In 1976, Gary Priour donated 107 acres of family land to give the Hill Country Youth Ranch its start. The Ranch was officially incorporated in March of 1977, receiving tax exempt status as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization at the same time. With the help of community volunteers and generous donors, development began in earnest.
The first decade saw the Ranch expand to a capacity for 60 children housed in eight family-style residences on a 265-acre campus. The Ranch also built administration and counselling buildings, a general store, a community center, a gymnasium, a playground, a garden, an orchard, a barn, a library, and a chapel.
The second decade saw HCYR become a program-enriched village for up to 80 children. HCYR opened a Training Center for certifying childcare workers and a Psychiatric Assessment Center to help severely traumatized youth. A greenhouse, a woodworking shop, a swimming pool, a ropes course, and a fine arts center were added. Licenses were gained as a Residential Treatment Center and a Child Placing Agency during the early 1990s.
In 1997, HCYR turned its attention to the development of a second campus near Leakey. A third campus was added in 2008.