Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches Summer Camp
What is FSYR Summer Camp?
In 1981, the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches started a two-week camping program in tents on a few acres of woods at the Boys Ranch. We took in youth who were too troublesome for residential care and paired them with Deputies from their communities serving as counselors. Our goal was to teach respect and healthy habits while campers had fun.
The program was such a success that we took it on the road in 1982 and ran week-long camp sessions at several locations throughout the state. By the end of that summer, the Youth Ranches made the decision to purchase a Girl Scout camp in Pierson, Florida and make summer camp a permanent addition to the Youth Ranches family.
Over 40 years later, our summer camping program has expanded to three overnight campuses and our mobile camping program, Harmony in the Streets. Activities include canoeing, archery, high ropes, challenge courses and arts and crafts. Campers live among their peers, learning how to share and function properly within a group setting, and learning the 4 R’s: Respect Yourself, Respect Others, Respect Authority, and Respect the Environment. Every summer, we see leaders emerge as campers learn to communicate, work as a team, and have confidence in themselves.
Since 1981, our camp theme has been “Law Enforcement Officers Are Your Friends!” Deputy Sheriffs and other Law Enforcement Volunteers to get personally involved with the youngsters to form positive, healthy relationships. These interactions are designed to build stronger communities long after the summer ends.
Strong and devoted leadership is the key to a successful camping experience. The staff includes college students, graduates, teachers, and other professionals committed to helping boys and girls become productive, law-abiding citizens.
Formerly a Girl Scout Camp, the Florida Sheriffs Youth Camp was acquired by the Youth Ranches in 1982. It consists of 200 acres of forested property near Pierson.
The Youth Camp operates part of the year as a summer camping program, serving hundreds of dependent, neglected, and troubled youth. The camping experience is designed to give boys and girls a wholesome, loving, educational, and carefree atmosphere in a natural setting where they can be themselves, and learn to deal with some of their problems.
Due to the generosity of individuals and groups throughout Florida and other states, many children attend the Youth Camp’s programs free of charge.
1170 Youth Camp Lane
Pierson, FL 32180
In 1986, Mr. and Mrs. W. W. Caruth, Jr., of Dallas, Texas, leased 182-acres of woodlands to the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches and issued a challenge to develop a wilderness education program. The Georgia-Pacific Corporation provided an additional 60-acres of land for the project.
For many years, it operated as a wilderness camping program for boys who did not meet the traditional residential childcare criteria. The program, based on experiential learning opportunities, was successful but only served 18 boys at a time. In 1997, the Caruth Camp was converted from a wilderness program to a mirror image of the Youth Camp.
Beginning in November 1997, Caruth Camp introduced the Project Harmony program. This program is a 5-day leadership retreat for middle school students. The goal is to teach children problem-solving and communication skills while addressing racial tension and conflict within the schools. Youth undergo intensive training in conflict resolution, cultural diversity, environmental awareness, group-building exercises, academics and camping. This nationally recognized program, along with Summer Camp and other family programs, will serve several thousand boys and girls every year.
14770 SE US HWY 19
Inglis, FL 34449
PO Box 10
Inglis, FL 34449-0010
In 2020, Firehouse Subs co-founder Robin Sorensen and his wife, Tabitha, approached the Youth Ranches with a generous offer. They provided the funds to purchase the First Baptist Church of Jacksonville Retreat Center in Hilliard, FL on the condition that it be converted to a summer camp.
Over the last several years, with the help of our Sheriffs, volunteers and many generous donors, Camp Sorensen has been renovated into our largest summer camp program. New features include “Lila’s Launch” for kayaking, the Clark Thomas Memorial Star Garden, the Dempsey Sports Plaza, Captain Sorensen’s Chapel, and the new junior Olympic pool.
We are so grateful for this opportunity to serve even more youth for many years to come!
1023 Joshua Way
Hilliard, FL 32046
PO Box 70
Hilliard, FL 32046