The Youth Villa, originally known as the Girls Villa, was founded in 1970. Through the leadership of the Sunshine State Women’s Chamber of Commerce, Florida’s Sheriffs were urged to create a sister program to the Boys Ranch. The idea was to provide the same structure, opportunities and guidance for troubled girls from around the state.
A location was soon found at the Peace River Park in Polk County. Through the joint efforts of the City of Bartow and Polk County Commissioners, and with the approval of the Mobil Corporation, the Youth Ranches was granted a 99 year lease for the land at $1 per year. In April 1971, construction began on the second residential child care facility of the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches.
The first girls moved to the campus in 1972. With continued improvements, the Youth Villa has grown to include five cottages, pastures for horseback riding, a barn, activity building, administration building, chapel, greenhouse, sports court, four staff houses, maintenance shop and boat dock. Three of the five cottages serve girls ages 11-18. One cottage was transitioned in July 2014 to serve siblings for our community partner, Heartland for Children. It is used to keep sibling groups together in foster care within the county. One cottage serves girls 18 and older to transition into adulthood within a supportive environment. Today, the Youth Villa campus has the capacity to serve 48 troubled youngsters. These youth are given the opportunity to become productive, law abiding members of the community.
Thousands of youth and their families have received help from the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches since 1957. Thanks to the generosity and support of so many of our friends, we are able to continue to meet the growing needs of the children today.
Physical and Mailing Address
3350 State Road 60 E
Bartow, FL 33830