The Iona Project

What is the Iona Project?

“The Iona Project chapel immersion program offers internships for those interested in a shared life of prayer and scripture in community, while serving together in a residential childcare setting.”

Who are they?

They are six single young adults–three guys and three girls–from all over the world. They come to Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch to serve together for a full year. Each program year begins June 1st.

You can check out year-end capstone presentations by Kirsten, Dean, Molly, Primrose and Tim:


What do they do?

We believe life formed in prayer together in scripture is vital to everything we are called to do. So the Iona group’s life is rooted in spiritual discipline. The backbone of the program looks like this:

  A 9-month cover-to-cover reading of the entire Bible.

  Weekly Communion, and 4 hours per week of guided fixed-hour prayer.

   Fifty-six hours of Cal Farley’s trauma-informed childcare training.

  Thirty-five hours of supervised youth ministry each week.

The year also involves prayer retreats, spiritual formation activities, theology and ministry training, a weekly community meal, and a final capstone presentation. Those completing all requirements of the program receive a Certificate in Spiritual Formation & Youth Ministry from the Cal Farley’s Childcare Institute.

The Iona Project has 3 primary components:

  1. Intentional Spiritual Formation. Iona Project interns will participate in an ordered life of prayer. Living together for a year in our residential childcare community, interns will participate in 4 directed retreats, monthly spiritual direction, weekly worship and Communion, weekly scripture meditation, a weekly gathering for nurture and accountability, and daily prayer.
  2. Trauma-informed Childcare Training. Iona Project interns will complete no less than 56 hours of childcare training, which includes Life Space Crisis Intervention (LSCI) and the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics (NMT).
  3. Youth Ministry Conduction. Working at the Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch chapel, Iona Project interns will help conduct a rich array of youth ministry. Responsibilities are two-fold, consisting of both program support of our inter-denominational chapel as well as pastoral care of our residents. Worship, Christian education, weekly activities, events, and trips are among the assigned program duties. Pastoral duties consist of discipleship, crisis care, and hospital visitation.

Check out Bond’s year-end capstone presentation.

Is this program only for theology majors?

Heavens no!  While we do feel it is among the best ministry training experiences available anywhere, the program is for anyone interested in growing in Christ as a human being. Our Iona applicants come from a wide variety of backgrounds and have very diverse long-term career goals.

What is Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch?

Cal Farley’s is one of America’s largest privately-funded child and family service providers specializing in both residential and community-based services at no cost to the families of children in our care. Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch is the residential, or campus-based program. At the Boys Ranch campus, 10 to 12 children live in each of the homes with house parent couples providing supervision, mentoring and parenting. Our basic-care services offer 24-hour supervision in a small community setting.

Where is the campus located?

Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch (zip code 79010) is located in northeast Oldham County Texas. It lies on US-385, 36 miles northwest of Amarillo.

Where will I be living?

Interns will live together in 2 Iona Project apartments: women in one unit and men in the other.

When is the program?

The program runs June 1 through June 1 of the following year.

Is it really important to commit for the entire year?

Yes, the one-year commitment is immensely important. It is vital to understand that the Iona Project is not a customary work program for individuals. Instead, it is a program intentionally designed to form, through prayer, a micro-community of servants for our campus. Interns “become something together” for others through prayer, education, and service. You should think of it as a “together” commitment—not an “individual” pursuit.

What will I be doing?

With days, weeks, and months structured around routine prayer and retreat times, Iona Project interns will conduct full-time supervised youth ministry. Responsibilities will include both pastoral care (such as discipleship, mentoring, and crisis ministry) as well as activity coordination (such as devotional leading, Sunday school teaching, music ministry, events, retreats, and trips). You can learn more about our chapel program by clicking here.

Can I work on college classes during the Iona year?

No. We ask that Iona members do not take college classes. The Iona year is robust program that is meant to be a way of life. Cramming schooling or extra projects will add stress and distraction, diminishing the experience.  

Is this a paid internship?

Yes. Our Human Resources Department can answer questions about wages as well as benefits.

Are there long-term employment possibilities?

Cal Farley's is always looking for talented individuals who can add value to our organization. Open positions are posted continually on our organization's website.

How do people apply?

Contact the Cal Farley’s Human Resources Department by clicking here or by calling 800-687-3722 ext. 2535 or 1253.

Categories: Iona Project