When I received word about the opportunity to spend my summer at Candlelight Ranch, I didn’t know what to expect. I grew up in the city and had no experience working with children outside of my family. Despite this, I accepted the internship with Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge and Candlelight Ranch, in the hopes of providing kids with a great experience learning about nature. I want to share knowledge that will help shape their minds as they grow and provide memories that will be etched into their minds forever.
On my first day working at Candlelight Ranch, I met a wonderful group of hard working siblings who after poking fun at me for being new, appointed me the title King Darius, a name that has stuck with me all summer and has been my persona for the kids to feed off of. Often times, kids try to challenge my royalty which I don’t mind because I am trying to instill the mentality of being a king is all about your state of mind and knowing your worth. I feel like the kids gain a sense of confidence as I interact with them and that’s has led to an emergence of great relationships during my time here.
This experience has been truly eye opening and I am beyond grateful to be a part of a program that changes the lives of these young men and women. The work does get hard sometimes, but seeing the smiles, hearing the screams of joy and laughter and seeing kids showing interest and actively learning makes the effort so worth it! I have had nothing but fun during my time here and I plan to return next summer to continue my reign as King Darius! Thank you, Candlelight Ranch and Balcones for this internship and this new way of life!
MaDarius Tyler ‘King Darius’