Arivaca Boys Ranch

38000 S Arivaca Ranch Rd, 
Arivaca, AZ 85601

(877) 886-9766



Boys Only

Call admissions department for current tuition.

Arivaca Boys Ranch is a unique 10-month program that uses three powerful therapeutic tools to help teen boys get on a right path in life. First, a specialized form of equine therapy. Equine therapy is commonly used to help teens who are struggling, but we take it one step further, we teach the boys to become �horse whisperers.� Known as the �Arivaca Way,� our therapeutic model teaches boys to understand how their behavior or mood affects their horse, and that helps them become more aware and responsible of their actions and how they affect others. Secondly, we use Arbinger Principles to help provide a foundation for moving behavior from anger to positive motivational action. The principles were developed by the Arbinger Institute, which is a worldwide leader in training on anger management. And third, we use the working ranch setting for training, responsibility and positive peer influence as a means of helping the teen grow in maturity.

Through hard work, responsibility, communication and healthy relationships, on our boys ranch we teach boys how to resolve their most troubling conflicts the right way. We teach them a different way of being . . . a way out of conflict and turmoil through making better choices.

Arbinger Anger Management Principles
Equine "Horse Whisperer" Training
Leadership Training
Accredited High School Academics
Trained Therapists

Enrollment & Tuition
Tuition provides the following benefits:

Accredited Academic Program with individualized program and instruction.
Individualized Therapy for prescribed treatment with on-going assessment for appropriate adjustments.
Group Therapy for communication skill development, anger management, problem solving.
Life Changing Seminars for Parents and Students at the Campus to help provide the tools necessary for building a strong family relationship and ensure the Student knows his/her Parent is always there for him/her.
Guaranteed follow-up and related benefits upon successful completion of the program.

If your son struggles with school, is defiant, has attention deficit, is experimenting with drugs, stealing, lying, sneaking out, depressed . . . breaking your heart . . . then you may need our help. We help teen boys exhibiting:

Defiance of Authority
Attention Deficits
Adoption Issues
Drug & Alcohol Abuse
Conduct Issues
Social Adjustment
Anger & Stress

Arivaca Boys Ranch Academics
Accredited High School Curriculum

Education is an important part of the Arivaca Boys Ranch experience.

Arivaca Boys Ranch offers an accredited High School curriculum. Working with Sequoia Choice (an online educational provider) Arivaca Boys Ranch will help your son catch up (and even move ahead) in his education.

Our program includes assessments of your son�s current needs and tailors a program suited to his learning abilities. Each young man receives close adult supervision with his studies in small classes. His schooling includes computer lab work, hands-on lab work, and classroom instruction. He will have vocational learning opportunities (such as welding, construction, agricultural, etc.) as well as his math, science, and art classes. Each student will be required to complete regular testing to prepare for the State required AIMS test as well as completing the AIMS testing. Parents will receive regular updates on their son�s educational progress. For more information on Sequoia, visit:


Sequoia Choice Distance Learning (Choice) is accredited by The Commission on International and Trans-Regional Accreditation (CITA), an alliance of the largest American school accrediting associations. CITA is recognized as an accrediting authority throughout the United States and around the world.

Choice meets the standards for accreditation as a distance learning school and is listed nline ( under the name Sequoia Choice Arizona Distance Learning.

Choice is also accredited by the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement, a regional non-governmental non-profit organization. Founded in 1895, the NCA CASI�s high standards go beyond state requirements to meet nationally and internationally recognized levels of excellence. Our accreditation shows that our school and staff are committed to quality education and continuous improvement.

The Five Levels of Therapy
Level One: Boys enter Ranch Life.

Each day consists of chores and ranch work. Boys receive counseling to help them adjust and to help them learn the value of correct choices (consequences). �Positive Experiences� are the basis of counseling and daily activities, teaching a young man to better his environment and opportunities with positive choices.

Level Two: Boys enter the world of horses.

Although they have little or no experience with horses they learn to respect and care for horses. Through positive and safe introductions to horses they overcome fears and develop the skills necessary to care for and ride a horse. They learn the psychology of a horse as a social (herd) animal and how to convert that knowledge to their own social interactions. Boys continue to have responsibilities with the daily ranch operations.

At level two boys are part of a team (5 boys) led by a Wrangler. This team participates in activities such as daily ranch chores, laundry, cooking and cleaning, as well as school classes. Each week, boys are paid for their ranch work with �Ranch Dollars� that can be used to buy privileges (like watching videos) or items at our �General Ranch Store.� Boys receive bonuses for working together and promoting each other as a team. Through this each boy learns fiscal responsibility, how to budget, and how to work together.

