We are officially on Day 8 of isolation. Although Virginia isn’t as strict as some states in this time of containment, it does have more stringent requirements than neighboring states. The Wellness Center and libraries are closed. Football conditioning and basketball season are officially over. For the safety of our children, they are no longer allowed to go to grocery stores or Walmart runs with staff. One brave young woman on campus suggested that we treat this time like summer camp and have reveille every morning at 7:00 since we have a staff member who actually plays the trumpet. Ethan’s trumpet has since gone missing. All searches for said trumpet have proven unsuccessful.
The neighbor’s cows continue to daily escape into our yard. Staff has taken to naming them. Thus far, their names are Sir Loin, RE (Ribeye), Chuck, and Mignon. Aware of the staff’s twisted sense of humor, the cows now bring their young for protection. Four cows have multiplied to eight. It has become a game for everyone on campus to see where they will appear next. We call it the country version of Where’s Waldo?
The Ranch is doing well with this foray into homeschooling. Because Carroll County is using Google Classroom to teach students, school has been broken down by cottages due to a limited number of computers. The boys start the day with school; the girls have school once the boys are finished. After lunch, staff children do their schoolwork with the campus teacher. Once they’re done, any children who didn’t complete the day’s assignments are able to get the help they need. The campus teacher is currently more concerned about the supply of coffee on campus than the toilet paper stock, and the children are suddenly realizing how the campus grandma (the director’s wife) survived being an 8th grade teacher for 33 years.
Church was different on Sunday, in keeping with guidelines of the number allowed in a gathering each of our cottages did church at home. Object lessons, Bible songs and verses, as well as question and answer time were part of this week’s worship experience.
The extroverts on campus are starting to struggle. As one of the sixth graders proclaimed at the top of her voice, “I desperately need to see my friends!” We have since agreed to make sure that the extroverts all get together outside each day so they can be as loud as they want; some of our staff has also joined in. The campus introverts are thriving. Books are being read, puzzles are being completed, and flocks of origami birds are starting to appear all over campus.
Everyone on campus is learning and growing through this. Relationships are deepening; faith is growing. And, we pray this will be a time of healing for each of our kiddos. God has blessed us with a unique opportunity. We have nowhere to go, but we have plenty of time to pour into our kids – to love and encourage, to laugh and play. As warmer weather has allowed us to open our windows, one of the sweetest sounds wafting through is the sound of laughter. Kids are spending more time playing on the playground and simply talking to staff. The other night one of our boys heard a staff member listening to worship music and sat down with her in the grass and asked if they could sing together.