Youth in the Wild Outdoors Ministry

by Kevin on August 11, 2010

I would like to introduce to everyone at Campfire Cowboy Ministries a man that has devoted his life to helping fatherless boys. It just goes to show that spreading the gospel can be done in many different ways. Here is a guy that took what he loved and shared the love of Jesus through hunting and fishing. He is making a world of difference in some young men’s lives. I would like to introduce you to Ken Strahan and Youth in the Wild Outdoors Ministries.

Ken, how did you get involved in taking fatherless boys on hunting and fishing trips?

I started YWO after a friend of mine had to stop doing his Father/Son weekends that we had been attending. To say the least, my son was not happy. So I told my son Josh we would take a few fatherless boys outdoors. Sometimes I feel like God chuckles and smiles and says, “Boy you asked for it” and laughs again. That has turned into many applications on my desk for fatherless boys to go outdoors. And we will be here till Jesus comes back. We’re committed to the end.

How do you find the boys that need this type of ministry?

One thing I believe in with all my heart is destiny. So when I started, I told God I would leave it up to Him to send the boys.  I know myself and I would try to take them all and get so scattered and lose our vision of one on one. He has not disappointed. We have some awesome youth that are givers and set on changing lives. We just let God do the gettin and we do the seedin, as a good friend says.

Is there anything the boys have to do in order to go on one of these trips, or is it just first come, first serve?

As a ministry we live from a servant hood perspective and I teach these boys that same thing. Each fatherless boy must commit to 4-6 hours of community service per month to earn the right to go outdoors. YWO is becoming more involved with a small but powerful thing called Micro finance (Google the word “MicroFinance” and see the power it has to help change lives). Each boy is committed to $10 a month to help a family in a third world country to a better life. If trying to find a loan will do nothing else with these boys I will teach them how to be givers. Oh yeah, and to throw mud pies at our new volunteers as initiation and mix a little manure in there with it. lol

I am sure there are hundreds of stories, but can you think of a certain situation that has changed your life in spending time with these kids?

We have a fatherless boy whose mom and dad abandoned him. He is 10 years old and had never been outdoors. I met his grandma on a Wednesday and he was off to the ranch on Friday. It was his birthday that weekend so we get the stuff for a surprise birthday at the ranch. Well, the first day he cusses me and my wife, who is our field mom, out. No big deal. I understood. He and I go into the house and we talk. He begins to cry and looks me in the eye and says, “Mr. Ken, I am sorry. I’m just so angry but I am happy I have found you to help me.” I hugged him and told him he was my new son and I have his back no matter what. Well, that night we have a B-day party. My wife has him in the house and he thinks he is in trouble and Jaime, my wife, tells him to come outside. She opens the door and he looks scared and Jaime asks him what is wrong and he says he has never had a B-day party before. We all cheer him on and he has an awesome time. Now he is a very respectful young man who will change lives. Well, make that, he  has changed mine.

What advice would you give if someone thinks they would like to start a ministry like this where they are?

Start with ONE and give me a call fast. lol

Do you have plenty of places to take the kids or is it hard to find spots to go?

We need places to go. I am looking for 6 ranches who will allow us to come out 1x per year within 2-4 hours of Dallas. I need 2 ranches we can give these boys a 7 day summer camp in 2011. Anyone interested can get a hold of me for more info or just to simply tell us to come on.

If you had a need for this ministry, what would it be?

YWO needs volunteers who live in the DFW area and also when we come to a ranch near you. I would like to hook up with churches in the area we are going to be at and have some volunteers come and join us. Also, we need sponsors for these boys. It costs about $70 a month per boy and volunteer for our outings and these are just hard costs (food,gas,ammo,lures,ect.). We take 10 boys and 5 volunteers every trip and we go fishing one Saturday a month and go hunting one full weekend a month. So yes, we can use sponsors for these boys.

I would like to thank Ken Strahan and his dedication to spreading the Word of God and changing young men’s lives for the better. If you would like to get in touch with Ken, here is his information.

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