History of the Ranch Tradition

Birch Creek—founded 2002. Based on Bennion Teton Boys Ranch—created by Lowell Bennion in the 1960s.

Founder Lowell Bennion working in the ranch’s garden with his successor, Steve Peterson.

Founder Lowell Bennion working in the ranch’s garden with his successor, Steve Peterson.

The inspiration for our nonprofit summer camp came from the Bennion Teton Boys Ranch, started by Lowell Bennion in 1963, in Teton Valley, Idaho. We do our best to honor and preserve that tradition, and use a manifesto of simple living, written by Dr. Bennion, as our Camp Creed.

Learn to like what doesn’t cost much.

Learn to like reading, conversation, music.

Learn to like plain food, plain service, plain cooking.

Learn to like fields, trees, brooks, hiking, rowing, climbing hills.

Learn to like people, even though some of them may be different…different from you.

Learn to like work and enjoy the satisfaction of doing your job as well as it can be done.

Learn to like the songs of birds, the companionship of dogs.

Learn to like gardening, puttering around the house, fixing things.

Learn to like the sunrise and the sunset, the beating of the rain on the roof and windows, and the gentle fall of snow on a winter day.

Learn to keep your wants simple, and refuse to be controlled by the likes and dislikes of others.

The Bennion Ranch operated for over 40 years before the nonprofit dissolved in 2005. We rely on generations of participants in the Bennion Ranch tradition to take ownership in our program and support Birch Creek ranch, so we can continue to provide a similar, rural, character-building experience to young people today.

 
 

Ranch Tradition
From the Tetons to central Utah—The spirit of the program, along with its positive outcomes for participants, survived the transition and maintain the tradition.

The first session at Birch Creek Service Ranch took place in June 2003. The years of experience since then have allowed us to develop traditions and focus our program to maximize positive outcomes for participants.

Birch Creek was founded by Adam Bateman and Eric Peterson in late 2002. For the first three years BCSR operated only one session for 12-15 year old boys, which took place on Steve and Kathy Peterson’s farm outside Spring City, Utah. The temporary camp was set up each summer—a patchwork of donated army tents, small yurts, outhouses, and an outdoor shower.

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In 2004, Jon and Susan White donated 80 acres of pinion/juniper forest near Pigeon Hollow to the nonprofit, and in 2006 we held our first session on our own property. The land had served as a turkey farm in the 1970s, and there remain some relics of the old feeders and fences from that operation.

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Many generous donations from family foundations and individuals, along with the labor of countless volunteers has enabled us to develop the property with facilities and utilities to suit our program.

Birch Creek Ranch is located in Sanpete County, Utah. The beautiful location also makes it easy for us to find many genuine work and service opportunities. It is also centrally located for spending time outdoors in a variety of spectacular mountain and desert canyon locations, where participants can gain an appreciation for nature.