difficult.  There were also several Englanders, and they are full of life and curiosity.  Always ask lots of good questions and are planning to hike.

The families that are here for Turn About Ranch students are always interesting to watch.  It’s usually mid-term when we see them and most revisit upon graduation.  Parents anxious they made the right decision about spending this huge sum of money to save their teenager from some very bad choices and learning to cope with society as it is.  Almost all come from big cities where there are limited choices and big expenses that require two parents to work in order to provide what is “expected” – at least from the advertisers viewpoint.

Turn About Ranch provides these almost adult children with the skills to evaluate what is really important and how to change the pathway they have been on.  Parents get extended counseling as well.  No one is to blame and both take responsiblity for a different outcome.  Dr. Phil does a segment on our ranch every year and everyone in Escalante, UT is very proud of the work done there.

The families come in, the students are usually quiet, respectful and glad to have a few hours away from the ranch.  Almost all wear a red ball cap.  Those of us watching from the sidelines never know their names or hometowns, but know them from their red ballcap.  We try and reinforce the great work being done and let them know how proud the parents should be for asking for help and the student should be for getting a second chance early on and not having to wait until they are 50+ to “figure it out”.

For midterm we usually just see the parents of the students, but Graduation can bring out entire families that fly into Las Vegas, drive the 5 hours to Escalante and stay in town several days.  Parents, siblings, married siblings and spouses, cousins, aunts and uncles – you name it – they find their way here to celebrate the rebirth of this student and their family.  It’s wonderful to see all the love and caring that comes from it.  They usually buy some little treasure to remember their time in our funny little Mormon Village of 650 people.  And they are fascinated by our red rock environment and the fact that you can hear yourself think.  No background noise, dark nights with stars, and everyone knows everyone – something the city folks mostly never know.


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