Join Our Events 

The Hill Country Youth Ranch puts on a variety of special events throughout the year to raise funds and awareness for all of our campuses.
For information about current events, please contact Wynita Yancy at

Headwaters of the Frio Trail Marathon, Half, 12K, 5K

This is truly a special event, and we’re looking for a special kind of participant! If you’re the kind of person who finds joy and fulfillment in physical challenges like marathons, half marathons, 10K’s, or 5K’s, whether running or walking, AND have a heart to help kids by supporting worthy nonprofits like Hill Country Youth Ranch / Big Springs Ranch for Children, you’re just the kind of person we’re looking for! The event is limited to 300 total participants. Plan now to join us on April 1st, 2023 for our 5th annual Headwaters of the Frio event!

The Headwaters of the Frio Trail Marathon, Half, 12K, & 5K is a challenging run/walk event across the rugged and isolated terrain of one of the most beautiful ranches in the Texas Hill Country. This annual event highlights the vital mission of Hill Country Youth Ranch and Big Springs Ranch for Children which work to bring healing and restoration to children who have been victims of horrific abuse, abandonment and neglect.

Registration opens November 5th!

Annual Healing Hearts Celebration, Style Show & Auction

The 46th annual Healing Hearts Celebration, Style Show & Auction was held at the Schreiner University Event Center on Tuesday, September 20th, 2022.

This an in-person event is limited to 500 attendees, but is also made available for remote attendees to view and participate via computer, tablet or phone.

Event activities included a delicious lunch, updates from Hill Country Youth Ranch's Executive Director, a performance by the children, a Style Show of the best fashions from the HCYR Thrift Store, Raffles, Silent Auction, Live Auction, and shopping for fashionable clothing, jewelry, and accessories from the Thrift Store Boutique.

Next year's event date has not been set yet, but we will update the site as soon as details are available. 


Easter is a three-day weekend that starts with Good Friday garden planting, and ends with the celebration of the Resurrection on Easter Sunday.

The planting is the oldest tradition involving children at HCYR. Every Good Friday since 1978, Founder Gary Priour has retold the Easter story under the same old oak tree, to residents and staff, before planting. Gary retraces the days of that Passover week in Jerusalem, pointing out that His appearance before Pilate at 9:00 a.m. Friday morning is the very time the group gathers for planting.

Gary then takes the children through the story of that day, to the Crucifixion at noon, and to the death of Christ at 3:00. He details the history of the term “Good Friday”. He relates the Resurrection to the planting of the garden, reciting John 12:24: “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.” The planting of seeds, he explains, parallels the Easter story. The miracle of transformation follows a time of darkness.

After planting, fun activities fill the weekend, including a traditional Easter egg hunt and a barbecue. On Sunday the whole family attends chapel for a traditional service to celebrate the Resurrection. Easter is thus presented as a weekend of profoundly good news, with a unifying story of healing and new life, as well as an occasion for family gatherings.


Gathering for a Thanksgiving meal, while sharing reasons to be thankful, is the oldest tradition at the Youth Ranch, dating back to a simple picnic in 1977 when volunteers gathered under an oak tree on the undeveloped land. To this day, we repeat the ritual faithfully. We are glad we have a holiday focused on the good things God has done.

There is something about the expression of gratitude that is healing. At the annual banquet, opportunity is given for children to name something for which they are grateful, and their answers are often moving . . . a first turkey dinner, love, a favorite houseparent, God in their lives, or a warm house to live in. Being thankful can push away bitterness and lift a child from a depressed state to feeling part of a cycle of renewal.

It’s a beautiful sight to see children who were once hungry with a full plate of food, and to share the experience of building a new tradition of having enough. Veteran staff member Carol Priour recalls, “I will never forget when one of our Youth Ranch children told me that she always slept with a can of corn under her pillow – security against those years when she and her brothers and sisters went to bed with empty stomachs.”

Thanksgiving is a favorite event at HCYR. Expressions of gratitude bring out the best in everyone, and the family gathering around traditional foods is a time of bonding. After dinner, we listen to songs and poems, and watch skits – all performed by the children.


Christmas at the Ranches is a time of putting the child back in children, and of taking stock of bounty from loving hearts. It is also a time when children learn about Bethlehem and the birth of Jesus. Christmas can help restore a child’s faith in a loving God.

Most of our children have unfortunately been deprived of the magic of Christmas. Even as we work to make it a different experience for them, two memories conspire to make this season a difficult time for abused children. The first is that Christmas was often the time when they received the worst abuse. The second is that, despite all that happened, there is an inevitable sadness about being away from their biological families at Christmas.

So we approach Christmas as a time to shower children with gifts, holiday food, and fun events in order to give them a whole new experience. The village becomes a beehive of activity, and children get a chance to feel the magic. Children make their lists, and Santa visits to talk with each one of them.

By Christmas Eve, obstacles have usually been overcome, and the magic inevitably fills the air. Indeed, it is the most magical time of the year – a time for making new memories with new friends and becoming part of a new tradition.

If this next holiday season you hear the call to brighten a child’s Christmas – to make a monetary donation to buy gifts, to be an elf in Santa’s workshop, or to support one of our Christmas activities, please call 830-367-2131 to find out how you can help. We start gathering wish lists and planning Christmas projects as early as October. So don’t hesitate to enquire and join the holiday team.