New Year, New Lessons

New Year, New Lessons
By Dr. Glenn Fox, C4 Foundation Chief Science Officer
Since this column is titled, “Lessons from the Ranch,” I thought this year’s January column would focus specifically on some of the greatest lessons we’ve learned, thanks to our families and our own team. Often times we forget that the C4 Foundation is a functioning charity, service organization, hospitality crew, and operational 560-acre ranch, and adventure ensues pretty much everyday at the Ranch. This month, as we open the book on a new year, I want to highlight some of how our operation came together in the past year, share a few anecdotes from the year, and a note of gratitude.
So what have we learned?
  • Families visited the Ranch in droves in 2021. We operated at near full capacity, with families, as well as teams, veterans, and gold-star groups taking advantage of the open space just about every week, while maintaining COVID safety protocols. Our “other” Ranch family grew as well, we added 2 goats, 50 chickens, and 2 sheep, but we are however now with one fewer pig. We started our tradition of an annual pig roast, with great thanks to Orlando who built a beautiful roasting pit, and thanks to the pig itself for providing fuel and nutrition to all. 
  • Resilience: We’ve been digging trenches for water and sewer lines for all of our new housing for overnight visitors, and connecting them all together to build our capacity. The labor shortage has affected us as well, and getting crews and materials up a 30 minute drive up a dirt road has posed more than a few challenges. We’ve had stuck tractors, lost crews, drought, the whole gamut, but we are making great progress!
  • Optimism: This thing called COVID-19, if you haven’t heard of it, has been a speed bump, but we carry on, just like the SEAL teams. We kept our sense of humor, which is a major boost for optimism. Humor can be an effective coping mechanism, and our families and the C4 team shared many laughs.
  • Gratitude: Every day at the ranch is a beautiful day. We’ve shared many sunsets at Orlando point, and we’ve installed “appreciation stations” throughout the ranch, where visitors can journal and share what they’re grateful for. We as a team are immensely grateful to each other. The C4 team is lean, but we count on our network of supporters and board members, volunteers, and each of the families that visit the ranch to inspire us. We’re grateful to have hit major milestones in 2021, and we’re not slowing down anytime soon. We’re adding to the family, planning more events and programs, and are grateful to count on you for your support.
Speaking of, 2022 has a nice ring to it. We’ll make it great and see you all soon!
Written by Glenn R. Fox, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer, The C4 Foundation