Linda's van right before we unloaded--amazingly all 71 fit back in there with enough room for transporting passengers. We took 2 vehicles because we thought one person may have been waiting at our usual pickup point--she wasn't but the vehicles were already rolling.
We were a few minutes late getting there but that didn't seem to matter. The director John David Phillips and Mary the staff Social Worker met us and we took the quilts down to the large community room. When we toured the facility earlier this spring, that is where we had gone before--on the other side is a gymasium and outside a small swimming pool and a gazebo the girls had built as a summer project. I don't think that either will show up in these pictures.
The founder of the both the Big Oak Boy's Ranch and Big Oak Girl's Ranch John Croyle had this built with the idea of the girls being able to have their wedding receptions in that room. In fact, John David and the Croyle's daughter Regan did just that! They have their Christmas parties and all kinds of events in the room.
If you read anything about the history of the facility from my previous links, John Croyle played football for the legendary Paul "Bear" Bryant at the University of Alabama. (Football is soooooooo big here in the South) It came time for him to decide whether to enter the football draft or work with troubled children. The children won out and the Boys Ranch was founded first--maybe in the early 70's? John David quarter backed for Alabama, Regan lettered in volleyball for Alabama and the Croyle's son just finished his playing days as AL quarterback.
I didn't take these pictures--John David did since he is certainly a lot taller than any of us quilters. And even then he stood up on the fireplace hearth to take a few of them. The quilts were basically just on half of the room. Three more in the other post. They have a meeting scheduled in that room tomorrow and he and Mary said they would leave the quilts exactly where they were they could be seen.
At lunch one of the group had wondered how they would distribute them--just turn the kids loose and let them pick out their own? It would be so neat to be able to just hand them out to the girls but would that lead to fights??--"you took the one I wanted!", well, just being kids really. We will let them figure out how best to handle that part since they know the girls. The only thing we asked is that they NOT have to wait for Christmas or some other event. John David said that he will be sure to get some pictures of the girls with their quilts and said to not be surprised if they crop up here and there in the publication that they send out
He was overwhelmed and could not believe that we had done all these quilts. Actually he thought they were wonderful BEFORE we even opened them up because so many of them had print backs on them and I always fold them with backing side out, LOL. He wondered how many had been involved with making them---17 of us made at least one, many of us more than one but we had help from friends from out of state who had heard what we were doing and wanted to help in some way (you know who you are!) He said that something like our sharing these quilts--the kindness that someone who doesn't even know one of the girls--might be just the thing to help them open up and confide in someone and let the healing begin.
He shared an instance of something that had happened in recent months where a young lady had gained the strength to tell her house parents what her attacker had done to her. The proper authorities were notified. Others came forward and said that he had done the same thing to them. Defense attorney, doing his job, said "let them go to open court and as an authority figure, they will back down". It almost worked. Though scared to death to do it, this young lady was the only one that stuck to her guns. The day before it was to go to trial he either plea bargained or plead guilty---sentenced to 100 years since there were so many counts against him. There was a similiar situation just last week.
Now ask me again, "why I quilt" I cannot care for children like these two facilities can but I can quilt and do what my heart leads me to do to help in some small way. The members of my quilt group are no different in that department--I am just the public face for them.
One last thing--we left one quilt with them for their little 2 year old son--one that we all had worked on. He lives there too and should have a quilt, don't you think? None of the group wanted to get in the shots so no Belles to see. It was a good visit today and good to know that the quilts were exactly where they needed to be and almost in the girls hands.