Candlelight Ranch would like to thank Scarlett Mitchell for her inception of this beautiful partnership. In her words… This is what the new Hope Project, Military Family Days, are all about!
It’s hard for me to put into words just what Military Family Days at Candlelight Ranch mean to me. I am the little sister of an Airborne Infantry combat veteran. While I was in middle school, my only brother enlisted in the Army and then deployed to both Afghanistan and Iraq between 2003 and 2007. I have many close friends and other family members that either have served or are still serving in the Armed Forces. I work with veterans every day as a registered nurse at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
I have seen firsthand the effects that can come with service to our country, on those who served as well as their families who serve by standing beside them. I have held my breath when there’s a phone call in the middle of the night or an unexpected knock at the door. I have watched my mother stare at the TV for hours, scanning for an update on a helicopter crash, reading the names of American soldiers killed in yet another roadside bomb. I have cried under a pillow behind a closed door because I didn’t want to add another stressor to my family. I have also held the hands of a crying Vietnam vet who still feels forgotten, and I’ve stayed quiet and simply listened while a young man recently home from Iraq told me about his suicide attempt the day before.
As a volunteer and member of the Advisory Council for Candlelight Ranch, I have seen the power of Candlelight Ranch. Children from all walks of life, with any and all disabilities, come to the Ranch and they flourish. Children who don’t usually speak may say a few words to Rusty and Comet, the Candlelight horses. Mothers who can’t remember when their child last smiled get to hear them squeal with laughter as they take off down the zip line. It is a beautiful, calming, and healing place for all that experience it.
And now, we get to offer these amazing programs to our military and veteran families who have sacrificed so much through The Hope Project for Military Families and monthly Military Family Days. Each month, there will be a full day of Candlelight Ranch programs, like equine therapy, zip-lining, canyon crawl, hiking, fishing, kayaking, and more. These Family Days will be open to any and all active duty, veteran, gold star, or other service member families with children, with or without any and all disabilities. And it will be completely FREE for the families. Our first Military Family Day was on January 18th, and it was a great success. We were able to get the day of programs fully financially sponsored by a local women’s golf association, and we were completely full with RSVP’d families. We have future Military Family Days scheduled for March 18, April 22, May 13, and June 18.
I couldn’t be more proud to have been a part of the initiation of these programs for such a deserving group of people. If you are an individual or organization interested in funding future Military Family Days, please reach out to us. We are also always looking for volunteers at Candlelight Ranch, and there’s no exception here. The first Military Family Day was an absolute blast, so please sign up to volunteer for future dates for a great day! Lastly, please just share about this new program. If you have friends, family, co-workers or other associates who are military families, please send them our way! They can RSVP their family for a future family day by emailing Lynette@CandlelightRanch.org.
For more info, you can visit https://www.facebook.com/TheHopeProjectforMilitaryFamilies/ and https://www.facebook.com/CandlelightRanch/. We will regularly post additional information about the program, as well as create individual event pages for each Military Family Day for easy sharing. And be sure to follow @CandlelightRanch on Instagram for fun photos from these family days plus all sides of Candlelight Ranch!