News & Events

SSTAR CAMP – HELPING CHILDREN DEVELOP SOCIAL SKILLS

SSTAR Camp is a program designed to help youth develop tools and strategies needed to make healthy, smart choices. 

SSTAR is an acronym for Social Skills Training and Relaxation. Give your child an experience that will help them the rest of their life. 

Well developed social skills are key to helping a child grow personally and form healthy relationships. 

Children are guided through experiential activities with HOPE Ranch horses that help them learn about:

Group Cohesion
Self Image
Empowerment
Personal Safety
Relationship
Bullying
Trust
Peer Pressure
Mindfulness

Consider a summer camp for your child that will be fun, enlightening and set them on a path to success.

SSTAR CAMP 2018 DATES

Session#1: Ages 13-16, July 9-12th, 1-4pm – Cost $350
Session #2: Ages 9-12. July 16-July 19th, 1-4pm – Cost $350

To enroll or learn more call: 507-281-3033

How to Tell if Your Workplace is Dysfunctional

Author: Kit Muellner, LICSW, EAGALA Certified and CEO of H.O.P.E. Ranch

Every organization has some form of dysfunction. It’s true anywhere and it’s true right here in Rochester, MN. Employees know it. Managers often know it, and almost always, people outside your organization know it. In fact, sometimes it’s easiest to spot from the outside.

Degrees of Workplace Dysfunction and the Consequences

The dysfunction might be minor, moderate, or even severe. Should you do something about it? Can you do something about it? The answer to both questions is YES. Dysfunction, if left untreated tends to grow and any amount of dysfunction, even if it’s minor, at the very least affects workplace efficiencies and the bottom line. A workplace with moderate to severe dysfunction is headed for serious problems. We’ve seen it in our own backyards. It typically begins with a high degree of turn over, but then escalates. When left untreated, high levels of dysfunction spiral out of control and can even take down entire organizations. It makes headlines and can often trigger lawsuits.   

Spotting Dysfunction in Your Organization

Dysfunction can come from mid-level and high-level managers or from the general workforce. It takes many forms:

  1. Bullying and tyranny
  2. Gossip
  3. High level of sick days
  4. “Telling” on others
  5. Cliquing up
  6. Contempt for coworkers
  7. Contempt for managers or subordinates
  8. Withholding information
  9. Bigotry, sexism, and racism
  10. Email warfare
  11. Failing to confront
  12. Paralysis by over analyzing
  13. Paranoia

Another way to identify if your workplace is dysfunctional is to ask yourself this: Is your workplace a happy environment or is everyone a bit miserable? If you tend to wear rose colored glasses then you might want to put out a simple one-question anonymous survey to your employees. Ask them on a scale of 1-10 what level of dysfunction exist in your workplace. You’ll get the real answer that way. If the results are bad, don’t beat yourself up. Dysfunctional workplaces are not uncommon.

According to the 2017 Employee Engagement and Retention Statistics Report:

  • Only 16% of employees say they felt “connected and engaged” by employers
  • 75% of the causes of employee turnover are preventable
  • 34% of employees say they plan to leave their current role in the next 12 months
  • 16% of employees are actively seeking a new job
  • 46% of employees would accept another job if the opportunity arose
  • It can cost 33% of an employee’s salary to replace him/her
  • 71% of workers said they are looking to change employers
  • 59% of employees would leave their profession if they could

The statistics are a bit startling and often a big surprise to upper management, owners or the board of directors. This is because of communication, or to be more exact, lack of communication. Employees hold their true feelings close to the vest out of fear. Nothing will change until healing takes place and tools are provided to the dysfunctional team that open communication and educate staff and management.  

When couples can no longer communicate, they often seek counseling. Dysfunctional workplaces can do this, too. In fact, it’s quite common and we do this frequently at HOPE Ranch.

