Peaceable Kingdom’s Superhero Sports 2014 Kickoff Party for children with special needs scored well above par Saturday when the nonprofit teamed up with the Superhero Adaptive Sports Program of Harker Heights Parks and Recreation.

Miniature golf, air hockey, horseshoes, movies and popcorn, and even a campfire, made for a full day of activities for about 20 families.

Laura Nickel, Peaceable Kingdom program director, said the event was the first time the retreat facility teamed up with Harker Heights.

“It’s a lot of fun getting more kids involved but also their parents. Parents know their kids have been here on field trips, but many of them have never been here before,” Nickel said. “One of our best ways to get people in this community to come out is through word of mouth, through family and people they’re connected to.”

Peaceable Kingdom is financed through grants and donations. The Superhero Sports Party also may benefit the retreat center financially.

“You never know who someone knows and what businesses they are in contact with. Even when it’s not a financial donation, we can always use donations to help build or repair something here,” Nickel said.

Rashawn Franks, 20, has been to Peaceable Kingdom since he was in middle school. He was busy Saturday learning the game of horseshoes.

“I like tossing the football and horseshoes. I like open space and I get to do everything. And the sun is here,” Franks said.

Robena Johnson, Franks’ grandmother, said Peaceable Kingdom gives him a chance to reach out and meet with other kids.

“I want him to be mobile and not just sit and watch television. He is very gifted in his own way,” Johnson said.

For Kayla Captain of Nolanville, the day at Peaceable Kingdom was relaxing for both her and her son, Andrew Lavan, 11, who has Down syndrome.

“I feel like he’s not judged if he has (an outburst) because he’s around others with special needs. He can relax and be himself and I am able to relax a little bit too and not be so on guard,” Captain said.

Meanwhile, Andrew was rolling balls toward the corner pocket of the pool table inside of Peaceable Kingdom’s theater center. He danced in delight as the ball circled the pocket and finally dropped in confirming he was truly a superhero.

Contact Wendy Sledd at or (254) 501-7476

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