The volunteer efforts of more than 80 high school boys and their mothers from the Austin Viper Chapter of the Young Men’s Service League have made a difference this summer at Down Home Ranch.
The 410-acre Down Home Ranch is a working farm in Elgin, east of Austin, that has some 44 residents.
Supplies of power tools, shovels, rakes and wood kits were purchased through donations from Four Points’ Home Depot and the Viper YMSL — a nonprofit that encourages mother/son duos to pursue philanthropic involvement in their community.
Austin Viper YMSL built and stained 10 picnic tables, four stadium benches and 10 campfire benches after deconstructing the old tables and repurposing hardware. They also stained decking at the dock around the pond and the fences around the miniature horse pasture, and spread crushed granite where needed.
Now the picnic tables and benches are being used for the primitive campsite for the Ranch’s annual summer camp for kids with Down Syndrome and other disabilities, as well as seating when they host outside groups for respite events and retreats. The stadium seats are also being used around the basketball court.
“We could not accomplish the things we do without volunteers,” said Craig Russell, executive director of Down Home Ranch.