How do you learn to appreciate the blessings of a roof over your head, getting plenty of exercise, and having plenty of food on the table when you’re hungry? One of the best ways is responsibility for the care of another living being. So it is with our boys’ animal projects. By being responsible for the daily care of a calf, a pig, or a horse, our boys come to understand the commitment and discipline that it takes to care for another being.
Boys at Westview are encouraged to participate in any of several animal programs. They can work with the horses on the south campus, the pig program on the west campus, and they can be a part of the calf show team on the north campus. In the pig and calf programs, boys raise the animals to show in local, county and state shows, and receive financial and trophy rewards as a consequence.
The day of a young man with a calf is a long one. His morning begins at 5:00 a.m. with the morning feeding, and in the cold of winter, breaking the ice in the water trough. Before leaving for school a couple of hours later, the boys lead their calves into the cooling house where the animals spend their day. At noon, their houseparents bed the calves down for the afternoon. After school, the boys wash and brush their calves, taking care to blow the hair dry when done. Then it is time to clean the cooling house, feed, and check the water troughs.
This is lot of hard and routine work, but it develops discipline in our boys that leads to success. After months of work, our young men go on to learn from the competitive experience of livestock shows. Some days they have to learn how to be a good winner; others, they must find a way to learn from a loss. Both allow them to grow and to find success in life in a broader sense.
More than one boy has discovered the importance of responsibility and the thrill of success through our on-campus pig program. The boys with pigs regularly wash, brush, and walk their swine. They feed and water them every day, and see to the cleaning of all of the pens. They also practice showing the animals, so that at show time they have experience moving with the pig in the show pen under the watchful eyes of a judge. First our young men show their pigs at the local show, then at the county, and then at the state show (OYE).
When they boys are past all of their shows, the pigs continue to be important as they become the highest quality ham, bacon, and sausage on their dinner table.
The horse program is currently in the process of undergoing significant redesign. More will be posted on this site as this program once again becomes viable.