Lowell Bennion is both Utah's foremost teacher and humanitarian - a most unusual, unassuming man who has become a legend in his own time. As a teacher at the University of Utah, he had a major impact on my life. Not only did he stimulate my mind, but he motivated me to try to pattern my life after his. He is more responsible than any other person I have known for the formulation of my philosophy of life. And he did the same for thousands of others.
For many years, he has said to his friends, "If you publicly give credit for good things done, it diminishes the act of kindness." Unselfish service is the absolute key to his life.Among his many humanitarian interests over the years, but one of the least publicized, is the Bennion Teton Boys Ranch, which he operated from 1961 through 1985 in Teton Valley, Idaho. From its inception, the boys ranch was operated completely as a non-profit organization. During its first quarter century, nearly 2,000 boys participated in the diverse activities of the boys ranch in the gorgeous setting of the Tetons. Today, many enthusiastic alumni attest to the satisfying experiences they had on the ranch, under Lowell's expert but gentle leadership.
The good news is that the ranch has resumed operations. In 1989, 72 boys pioneered its reopening, and 1990 promises to be memorable for protecting the traditions of the ranch under the guidance of a foundation that is dedicated to the Bennion principles of leadership as well as the non-profit motive.
Located 30 miles west of Jackson Hole, near Victor, Idaho, in scenic view of the majestic Tetons, the ranch has new facilities, including a new lodge and kitchen, dining room, arts and crafts area, and activity area, set on 320 acres of rolling fields and forest land, surrounded on three sides, by national forest. The bunk and bath houses are clean and attractive, and there is a library and a new waterfront, with places for swimming, canoeing and fishing.
Steve and Kathy Peterson, from Ephraim, Utah, who were popular last year, will be returning to serve as camp directors for the second year. Steve teaches English at Snow College and has also coached basketball, taught cross-country skiing and winter survival. He has been named teacher of the year at Snow four times.
Kathy is a talented and recognized artist whose watercolors have been exhibited throughout the state. She will provide workshops and instruction in arts and crafts.
The Petersons are bright, sensitive and caring people who work superbly with young people. Their goal is to continue the tradition of the ranch by maintaining the social, physical, spiritual and intellectual balance that Lowell Bennion achieved so well for 25 years.
This is not a dude ranch, nor a facility designed to rehabilitate boys with behavioral problems. The purpose is to build boys of good character into more self-reliant young men.
In the mornings, they do logging, building, fencing, haying, gardening, and painting, some of it for neighbors. In the afternoons, they learn to ride horses, swim, hike, fish, boat, cycle, climb, play basketball, softball and football, and learn to do arts and crafts.
In the evenings, they stimulate the mind, with discussions, debates, games and group reading. There is tutoring in reading, English and mathematics. On Sundays, they rest and worship, although the camp is non-sectarian. On weekends, each boy has the opportunity to participate in an overnight backpacking trip in the Teton National Park.
In short, it is a great opportunity for all-around development - to build self-confidence, physical stamina and the ability to appreciate nature, and to learn to appreciate work and cultivate specific work skills.
There are two terms of four weeks each, running from June 18 to July 14, or from July 16 to August 11. The cost is $785 for either term or $1570 for eight weeks. Boys 12 through 15 of good character and in good health are invited to participate. Anyone interested can write directly to Steve Peterson, 123 N. 460 East, Ephraim, UT84627, or call (801) 283-4195 before June 14; (208) 787-2883 after June 14.
The ranch is back - and with it, the indispensable influence of Lowell Bennion.