Shepherd’s Fold Ranch History
In the fall of 1972, Don and Shirley Staires took a Sunday drive in the country that would totally change their lives and the life of their family. With the station wagon full of their own four kids plus kids from their neighborhood, they headed North of Tulsa. Meandering through the Osage hills in Northeast Oklahoma, they took a turn through Avant and headed across Bird Creek. Immediately a huge ranch appeared before them with a “For Sale” sign in front. After stopping to take a look and visit with the owners, JT and Rube Gorrell, dreams and visions began to explode in the hearts of Don and Shirley for what could happen at a place like this. The drive home was filled with excitement.
Here was a ranch only 35 miles North of Tulsa just waiting for someone to develop for families and kids. Don and Shirley said, “why not us?” Later when they could verbalize their feelings as they stepped out on those grounds for the first time, they agreed that God spoke to both their hearts and said, “This is where I want you to raise your family and develop it for My Family.”
A lease-purchase agreement was drawn up and in 1976 the land was purchased and the name changed to Shepherd’s Fold Ranch. The first summer camp was held in 1973 with 12-15 kids in attendance…camp was born! One week became three weeks and the next summer more kids attended. Now in 2011, over 500 children attend camp at Shepherd’s Fold Ranch during June and July.
Since 1972, Shepherd’s Fold Ranch has hosted retreat groups anywhere of all sizes on weekends and even week-long stays. Groups use this time to come away to the country to reflect, have fellowship, pray and play or study in a quiet place. Gatherings may include youth groups, family reunions, Sunday school classes, pastor’s, women’s or men’s retreats.
In 2011, in response to our expanded programs, Ron Griffin was hired as the new Executive Director to manage the property of Shepherd’s Fold Ranch setting Clay free to grow the ministry programs. Ron and his wife, Lucia, moved to the Ranch in the summer of 2011 with their kids Katie, Patrick and Emmitt.
Shepherd’s Fold Ranch has been “…a place called home” for the past 40 years to not only the Staires family but most anyone who visits. It’s a place where God’s presence is felt and the love of the Lord touches your heart in a very profound way. Many relationships have been formed through the years that have led to life-long friendships, ministry, marriage and a longing for belonging.
Shepherd’s Fold Inc. is a 501-(c)(3) non-profit organization established in 1972. The vision of SFR is to be “…a place called home”. SFR offers a place in the country where kids come to do business with God and are trained how to walk in the Holy Spirit.