At a time when discussions of diversity and inclusion is increasingly finding a place at kitchen tables, classrooms, and board rooms, Tall Tales Ranch wants you to know about a population that is too often left out of that conversation. It is the Colorado nonprofit’s deeply held belief that people of all abilities benefit when we live, work and socialize with those who are different from ourselves. Their dream to create a community that welcomes those with and without disabilities to learn, live and grow together.
Tall Tales Ranch is on the threshold of building a mixed residential and retail community in Lone Tree that will serve as a vibrant hub and pioneering example of the idea that people who are differently abled deserve the opportunity to thrive and be valued for the unique ways in which they can contribute.
TTR calls their growing family of young people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) their “ambassadors”, and they are at the heart and soul of their mission.
“They inspire us constantly with their unfailing ability to celebrate and focus on what they can do, instead of what they cannot.” says Tall Tales Ranch Director of Programs, Sally McCance. “We are building an unapologetically different community that’s rooted in possibility, diversity, and the inherent value of all people.”
Creating community is what Tall Tales is all about. When asked about what she loves best about TTR, one ambassador answered “I like yoga, I like trivia….I just like being part of the Tall Tales family.” Having had to pivot from in-person programming to a new virtual model in 2020, ambassadors adjusted quickly, demonstrating an incredible ability to find silver linings in this new way of gathering. In a recent Zoom class, when one young man announced that his grandfather was ill, the others rushed to comfort and console him, and let him know he was not alone. Bonds are already being made among the ambassadors, many of whom will someday live, work and find fellowship together at the ranch. Their unwavering spirit and positivity is what makes the Tall Tales community the beacon it has become for so many.
The development, slated to be constructed just east of I25 at RidgeGate Parkway, adjacent to the historic Schweiger Ranch, will offer vocational training and employment opportunities at their coffee shop and community event barn, as well as a variety of fitness and life skills programming, social adventuring opportunities, and events for people with and without disabilities.
THE ROAD AHEAD
Receiving final Site Improvement Plan approval in July 2020 made way for the January 2021 kickoff of the capital campaign that will bring this project to life. With a campaign goal of $15 million, ($3 million has been raised so far), $12 million of which is yet to be raised, TTR is hopeful about putting first shovels in the ground in 2023.
Investment opportunities in this community-
strengthening development include the funding and naming of the community event barn,
its theatrical stage, galleries, coffee shop, residential and other structures. Other opportunities include a raised garden, family trees in the orchard, benches, rocking chairs and more.
With the campaign now in full swing, TTR welcomes inquiries from potential partners who share their belief in the measurable community benefit of investment in an inclusive future.
What makes TTR’s plan uniquely different from others is the very intentional way in which they will create a neuro-diverse community between those with and without disabilities. This forward thinking design is a departure from the isolation and separation to which the I/DD community has become accustomed. By bringing people together in a conscious way, TTR will be a place where all will be valued for their unique gifts.
TALL TALES RANCH