Big Rock Ranch held their first annual Family Sunday Funday on July 7 with great success, welcoming 150 people to their ranch and raising $600 for the local Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) organization in the process.
The event was free for families to attend, but organizers suggested a $5 donation upon entry, as all proceeds from the day went to support the BBBS mentoring program.
Kira Thomas is a mentoring coordinator with the South Cariboo branch of BBBS. Thomas was stationed at the ranch gates for the day, accepting donations on behalf of the organization.
“We’re a satellite office of Williams Lake,” she explained. “Big Rock Ranch reached out to me. They were planning this day and offered to donate the proceeds to Big Brothers Big Sisters and I was thrilled that they had reached out, so I’m here to come and help.”
Next to Thomas, a large chalk sign displayed the rules at Big Rock Ranch, which include respecting the garden, not climbing the tree fort, and not entering into the chicken or horse enclosures. Thomas said all guests were compliant.
Tayler Kelsey was in charge of making sales at Big Rock Ranch’s produce table on Sunday.
“I live down the road, that way,” she explained, pointing across a green hillside. “I like to come and stay on the farm over the summer.”
Kelsey is a neighbour and friend to Robin Hunt and Johan Bos, who own the ranch, but she is also a hard-working volunteer. She said she’s gained good experience and is learning plenty through her volunteer efforts at Big Rock. Kelsey’s mother actually honoured her daughter’s request to park their trailer at the ranch, so Tayler doesn’t have to keep biking back and forth from home when she is busy helping out on the farm.
Ann Armann was another volunteer who visited the ranch for Sunday Funday to offer her barbecue services. Armann is from Circle H Ranch. “It’s been great fun,” she said of the event. “We’ve been really busy actually. It poured rain and now it’s stopped and people are coming back again.”
“It’s gorgeous,” she said of the property, gesturing to the hills and garden below. “They’ve covered all the corners. It’s a really great event.”
Armann sold at least 60 burgers on Sunday, and the proceeds from those sales will also go to Big Brothers Big Sisters, after the ranch’s expenses have been covered.
“On the day itself we raised $1180,” said Hunt. “We had some expenses, but we did have a lot of things donated.”
The ranch will be donating $600 to Big Brothers Big Sisters and is hoping the community may be interested in matching their donation to bring about an even greater end total.
For a first event, Hunt said it went along fabulously and was very well-attended.
“I was actually surprised, given the weather, how many people actually showed up, by the time we had the numbers. I got so much great feedback, the kids were so happy to explore the garden and pick carrots, eat strawberries and peas. We had so much fun putting it on that we’ll definitely be doing it again. We learned a lot and we’ll add some more activities to the day. Do more on education and I think we’ll bring the games closer to the central area so we don’t have to walk so far.”
Hunt said that Big Rock Ranch came up with the idea in hopes of getting kids involved with where their food comes from, fostering a relationship between their food and the farmer. She added that the ranch holds an annual Farm to Fork long-table dinner for adults, where everything is sourced locally or from the farm.
Hunt and Bos also wanted to do something for the kids, but the ranch intended to create an event that would give back to the community, rather than rake in profit. Giving back through education at the ranch was one of their goals.
Kelsey actually helped inspire Big Rock’s choice to donate to the local mentorship program, BBBS.
“She comes and works every summer with us. She started last summer and she’s come back this summer and we kind of joke that she’s our adopted daughter,” said Hunt. “We talked about how it’s kind of a mentorship thing and how wonderful it’s been being a mentor for her, and how we think that BBBS has a really crucial role in being able to give that support to kids that need it. I think they’re doing some really great things in our community.”