Chupco’s Landing Adds New Youth Ranch

By Chris Jenkins

FORT PIERCE — Twelve-plus acres of land was transformed into something special on Jan. 15.

The Tribal Council, residents and invited guests all gathered to celebrate the newest addition to Chupco’s Landing at the new Chupco Youth Ranch.

The schedule for the day consisted of the ribbon cutting and dedication by Fort Pierce Liaison S.R. Tommie and other members of the Tribal Council. An open house to view the ranch, lunch provided by Renegade Barbeque and the first council meeting of 2007 followed the ribbon cutting.

According to Tommie the three bedroom “diamond in the rough” cabin with arena, horse stables and a snack bar was initially acquired and purchased for housing space in the area. Those plans changed however, after discussing what a unique experience the current conditions would offer the youth of their community.

“We wanted to offer the opportunity to come back to nature,” Tommie said. “There’s so much for a young person in the Seminole Tribe or anywhere else that’s involved in any 4-H programs to have the opportunity to learn how to take care of animals, and we had it all at our fingertips. So we’ve cultivated it and made sure that we were able to put a nice polish on it and make it something that would be user friendly.”

The community-based program and ranch will operate under Director Shamy Tommie. It will provide partial and full horse boarding for current and future customers and have a modular system implemented for programs with tutoring, computer classes, and language skills development.

Both S.R. Tommie and Director Shamy Tommie said they have high expectations for the ranches future.

“Everything is going good, and I’ve got a feeling that we are going to go a long way with this,” he said.

Long term plans are to continue with electrical, irrigation and other renovations as well as housing development around the property, according to S.R. Tommie. There will also be cultural exhibitions, art festivals, and other projects and activities to enjoy in the future.

“It gives me great joy to implement something that will help sustain us as a Tribe,” she said.

For me information, please contact the Fort Pierce Tribal Offices at (772) 467-2454.