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Harker Heights Evening Star
Harker Heights Evening Star

Kids of all abilities camp together as Trailblazers

Kids of all abilities camp together as Trailblazers

In the rolling hills of rural Bell County is a hidden gem, Peaceable Kingdom Retreat, located just outside of the community of Youngsport.  Peaceable Kingdom hosted its yearly camp for “Kids of All Abilities” at its Trailblazer Day Camp. This year 22 campers attended the day camp at Variety’s Peaceable Kingdom Retreat.

“It’s fun because there are a lot of activities. It is like our family. I also go to Camp Soaring Eagles,” commented Antonio Baldridge, camper, age 12. “I have been coming here since I was about four.”

Peaceable Kingdom Retreat is a campground run by the charity Variety, The Children’s Charity of Texas. Peaceable Kingdom Retreat prides itself in being a campground where children with disabilities can enjoy the camp experience without feeling any limitations.

“This is my third year here at Trailblazer’s. It is a really fun camp. They have really good teachers and shows how disabled kids can still do what we do, just different,” commented Jaxon Craig, camper. “I will come back as a volunteer.”

This year Trailblazer Day Camp was offered during spring break. The camp was previously offered during the summer months. Campers also had the option to stay overnight as well as day camp only. Overnight campers had the chance to enjoy additional craft time, snacks and a bedtime movie.

“We run an Alternate Spring Break (ASB) with a group of college age volunteers. This year our group is from UT Dallas,” said Michelle Aplin, Environmental Education Program Coordinator, Variety, The Children’s Charity of Texas. “I think it is a really awesome opportunity for all our local kids to come out and see what we have to offer. This cam is inclusive for kids of all abilities. They all have fun together. ASB is so great to help spread the word about Peaceable Kingdom Retreat and they will be here to help with ‘Kites for Kids’ on Saturday.”

Campers also had the chance to visit and interact with the farm animals at the camp. The camp has a small farm with donkeys, goats, alpacas, rabbits and chickens. Aplin showed the campers how to hold and feed the farm animals. As part of the environmental education, Aplin took the campers on a nature walk and taught the children about wild edible plants and gave them a chance to sample them as well.

“We partner with schools during the school year and open the camp up. We are booked solid from now until the end of the school year,” remarked Ginger Nixon, Variety, The Children’s Charity of Texas, Director, Finance & Administration.

After the nature walk and learning which plants you can pick and ones you cannot, like poison ivy, the campers collected leaves and plants. The collected fauna was used to make impressions in salt dough, when dried the dough can be used a keepsake memento of their stay at Peaceable Kingdom Retreat.

“This is honestly one of the greatest experiences for them (campers). The high ropes and ziplines are really challenging for them,” said Sammie Bhugel, student, UT Dallas.

About

Lindsay (known as Starr) is a veteran who served in the Army for 4 years. She is originally from Ohio and has been living in Texas since the 90's. She is a lover of all things food and enjoys spending time with her family and meeting new people. She knows no strangers.

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