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History of Variety's Peaceable Kingdom Retreat for Children

In 1984, Baby Charlie’s Fishing Camp was created in the memory of Charles Schreiner V, or “Baby Charlie.” Baby Charlie was born with a congenital heart defect and passed away at the age of 11 months. In honor of his short life, the Bowmer family decided to open a fishing camp on the Lampasas River on their family’s ranch land. Baby Charlie’s Fishing Camp served as an escape from the hospital setting for Scott & White patients and their families. Families were able to enjoy respite time in the great outdoors, embodying the retreat’s initial vision of providing “healing through nature” to children with special needs and chronic illnesses. 

The community interest in more opportunities for recreation and leisure at the retreat continued to grow, and the momentum has not stopped for the past 35+ years. Peaceable Kingdom Retreat for Children became its own non-profit in the early 1990’s, as its footprint in the Central Texas area swelled with the creation and growth of the Outdoor Education Program and the Summer Program. In 2012, Peaceable Kingdom merged with Variety of Texas, becoming Variety’s Peaceable Kingdom Retreat for Children. Through this merger, Peaceable Kingdom was able to increase the strength of its foundation and increase the impact of its programs. The fusion of these two organizations was a perfect match, with the shared goal of empowering children with special needs throughout Texas.

Today, VPKRC hosts over 6000 campers each year through its three core programs: the Summer Program, the Weekend Retreat Program, and the Environmental Education Program. Thousands of Central Texas children spend time at VPKRC learning about their natural environment and about themselves, through field trips and camp experiences. By providing accessible activities and facilities, VPKRC ensures that every child with special needs that attends the retreat is able to participate fully and achieve without limits.