Ready for Ranch Camp?
Ranch Camp is an old-fashioned camp for teens and adults with intellectual disabilities, designed with their special needs in mind, located on 330 beautiful acres northeast of Austin.
Camp activities include swimming, fishing, kayaking, archery, barn activities, nature walks, drama, crafts, and a party EVERY night! Campers sleep in air-conditioned bunkhouses and enjoy their meals in an air-conditioned dining hall.
As you can see from the schedule below, we'll be offering Summer Week-long Camps and Spring/Fall Weekend Respite Camps in 2013.
No matter which camp you're interested in, get started by downloading the application and sending it in.
Ranch Camp is licensed by the Texas Department of Health Services and we are proud to have met the demanding requirements for accreditation by the American Camp Association.
Watch a video produced by CBS News with Steve Hartman, based on his visit to a 2007 session of Ranch Camp.
2013 Ranch Camp Application Process
For 2013, the Summer Camp fee is $750.00 per session and the Weekend Respite Camp fee is $300 per session.
Apply for Ranch Camp Today!
Click here to download the application and send it in. Sessions are limited, and they fill up very fast. So, you'll want to secure a spot for your camper soon!
Qualifications for Camp
Our campers are 13 or older, have mild to moderate intellectual disabilities and are physically and emotionally healthy. They are capable of basic self-care but sometimes need a helping hand. They should enjoy the fun and fellowship of camp, which is often loud and rowdy. They should be able to keep up with a team and follow basic instructions. Campers with well-controlled seizures are welcome at camp. Their applications will be carefully evaluated to make sure our Ranch Camp Staff can safely meet their needs while at camp.
We are unable to serve campers with serious health problems or behavior problems such as hitting, spitting, biting, running away, tantrums and refusal or inability to sleep or eat. Campers exhibiting such behavior may be dismissed from camp.
Campers with criminal records or currently under adjudication, on parole, or on probation will not be admitted to camp and will be immediately dismissed if such information has been withheld and later discovered, in which case all fees paid to date will be forfeited regardless of deadlines otherwise specified.
No refunds will be made for campers who must leave because of illness or behavior issues. However, every attempt will be made to accommodate campers who are unable to attend their session because of unforeseen circumstances.
Camping programs at Down Home Ranch are open to teens and adults regardless of socioeconomic level, race, color, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability, or national origin.
Our Counselors are college students, most majoring in special education or a related field. They are carefully screened and trained. Our Counselors-in-Training are young people between the ages of 13 and 20 who assist with meals and programs. The staff to camper ratio is 1:5 at a maximum. Everyone involved in camp must have a love for both camping in general and for our campers in particular, and we can safely say that most people fall in love with both their first week at camp!
A Little Camp History
When we decided to hold our first summer camp, there were five of us meeting in the old trailer donated by the Rinderknecht family. It was 1995 and we were having a Board meeting when Fr. Sheldon said in his squeaky, high-pitched voice, "We've just got to get a program going." We didn't have any money and there were no buildings on the ranch, so Judy and Jerry decided to do the same thing that folks in Central Texas had been doing for generations - camp in the great outdoors.
So, with tents and cots loaned by the Texas National Guard, we launched the first Ranch Camp. Pat Geary brought 13 campers up from Houston for a week that almost did everybody in, but changed our lives.
We took the campers to a public pool, and went fishing at a nearby pond. We had a few animals, and figured out how to do a couple of craft projects. Basically, we just made it up as we went along.
In 2012, Ranch Camp celebrated its 18th year by hosting 160 campers. Our campers came from all over Texas and - following the national publicity from People Magazine and CBS News in 2007 - we've had campers from 15 other states and even one from Finland. Our activities cover everything from barn activities to archery and kayaking.
Frequently Asked Questions
When will we know if our application is approved?
We will let you know within three weeks of receiving a completed application and deposit.
What if we can't get the necessary documents to mail in with our application?
You may apply anyway, however, we cannot enroll a camper until his or her paperwork is complete.
If our camp applicant has a behavioral problem, will he/she be automatically disqualified?
No, we will look at each applicant and if the behavioral problem looks to not be a major issue at Ranch Camp, he or she may still be approved.
Do I have to have a doctor complete a Verification of Medical Exam form?
Yes, we will email you an acceptance package, which will include this form.
What team will my camper be on?
We will send out team placements by mid-May or as each session fills.
Can my camper be on the same team as another camper?
Please email us your Team request and we will do the best we can.
Have any other questions? Email Us!