December 09, 2021

Sheepgate: Adult and Teen Challenge of the Midlands rebrands

Adult & Teen Challenge of the Midlands, which operates several facilities throughout Iowa and Nebraska including in Colfax, announced earlier this month it is officially rebranding itself as Sheepgate.

This comprehensive rebranding includes a new name, logo, website and various marketing materials designed to better connect to those struggling with addiction.

“This whole thing has been in the works for a while. Our organization has been working with Flying Hippo, a design firm from Des Moines, for the past few years to get everything ready,” Sheepgate’s Executive Director Michael Hunsberger said.

According to its website, Sheepgate’s parent company, Adult & Teen Challenge, was founded in 1958 by Rev. David Wilkerson, a young preacher from rural Pennsylvania. As the story goes, one day when reading the newspaper Wilkerson stumbled upon an article about seven New York City teenagers who were on trial for murder.

Reports from the courts said the seven boys took part in a gang fight in Manhattan, during which seven young men beat a rival gang member to death. Troubled by what he read, and sensing God’s prompting, Rev. Wilkerson resigned from his church in Pennsylvania and moved to New York City to work full time with teenage gang members. This new program eventually earned the name Teen Challenge.

Shortly after its founding Teen Challenge began offering help to teenagers who were addicted to drugs and alcohol. Today there are nearly 200 centers across America working under the Adult & Teen Challenge banner and another 1,400 in 129 nations around the world.

And one of those facilities is located in Colfax. This facility serves as Sheepgate’s main center for men enrolled in its year-long rehabilitation program. The facility is located on a large, 80-acre property just north of the Colfax-Ming Senior High and is housed within Colfax’s old Mineral Springs Hotel.

During residents stay the facility Sheepgate provides housing and meals while residents engage in daily character building classes and receive one-on-one mentoring from trained staff.

“The main reason we decided to rebrand because the name Teen Challenge never really fit us. The main problem was the fact that we don’t treat teenagers here, our program here has always been far more adult focused,” Hunsberger said. “Another big reason we went with Sheepgate is because it just grabs people’s attention.”

A press release from the organization provided further context for Sheepgate’s new name, saying “The new name is inspired by the intertwining stories of the historical ‘healing’ waters at our Colfax, Iowa facility and the healing waters located near the Sheep Gate mentioned in John 5:2. The Sheep Gate is the location in Jerusalem, where Jesus miraculously healed a paralyzed man at the Pool of Bethesda.”

“This facility is not the begin-all, end-all of addiction. We’re more of an emergency room for people trying to sort their lives out, and we’re here to help with that step of the process,” Hunsberger said.

Sheepgate’s rebranding will not affect its affiliation with its parent organization, Adult and Teen Challenge, in any way.

Contact Abby Knipfel at 641-792-4687 ext. 6531 or aknipfel@shawmedia.com

Abby Knipfel

Abby "Adler" Knipfel

Journalist at Newton Daily News. Currently covering Jasper County and writing passionate opinion pieces. They/Them