New CEO on the ranch

New CEO on the ranch

Posted by on Aug 21, 2014 in Whats-new | 0 comments

Ranch Ehrlo Society welcomed new president/CEO Andrea Brittin to its leadership team.

Andrea assumed responsibilities as the agency’s president/CEO effective August 18, 2014.

Andrea looks forward to providing leadership to an organization that is having a positive impact on children and families in Saskatchewan and beyond.

“Coming to the Ranch is exciting because it is an opportunity to continue to work in an area that has been a great passion of mine for the last 23 years, and that’s child welfare,” she said from her office at the Hudson Administration Building. “Working at the Ranch is an opportunity to take on something very different and to see things from a new perspective.”

Andrea began her career as a frontline child protection/adoption worker for the Ministry of Social Services. She took on various roles within the Ministry, most recently acting as the Assistant Deputy Minister of Child and Family Services.

“When you take on a role like this it’s important to take your former hat off and put your new hat on. That is what I’ve done,” she explained. “I’m here solely for the Ranch— for the organization, for the people who work for this organization and ultimately for the children and families that we serve.”

Andrea is excited about the many opportunities and endeavours on the horizon, but is most enthusiastic about the opportunity for continuous improvement.

“What I’m excited about is joining such a strong team and reputable organization. I look forward to doing what I can to ensure Ranch Ehrlo stays strong and viable into the future and that each and every child, youth and family served by the Ranch will reach their full potential,” she added.

“It feels good to be part of something that is so meaningful and has such an impact on the community.”

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Therapeutic camping program expands

Therapeutic camping program expands

Posted by on Jul 8, 2014 in Our blog, Whats-new |

Chitek Lake camp in 1980New grant funding has allowed for further development of Ranch Ehrlo’s therapeutic camping program.

The agency received a grant from the Ehrlo Child and Family Foundation to develop leased property at Chitek Lake for summer camping.

The Chitek Lake property was first leased by Ranch Ehrlo circa 1970. The space was used as a seasonal camping destination up until 2002, when significant vandalism forced the demolition of its cabins and closure of its campground. Now, years later, the Ranch is working to re-establish the remote destination as a traditional camping locale.

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End of another season

End of another season

Posted by on Mar 12, 2014 in Community |

Outdoor hockeyThe Ehrlo Outdoor Hockey League (OHL) in Regina  held its year-end tournament on March 8 and 9th, celebrating yet another season of barrier-breaking community hockey.

“The weekend tournament was a great success with approximately 300 participants,” said Laura Logan, manager of Ehrlo Sport Venture. “It amazes me that even with limited times on the ice, the players improved immensely.”

For more than two decades, children and youth from across Regina have participated in the free recreational hockey league. The OHL has continued to grow since the beginnings in 1993, gaining momentum and prestige amongst the city’s youngest athletes.

This year, more than 300 girls and boys age eight to 18 played in the OHL. The league kicked off in the Queen City on Jan. 6, 2014, operating in seven inner-city communities throughout the city.

“It seemed ironic that after a season of extreme cold weather, we ended up with the warmest weekend for our annual indoor tournament,” said Laura. “Despite the bitter cold temps, rinks like Grassick Park continued to see kids attend with temperatures below -30 degree Celsius, and it often took a great deal of convincing to get them to go home!”

This year’s OHL success was due in part to the support and sponsorship received from RBC, the Richardson Foundation, KidSport, the Cooperators, the Regina Rebels, Hockey Canada, and many others. Tournament winner can be found on the Regina OHL page.

Registration and skills camp for the Ehrlo basketball League starts on May 6th at 7 p.m. at the Core Richie Neighbourhood Centre. Please call 306-751-2411 or email for more details.

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Finding a home where you least expect it

Finding a home where you least expect it

Posted by on Mar 11, 2014 in Community, Then and now | 3 comments

“The most important thing in life is your family. Sometimes it’s the family you’re born into and sometimes it’s the one you make for yourself.” 

emilioNineteen-year-old Emilio Bear found a family, and a home at Ranch Ehrlo Society.

Emilio moved into one of the Ranch’s intake units when he was just 10 years old.

A childhood of revolving doors and packed-up boxes prepared Emilio for the move. He had been placed in 21 foster homes before the age of six, and was living at Saskatoon’s Red Willow House before moving to the Ranch.

“The Ranch was different from the other (group homes),” Emilio explained. “It felt like a home to me.”

Emilio unpacked his boxes in 2004 and made Ranch Ehrlo home for eight years.

“It was great,” he said. “I really enjoyed it.”

Emilio admits it wasn’t until discharge that he realized the magnitude of the Ranch’s influence in his life. His experiences and interactions with the staff and the youth helped mold him to become the man he is today, he said.finding a home at the Ranch

“The Ranch is a really, really good place to be. If it wasn’t for the Ranch I don’t know where I would be right now – I’d probably be in a jail, in a gang, or dead.”

