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Each month we spotlight a local nonprofit that's in need of help. It's a way to connect our listeners with charities that make an impact.

Get Involved Spotlight: Candlelight Ranch

From Candlelight Ranchthis month’s Get Involved spotlight non-profit:  

Candlelight Ranch Mission and History:

In the summer of 1999, Randy, Don, and Jeri (Don’s wife of blessed memory) Barr, purchased some acreage on the North Shore of Lake Travis that contained beautiful and diverse ecosystems with a wide range of flora and fauna, spring fed creeks, and two striking canyons that were created when the roofs of caverns collapsed.  They decided to share the property so that community groups that worked with children with special needs or challenging life circumstances could bring their children out to a natural environment.  They named this nature safe haven, Candlelight Ranch.  Now, almost 15 years later, Candlelight Ranch has grown into a respected non-profit that serves over 1,700 individuals annually in the Central Texas area.

Candlelight Ranch provides a unique outdoor environment for special needs and at-risk youth to learn, play, and embrace the wonders of nature. Candlelight Ranch works in partnership with community organizations and schools to provide nature based innovative activities that are customized to meet the specific needs of each group of children that are served.  At Candlelight Ranch, participants experience a memorable day in nature, flying over an 80 foot canyon on three ziplines, bonding with horses through equine therapy, learning about food sustainability through gardening and nature exploration, and much more! Through their active participation in these activities and contact with nature, our campers build confidence, self-esteem and skills that support overcoming challenges in their daily lives.

With the help of Candlelight Ranch’s generous and talented volunteers, in 2014, Candlelight Ranch served 1,716 campers.  Also, in 2014, over 500 volunteers brought the dreams of these deserving youth to life, leading Candlelight Ranch’s innovative programming. Join Candlelight Ranch in its vision to inspire enduring connections with nature.

Volunteer Opportunities: For volunteer information contact or go to to sign up for opportunities!

Programs Volunteer:  All programs volunteers must pass criminal background checks.  Specific trainings required for some activities.

-High Ropes Course Facilitator: Lead children in conquering challenges while flying through the beauty of nature

-Low Ropes Facilitator: Lead participants in team building, trust and personal empowerment as they work together to solve human puzzles.

-Equine Assisted Learning Facilitator: Lead youth in learning empathetic connection with animals and others.  Help children learn trust, and the healing powers the human-animal connection.

-Nature Hike Facilitator:  Lead campers through the canyon as they explore the natural and meditative powers of nature.

-Food Forrest and Gardening Facilitator:  Educate campers on the healing power of growing their own food, learning about nutrition, and sustainable living.

Ranch Hand:  Beautify the ranch, and work with the ranch team on seasonal projects and events held at the ranch.

Corporate Volunteer Ranch Days:  Bring your work team out to the ranch to help beautify the 40 acres of land that will delight the campers for years to come.  Spend the day working together in nature, and serving the community!  These days are scheduled individually with interested organizations based on needs and availability.

Special Events Volunteer/Fundraising:  Volunteer at the annual Candlelight Ranch fundraiser and other special events!  These events are a fun and important way to contribute to Candlelight Ranch.

Mike is the production director at KUT, where he’s been working since his days as an English major at the University of Texas. He produces Arts Eclectic, Get Involved, and the Sonic ID project, and also produces videos and cartoons for When pressed to do so, he’ll write short paragraphs about himself in the third person, but usually prefers not to.
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