A light frost was on the grassy trail, crunching ever so softly beneath us. As we made our way through the hardwoods, we
could see the gray of dawn approaching. Cautiously, we approached the blind and slipped silently within it confines. The
chill within the blind was matched by the excitement in the air. As the sun began its journey cresting the horizon, we could
faintly make out shadows on the pond, slipping quietly through the still waters. When the sun painted the sky bringing forth
the days array of colors, other shadows filtered along the shoreline, silhouetted against the water, land and sunrise. A
nice doe with twins followed by a smallish 8 point buck. Grazing along the path, they were oblivious to our being there.
As they passed out of sight, we whispered softly to each other, yet with excitement in our voices. Fourteen year old Josh
had just seen his first deer ever, and for a fleeting moment, forgot.
Forgot about the evil that was growing daily within his brain. Forgot just for a moment, that his life would be taken
from him shortly. Josh had brain cancer, and had only a year to live.
Raising from the blind, we took the trail north. At a clearing in the woods stood a log structure. Opening the door,
we entered into a world of nature. Josh spent an hour in there, asking questions about all he was discovering within the
centers walls. We were going to be late, so I told Josh we would return later in the day. We walked silently through the
woods, taking in the beauty. Arriving back at the lodge, Joshs Parents greeted us. As Josh told of his mornings adventures,
you could sense the excitement in his voice. You could literally feel his energy level increase. Josh was ready now.
Ready to go into his therapy treatment. Ready to follow that up with counseling from his surgeon and staff. Josh and
his family, joined by the volunteer medical staff took up residence in the great room of the lodge. Fire blazing in the large
stone fireplace, sunlight filtering in through the skylights. This was the setting where they did battle with the evil that
wreaked havoc on Joshs body. This was not the sterile, impersonal environment of a hospital room, with its stark, unyielding
walls surrounding them. They were in a totally different environment. One that provided the foundation needed for the war
that was waging. A comfortable, natural atmosphere was within the log walls, and the family became keenly aware of what the
doctors were saying. They opened up more, and began to understand more about Joshs condition. They began to deal with it,
and prepare themselves to help Josh. After an hour, it was again time.
Time for the whole family to head out. Not for the long, quiet drive home through heavy traffic. They headed for the
corral, where horses were saddled and waiting. Stirrups adjusted, lunches tucked away in the saddlebags and canteens around
the saddle horns. As they rode through the woods with no particular destination in mind, they talked. Talked as a family
often does, sharing thoughts and making light of Dads obvious lack of horsemanship skills. An hour later, they came upon
a clearing. One familiar to Josh, as it was the Nature Center where he had been that morning. The whole family spent time
going through it, sharing each display. Then, taking a break, they went to the picnic pavilion, saddlebags over their shoulders
and shared a lunch together.
This is just a sample of a typical day at Windsong Ranch. It is here that they can do any outdoor related activity, together
as a family unit. It is also here that the child will be able to receive ongoing medical treatment.
Literally millions of children are stricken each year with debilitating conditions and terminal illnesses. One of the most
critical time frames for these children is right after diagnosis / treatment. This time frame is the foundation of Windsong
Ranch. We will be here to help bring semblance, courage and strength back to the family by providing an arena based on faith,
guidance, and most importantly heart. We will be here to provide a respite for children with life threatening illnesses and
their families who are facing the emotional, physical, and financial burdens of severe illnesses with support and resources.
Windsong Ranch will offer workshops, professional counseling, onsite medical support and recreational activities at no charge
to the families.
Since its inception, Windsong Ranch has been avidly supported by bowhunters across the land. Whether we were helping
a child that had fallen from a treestand and paralyzed, working with Benefit4Kids Outdoor Wish Program getting kids on their
hunt of a lifetime or trying to raise funds to build the first ranch, bowhunters have been there for us. Currently, we are
even revising the layout of the ranch to be able to accommodate childrens groups in a special area. Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts,
4H groups and more will be able to utilize areas of the ranch. Camping trips, educational field trips and more will be available
to these organizations.
Now more than ever, bowhunters have stepped up to the plate to help. With the current Ultimate Sportsmens Raffle going
on, sparked by a group of bowhunters, we hope to finally bring Windsong Ranch up to its full potential. Bowhunters helping
children. Bowhunters helping our future. The power does indeed come from within.
For more information on the Ultimate Sportsmens Raffle, log on to www.fcltd.us. If you would like more information about
Windsong Ranch, or wish to help contact President Bill Wooster at 440-563-5103 or you can email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be sure to visit our booth at the Ohio Bow hunters Association Annual Banquet/Show.
Click this to email Windsong Ranch