As an all volunteer organization, we cannot exist without our wonderful, talented, dedicated volunteers! 

We could not do what we do without our volunteers!! We currently have 43 volunteers on our roster. They are the reason why horses are saved and kids are loved on our ranch. They are the ones that feed the hungry, give attention to the neglected, heal the broken, tame the wild, and teach trust to the wary. Our horses and kids are blessed to have this group of dedicated people who believe that each life is important.“—Tracy Cookman, CEO Charis Youth Ranch

Take a minute to check them out below. If you are interested in joining our ranks download our VOLUNTEER APPLICATION and email it to our Volunteer Coordination Team at charisyouthranch@gmail.com.

Once you have submitted your application, we will schedule an orientation. Our goal is to get you plugged in to the areas you are interested in serving to mutually benefit you and our organization. We look forward to meeting you!


Our Leadership

TracyOct2016Tracy Cookman, Founder || CEO

Tracy works tirelessly on all aspects of the ranch. She is our fearless leader, Queen of hay moving, horse expert, and wise advice giver. We love Tracy and we benefit from her vision and leadership. Tracy is the Founder of Charis Youth Ranch and has been the driving force since 2009 when it was started. Tracy can be reached at newlifehorses@gmail.com.

Favorite horse: Memo Queen


 LuciaCroppedLucia Ginten, Barn Manager, Junior Volunteer Program Director

We are so grateful for the talent and wisdom that Lucia brings to the team from years of experience managing 60 horses in Germany. As Barn Manager, Lucia is in charge of the overall well-being and training of all of our horses. In addition to being a professional trainer, Lucia is a licensed Dressage Instructor to the third level. Her knowledge and understanding of horses is irreplaceable to us. She is also dedicated to serving in our youth programs and training up volunteers in all things horse-related.

Favorite Horse: Sterling





Aurora Chaffee, Junior Volunteer Director

An all around horsewoman, we are excited to have Aurora’s enthusiasm and talents to work with our horses and volunteers. She is wonderful with kids and embodies grace and good humor on the ranch. Additionally, Aurora leads the Junior Volunteer Program with Lucia Ginten at the ranch.

Favorite Horse: Mosticolli Mort



Our Volunteers 

Rachel Rademacher

Rachel has been a wonderful addition to our team, She helps our feeding team and with the kids programs. She has a lovely, calm yet wise presence that the kids and volunteers alike easily get along with. She’s a western girl to the core and loves a good lope through the pastures.

Favorite Horse: Chevy


Jessica Ward

Although Jessica wouldn’t call herself a horse expert, she cannot get enough of the quiet peace that blankets the ranch. Her willingness to learn and reliability are all we could ever ask for from a volunteer.

Favorite Horse: Mariposa


Josie Baldwin

We love Josie! She has been volunteering with us for over a year with horse care and feeding, and she never asks anything return! She is consistent, reliable and integrative. We are so blessed to have her as part of our team and hope she is equally blessed in return!

 Favorite Horse: 



Caroline Buck

Caroline  can never get enough of the ranch. Where there is a need, she will be there to fill it. Caroline is a wonderful asset to our summer kids programs as well as being dedicated to the horses. She has an awesome drive to serve, no matter the task. Recently she added Volunteer Coordination to her repertoire and is amazing at it! 

Favorite Horse: TR



Sarah Gayle

Sarah has a unique journey with us. She began volunteering with us in 2017. She left in 2018 to spend more time with her family. We got a call one day with wonderful news that she is moving back to Fort Collins and missed being a part of the ranch and around the horses. She was blessed with getting into school last minute and is thriving pursuing her education here in Fort Collins. We LOVE her and are so happy to have her back in our family!

Favorite Horse: 

Krista Miller

Krista is a wonderwoman! She juggles family, animals, work and volunteering flawlessly. She has a very special connection with young kids and is a huge blessing and assest to our youth programs leadership. We are excited to unleash her creativity, drive, and love on your youth program this summer.

 Favorite Horse: 

Teresa Burshek

Teresa has been with us for over 3 years as a participant in our Junior Volunteer program. She as worked her way up the levels and now has a driver’s license to help with the horses weekly. She graduated High School May 2019 and will become an adult volunteer with us!

Favorite Horse: Cleo


Hannah Eck

Hannah has been a one-woman wonder volunteering at the ranch. Despite holding a full time job and caring for her own animals (2 horses, dog and cat). She has taken on grant writing and fundraising responsibilities with us and been a wonderful addition to fundraising team.

Favorite Horse: Jett


Nicole and Wayne Oleski

Nicole and Wayne were introduced to the ranch through their daughter’s participation in the Junior Volunteer Program. The ranch has become a regular part of their family’s weekly routine. They have wonderful hearts to love and care for our horses well. We are so thankful to have their passion and talents as part of our ranch family now.

Favorite Horse: Cleo

Lisa Sarussi

Lisa’s joy, encouragment and passion is infectious to everyone that comes into contact with her. She is an inspiring woman and carries a big heart of a compassion for all our horses. We are excited to see her grow with our organization and unleash her love to the kids, horses, and fellow volunteers!

