School Forest5 (copy)

Deciduous Learning Network co-founder Melissa Laurie teaches "forest school" students from Kids Ranch about gardening in September 2016.

After 10 years of service, Kids Ranch Board of Directors President Deborah Kinder is retiring.

Kinder, a retired English teacher, has been involved with Kids Ranch for about 10 years, and president of the board for five.

Kids Ranch is an organization for children in Baraboo, Wisconsin Dells, Reedsburg and Sauk Prairie who are at-risk of poverty, abuse or learning difficulties. The organization provides support for individuals through literacy programs, tutoring, arts and mental health awareness and summer camps, according to their mission statement.

Kinder’s involvement with Kids Ranch came from interest in youth who face challenges, and wanted to help provide support for them.

“Kids who have challenges have this incredible courage and resilience, and they just need a little encouragement,” said Kinder. “One caring adult can make all the difference in the life of a child.”

In addition to serving as board president for five years, Kinder also served as a volunteer reading tutor, which she say was a rewarding part of the job.

“That was very exciting,” said Kinder. “To see kids grow and become more confident and like to read.”

When Kinder first became president, Kids Ranch was facing economic struggles, which Kinder and Kids Ranch Educational Coordinator Mary Bowers were heavily involved in remedying.

“We met with lots of organizations who still believed that Kids Ranch should be serving our kids, and pulled us out of the hole,” said Kinder. “And now we’re up and running, and growing and doing very well.”

Kinder said the dedication of the Kids Ranch staff has been her favorite part of working there, and she believes the organization will be in good hands.

“We’ve has incredible volunteers and staff,” said Kinder. “It’s very rewarding.”

Anne Horjus will be taking over Kinder’s roll as board president, and looks forward to taking on the position while learning from the work of Kinder.

“She’s done so much for the Kids Ranch, above all the regular duties as president, and that’s rare,” said Horjus. “Those are some big shoes to fill, I have to learn a lot from her.”

In retirement Kinder will continue to volunteer in many programs in her home town of Wisconsin Dells, such as planting trees with the tree committee, working as a steward of the dells of the Wisconsin river, where she works to protect and preserve the river.

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