I’m passionate about improving the lives of people in the workplace locally. In fact, HOPE Ranch provides team building, corporate development, and staff retreats to organizations in the Greater Rochester Area, Greater Minnesota, and Northern Iowa. Just as psychotherapy facilitates individual growth and healing, corporate retreats and development facilitate identification of issues in your team/organization, and development and implementation of real, effective solutions. No two treatments plans are alike because organizations are as unique as individuals. We customize plans depending on your circumstances. We see real breakthroughs happen in a safe and helpful environment. If you’re having an issue with your team or suspect dysfunction in your midst, reach out. We’ve helped many others and we can help you.

Learn More:

http://hoperanchteam.com/corporate-retreats/


Kit Muellner
 is the Owner & Founder of H.O.P.E. Ranch. She is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker and is an EAGALA Certified Psychotherapist and Horse Specialist. Kit is well known as a stand out in her field, specializing in work with children, adults, and families. Before starting H.O.P.E. Ranch in 1999, Kit worked with facilities such as Olmsted County, Omnia Family Services, Gerard Treatment Facilities, Mendota Mental Health Institute and Mayo Clinic.

6 Tips to Combat Seasonal Affective Disorder

by: Kit Muellner, Owner and Founder of H.O.P.E. Ranch

If you feel the blues during winter months, you are not alone. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is an actual type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons. Symptoms and feelings may start in the fall and continue into the cold and light deprived winter months, causing sufferers to feel sluggish, moody and sad.

Don’t write these feelings off. This seasonal funk is treatable with light therapy, psychotherapy, and medications. Or sometimes, a few adjustments in your activities can do the trick.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) Symptoms

According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of Fall and Winter SAD may include:

  • Irritability
  • Tiredness or low energy
  • Problems getting along with other people
  • Hypersensitivity to rejection
  • Heavy, “leaden” feeling in the arms or legs
  • Oversleeping
  • Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates
  • Weight gain

If these symptoms sound familiar to you on a mild scale you can try some adjustments on your own!

6 Do-It-Yourself Remedies to Combat Mild Seasonal Affective Disorder

#1  Aromatherapy
Essential oils can connect with the area of the brain that controls mood, sleep, and appetite. Add a few drops of essential oils to your bath at night to help you relax before bedtime.

#2  Add Exercise
Exercise helps in a number of ways. A workout will get that sluggish feeling out of your limbs and stimulate those feel-good endorphins. Having a planned exercise routine also gets you out and moving and often lends to socialization. Not to mention, you are going to feel great about yourself!

#3  Get Out In the Sunshine
It may seem daunting, especially when it’s cold, but take the time to bundle up and get out during the light of day. It’s exercise, and you receive natural light therapy at the same time.

#4  Go On Vacation
This is always a good idea. Depending on where you go you may experience more warmth and sunshine. The mere fact of looking forward to vacation weeks in advance can greatly elevate your mood.

#5  Keep a Journal
There’s something magical about getting the thoughts out of your head and down on paper. It’s a way of releasing your thoughts and feelings. Don’t worry about being grammatically correct or having perfect penmanship. In fact, you don’t even have to read what you wrote. Journaling can be very therapeutic, in all seasons. In addition to writing or typing a journal, you may want to journal using art or drawings-and you don’t have to be an artist to use this method.

#6  Make Sure You Get Vitamin D
You may want to talk to your doctor about getting your levels of Vitamin D checked. Low levels of Vitamin D are sometimes associated with feelings of depression. Some studies have shown that Vitamin D supplements have done wonders for elevating mood and alleviating depression.

What if (SAD) Becomes Severe?

We all have days in the winter when we feel sluggish and lack energy. If your symptoms are mild, put the above tips to the test. However, if your symptoms are severe and disrupting your life; long bouts of depression, extreme sadness or using alcohol to manage your moods, then it’s time to contact a professional. If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, contact health professionals immediately.

 

Bullying In The Workplace: A National Epidemic?

Author: Kit Muellner, LICSW, EAGALA Certified and CEO of H.O.P.E. Ranch

Bullying isn’t just about schoolkids or athletes. It’s rampant in many workplaces, no matter the industry.  It is said that workplace bullying has become a national epidemic.

In fact, the Workplace Bullying Institute, which has been around for 20 years, conducts studies on the topic and works to combat this debilitating problem. Whether you are an employee or the employer, these facts will serve as a wake-up call.

