Salem’s educational program is designed to provide both academic, as well as, hands-on vocational instruction. Our vocational program provides learning from real experience and allows the use of all five senses while engaging multiple areas of the brain. Through the varied vocational experiences here on The Ranch, our students are also exposed to potential future career opportunities. As with all of our programs here on the Ranch, the focus of the Salem’s vocational classes are the youth whom we serve.


Salem’s unique equine program exists to build relationships with our students while exposing heart issues and ministering to them. That relationship is built through spending time teaching fundamental to intermediate horsemanship skills such as riding, team roping and off campus trail rides. As our students learn to handle these magnificent animals, fear, frustration and communication challenges are exposed. These experiences open the door for our equine staff to intentionally mentor and teach a variety of valuable life skills to these young men while in our care.


In this class the sparks fly! Each student will have the opportunity to learn how to weld, both MiG and stick welding under the watchful eye of our instructor. The students enjoy this unique class and several of our former students have decided to pursue a career as a welder.


“God creates the beauty. My camera and I are a witness.” – Mark Denman

Our students are provided instruction in photography and have access to a beautiful digital camera to use to capture the beauty of God. Our students also receive instruction in the digital editing of their photos. As with other of Salem’s vocational classes, photography is a unique skill that our students can use the rest of their lives.


Salem’s wood shop class is “hands-on.” This class teaches the students the basics of woodworking including the use of both power and hand tools.  Prior to coming to The Ranch most of the students have not had the opportunity to work in a wood shop. Because they are new to woodworking it allows our instructor to teach them not only how to work with wood but also instills in them how to do it safely. 

We serve a creator God. The Bible says we are made in “His image” so we find that the students experience great satisfaction in the creative process that woodworking affords. Students have the opportunity to work on both personal projects as well as projects that will be sold at our Annual Auction each year.


Salem maintains an apiary here on campus. Although beekeeping is not an official vocational class, students interested in learning about keeping bees can work with our instructor after school.  In the fall our students help with the honey harvest. Salem bottles and makes its honey available for purchase to those who like pure honey.


When the weather improves, the students can receive archery instruction on our on-campus range. The instructor is an avid bow hunter and archer. Students will be taught the finer points of archery along with bow maintenance with an emphasis on safety. Bow hunting is a popular activity here in Central Illinois.


Although not a required class, the students have the opportunity to learn how to play or refine their musical skills while here on the Ranch. Typically, the instruments of choice are guitar or keyboard. We have two practice rooms available.