Level Three: Boys receive a two- to three-year-old horse to train.

Working with our trainers and wranglers, boys learn patience, sensitivity, and how a horse �mirrors� their emotions. Most or all of their work with horses is �ground work� (not on horseback). Through these activities, boys experience success, failure, overcoming adversity, communication skills, and positive personal growth.

Level Four: Boys begin advanced horse training and riding their horse.

They help mentor younger level one and two boys. They also participate in �imprinting� new foals, the selection and breeding process of Arabian horses, and are introduced to cattle work. They are given leadership responsibilities.

Level Five: Boys at this level are experienced on horseback and have shown responsibility.

They can now participate in activities away from ranch headquarters. (i.e., roundups, horse shows, community and ranch sponsored events). Level Five boys also serve in a judicial system used on the ranch for boys to settle disputes. Level Five boys serve as mentors to Level One Boys who are trying to adjust to �Ranch� life. They also have opportunities to interact with Arizona businessmen and educators who can, in turn, serve as mentors for their adjustment back into society.

All Levels

On all levels boys are responsible for laundry, cooking and cleaning chores, personal hygiene, and spiritual development. Each boy works closely with a �Wrangler,� who serves as a guide and counselor on daily activities. Boys also have one hour of professional counseling each week, along with one hour of group counseling.

Therapy Consists of Four Key Ingredients:
1. Individual Counseling.

Each young man receives one session a week with a trained therapist. This therapist is trained to incorporate the daily experiences of the program into the young man�s life. He helps the young man make the connection between �Equine Therapy� and real life.

2. Group Therapy

Each week every young man joins with his �family� group for a session led by a counselor. This provides a chance to develop communication skills, cooperation, relationships, empathy and understanding, and develop anger management skills, etc.

3. Family Groups

Each young man is in a family group with five other boys. This group is led by a trained Wrangler (staff member). Each staff member has been trained in �Arbinger Principles� and helps the young man understand these principles in his life. Every evening includes a reflection session to review the events of the day, write in a journal, and resolve any conflicts within the group.

4. Equine Therapy

A powerful therapy known as �Equine Therapy� is becoming very popular. There are many ways in which horses are used to help people, from handicapped children to hardened criminals.

Our Equine Therapy is much more than a �petting zoo.� Although there is value in caring for another living creature, our program is based on a personal working relationship between a young man and his own horse (each young man is assigned a young horse that only he works with.) Because of a horse�s instinct to survive and interact socially he is very sensitive to his environment and becomes a mirror of the young man�s emotions and feelings. Through exercises in natural horsemanship, each young man must learn to communicate on the horses level and develop a trusting relationship that allows him to lead the horse without force or coercion. Through this process, the teen boy learns more about himself and his personal relationships with others than he does about horsemanship.

Why is Equine Therapy so effective?
Those who are familiar with horses recognize and understand the power of horses to influence people in incredible ways. By using horses to develop relationships, learning to care for horses responsibly, combined with horse training and professional horsemanship, a natural situation is created that affects the people involved in a positive manner.

The benefits of work ethic, responsibility, assertiveness, communication and healthy relationships have long been recognized. The professional use of horses naturally provides the setting for the development of these skills and values. The ability to learn and grow is ever present for each person working with horses, and easily explains why the use of horses is growing and gaining popularity across the country.

People often ask, �Why horses? Why not other animals?� Horses are large and powerful, which creates a natural opportunity for most people to overcome fear and develop confidence. The size and power of a horse can be naturally intimidating to many people. Accomplishing a task involving a horse, in spite of those fears, creates confidence and provides an opportunity for the use of some powerful metaphors when dealing with other intimidating and challenging situations in life.

Horses are very much like humans in that they are social animals. Horses have defined roles within their herds, just as we do within our own groups of individual people. They would rather be with their peers doing what they want to do, once again just like humans (especially teenagers).

Horses have distinct personalities, attitudes and moods � just as we do. An approach that seems to work with one horse, does not necessarily work with another. At times, they seem stubborn and defiant. They like to have fun. In other words, horses provide vast opportunities for metaphorical learning. Using metaphors, in discussion or activity, is a very effective technique when working with even the most challenging individuals or groups.

Horses require hard work, whether in caring for them or training them! In an era when immediate gratification and the �easy way� is the norm, working with horses requires humans to be engaged in physical and mental work to be successful; a very valuable characteristic in all aspects of life.

Most importantly, horses have the ability to mirror exactly what the human�s body is telling them. Many people will complain, �The horse is stubborn, the horse doesn�t like me� and on and on. But the lesson to be learned is that if they (the humans) change themselves, the horses respond differently. Horses are honest, which makes them particularly powerful messengers.

