Our Youth’s Favorite Areas at Scott’s Prairie
Our 76-acre farmland property has a lot to offer our youth and families – but have you ever wondered how it best promotes healing and wellbeing? We’ve come up with a list of the most popular areas of the property and are taking you behind-the-scenes of how our youth and employees use Scott’s Prairie the most!
But first, a little history
Scott’s Prairie is a 76+ acre farm that was donated to the Children’s Home by former Caterpillar CEO Bob Gilmore in honor of his late son, Scott Gilmore, in 2004. The intention behind the donation was for the youth served by Children’s Home to experience the healing effects of nature by using the property for therapeutic and recreational purposes. Many of the youth utilizing the land come from backgrounds with significant or severe trauma, so having an environment that fosters independence, safety, and learning is crucial to their wellbeing.
Garden, greenhouse, and orchard
The garden and orchard at Scotts Prairie are located at the front of the property. Youth can work in the garden and orchard to gain job experience, additional income, and to learn life skills about gardening. They also experience the therapeutic benefits and satisfaction of working with their hands outside. Fresh seasonal produce is available to any youth who need it and we often deliver our grown goods to our other CHAIL locations, give as gifts in the community, and sell fresh produce boxes, flower baskets, and house plants. The greenhouse is in operation from late February through the end of May and is the best enjoyed in early spring – it’s the perfect place to get some much-needed sunshine and shake off the winter blues!
House, lodge, and fire pit area
Each of these three areas offers something different to support and benefit our youth.
The farmhouse has a full kitchen, dining room and seating area in the living room- it’s perfect for small, indoor gatherings where food is a focus! Our youth learn to learn to cook and make a CHAIL specialty – hot sauce, converse with one another, and create lasting friendships.
The lodge is ideal for larger gatherings of up to 50 people or overnight stays and campouts for our youth. The fire pit area is located next to the lodge and is a fan favorite for hanging out or roasting hotdogs and marshmallows over the fire. These spaces allow our youth the opportunity for a fun getaway!
Hiking trails and disc golf
A maintained trail system goes all around and through the 76 acres out at Scott’s prairie. These trails go by farm fields, woods, and prairie. Clients and staff can walk and explore the foliage and nature, hike, bike, run – or just get outside and enjoy the views. Each season brings different opportunities for wildlife watching and enjoying the views. Youth who work at Scott’s Prairie participate in conservation work all around the farm, adding value to all the natural areas the trails go through. Newly added to the property this year is a disc-golf course where staff and clients can get active by playing nine holes together.
Fishing pond and pavilion
A natural spring flows into the pond providing fresh water where clients and staff can fish year-round.
Sometimes it’s just about fishing, other times, our therapists conduct talk therapy sessions while fishing – the outdoor environment can put our youth at ease and make it easier for them to open up. The pavilion located near the pond is another great area used by staff for group outings and cookouts.
As you can see, there’s a lot to love at our Scott’s Prairie location! Whether our clients are seeking a fun group outing or are out there to utilize all the therapeutic resources this property has to offer or we’re hosting a volunteer group, our clients, our staff, and our community are all happy to have such a special space like Scott’s Prairie to further or mission of helping the youth and families who need it most. If you’re interested in volunteering at Scott’s Prairie or would like to learn more, please email Danielle, our Volunteer and Community Engagement Coordinator.