You just never know what your farmers are up too. Truth is most of the time despite our best laid plans and dreams we have no idea where we are going to end up when we open our mouths. Sometimes we fail miserably with this approach and fall flat on our faces. Other times we think it is the best way to hit a home run! Renee and I live very much on faith, which is not to say we aren’t prudent planners, decision makers or researchers. Quite the contrary, we calculate to the best of our ability but at the end of the day facts don’t create actions. In our goal statement for the farm we have always included the desire to be a positive force in our community. Being the new kids in a small town it can be difficult to fit in and despite our desire to belong to a community and be helpful, areas of involvement weren’t jumping right into our laps. Then along came a relationship with Parks Youth Ranch. As the crow fly’s they are only a few miles from our home and farm and on a whim I decided to make contact with them to see how we could be of assistance. The response was simple “spend time with some kids”. On average the kids at the ranch live there for 3 months and it is a ever revolving door because the need is just that great for the services the Ranch provides. At the ranch their physical needs are met, they are safe , and they have adults around them that give a positive role model but the staff can only do so much. Renee and I really wanted to get them out for a day at the farm, breathing the free needville air, being in a wide open space, connecting with both nature and those charged with its care. We invited the staff and kids on Superbowl Sunday to come play football, base ball, throw a Frisbee and play basketball by the barn. Of course we fed them and introduced them to the residence of the farm. The kids held chickens, petted baby lambs and saw pigs out in the field. The Barry Farm farmers didn’t do this by ourselves. We had a terrific response for friends and fans of the farm to come to our aid. Some cooked hot dogs, others made brownie Sundaes, some played ball with us and most importantly they got to spend some quality time with adults that had no agenda other than to make them feel at home for an afternoon. We got very lucky on Sunday, a predicted 70% chance of rain never materialized and it was sunny skies and good times. I’d love to challenge you personally in this regard. There are no required or special qualifications to hanging out with teenagers. A listening ear, a willing set of hands and an open mind are really all it takes. Each of these kids has a story that would make a tough guy cry and nobody deserves the lot they were dealt. I for one could not imagine being 13 and homeless in Houston and what is harder for me to imagine is knowing these kids are in my back yard and deciding not to care about them. Take some time and go meet some kids at parks youth ranch, our community will be stronger for it and I will guarantee their stories will make our petty problems seem really small .