The Arivaca Boys Ranch serves 30-35 boys, age 13 to 17, on a 23,000 acre, 140-year-old ranch. The ranch is specifically designed to therapeutically help teenage boys from throughout the Southwest and especially California, learn how to make better decisions and become more mature in their thinking, while learning life skills right along with the �book learning� they�ll receive in our accredited on-campus school.

We cannot help a boy without parental involvement. Parents are required to work through a curriculum each month while their son is in our program. They participate in counseling (video or live) sessions each month with their son�s counselor. They visit the ranch twice during the ten month period. On these visits they attend seminars and begin to interact again with their sons. The second visit involves specific training on their son�s re-entrance into their family life.

Boys Ranches Could Be Your Best Answer
Arivaca Boys Ranch builds three-legged platforms
A boys ranch could be the answer when parents feel like they are standing on their last leg. However, sending a son to a boys ranch is usually not the first thought that comes to mind when a parent reaches wits� end.

Boys ranches, such as Arivaca Boys Ranch, specialize in supplying three basic structures to achieve good conduct and productive living that many teenage sons may have missed:

a strong sense of responsibility,
self-discipline techniques, and a
renewed love for learning.
It takes all three legs to support growth and positive behavior. If you feel like you no longer have a leg to stand on, there it is time to contact a boys ranch such as Arivaca and seek help.

Is the struggle about responsibility, or is it about control?

One of the most trying parts of being a parent to a teenage son is being ignored. As parents attempt to teach responsibility and proper social behavior through words and actions, it is frustrating none of it has an effect. Many parents do not realize that the problem has more to do with a struggle for control than it does with being ignored. Teens ignore parents because they soon learn it puts parents on the defensive and pushes their buttons.

The cycle continues until the method and environment changes.

That is what a boys� ranch can provide. Boys ranches not only remove the teenager from his bad-behavior comfort zone, but can exercise methods different than a parent can.

Self-discipline and self-restraint

Even if a parent is really good at practicing adolescent psychology, he or she will still be at a disadvantage because the parent is actually inside the problem�part of the problem. Simple put, no matter how loud it gets, the parent is still not going to be heard. Under such circumstances disciplining goes in one ear, out the other, and out the window.

Successful discipline comes from successful self-discipline. Once a teenager gains a sense of self-discipline and self-restraint, he is more likely to respond to the restraint placed on him by someone else�particularly a parent.

Until a teenager�s lack of discipline causes him discomfort, it will continue. Teenagers quickly learn what behaviors work for them. The solution, then, is to provide an environment where good behavior feels good and bad behavior does not. Arivaca Boys Ranch can provide such an environment with experiences that cause a modification of behavior and good feelings to rise from within.

Learning is about moving on

Restoration of education and a desire to enjoy learning is the third necessary support. When a teenager replaces the frustrations of failure at school with success and a hunger for more, the battle is won. Failing grades when decent grades used to be the norm isn�t really about liking or disliking school. It has more to do with teens� manipulating control over parents by making them feel guilty and defensive. When that manipulation no longer has a payback to the teen (as it would be at Arivaca Boys Ranch), then we can begin to re-address the process of learning and recover lost periods of advancement and learning.

The solution to providing three stronger legs

Solution No. 1: Equine Therapy

Arivaca Boys Ranch employs a unique way of reorienting behavior through the use of Arabian horses. Equine therapy has become a reliable tool in modifying mood and behavior in troubled teens and even criminals. The change in behavior can be quite remarkable. Arabian horses are independent thinkers and have a strong will. This means that a teenage boy is not going to succeed in getting the horse to cooperate with him by using the techniques and tantrums learned at home. In many ways, the teenager becomes the parent, and the horse becomes the teenager; thus, the teen can empathize with what the parents have been going through.

Solution No. 2: Individual and Group Counseling

Individual and group counseling by trained therapists take those experiences learned at the ranch and puts language and understanding around them. The goal of counseling is to cement those experiences into behavioral changes by addressing the experiences and relating them to improved life experiences.

Solution No. 3: Recovery of lost academic standing

The real value of education teaches us what works in life and what doesn�t. We learn that through the experiences of others. Secondly, and most important to adolescents, it teaches us what it feels like to meet a challenge and become successful. Third, it allows a person to become more conversant on a wider area of topics thus avoiding having to say, �I dunno� all the time. Finally, education allows a person to raise his vision to see the greater possibilities in life and understand the discipline that will be needed to reach new and loftier goals.

