Using Trails to Repair Young Lives: John Whittaker
Pictured: John Whittaker is retiring from the Good Samaritan Boys Ranch after 33 years as Recreation Director, mentoring over 1,000 boys during his career.
Using Trails as a Tool to Repair Young Lives: John Whittaker & the Good Samaritan Boys Ranch
“I love that moment when the guys look back after finishing trail work to see the difference they made, comparing ‘before’ to ‘after’,” reflected John Whittaker, about his three decades as Recreation Director for Good Samaritan Boys Ranch. John knows the impact of working and playing on the trails, as he and the boys adopted Sac River Mountain Bike Trails and the Frisco Highline Trail. Cleaning two neglected historic cemeteries at the mountain bike trail creates a lesson on abandonment and how just a small amount of attention can turn something (or someone) around for the better. John’s retiring, but he’ll still be out working and playing on the trails.
“If you see a child behaving badly, instead of asking what’s wrong with them, it’s wiser to ask, what must they have gone through to make them act that way? There’s a stigma for these boys, that they’re bad, but when they’re on the trails they feel like everyone else, accepted. The esteem they receive is life-changing.”