Spring is in Full Bloom

April 9, 2021

After getting off to a cold and icy start in February, we are back in full bloom at the ranch. Despite a few broken pipes, we kept on serving our spring families and small groups.  In February, Outdoor Explorer’s started their weekly nature adventures and learning about camping, geology, fishing and pollinators and look forward to each exploration.  Our partners, Todos Juntos and their families have expressed deep gratitude for the opportunity to spend a day trying new things and bonding together in the healing benefits of nature. One mother expressed her joy, “Everything today is just a new level of happiness, a new memory we will never forget.”

In March, spring programs kicked into high gear with a sunny and fun filled week for the families of Austin Angels over Spring Break.  Through Project HEAL, we offered families of foster and adopted children much needed respite and bonding in nature! Families joined together in small gatherings making new friends and having new experiences such as archery, kayaking, fishing, ziplines, educational nature hikes and other exciting adventures at the Ranch. For many of our families this was a week of firsts. As one parent exclaimed while kayaking with his adopted daughter, “What an incredible day of firsts!” For this family, it was time in a kayak, first tug of an archery bow, and first flight on a zipline. The same young lady exclaimed after her ride on the ziplines “I’ve always wanted to fly above the trees and today I got to do that!”

We continue our serve to Central Texas Military families through Project HEAL.  Families are having fun getting together and are very excited to be able to camp out at the ranch again with their friends. Our Military and Veteran service members challenge themselves and their families on the high ropes and archery courses. The rock wall, canyon crawl, and zip lines are great ways to build their confidence and helps them enjoy time outside together.  We also have a special deployment farewell visit to the ranch for a military family who have been coming out for three years. When Allison asked her kids what they most wanted to do before they move out of the United States, it wasn’t a visit to Disney World or the beach, it was to come back to Candlelight Ranch!

In April, Region 13 Blind and Visually Impaired families return to the ranch.  To enhance their experience, we have added a special program for those with visual challenges with sound balls at archery and physical aid with a pulley system on the rock wall.  We cannot wait to welcome this fun and inspiring group back later this month.

Our newest partner, U.R. Our Hope, will be bringing a group out for the first time in May. U.R. Our Hope serves individuals and families with diagnosed and rare disorders at any age. mission is to serve individuals with diagnosed and rare disorders through education, advocacy, and support in order to bring hope through knowledge, empowerment, and healing.  Through Project HEAL, we were introduced to two of their families and we were overwhelmed by the peace and joy they experienced at the ranch.  These families were so impressed with their experience that  they immediately got in touch with the leadership of U.R. Our Hope and booked a group experience at the ranch.

We continue to see the need for safe and accessible outdoor spaces increase in Central Texas and are grateful for the support of our network of donors, sponsors, volunteers, and families.  Together, with your help, we have made a measurable impact in the lives of over 1400 children and families since the start of the pandemic.  As the vaccine rollout continues and local numbers decline, we remain hopeful for a summer full of joy and memories, welcoming back our treasured Camp Glimmer, Camp Dreamcatcher, and more families.