History of New Mexico Boys and Girls ranch

The Ranches was established in 1944!

The Flying BR cattle brand was assigned to the first herd of cattle at the Boys Ranch and for years a sign bearing the same title directed visitors to the Ranch. Started by the Albuquerque Kiwanis Club as a civic response to juvenile delinquency, the leadership was provided by Albert Buck, the President of Rio Grande Steel and others. Soon some 2,600 acres of land was acquired along the Rio Grande south of Belen, and the first building was constructed. Such was the demand for this type of facility that soon some sixty young boys crowded this one building under one set of houseparents.

Tragedy struck in 1951 with the sudden death of Al Buck and his wife in a tragic airplane crash. Financial crisis after crisis plagued the Ranch for years and threatened each time to close The Ranch. In 1954 Walker Hubbard, then considered the premier child care administrator in New Mexico, assumed the leadership of Boys Ranch. For eighteen years he divided his time between the Children’s Home in Portales and the Boys Ranch serving as Superintendent of both.

Under the leadership of Walker Hubbard, Barry Morgan and others, The Ranch paid off its debts, stabilized the operation, and began to grow. When Mike Kull replaced Barry Morgan in 1972, the Ranch entered a new phase. Under Kull’s leadership The Ranch matured to the point where it was ready to expand. That expansion exploded in the 1980s into the formation of the Girls Ranch, the Hart Youth Ranch, Families for Children and a Foundation.

Mikela Kull – President of The Ranches. Mikela grew up watching and learning about the organization through her parent’s experience working for the organization. She determined in 2014 that she wanted to assist with helping the organization succeed. Her first involvement was through human resources. She was able to learn about the organization through the lens of how to best support the staff that are responsible for meeting the needs of the residents. She worked for the organization as she was studying at UNM to complete her Master’s in Business Administration in the hopes that she could utilize the knowledge learned to improve The Ranches. She eventually became involved in the day-to-day operations and became Vice President for Programs. After her father’s passing in 2023, Mikela decided that the best way to honor his memory was to follow in his footsteps by leading the organization.