The Barr Family’s Legacy

April 5, 2024

We are thrilled to share that on March 5, 2024, the Barr Family finalized the donation of the beautiful 40-acre property that Candlelight Ranch calls home to the Candlelight Ranch Foundation. This generous gift was given in the hope that the Ranch will always be a peaceful place for all who seek the healing embrace of nature.

25 years ago, Candlelight Ranch began as a dream of Randy, Don & Jeri Barr to share the outdoors with children who would likely never experience the magic of nature on a Hill Country ranch. Shortly after purchasing their Lake Travis property in 1999, together, the Barr Family turned their mutual love for nature and children into a mission and started Candlelight Ranch. 

Shortly after Candlelight Ranch’s formation, the Ranch welcomed its first group, Austin Children’s Shelter, for a day of exploring, horses, hiking, and hayrides. As the organization found its footing, more partnerships were formed with local schools, children’s homes, and non-profits whose missions sought to better the lives of children and families in need. Our small facilities, consisting of the property’s original homestead and a few picnic tables, grew as we broadened our services for the children and families who visit. Over the years, we expanded capacity by reconstructing the Fisher Cabin, forming hiking trails, adding the Travis Hamner Pavilion, and constructing our wheelchair accessible treehouse, bathhouse, ropes courses, Chillville, wildlife viewing areas, and Healing Hearts Stable. Infrastructure expansion continued to broaden our scope of programs so we may better serve the children and families of the Ranch. Beginning as an entirely volunteer-run organization, the Ranch has grown because of the passion of those who believed in its mission and the magic of nature to heal. 

From the humble dream of the Barr Family to create joy and connect children to nature, Candlelight Ranch grew into the organization we are today, on average each year serving 1,700 children and caregivers, providing 14,000 programming hours, and partnering with 35+ local non-profits and schools to give a chance for children of any ability or background to experience their “best day ever” at the Ranch. Our programs continue to provide educational, therapeutic, and fun experiences at the Ranch and within our community. Through the years, we have solidified our cornerstone program, Children in Nature, expanded services to Military Families, implemented community-based programming through Outdoor Explorers, and welcomed families of all needs and backgrounds on our Family Days. 

The success of Candlelight Ranch is owed to the incredible individuals who have continually come into the fold. Our staff has grown from one to eight full-time employees. Our Board of Directors and Advisory Council expertly guided our course; our donors gave generously, and our volunteers continued to deliver our mission with extraordinary passion for the children we serve. We are forever grateful to all who invested their time, talents, and funds to make Candlelight Ranch the unique place it is today. 

We are forever grateful to Randy, Don & Jeri Barr for their vision of healing children through nature and their commitment to serving the mission of Candlelight Ranch. Through this generous donation of the Candlelight Ranch property, we promise to continue their legacy by ensuring that any child needing a safe place in nature to retreat can learn, explore, and heal in perpetuity.