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How Eagle Ranch is putting focus on girls' mental and physical fitness
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Construction is in the works on a girls' wellness and activities center at Eagle Ranch on Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018. - photo by Austin Steele

Over the years, it became increasingly clear that girls coming Eagle Ranch’s way had issues with confidence and “body image.”

Those challenges were just “getting in the way of some of the other emotional issues they’re dealing with in their lives,” Eagle Ranch spokeswoman Stefanie Long said.

That trend helped inspire the Christian-based residential program for school-age boys and girls off Union Church Road in South Hall to build a wellness/fitness and activities center specifically to meet girls’ needs.

Construction is well underway on the 5,500-square-foot center, which will feature an aerobics room, weight equipment, and exercise and self-defense programs tailored for girls, as well as an arts and crafts area, said Eddie Staub, Eagle Ranch’s founder and executive director.

“You just want to give kids the tools to help them be successful,” he said, giving a tour of the building Thursday, Sept. 27.

More than 85 percent of girls coming to Eagle Ranch “are experiencing issues with self-worth, confidence and/or body image,” states Eagle Ranch’s fall newsletter.

“These issues can significantly impact current and future relationships and life choices.”

The two-story structure, which Staub hopes will be completed by early 2019, is within walking or biking distance of girls’ homes.

Eagle Ranch does offer an outside basketball court and a gym with heavy weights popular to boys, but a lot of girls arriving as residents tend not to shy away from those activities.

“What we wanted was a dedicated space for the girls to develop confidence and physical fitness,” Staub said. “There’s no coordinated, programmatic effort (for just girls), and we’ll have that with this (new center).”

Eagle Ranch opened in 1985, helping struggling boys cope in a new environment through programs, counseling and education. The complex, now on 310 acres of rolling hills, open grassy lands and lakes, started accepting girls in 2001.

“What we try to do is create a sanctuary,” Staub said.

Eagle Ranch

What: Christian-based residential program for school-age boys and girls 

Where: 5500 Union Church Road

More info: 770-967-8500 or eagleranch.org

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