After 20 years, the Nature Fun Ranch, a youth and community project, focused on helping ‘at risk‘ young people develop holistically is making a big step towards sustainability.

Director Corey Layne said a push in that direction came with the timely intervention of CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank, whose staff visited its ten acre plot at Bruce Vale Plantation, St. Andrew recently to assist with a major clean up and debushing.

The employees, made up of several ranks of the bank’s staff, not only brought a healthy monetary donation but armed with weed whackers, saws, hammers, paint brushes and other tools, they worked alongside the ranch’s young people clearing shrubbery, painting fences, making benches and generally readying the premises for activities that Layne hopes will allow the ranch to earn its keep.

Layne explained that they are aiming to significantly reduce the ranch’s dependence on donations by 2020 and instead are gearing it to raise revenue from guided tours, food crop and animal production and as well as by providing specialisation services to reform children who are suspended or expelled from school as well as other at-risk youth.

He therefore thanked CIBC FirstCaribbean for its contribution noting that about four years ago, the ranch relocated to Bruce Vale which suited its purpose of using agriculture, equestrian, adventure and other outdoor pursuits to produce well rounded civic-minded individuals. He pointed out that the Ranch now had a Board of Directors and an Advisory Board comprising prominent citizens who would be able to advise and guide the running of the facility.

But he said the place needed a lot of work including repairing the former manager’s residence and transforming it into a club house; de-bushing and making paths more accessible.

Layne said that CIBC’s generosity will help the fun ranch to get its fund-raising projects going and he hopes that it will soon be able to offer a stipend to its camp directors and assistants, who are currently full time volunteers.

CIBC FirstCaribbean’s Managing Director for Barbados, Donna Wellington, who was a part of the clean-up detail and adept at maneuvering a lawn mower, presented the cheque to Layne. She stressed the importance of having projects targeted at the development of young people, adding that the bank was happy to contribute to such nation building ventures.

The records of the Nature Fun Ranch indicate that 2074 people have passed though its doors as of April 2017.

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