(800) 765-3797  fsyr@youthranches.org

Celebrating Christmas in Conn Cottage

As the cottage parents began to clear some counter space in the kitchen, the residents of Conn Cottage couldn’t help but poke their heads in the doorway to see what was going on. They watched their Cottage Mom lay out bags of icing, sprinkles, and fresh baked sugar cookies. The cookies looked delicious! They were shaped like Christmas trees, stockings, snowmen, and gingerbread men.

Old and young Ranchers filed into the kitchen. Leiva, the oldest Rancher in Conn Cottage, tied on an apron and got to work. She helped Alex get a bag of green icing open and he began the work of filling in a Christmas tree shaped cookie. Arthuro followed behind him with a generous pinch of sprinkles. Several minutes later, Anna and Jason checked in to see what all the fuss was about.

They were soon equipped with bags of brightly colored icing and a cookie in need of some flair. Before coming to the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches, many of our boys and girls wouldn’t be able to recall ever taking the time to participate in Christmas traditions. Their home lives are often filled with neglect and unmet needs. The holiday activities we take for granted become meaningful experiences for our youth. Whether it’s decorating Christmas cookies, opening colorfully wrapped presents, or enjoying time together as a family, each new experience is a cause for celebration!

Leiva sets an example as a big sister in her cottage. She teases her “little brothers,” coaxing them out of their shells. Alex has already warmed up to her. He follows her lead and listens when she guides him on how to keep the icing on his cookie. Arthuro stays quiet, focusing on his project of applying sprinkles on top of a finished cookie. His is a hard shell to break, but Leiva doesn’t give up until he cracks a smile.

Anna takes her time with her cookie. She switches out icing colors frequently, a vision in her head of what her masterpiece will look like. Although she’s focused, she takes the time to share with Jason, passing different colors back and forth as needed. Jason is quick to laugh and quick to make a mess. He had to take more than one trip to the sink to clean smeared streaks of icing off of his hands. Mom was there to help him and hold out paper towels to dry off his hands.

It’s because of your generous giving that our Ranchers can focus on the fun aspects of Christmas. They don’t have to worry about where they’ll get their next meal, where they’ll sleep tonight, or how they’ll get to school. Because your gifts provide all of those essential things, our boys and girls can focus on other important things, like what color icing to put on their cookies.