“The Ranch gave me a lot of motivation,” he continued. “They taught me how to go after things and not to just sit around and wait for them to happen.”

Emilio’s time at the Ranch was made special by the people who surrounded him. The staff became mother and father figures, the youth became something like siblings, and the houses became homes.

“I really lucked out with the Ranch. I became really close to the people, and I made a lot of real relationships.”

“The staff were strict and they had expectations, but they had respect for me and they were always there for me,” he said. “If I had a bad day I knew I could talk to someone — I was happy about that, I loved that.”

Living in a house with nine other youth was sometimes a challenge he said, but there was never a dull moment.

The organization of weekly sports, games, crafts, and activities was appreciated by Emilio. He said the experience to play with other kids was a new experience for him, growing up without brothers and sisters of his own.

“Everything was planned so we knew exactly what we were going to do before we did it. Even if we thought we wouldn’t like it, everything always turned out being fun.”

Emilio’s time at the Ranch was highlighted by summer camp trips, high school football, and gatherings with friends.

As Emilio worked toward high school graduation, one of the biggest moves of his life was underway.

At 17 years old, Emilio began the process of moving into independent living through the Ranch’s Youth Transition Program.

“It was difficult,” he confessed. “I didn’t like it whatsoever. I had to grow up fast and learn a lot about myself.”

With perseverance and support from Ranch mentors, Emilio succeeded in completing his high school education and securing a place to live.

After achieving several tickets and attending post-secondary school, Emilio has completed his first-year apprentice for painting, has become certified to work on the oil rigs, and is now pursuing a career in construction.

“The Ranch taught me how to be myself,” said Emilio. “They really did care.”

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Animal therapy

Animal therapy

Posted by on Mar 7, 2014 in Our blog |

Ranch Ehrlo’s clinical team provides a variety of therapeutic services to enhance the social and psychological well-being of our clients.

As part of a three part blog series, guest bloggers will explain the processes and benefits of speech/language pathology, occupational therapy, and animal therapy.

This week, art therapist, animal therapist, and social worker Cyndi Gray discusses what she does to provide therapeutic programming to Ranch Ehrlo Society’s clients.

Animal assisted therapy

My work with animals began in childhood. My grandparents had a farm which was overrun with wild cats and dogs. I tamed the cats and trained many dogs that were unresponsive to other humans. Training our family pets through adolescents and adulthood then followed. When I became a social worker I knew I wanted to have a dog as a co-therapist in my practice however it was not until I moved over to Ranch Ehrlo Society’s Clinical Assessment office that this dream became a reality. Days after I moved over to the assessment office I adopted a Yorkshire Terrier who I named Catie, after a program near and dear to my heart, the Canadian Aids Treatment Information Exchange program. Today, Catie continues to work with me in both my social work and art therapy capacities.

Animal assisted therapy is goal oriented, time sensitive, and treatment focused. The purpose of animal assisted therapy in my practice is to create a comfortable atmosphere for the individual receiving services. There are both advantages and disadvantages to introducing animal assisted therapy to one’s practice. Ethical considerations are paramount. If the resident is fearful or has harmed animals in the past animal assisted therapy may be contraindicated. It is important that both the animal and the person receiving therapy are accepting of the services provided.



A screen is conducted before Catie is introduced into the therapeutic process with residents. Most often residents regularly approach me with a request to meet and work with Catie. She is equally excited to work with the resident but has been trained not to become overly anxious in her interactions. Emotional regulation is a huge component of Catie’s work. Her presence alone calms individuals and helps them to integrate into the treatment process. Many of the treatment goals in animal assisted therapy interventions include emotional regulation, improved sense of self, social communication, problem solving, appropriate and healthy touching and boundary setting. Youth who are adverse to therapy are generally open to meeting with Catie and are eager to engage in a reciprocal, unbiased, and non-judgmental unconditional acceptance of love.

In my four years of working with Catie I have observed her to quell resident’s fears, encourage them to regulate their emotions during times of crisis, build relationships with individuals who would normally be considered treatment resistant, and most commonly help residents to feel emotionally connected. There are a plethora of benefits to using animals in a therapeutic setting some of which include:

  • Engaging the resident in treatment while building rapport with the animal and later the therapist.
  • Animal therapists offer comfort and support during difficult topics or situations.
  • Provides non-judgmental acceptance and attention to the resident.
  • Serves as a catalyst to continue participation in therapy in such cases where the resident has an attached bond to the animal.
  • Offers a semblance of safety, while normalizing the therapeutic setting.
  • Provides opportunities to engage in social communication without rejection. The therapy dog is a positive means to practice newly learned social skills without judgment, and with complete and total forgiveness.
  • Improves self-esteem of the resident.
  • Petting a dog is soothing and offers a sense of comfort which is extended to healing.
  • Teaches the resident inappropriate versus appropriate touching without criticism.
  • Improves morale among staff members.
  • Therapy dogs offer comfort in which a therapist simply cannot provide.
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