BRAZIL, Ind. — Using private donations and no tax dollars, Indiana sheriffs and deputies last weekend purchased their 62-acre not-for-profit Indiana Sheriffs’ Youth Ranch for future law enforcement officers, at-risk kids, young witnesses and victims of crime.
Until now, the 62-acre property had been rented by Youth Ranch leaders for $1 per year from Tony and Sue Ardizzone, business leaders from Indianapolis who share ISYR’s vision of mentoring teens interested in public safety careers, bonding with underprivileged youth and comforting young survivors of crime – including sons, daughters and siblings of fallen first responders.
The Ardizzones’s help allowed time for sheriffs and deputies to develop their plans and step up their fundraising.
“Without the generosity and help of the Ardizzone family, this would not have been possible,” said former Marion County Sheriff John Layton, who serves as ISYR board president. “A recent $175,000 gift from cyber security experts Ideanomics of New York and Connecticut completed our sizable down payment. A long-term lease of our on-site K-9 Academy with the Indiana Department of Homeland Security will provide a long-term revenue stream, valued partnership for local public safety and an enhanced experience for our youth leaders.”
Two White County natives were initially tapped in 2017 to help lead the development of the Indiana Sheriffs’ Youth Ranch — Scott Minier and Shannon Keating, a North White High School and Purdue University graduate.
Layton said cabins and recreation areas are now top priorities for the statewide non-profit. Naming rights are available and range from $10,000 to $1.4 million for various amenities at the $3.4 million nonprofit project.
“Soon, it will be 62 acres of hope, learning and fun for our future public safety officers and other teens we love and care about,” Layton said. “Our cabin designs are being updated, our recreation areas are being staked out and our fundraising and outreach grow every day. It is a huge, privately funded project and we still need everybody’s help to make it as impactful as it can be.”
Layton said teen groups will be on-site this summer for planning sessions, safety discussions and some hiking, archery, fishing, swimming and canoeing. Overnight stays are expected to begin in 2020.
To make a tax-deductible cash or in-kind materials donation, call the Youth Ranch toll-free at 1-833-IN-RANCH.