Candlelight Ranch relies on a large and committed volunteer base to keep the ranch beautiful and deliver our programs.
We have a wide range of volunteer opportunities for individuals, families, and groups! Whether providing hands-on support to deliver the Ranch’s programs, or helping on a special project to keep the ranch beautiful, we appreciate the support of volunteers and couldn’t deliver our mission-based programs without them. All volunteers who work with the youth at the Ranch are screened and must pass a background check.
Keep The Ranch Beautiful
- Work Days
- Corporate Involvement and Improvement Projects
- Community Service and Care
- Earth Day Event Volunteer
Program Support Opportunities
- Challenge Course Facilitator
- Creative support for Arts and Crafts
- Yoga and Music Leader
- Nature Exploration and Education Program
- Team Building Support
- Equine Program Support
In the Words of Our Interns
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!
Hi, I am Kim Marie Garcia and San Benito, TX is where I call home. Till this day, it may, or may not, be indicated on the map you are looking at. It’s famous for its amazing authentic Mexican food, the one and only Freddy Fender, 3-time gold medalist Bobby Morrow, and its undying love and pride for its Mighty San Benito Greyhounds! And just a few miles out towards the country side, you could find the infamous border wall. Many do not know that a border wall already exist, and unfortunately to my dismay it has become our backyard. However, there is nothing better to heal this thought other than the famous Trump Burger, half-Mexican half-American, that you can find downtown at Frankie’s. My family has lived here for generations and has worked from the ground up; from working the fields, through the military (HORAH!), and into higher education to serve the next generation with a piece of paper and pen. This hard work and effort has brought me to where I am today, paving the curves and path towards the door steps of Candlelight Ranch.
Candlelight Ranch was the place I never knew I needed. What the ranch does for these kids and families is indescribable! Something as small as a crawling across a canyon or zipping through the outdoors, can have a profound effect on an individual’s life. Some groups come into the ranch as strangers and leave as friends. Some kids come into the ranch quiet and anxious and walkout like superheroes. Even parents that take this journey learn something new about themselves along the way. You can never guess the journeys that will happen at Candlelight Ranch, but you always know that it will be a journey worth taking.
Candlelight Ranch is a place full of warmth, adventure, endurance, fun, and laughter. All are key ingredients for creating not just one, but many wonderful memories. Although, I have two months’ worth of memories, one in particular is a reminder of why I chose my path to become a Recreational Therapist. As you may know, Candlelight Ranch offers its services to individuals whose lives consist of a variety of challenges. One camp session included youth who have been diagnosed with a variety of mental disorders. One Rancher was not being as enthusiastic as the others had while working on the Nature Art activity for the hour. The Rancher rejected the idea of painting due to the fear of being judged negatively by the others. Time was ticking, and I felt the Rancher truly did want to paint. Therefore, I kindly asked if the he would help me finish my own painting. After a few more requests, the Rancher gave in and painted Piglet and Winnie the Pooh. The joy that came about warmed my heart. Moments like these may seem simple but can actually be quite meaningful. These children have experienced so much, including negativity, that affects their self-esteem and overall, how they grow and evolve into becoming who they are. Their exposure to activities like these, counselors and other adults who care about them, things that challenge and motivate them, and above all, nature – are what help these children and adults grow. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to be a positive influence in their lives this past summer.
Thank you to Candlelight Ranch and its staff for a memorable experience. A place that offers opportunities to face our fears, opportunities to grow, and the ability to smile while doing so.
Even though this year was mentally and physically draining, I had some of the most amazing experiences that I would not have been able to have at any other internship. As an intern at Candlelight Ranch, I worked many hours on the zip line sending and receiving children and adults from all different backgrounds. I discovered that I could be very encouraging when someone was afraid and I was then able to help them feel comfortable about going. I would usually try to refer back to their everyday life and remind them that they are in control of their decision, and even if they are nervous, they can conquer tasks they never knew were possible. One particular man remained in my thoughts at the end of summer. He was nonverbal, in a wheelchair and low functioning. It took seven staff members to help him complete the zip but we were able to do it. I saw him zipping down with eyes as wide as can be and with the biggest smile I’ve ever seen. His mother and sister were so happy to be able to see him experience this special moment. It was then that I realized that every hot, long, and tiring day was worth it to every single child that took a step on this ranch. This was more than I could ask for from any job, camp or internship. Ironically, we run this camp with the goal of helping the children gain knowledge, confidence and awareness, yet I was the one learning from them throughout the summer. I could not be more grateful for the children who have stepped foot into my life and helped me learn such valuable lessons.