Project PATCH Dedicates New Family Growth Center

Capping a project that has taken years of big plans and fervent prayers, Project PATCH celebrated the grand opening of its newest resource center with a dedication service on Sunday, May 16. Their newly constructed $2.5 million Family Growth Center, located on 437 acres of land in Goldendale, Wash., was donated by Clarence and Elsie Tupper and Clarence's sister, Margie Wentland. It is the latest venture for the nonprofit ministry, which continues to serve troubled youth from its main facility in Idaho.

Project PATCH began in 1984 as a referral and foster placement program, but in 1989 the gift of 116 acres began a process that would eventually lead to its facility in southern Idaho, which provides on-site care and training for troubled youth. More than 500 teenagers have been physically, emotionally and spiritually renewed there since its opening.

When the Tupper family informed Tom Sanford, PATCH director, of their desire to leave a legacy with their Goldendale property, the dream of a new facility to help families heal began to take shape.

PATCH staff and management have learned through their years of experience with the youth ranch that family stress often translates to youth issues. Long-term answers mean giving the family as a whole a chance to regain its spiritual and mental health.

The focus of the Project PATCH Family Growth Center is to help families at the point of stress rather than after a fracture has occurred. The program will focus on education rather than individual therapy. Families, grouped with those in similar stress events, learn about the pitfalls they may face, develop the skills required to weather the events and share in a positive and fun experience. Rather than targeting families in crisis, the goal is to be proactive in helping before the family requires a higher level of care.

Chuck Hagele, Project PATCH chief operations officer, says bluntly but with a twinkle in his eye, "We want to put our youth ranch out of business." And instead of sitting around in a blame game, Hagele says the programs will feature healing recreation where families learn to experience what they have been missing because of stress and conflict. Program emphases at the new center will likely include weeks that target blended family issues, single-parent families or those with a member going through cancer treatment.

More information is available at

August 01, 2010 / Upper Columbia Conference