The Ivy Ranch Promise:
We promise to always treat every kid like they are worthy of love, happiness, and success in life... because they are. We believe that every kid wants to do well, and if they are not doing well, it is the job of caring adults to invest in them and fight for them to help the child figure out how to solve their problems. We believe that adults can offer empathy and education, but it is the child's responsibility to do the work to heal and exercise resilience. We promise not to see the masks they wear or the bad behavior first; we see the human being first. We promise to always remember that there are only bad choices, no bad kids. We promise to give our very best to help teenagers learn the skills of confidence, hard work, tenacity, resilience, and to keep climbing-not letting anything stand in their way toward the life they want and are worthy of...just like ivy.
Jessie's experiences with depression, being bullied, being THE bully, insecurity, tragedy, eating disorders, toxic relationships, her parents' divorce, chronic people-pleasing, and never feeling good enough could have made it easy for her to choose to stay in those dark places. Lucky for us, and thousands of others,
Ivy is a beautiful, tenacious plant that can endure and thrive in undesirable conditions. Like ivy, Jessie Funk has spent her life learning how to be resilient, tenacious, self-confident, and happy in undesirable situations. Just as ivy reaches for the sun; Jessie is reaching out to share this important truth; that no matter how dark it is, there is always a way up and out into the light.
Jessie chose to use her life experiences to lead and teach others how to climb their way out of the dark and into the light.
Using her voice to share the power of choices through music, song, public speaking, YouTube videos, and books, Jessie lifts, inspires, and mentors. Jessie is a professional singer, holds a leadership certification from Notre Dame University, and a degree in Psychology. Most importantly, Jessie holds deep, genuine concern, respect, and love for today's youth. She loves teenagers! It comes as no surprise that her latest endeavor, Ivy Ranch, is all about empowering teenagers to be mentally tough, confident, and resilient.
Ivy Ranch will offer leadership camps during the summers and a school suspension alternative during the school year for Utah schools. Summer camps will be packed full of leadership and service opportunities. Campers will be given challenges to help both themselves and others reach their full potential. They will have a chance to share and develop ideas through Charity U, a non-profit designed to help teenagers create their own non-profit. Of course, there will be campfire shenanigans – that goes without saying – but there will also be time for playing games, making life-long friends, and eating lots of delicious fresh food straight from a camp garden. School suspension at Ivy Ranch will be similar to summer camps, with added components such as access to councilors, and required school work to help them get back on track towards graduation.
For Jessie, the suspension program represents coming full circle. After being suspended for her fourth time, Jessie's principal decided to invest in her by sending her to a leadership camp. It was there she began to heal and change. The camp taught her how to correct the negative behavior and process frustration in a healthy way. Jessie shared a life-altering camp experience, "One of the leaders came over and shoved a megaphone in my hands. She said, 'I need you to yell in the megaphone every now and then and announce certain things.' I freaking loved it! It made me so happy, and I found out that I was actually really good at it! I realized that I'd been using my awesome leadership skills in a horrible way. I really believed that I was a bully; I believed I was a brat; I believed in my heart that there was something really wrong with me."
Labels suck – it doesn't matter if they are labels others stick us with, or ones we adhere to ourselves. What we believe about ourselves makes all the difference. Jessie shared that, to this day, her principal is still her hero. "It was hard for him to do that [send her to camp], but if he hadn't – I know I'd be on such a different path." Today Jessie is using her awesome leadership skills to help teens reframe their belief systems and rewrite their stories through tenacity and resilience – just like ivy.
Located in beautiful Wasatch County, Ivy Ranch couldn't exist without the wonderful Land and Ranch Angels, Board of Directors, Board of Advisors, and Donors that give generously of their time, talents, services, monetary goods, and most importantly their support, devotion, and love for today's youth and tomorrow's leaders.
To learn more about Ivy Ranch and how you can be involved, please visit theivyfoundation.org.
Jessie loves to speak at school assemblies, leadership conferences, and events. You can contact her at jessiefunk.com.