One-on-One Instruction and Therapy

Arivaca Boys Ranch has plenty of one-on-one instruction to help boys recover what they have lost in academics, as well as strengthen their ability to go on to greater learning. Coupled with counseling and strong reinforcement of successes, Arivaca Boys Ranch can interrupt the downward educational spiral in your teenage boy and replace it with a drive to excel even higher.

With these three strong supports at your disposal, isn�t it time to look into taking advantage of these advantages and even more that Arivaca Boys Ranch has to offer? To gain a greater understanding of the possibilities and the benefits that Arivaca Boys Ranch can provide to you and your family, call us at our toll-free number, (877) 88-MYSON or (877) 886-9766. It is a call you can only regret not making.

Managing Director
Ron Searle, MBA, �Horse Whisperer�

Ron lives on the ranch and oversees all of it�s operations. He tries to be personally involved with the boys as much as possible. Ron has 20 years of experience in youth education both as an instructor and a High School principal, and 10 years as a University Instructor at Arizona State University. He holds a bachelors degree in family financial counseling and a Masters in Business Administration from Arizona State. He has spent many years counseling and working with struggling youth. He has 30 years of horse experience and is a �Horse Whisperer.� He also has 20 plus years of working with young men in church-related and Boy Scout activities. He has served as a Varsity Scout Coach, a Venture Post Leader, and a Unit Commissioner for the Boy Scouts program. Ron�s desire to help young people, and his love of horses has led to the vision of the Arivaca Boys Ranch and Academy. Ron also is a licensed Arbinger Instructor and is committed to the Arbinger principles as a cultural basis for the ranch. Ron is dedicated to young people and their futures. Ron and his wife Peggy have eight children and are grandparents of seven.

Clinical Director
Debra Milner, RN, LCSW

Debra is a licensed social worker, psychotherapist and a registered nurse. Debra brings to Arivaca Boys Ranch extensive experience in the mental health field, including private practice, residential treatment, clinical supervision and in training and education as well as consultation. She believes in the healing potential of Arivaca Boys Ranch and the opportunity it offers to the boys and their families to achieve the personal growth that they are seeking.

Psychotherapy Director
Chris Wallace, Ph.D.

Trained in psychology and the clinical treatment of families, Chris has been a practicing, doctoral level Marriage & Family Therapist since 1990 and for twelve years, was the clinical director at ANASAZI Foundation, a nationally recognized youth treatment program in Mesa, Arizona utilizing the wilderness to bring about a change of heart in struggling youth and their families. Dr. Wallace is senior facilitator for the Arbinger Institute since 1993 and has been a teacher and consultant in the United States and Europe in many industries, including healthcare, military, government, aerospace, retailing, biotechnology, service and professional groups, and tele-communications, among others. Dr. Wallace also serves as a senior consultant for Arbinger�s Continuing Education Program.

Buirge S. Jones, M.A.
Buirge has worked in the social service field for over twenty years. Buirge started out working with disabled teens as a personal support coach, as well as, helping teens transition into supported independent living group homes. Buirge also has had a long history of working with young adults and children with autism, physical disabilities, and behavioral challenges. Buirge has run and managed several supported living group homes, and also was a director of social service organization called PKT enterprises. Buirge naturally gravitated to the therapeutic supports of social services, which led him to pursue a masters degree in psychotherapy at Naropa University. Since graduating, Buirge has counseled young adults transitioning into academia, ran several therapeutic support groups, and was the director of several community theater programs.

Dena Kay, M.A.

Dena worked for six years as a high school English teacher before receiving a Masters in Counseling at the University of Arizona in 1976. In the years since She has worked in various school settings in both Arizona and Colorado as well as being the designated Child and Adolescent Specialist at a Mental Health Center and a therapist at a youth center. Her counseling philosophy draws primarily from the Alderian approach. She is somewhat eclectic in her approach, using techniques from cognitive behavior, family systems, and reality therapies including disputation, cognative restructuring and confidence building. Dena lives on a cattle ranch with her husband.

Dave Jensen, M.A., LMSW

For ten years Dave has been working with adolescents, young adults and the families that care for them. Dave has worked with youth and young adults in hospitals, outpatient clinics, group homes, wilderness therapy and now is proud to be associated with Arivaca Boys Ranch. Dave earned his BA in Religious Studies from Arizona State University with the intent to transition the skills and knowledge acquired there into his future counseling career; he went on to earn his Master of Social Work degree from New York University. His studies and training emphasized clinical intervention including, individual, family and group therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and addictions counseling. He has a special interest in helping young adults face the challenges of their world and has seen that the decisions young people make now will shape them for years to come. Dave has worked with the Arbinger Institute for nine years and believes strongly that problems exist in relationships rather than in individuals, and that people have the fundamental ability to change their hearts and their lives. This philosophy informs his therapy as he emphasizes a strengths based and solution focused approach.

