Florida Rancher — Rancher Spring
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President’s Perspective
Bill Frye

History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. They won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats.

-B. C. Forbes

For those of you who have never heard me speak, I will share something with you many people already know. I have a speech impediment. It causes me to improperly pronounce my S’s and Z’s. As a result, I do sound different from others. While I cannot hear my impediment unless it is in play back from a recording, others hear it quite well. As a child I was enrolled in speech therapy for years. I was even told by teachers and others that unless I was able to correct it, I would never be successful! As I look back on those years, I remember the anger, defiance and discouragement I felt as I was made fun of, laughed at and even mimicked by classmates and adults because my speech was funny. During my childhood, I will admit that my anger led to many fights, most of which I lost, hurt feelings and even fear of being rejected, which left me at times very lonely.

The word “Impediment” has many different meanings. It comes from the Latin verb meaning “to interfere with” or “to get in the way of progress” as if tripping up the feet of someone walking. It can be a physical thing or something more like a roadblock Due to a fallen tree in the road. For many of our children who come to live at the Youth Ranches, their impediments often are derived from poverty, abuse, neglect, abandonment, loss of a parent, lack of support and so much more. I have heard stories over my past 32 years about how a young boy or girl felt isolated, scared and lonely because they were different. Their clothes were not in style, their hair not in fashion and the color of their skin was different. They lived with a grandparent, an aunt or uncle, sometimes in the poorest of neighborhoods. Some had moved from a rural setting to a city and they too “talked funny”! Or maybe their mom or dad had remarried after a divorce or death and the step-parent simply did not want them around! Like me, many of our children got into fights because their differences were constantly being pointed out. After a while the feeling of isolation and hurt became too much to handle and they lashed out.

I, with the help of my church family, a few close friends and the love of my parents, was able to overcome my speech impediment. In fact as I look back, the issues I dealt with made me stronger! Today I embrace my difference as it helps me keep in tune to the issues our youth are trying to overcome. The same can be said for the boys and girls who call the Youth Ranches their home. With the help of their houseparents, counselors, teachers, friends and other dedicated staff they have learned to embrace their differences, improve their self-esteem and self-confidence. They come to learn they do not have to fight to gain respect or to not be made fun of.

As you read this issue of “The Rancher” magazine you will see that we have nine young men and women graduating from high school this year. A couple of our young men are buying their first car which is a very big deal. You will read about our youth participating in an art show as well as in various sporting events. These stories, and more, are just a small sample of our youth who have overcome their impediments or obstacles to become winners! They, like thousands of others over the years, have moved forward becoming successful adults because of the Youth Ranches. I pray that, like me, you too will feel good about making a difference in the lives of so many through your support and generosity!

As I look back over my life I realize, that like many of our boys and girls, I became stronger because of the love I received from others as they helped me push through personal obstacles impeding success. Today as I write this, I am seeing the faces of so many of our former ranchers. They went on to become loving mothers and fathers, successful business men and women, dedicated public servants and so much more, because of the love they received from others as they pushed through their personal obstacles which would have impeded their success. Thank you for making this possible!!

God bless,
Bill Frye,
President

“As I look back over my life I realize, that like many of our boys and girls, I became stronger because of the love I received from others as they helped me push through personal obstacles impeding success.”
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