What is Workplace Bullying?

Bullying in the workplace may occur in many forms and can come from a co-worker, a boss or even a subordinate. Some forms of workplace bullying may be:

    1. Swearing and intimidation
    2. Teasing; especially when it takes a personal nature; comments about the target’s work, behaviors, and even family members.
    3. Snide and mean comments
    4. Taking credit for your work, even subliminally
    5. Attempts to make you look incompetent
    6. Constant criticism
    7. The creation of impossible expectations and changing expectations or directions in the final moment.

Statistics on Bullying In the Workplace

Does it really happen? Yes. According to the Workplace Bullying Institute, it happens in all industries and
there are groups 
more often targeted than others.

Here are the findings:

  • 19% of Americans are bullied, another 19% witness it
  • 61% of Americans are aware of abusive conduct in the workplace
  • 60 million Americans are affected by it
  • 70% of perpetrators are men; 60% of targets are women
  • Hispanics are the most frequently bullied race
  • 61% of bullies are bosses, the majority (63%) operate alone
  • 40% of bullied targets are believed to suffer adverse health effects
  • 29% of targets remain silent about their experiences
  • 71% of employer reactions are harmful to targets
  • 60% of coworker reactions are harmful to targets
  • To stop it, 65% of targets lose their original jobs
  • 77% of Americans support enacting a new law

Workers: What to Do if You Are Bullied at Work

Recognize that it’s not your fault. Take an assessment of your mental and physical health. Being bullied at work can weigh heavily on you and your health. Consider taking time off to clear your head. Very importantly, don’t allow yourself to replay the acts of bullying over and over in your mind. Put a name to what’s happening to you so you can legitimize it; bullying, abuse, harassment, etc.

Once you have done this it’s time to get down to business.

Document the abuse. Not with emotion but with just the facts; time, date, perpetrator, description of abuse.

Expose the bully. Bullying doesn’t get better on its own and if it continues, you are 77.7% likely to lose your job anyway, typically due to either health problems or simply choosing to leave on your own. You actually have little to lose by exposing the bully.

Here’s how: A) Present the case from a business standpoint. It is expensive and legally risky to have a bully in place, which is something a business should care about. They do not care about your emotions or how this makes you feel. (sorry, they just don’t.) Give the employer only one chance and if they stick up for the bully, it’s time to plan your exit strategy.

Employers: What to Do if An Employee Comes to You for Help

You saw the stats. Bullying in the workplace is a big problem and it can be costly. It can even become a HUGE legal issue. Bullying itself is hard to litigate but here’s where it becomes an issue; if the target is female, over a certain age, or any vulnerable group. If the bullying ever became violent, physically threatening or mentally threatening, or starts to fall into the sexual harassment arena.  As you can see, you as an employer can easily be the victim of a workplace bully and it’s going to hit you in the bottom line. It may ruin your business and you could even lose your business. Here are steps you can take:

  1. If an employee comes to you, listen, and even, shut up. Take in what the employee is saying, without offering an explanation or saying things like, “That’s just the way he is” and don’t ever say anything that puts the blame on the target. 
  2. The employee obviously wants to stay in their job so remember that. They simply want the problem solved. Remember the “shut up” advice in point #1. That’s because this is a hairy area and you are not likely equipped to deal with this, which is okay. Most people are not. Take action to correct this: Seek help, pull in counselors or consultants that are knowledgeable in this area. Send the perpetrators to training/counseling.
  3. Use this as a learning experience. Now is the time to write policies and develop a process for ongoing education and awareness of workplace bullying.

I’m passionate about improving the lives of people in the workplace locally. In fact, HOPE Ranch provides team building, corporate development, and staff retreats to organizations in the Greater Rochester Area, and Greater Minnesota, and Northern Iowa. Just as psychotherapy facilitates individual growth and healing, corporate retreats and development facilitate identification of issues in your team/organization, and development and implementation of real, effective solutions. We see real breakthroughs happen in a safe and helpful environment. If you’re having an issue with your team or suspect you have a bully in your midst (even if you might be the bully) reach out. We’ve helped many others and we can help you.

