Tom and Bonnie Sanford started Project Patch with the dream of helping lost youth. They knew that troubled teens are hurting teens and they longed to give them safety and a new chance at life. The changed lives of hundreds of young people served by Project Patch has continued to be an inspiration to the many people that consistently support this cause.
Project Patch began in 1984 as a referral and foster placement program. From 1984 to 1993, Project Patch made nearly 1,800 foster care referrals and placed just under 400 young people in loving, Christian foster care homes. As the need to place youth escalated and it became increasingly difficult to find enough foster homes, the Patch Board of Trustees began to pray for a place to house young people.
In 1989, a gift of 116 acres in southern Idaho, including riverfront acreage, along with the purchase of an adjacent 53 acres, provided the possibility of fulfilling this dream of a place for hurting teens.
In 1990, Project Patch placed a trailer on the property and began praying for more miracles. Many miracles, many volunteers, and many generous donors later, construction was completed on residence halls and a main lodge with beautiful views of the river.
Maranatha Volunteers International and various youth groups across the Northwest helped to develop the Project Patch youth ranch into an impressive and modern campus. Eventually, a school, gymnasium, workshop, and chapel were added to the campus.
Since 1993, over 1,000 teenagers have been physically, emotionally, and spiritually renewed at the Project Patch Youth Ranch. The teens spend an average of 14 months at the ranch, working their way up through a four-level program to the point of completion.
History of the Family Life & Conference Center
Just a few minutes outside of Goldendale, Wash., the Project Patch Family Life and Conference Center sits on almost 500 acres of beautiful land. With views of Mt. Adams and Mt. Hood, canyons, rivers, and a couple of waterfalls, the completed facility has something for everyone. But it didn’t just happen overnight.
The Tupper family came to the valley in 1963 and began farming. Through the years they helped many young people attain Christian education. Their heart for young people and families led them to give just under 500 acres to Project Patch.
They were able to be present at the dedication ceremony of the family and conference center in 2010, and were given the honor of cutting the ceremonial ribbon. In late 2010 we bade goodbye to Dr. Elsie Tupper when she passed away. Pictured below are Elsie and Clarence Tupper and Marjorie (Tupper) Wentland at the dedication ceremony in May 2010. Clarence Tupper passed away in October 31, 2016.
During 2004 and 2005, Patch thinned over 50 acres of the pine forest around the areas where buildings were planned. This was done to promote forest health and to provide protection from fire.
Fencing was constructed along almost two miles of driveway and along the border with neighbors. Many volunteers came and helped complete this task. Among the volunteers were some of the teens from the youth ranch in Idaho.
From standard framing to foam and concrete, from small to large, from complex to simple, all of the buildings that now stand are the product of dedication and effort by a lot of people who deeply care about helping young people and their families.
Every building was planned, erected, and finished by talented and generous people. Most of them were volunteers from various churches and service organizations who worked with a core group of paid staff to construct the buildings that now make up our Family Life and Conference Center.
After overcoming many challenges by steady efforts, fervent prayers, and continuous faith in God’s ability to provide miracles,
Project Patch is now able to offer the Family Experience to parents and their teens (12-17 years old) who want to find the best possible ways to get through the challenges that have come their way. Patch believes that God provided so many miracles for Patch so that He could provide many more miracles for families.