Our New Program, Outdoor Explorers

October 7, 2019

This fall Candlelight Ranch took our mission on the road with a brand new nature-based, educational program called Outdoor Explorers! This program has been tailor made to serve Special Needs youth in the Round Rock community by working closely with the committed teachers from the Round Rock Vista Life Skills classrooms.  Outdoor Explorers teaches students about the wonders of nature and all the healthy benefits that come with an active lifestyle.

During the six-week Outdoor Explorer program, students gather at Brushy Creek Park to learn about a Central Texas biology including mammals, reptiles, insects, native plants, birds and fish! The goal of this new program is to help students get outdoors into their local community to explore nature and become educated about their environment.

One teacher remarked “they just don’t get outside a lot; this is so good for them!” The students love it too, many experiencing fishing or hunting for bugs for the very first time.  Though many of our students are considered non-verbal, they talk to us in other ways, by communicating through smiles, sign language and squeals of joy when they see a turtle pop out of the water or catch a grasshopper in their net. Friendships and self-confidence grow as students spend quality time with their peers participating in activities that spark joy and collaboration, one student talks of how she was so happy to spend time with her best friend, giving her a big hug with an ear to ear grin. Students also feel challenged as they learn new skills, while learning to fish one student reflected, “this is hard, but I’m having fun.”
It has been an honor to work with the students and teachers of Round Rock Vista, we are currently three weeks into the program and look forward to the connections we make in the next coming weeks!