Favorite Horse: Abbigail

Leah Gibson

While juggling a full college credit load and job, Leah still makes time to regularly feed and care for our herd. We are excited to have her as a member of our team for the next few years and then convince her to never leave when she graduates! But seriously, its a blessing to have her willing attitude and gentle nature with our rescue horses. 

Favorite Horse: Abbigail

Liza Scholoen

Liza has faithfully assisted in the feed and care of our herd for over a year now. She is currently attending CSU and enjoys the peaceful nature of the ranch as an escape from the hustle and bustle of academia. We hope she never leaves!

Favorite Horse: 

Kyana Dunn

Kyana was introduced to the ranch by another volunteer. The quiet and peaceful atmosphere is a sanctuary for her as she enjoys the post-grad life and prepares for the next adventure in her life! She is faithful and kind to our horses, giving each of them the best of her. It’s volunteers like Kyana that make the ranch run smoothly.

 Favorite Horse: 

Sharon Mueklen

Sharon joined our team in Fall 2018. She is an amazing asset and blessing to our horses and volunteer team. We are excited to unleash her love and compassion in our youth programs this summer!

 Favorite Horse: 

Kate Fens

We LOVE having Kate’s company and presence on our ranch. Kate is wonderful with our horses and specialized in PR to share our vision and mission with local business and agencies. 

Favorite Horse: Rumor

Michelle Cornwall

A CSU student, Michelle has been awesome with caring for horses and assisting with vet records and vitals. As an Equine Science major its been mutually beneficial for her to get hands on practice in horse veterinary care and maintenance. She is currently assisting our Barn Manager in making sure horses are healthy and up to date on records.

 Favorite Horse: Romeo

Cathy and Herb Nelson

We love watching Cathy and Herb tackle tasks and fill needs for the horses and property. They have been a powerhouse team! Cathy has background in english and is excited to be back around horses again. The horses are slowing growing on Herb, they have a way of doing that with everyone!

 Favorite Horse: 

Arden Cunningham

We love Arden! Outside of her fulltime job, she makes room to serve and care for our horses weekly. She is a quick study and we are excited to see her grow with us and use her talents and gifts to serve our horses and programs!

 Favorite Horse: 

Olivia Clancy

Olivia is a very special young women to us. She is a beacon of beautiful light! Her smile is infectious and she has a gentle, quiet way with our horses. While juggling family and work obligations she is committed and consistent to caring for our herd well. We are excited to her grow and blossom with our organization!

 Favorite Horse: 

“Tosh” Hernandez

Tosh joined our team only a few months ago and already shows amazing commitment and willingness to help out wherever the need may be! She is currently in college and using her learned knowledge to love and serve our horses well.

 Favorite Horse: 


Rebecca Barrington

Rebecca joined our team in February 2019. She comes with a hardworking, committed attitude to love and serve our horses well. She has great, natural “horse-sense” and intuitive with our herd members. She is currently studying at CSU and we are excited to see how she grows with our organization! 

 Favorite Horse: 


IMG952679Kaitlyn Parks

 Kaitlyn joined our team in the Spring of 2016, we love this hardworking gal! She has a special heart and love for our Roper Dawg, an older gelding who is nearly blind. Kaitlyn is an all-around amazing volunteer, fantastic with the kids, and she is always willing to serve no matter the task.

 Favorite Horse: Roper Dawg



Elise Fens

Elise joined our team in April 2017. She is pursuing a career as a vet tech and the ranch is the perfect place to gain hands on experience. She is a wonderfully hardworking girl. She’s shown much dedication and commitment volunteering as a feeder as well as for our summer kids programs. We are so grateful for how she gives up her time freely to serve both our horses and or community.

Favorite Horse: Chevy



Stephanie Schiavone

We love all Stephanie has to give at the ranch. She is consistent, honest, and reliable. Stephanie has soft spot for horses and the panoramic vista of the mountains… who could not! It’s a temple of peace and quiet for her outside the hustle and bustle of every day life. We appreciate her flexibility and adaptability to volunteering with us.

Favorite Horse: Rajah


schneider, CindyCindy Schneider

Cindy is a super compassionate, wonderful person. She has such a tender heart and is much loved by every kid who meets her. She is also a wonderful photographer who captures some priceless moments for us. You can find some of our horses featured on her art page Angel Mountain Media.

 Favorite Horse: Romeo



Leslie Muse

Leslie is a super-volunteer mom. While her daughters participate in the summer programs we offer, she volunteers her time to benefit the ranch. Whether it’s grounds maintenance, mucking, or cleaning. She sets an amazing example to her daughters and the other volunteers of hard work and dedication. We love Leslie’s good humor and willing attitude. Her presence brightens everyone’s day.


Board of Directors

TracyOct2016Tracy Cookman, Founder/CEO || Board Chair

Tracy has been self employed, operating her own business since she began her real estate career as a single mom in 2001 in Washington state. Specializing in building relationships with her clients in order to reach their real estate goals, she has been awarded for  sales achievement in both Washington and Colorado. Tracy wears many hats as mother to her 5 children first,  Founder of this nonprofit and Real Estate Broker. In addition to writing the Manifesto for Charis Youth Ranch, she co-wrote the Youth Program Curriculum which is taught every summer to the kids who come to the ranch. Prior to her career in real estate she worked in Human Resources as an Employment Counselor helping people find and keep jobs.  Her strengths are communication, perseverence and faith.