Summer of Fun!

August 30, 2021

We are overjoyed to share the successful completion to our 2021 summer season, serving over 400 individuals including at-risk youth, children and adults of all abilities, active duty and veterans and their families. From June to mid-August, Candlelight Ranch summer programming keeps us busy with day and overnight camps for underserved children in families in our Central Texas community.

We were thrilled to welcome back Camp Glimmer, in partnership with Glimmer|Austin, for eight weeks of day and overnight camps for local Austin nonprofits serving families and children affected by homelessness, refugee resettlement, and poverty. This fun-filled camp provides not only a safe place to for outdoor exploration but opportunities to push personal boundaries in an encouraging environment, escape into the joys of nature, and have new adventures. At Camp Glimmer, campers discover themselves and learn about others through exciting nature-based activities including our zip-lines, high ropes course, nature art, equine assisted learning, archery, kayaking, fishing, hiking, and other educational nature activities. Through Camp Glimmer, we we welcomed Austin Angels, Todos Juntos, Central Texas Table of Grace, Life Works, Foster Village, Change 1, Jeremiah Program, St. Louise House and Casa Marianella to the Ranch.

Another integral part of our summer is Camp Dreamcatcher! It just wouldn’t be a summer at Candlelight Ranch without our Camp Dreamcatcher families. Campers reunited for their 6th year to connect and unwind with friends in the outdoors. Our children and teens who participate in this camp have all experienced significant family trauma and face responsibilities well beyond their years. This camp provides a much-needed respite from the stress of daily life while forging connections with peers who have been through similar situations. Campers build self-confidence on our high ropes course, practice skills like fishing, kayaking, and archery while experiencing the benefits that connecting with nature offers. In addition, our campers learn about nature and history with volunteers from the Highland Lakes Master Naturalists who lead experiential activities such as bird ID through songs and calls, edible and medicinal plant identification, Native American history/artifacts. Camp Dreamcatcher campers participated in a twilight lit Star Party from the talented James Hall. Thank you all for sharing your incredible knowledge and talents with our camper.

Our partnerships and volunteers are an integral part of our summer success. A big thank you to Young Men’s Service League, National Charity League, Lago Vista Women’s Club, The Longhorn Ladies and board members Ronnie Taylor, Paul Masschelin, Russ Miller, Monika Orr, Jen Sellers, Kellie Mater and LuAnn Gilmore who donated their talents to teach new skills, cooked delicious meals, and connected with our campers.

Education Intern Grace Standiford teaches the “What makes a bird a bird” program to campers at Candlelight Ranch on June 21, 2021 at Candlelight Ranch near Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge.
Photo by Claire Hassler/USFWS
All participants signed media release forms.

Another big thank you to our partner Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge who played an integral role in connecting our children and families to nature by providing engaging nature-based educational programming. Every Camp Glimmer group participates in a one-hour program learning about Central Texas Native birds & insects. Lessons include learning about endangered native species, habitats, bird identification, natural selection, and entomology. These sessions are led by an intern from the Wildlife Refuge who is trained to teach educational nature programming. We are grateful for our continued partnership and know we are inspiring and educating children about nature.

Our summer camps take a village, and we cannot thank our Candlelight Ranch Community enough for helping us complete another wonderful summer. Thank you to our non-profit partners, sponsors, individual volunteers, volunteer groups, and our staff and interns for ensuring that our children and families had their best day ever connecting to the wonders of nature!