Checking and updating the holiday wardrobe
A sure sign of the approaching holidays is Cottage parents
Carl and Laurie's beginning to take closer notice of some
of their charges' recent growth spurts. A quick wardrobe check
confirms that much of the clothing has "shrunk"
and will have to be replaced prior to the big Holiday Thanksgiving
Celebration November 12.
Required items, such as sport jackets, dress shirts, slacks
and shoes (not sneakers), must be either purchased with each
Rancher's clothing allowance or discovered among the inventory
on hand at the Ranch. Naturally, most boys would rather spend
their allowance on everyday school clothes, not holiday attire.
Finding all the proper outfits will keep Carl and Laurie busy
for some time. Once each boy's wardrobe is completed, it must
be cleaned, pressed and stored under lock and key -- only
to reappear on the appointed day.
Completing holiday wish list
Next on the Cottage's unique Advent calendar is time for
the boys to complete their Wish List that specifies the three
gifts each would like to receive from the Retired Teachers'
Group. Some of the new arrivals are skeptical and have to
be prodded to participate, but Cottage veterans assure them
that their wishes will indeed be fulfilled.
On the evening of November 12, the long awaited Holiday Thanksgiving
Celebration finally arrives. All the Ranchers, dressed in
their holiday finery, enter the beautifully decorated Activity
Center together with their Cottage parents. The boys split
up among the tables where invited guests are seated. Among
the many staff members, officers and loyal Ranch supporters
present are CUT's liaisons, Fred and Betty Egre with Charles
and Nancy Kubecka. After the preliminary opening remarks and
a convocation by one of the Ranchers, the real highlight of
the Ranchers' celebration begins. Abundant holiday fare is
attractively present on buffet tables available in turn to
There is enjoyable, lighthearted conversation between guests
and Ranchers. But soon after the meal, it is the guests' turn
to delight in the program when many of the Ranchers have the
opportunity to step up to the microphone and thank those in
the audience for rendering meaning and hope for their future.
It is indeed a thoughtful and spiritual moment that underlies
the true meaning of the Florida Sheriffs' Youth Ranch movement.
Receiving gifts from our Retired Teachers' Club (TRIF-CUT)
The final significant event of the holidays comes on the
evening of December 12 when the entire Ranch presents its
Open House. Friends, contributors, and just neighbors come
to visit the three beautifully decorated cottages to meet
the youngsters who are all on the their very best behavior.
(They've been told who's coming to town!) Hot and cold hors
d'oeuvres chosen by each Cottage are served and the Christmas
trees are lighted. Finally, when the last visitor has left,
Carl and Laurie produce the wrapped gifts brought back from
the Retired Teachers' luncheon held the previous day where
both Cottage parents and one of their charges made an appearance
as invited guests.
It is the culmination of a month of holiday activities that
several of the boys have never before experienced. For those
of us who have grown up participating in the joys of the season,
it may be difficult to comprehend that some could experience
so few pleasures at this time of year. Suffice it to say that
we, as supporters of Egan Cottage for the third straight year,
should feel great pride in what we've been able to accomplish,
not only on the holidays, but year round.
Returning home for vacation
Finally, one week later, the Ranchers depart for their home
visits during school vacation period. For those for whom it
is not possible to go home, the Ranch provides housing and
suitable experiences to make up for the lack of a home visit.
Hopefully, we have given you a realistic insight into what
Egan Cottage has meant for our boys at this significant time
of year. We trust you will be far from disappointed.