When Emily and Doc Ridgway first started Elk Creek, they envisioned an experience for young people between their youth-camp years and their first summer jobs. Elk Creek was to be a place where young people faced more challenges and took on more responsibilities while at the same time enjoying an authentic western ranch experience. Over the years many Ranchers have actually graduated to leadership positions as Junior and Senior Counselors. In 2013, we established a process to enhance the leadership opportunities Elk Creek offers young people. The Ranchers can look ahead to a progression of challenges and responsibilities.
- All Ranchers participate in the Work Crew Program, creating a sense of responsibility and personal accomplishment, and will receive a refund of up to $100 at the end of the summer in recognition of their efforts.
- Ranchers who have attended Elk Creek for at least two sessions over two summers and who are at least 15 years of age can choose to return to the Ranch in the Leadership Program. They will arrive before the other Ranchers for orientation and will be given increased responsibilities in the different Ranch programs. Those Ranchers interested and who meet the qualifications above should indicate their intent on the application and include a letter of interest.
- Elk Creek has been very fortunate to have developed our staff from past participants in the Ranch program. Junior and Senior Counselors arrive at the Ranch four days before the Ranchers and will stay four days after the Ranchers leave. First-year Counselors pay half the normal ranch tuition, and Second-year Counselors pay no Ranch tuition. Senior Counselors are salaried.