Tre Waldren, Rawhide, Rotary Club of New Berlin, New Berlin Rotary
Helping at-risk youth and others in need
When you hear of Rawhide, what thoughts come to mind? Probably Bart Starr, boys and donating cars. But there's a lot more to the organization, as we learned on July 13. According to Development Manager Tre Waldren, Rawhide provides a host of services at its Ranch and outpatient clinics.
Rawhide Ranch near New London, Wis., serves boys 11 to 18 years of age. Residential treatment is combined with life and work skills. Boys attend Starr Academy, a fully accredited high school. In addition to a standard curriculum, residents can study woodworking, culinary skills and automotive repair and other trades. Life skills training prepares the boys for living and working on their own. A scholarship program encourages further education.
Most youths are referred by judges or social workers. A 30-day initial assessment allows staff to determine whether Rawhide is the proper facility. Longer-term services include residential care, transitional group home and outpatient counseling, among others. Rawhide has a "tremendous success record" of 70%, compared to 14% among other organizations and programs, Waldren says.
Rawhide's Youth & Family Counseling Services serves clients from six outpatient clinics in the state. (A seventh is planned for 2017.) Available to anyone, treatment is available for those suffering from depression, anxiety, adolescent defiance, marital discord and other issues. Services are covered by insurance, Waldren says, adding that they offer a sliding scale for those in need. "We don't turn anyone away for an inability to pay."
According to Waldren, who also is a member of Rotary Club Amigos de Milwaukee, Rawhide differs from other facilities in three ways:
1. A traditional, home-based model at the Ranch. Each house is designed to mimic family life with a house father, a house mother and a standard environment.
2. Faith-based, but non-denominational.
3. Outpatient services. As noted above, counselors treat a variety of disorders. Among youth, opiate addiction is common today. Rawhide has a 100% success rate for those who stay through the 12-month program, Waldren says. Clients range in age from five to 72 years.

Rawhide Ranch currently serves 37 boys. Just one part of a sprawling complex on 714 acres, the campus includes an auditorium, equestrian center, maintenance shop and more.
Yes, they still accept cars, as well as boats and other vehicles. Refurbished cars are sold through a network of auto dealers in Wisconsin. Other items are offered for sale through eBay. These sales are an important source of revenue for the organization. Another source are the Friday fish fries. Held six times a year, the dinners provide important training for youth at the Ranch. Rawhide accepts cash donations, as well as books, CDs and DVDs.
Founded in 1965, Rawhide's biggest need, Waldren says, "is for people to understand us and use us." To learn more, visit their website, or call 1-800-729-4433.