Friday, March 26, 2010

A Day at Sorenson's Ranch School

What better thing to do on a perfect "Utah" spring day than to take advantage of our weather and a local attraction. Pam and Darold Francis, who are pioneer bucket and broom makers, host our nearby Freemont Visitor Center and Museum. Pam makes handcrafted brooms for home use as well as for decoration. Darold a "Cooperer" demonstrated handcrafted buckets and kegs.

We started our day by driving from Sorenson’s Ranch, a residential treatment center for troubled teens, in a van full of teens toward Interstate 70, going through Greenwich, passing Otter Creek and Piute Reservoir. The close streams were running clear and fast. We chose an area in Marysvale to have lunch, by one of the more peaceful and calming streams. On the drive we were also able to pick out some really good future fishing, cookout, and horse riding spots that the teens wanted to visit.

Arriving early for the demonstration, the Visitor Center hostess directed us to the exploration path on the grounds. The students from our residential treatment center, just followed the numbered observation points. We observed several Petroglyphs and Fossils. The trail also led to several places to view the canyons where the Indians built dwellings in the ground to capture the heat from the day’s sun. After climbing around some, we went back to the visitor center for the "Pioneer Bucket and Broom" demonstration. Pam told us that the brooms are made from reeds, grown like corn, and are from the sorghum family. She uses three layers of the reeds. Each reed is secured by heavy gauge cord and wound tightly by hand. The last row of reeds was also woven into a pattern to decoratively top the broom. These handmade brooms were touted to last 15 to 20 years of household use.

Darold, a cooper, makes handmade pioneer buckets. He used planing tools to shape each piece of wood fitting them securely together thus preventing any leaks. The buckets are functional as well as decorative.

After a short question and answer session during which the at-risk youth asked several questions, we headed back to Sorenson’s Ranch School. Everyone had had a lovely day and enjoyed their experiences there. This was just one of many outings that our troubled teens are able to participate in. These type of excursions make lasting impressions on our at-risk youth, many of whom came from difficult situations where their experiences were limited and so they came to believe that getting high and doing drugs was the only way to have a good time. Sorenson’s Ranch tries to prove them wrong by filling their lives with rewarding, drug-free experiences, and has been successfully doing so for over 30 years.

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