Learn More:

http://hoperanchteam.com/corporate-retreats/

 

Kit Muellner is the Owner & Founder of H.O.P.E. Ranch. She is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker and
is an EAGALA Certified Psychotherapist and Horse Specialist. Kit is well known as a stand out in her field,
specializing in work with children, adults, and families. Before starting H.O.P.E. Ranch in 1999, Kit worked with
facilities such as Olmsted County, Omnia Family Services, Gerard Treatment Facilities, Mendota Mental Health Institute and Mayo Clinic.

RAIN OR SHINE. The Rendezvous & Carnival is ON!

Rain or Shine, the Saturday, October 7th Rendezvous & Carnival is on! This is no problem for us at the Ranch. We have a great big arena that can hold the carnival games, silent auction, animals, crafts and more!

Get the kids out of the house and into the Arena for a fun day at H.O.P.E. Ranch!

Admission is free and there’s plenty of free parking. Hope to see you there!

Saturday, October 7th
10 am – 3 pm
At The H.O.P.E. Ranch

Ability Building Center to Hold: Celebrating Abilities 2017 with Special Screening of Award Winning Movie “Learning to Drive”

What: Celebrating Abilities 2017 with Special Screening of Award-Winning Short Film: Learning to Drive
When & Where: Sept. 16, Noon at Century High School, Rochester, MN
Admission to the Event: Free 
Movie Admission:  $10.

Ability Building Center (ABC) will hold the first annual Celebrating Abilities at Century High School on Saturday, September 16, 2017. The event features activities for all ages, including a special screening of the award-winning short film, “Learning to Drive.”

“Too often we hear what persons with disabilities cannot do. With Celebrating Abilities we wanted to focus on the amazing things they can do and are doing each day,” said Bruce Remme, ABC Executive Director. “The event offers a fun way for the whole family to learn more about the remarkable achievements of these individuals and the immense contributions they make to our communities.”

Doors open to the public at noon on Saturday, with food and beverages from local restaurants, face-painting and henna booths, a driving simulator challenge, games, success stories, displays, raffles, a silent auction and more.

Guests will have the opportunity to have photos taken with the cast and crew of “Learning to Drive” as well as Miss Minnesota USA International 2017, Rochester’s own Zoey Jantsan.

Admission to the event is free. Tickets to the film screening are $10 for adults and $7 for students and seniors. Admission to the after-party with director and cast is $25. Tickets can be purchased online at http://abcinc.org/celebratingabilities. All proceeds go to enriching the lives of persons with disabilities in the community. 

A highlight of this year’s event is a special screening of “Learning to Drive,” beginning at 4:00 pm in the Century Auditorium. This heartwarming, upbeat film tells the story of two brothers, one with Down syndrome, who embark a road trip to take their mother’s ashes to the Grand Canyon.

The film has been screened at numerous festivals and has won several awards. Director Roderick E. Stevens, II and lead actor Connor Long will be present to introduce the film and answer questions. Guests can spend more time with both at an exclusive after-party beginning at 6:30 pm.

Celebrating Abilities is made possible through the generous support of gold-level sponsor Think Mutual Bank, silver-level sponsors Minnesota Autism Center, Minnesota 97.5 FM and the Sadler family, and nine bronze-level sponsors.

Contact:

Lance Laack
Communications Coordinator
Ability Building Center (ABC)
1911 14th Street, NW
Rochester, MN 55901
(507) 535-7120
lancel@abcinc.org

2017 RENDEZVOUS & CARNIVAL

Volunteer: http://signup.com/go/nAoWkgP

MAKE PLANS TO ATTEND THE 2017 RENDEZVOUS & CARNIVAL
FREE Admission! FREE Parking! 
Sat. Oct. 7-10am-3pm
Carnival Games, Prizes Galore
Silent Auction
Petting Zoo & Horse Grooming
Bake Sale
Twisted Pizza Wagon
Proceeds go to client scholarships & animal care

Interested in Volunteering? Click Below To Sign Up:
Call 507-281-3033 or follow this link to sign up: http://signup.com/go/nAoWkgP

Planning Your Corporate Retreat? Attend this FREE DEMO First

FREE DEMO SESSIONS
Session #1:
Rescheduled for: (July Session rescheduled for: Thursday, August 17, 2017 from 6:30 pm-8:00 pm)
This Session is a Horse Powered Learning Demo.