Jennifer Weiss, M.S., Equine Director, Family Relations

Jenn hails from Washington State and has worked with horses for over 14 years in both recreational riding and training using Natural Horsemanship principles. She received her Bachelors Degree in Marriage, Family, and Human Development from Brigham Young University where she was also fortunate to learn life-changing Arbinger principles. Jenn continued her study of Family Relations at Utah State University earning a Masters Degree in Family, Consumer, and Human Development. She has worked with college-aged youth dealing with substance abuse as well as suicidal tendencies. Jenn�s dream was to find a way to combine her study of family relationships with the therapeutic benefits of working with horses. She is passionate about what we can learn about ourselves, and the relationships dearest to us, by working with horses and is excited to be a part of the team at Arivaca Boys Ranch.

Tyler Hoyt, M.S., LMFT

Tyler has been at the ranch since May 2010. He is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) in the state of Arizona. He, prior to working at Arivaca Ranch, came from a children�s outpatient 0 to 5 clinic where he did family therapy, play therapy, and much work with adoptive and foster families; he also worked with families attempting to rehabilitate and reunify with their children after being involved with Child Protective Services (CPS). Before that Tyler was trained in Functional Family Therapy (FFT), by James Alexander, and worked as an in-home interventionist of struggling teenage children and their families. He received his Masters of Science degree at Oklahoma State University�s accredited marriage and family therapy program. He was mentored under an esteemed couple�s researcher and clinician, and worked with couples who adopted children with special needs through the Oklahoma Marriage Initiative. Tyler and his family live in the Tucson area.

Program Director
Matt Howard
Our program director Matt Howard calls the ranch home. He lives there with his wife Rachelle and their two young children Eli and Jonathan. The Howards share years of experience helping teens in wilderness therapy. Life long students of the Arbinger Institute it is their belief that lasting change comes only when a trusted friend makes an unassuming invitation to change. They hope to be such a friend to the boys at the ranch.

Matt received a Bachelor degree in English Language, and Rachelle a Masters degree in Marriage Family and Human Development. Matt takes care of the day-to-day operations of the ranch. Whether its planning the daily schedule, showing the ranch to guests, or driving the tractor he�s there to pitch in. Rachelle opens her home to the boys once a week where she teaches the boys a class about morality and values. Eli and Jonathan are �little brothers� to all the boys, proving a never ending source of love and admiration.The Howards delight at the opportunity to learn from and love each boy that comes to the Ranch.

Enrollment Director
Kathy Cazier

Our Director of Enrollment came to us from ITT Technical Institute In Spokane. She understands and supports the value of education in the future of our young men. You will find a willing and understanding ear to discuss your son and our program here at Arivaca Boys Ranch. She raised 7 children and she and her three youngest children have been thru the Arbinger programs. She can answer all your questions and help you thru the sometimes daunting task of finding the right program for your son and assisting in the enrollment process itself.

Academic Assistant
Jill Farrel, M.A.
A retired special education teacher of 30 years, Jill Farrell serves as our education tutor. Her indomitable spirit and cheery smile rub off on even the most reluctant of students. While Jill is there to help all the boys with their questions her primary responsibility is to help boys who are in need of special accommodations educationally. Jill is also our connection to the local library, supplying books for the ranch�s many book worms.

Aftercare Services Director
Mary Fry, Certified Li

he first seminar is �The Choice� seminar which includes the principles developed by the Arbinger Institute. This seminar gives parents insight into where all these problems with their son began and how to get out of the current life path. Parents learn the same life changing principles their son is learning. This helps facilitate change at home so that the young man doesn�t return to the �same stimuli� that contributed to his bad choices. Parents receive monthly assignments to help them understand what their son is experiencing and work along with him.

The second seminar is held at the ranch. This include an introduction to �Equine Therapy� and help parents gain insight to the experiences their son is having. It also gives parents and son a chance to visit, and perhaps for their son to �show off� a little regarding his progress.

The third seminar helps prepare the family for the young man�s return home. It includes information regarding some of the pitfalls they might encounter and a review of the skills their son has developed to overcome hard choices. Follow-up support is explained and parents will spend some time with their son preparing for the future.

Residential Treatment Center

(877) 886-9766

How We Can Help Your Family

Discriminating among the many programs or evaluating the effectiveness of your child's current program can be a daunting challenge. The Professionals we work with provide consultation to families with a personal approach. You are assured that you are in good hands.

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