Session #2:
Saturday, August 26, 2017, 9:30 – 11:30 am.

Just like a sports team, your staff must take the time to huddle up, attend training camp, practice, and rehab. Even with great leaders, a team only immersed in the mundane daily activities will experience dysfunction. Your team needs this critical team building time to rebuild and come out winning.

H.O.P.E. Ranch is a unique and effective choice for your next team building or corporate development retreat that incorporates the EAGALA EQUINE ASSISTED DEVELOPMENT MODEL. Your team experiences activities performed around or with horses. After each exercise, your team is lead through a discussion facilitated by an EAGALA certified specialist. There’s no riding and it’s completely safe.

If you plan corporate or team building retreats for your company we invite you to attend one of our FREE demos. This is a 2-hour session that allows you to experience firsthand how this unique approach results in a recognizable change in team dynamics for staff, supervisors and company leaders.

Reserve a spot at one of our upcoming FREE DEMOS by calling 507-281-3033 or emailing us.

FREE DEMO SESSIONS
Session #1:
Wednesday, July 19, 2017, 6:30 – 8:30 pm

Session #2:
Saturday, August 26, 2017, 9:30 – 11:30 am

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR THE 2017 RENDEZVOUS & CARNIVAL

The 2017 H.O.P.E. Ranch Rendezvous and Carnival will take place Saturday, October 7th from 10 am – 3 pm.

This is a fun-filled day for kids and adults and we are looking for volunteers to help with the activities.

There are many ways to participate, either the day of or prepping for the event.

We need people to run the carnival games, silent auction, crafts area, face painting & more. Grab a buddy if you’d like. We take pairs of volunteers.

Click here to check out the possible jobs and/or to sign up!

This event has grown by leaps and bounds. We promise a fun time! The event is held at H.O.P.E Ranch and admission and parking is free. The best part is, this is a fundraiser. All proceeds go for client scholarships and animal care.

To volunteer: click this link.
Or call us at 507-281-3033.

Mental Illness Facts: Get Educated During Mental Health Awareness Month

Author: Kit Muellner,  LICSW, EAGALA Certified and CEO of H.O.P.E. Ranch

May is Mental Health Awareness Month in the United States and has been observed in this country since 1949. Special attention is given and activities occur during the month. Awareness about mental illness is brought to the public reaching millions of people through the media, local events, and screenings.

The purpose of Mental Health Awareness Month is to educate the public about mental illnesses such as depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. This includes symptoms and possible treatments for these illnesses.

Conversations about the realities of living with mental illness take place and strategies are shared for dealing with it. Additionally, discussions about and exercises for attaining and maintaining mental health and wellness become a part of the month’s activities.

Bringing attention to suicide is also a part of Mental Health Awareness Month as mental illness can contribute to suicide attempts in both adults and youths.

Knowledge is power. The more educated the public is about mental health issues, the better the outcomes. A huge goal of mental health awareness is to reduce the stigma that surrounds mental illnesses.

Facts:

  • 1 in 5 adults in America experience mental illness.
  • 1 in 25 adults live with a serious mental illness.
  • 50% of chronic mental illness begins by the age of 14.

 Impact:

  • Depression is the #1 cause of disability around the world.
  • Serious mental illness costs $193 billion in lost earnings each year.
  • 90% of those who die from suicide have an underlying mental illness.

The following infographic, courtesy of NAMI, shows the numbers, impact, and consequences of mental illness. Screen Shot 2017-05-02 at 8.28.46 AM

Conclusion

The good news is that there are effective treatments for those suffering from mental illness. If you think you or someone you know needs help, the first step is to pick up the phone and call a mental health professional. They’ll walk you through the rest.