Big Oak Ranch

Issue: 01 2022


01. A Note from Brodie

Addition is taking place at Big Oak in order to serve even more children. Generation shifting impact is taking place in our homes. Our young adults are stepping into ASCEND and embracing their purpose, growing into the godly men and women they were created to be. Former residents are leading thriving families of their own. And, we are actively multiplying impact nationwide through Planting Oaks by resourcing and equipping like-minded individuals or established ministries in their efforts to provide loving, long-term, Christian homes for children in need.

Each of these results began as a gap revealed to us through the Holy Spirit. They were not only gaps revealed but gaps we were instructed to bridge. And, as we begin the journey together through a new year, we remember that bridging gaps – also known as achieving goals – much like the culture of an organization or a family, either happens by default or by design.

May we choose design – the intentional and determined effort to spend time in prayer asking the Holy Spirit to reveal gaps around us, gaps within us and to guide our focus in filling them. If we are going to do something it should be to the glory of God who deserves our best effort, so let’s commit to asking Him to show us the growth necessary to get there – spiritually, personally and in the work we are called to. Let’s write down the instruction He gives, and then go so far as to sign what we write, placing it somewhere visible to keep accountability top of mind. Let’s prioritize the healthy habits that will give us the courage, energy and commitment to bridge the gaps revealed, and let’s live unafraid of what it might require of us. Throughout this year, the temptation will come to embrace the urgent, flashy or easy, but let’s hold tight to the important.

Hurting children all across this country have been the direct recipients of your commitment and determination to bridge a gap that will live for years to come.

Thank you and Happy New Year!

Brodie Croyle

Brodie Croyle
President & CEO

Brodie, Kelli, Sawyer & Luke Croyle

Brodie, Kelli, Sawyer & Luke Croyle

02. Birthdays

We are intentional to celebrate the lives and joy of the moment. Join us in celebrating our children’s birthdays!


03. Growing Oak



Kinnedy, 19

  • Has lived at Big Oak Ranch for 6 years
  • Lives in the Spradling-Mason Home with Houseparents Dave and Dana Williams
  • Attends a local church with his Ranch family
  • Is a Senior at Westbrook Christian School
  • Enjoyed playing football throughout high school
  • Works at a local factory part time
  • Received the WCS 2021 Captain award for football
  • Plans to enter the work force after graduation
Mason with his sister Ava after a WCS basketball game

Mason with his sister Ava after a WCS basketball game

Koby turned 12!

Koby turned 12!

Jesi and Steven before the WCS Christmas dance

Jesi and Steven before the WCS Christmas dance

Brian after buying his first car!

Brian after buying his first car!

Jesi after buying his first car!

Jesi after buying his first car!

Julio and Julian enjoying a cool treat.

Julio and Julian enjoying a cool treat.

“I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.”


Items Needed for the Boys' Ranch

Laundry Detergent & Dryer Sheets

Dishwasher Tabs

Kitchen Trash Bags

Men’s & Children’s Multivitamins

Adult & Children’s Cold Medicine

Children’s Tylenol / Ibuprofen

AA & AAA Batteries

Electric Griddle

Thieves Household Concentrated Cleaner

Kitchen Utensil Set

Men’s Deodorant


Please send donated items to:

Big Oak Boys’ Ranch

250 Jake Mintz Road

Gadsden, AL 35905

04. Growing Oak



Emush, 13

  • Has lived at Big Oak Ranch for 3 years
  • Lives in the Brewer-Calhoun Home with Houseparents John and Amanda Gasser
  • Attends Church of the Highlands with her Ranch family
  • Is in the 7th grade at Westbrook Christian School
  • Loves playing on the junior high basketball team
  • Is helpful to her Houseparents and considerate of others
  • Enjoys eating Ethiopian food
  • Is planning to play soccer in the Spring
Chamma decorating Christmas cookies

Chamma decorating Christmas cookies

Keyara with Housemom Melissa after a WCS win

Keyara with Housemom Melissa after a WCS win

Chelsea is ready for the Christmas dance

Chelsea is ready for the Christmas dance

Hayden, Danisha, LeAnne, and Ava enjoying the WCS Fall Festival

Hayden, Danisha, LeAnne, and Ava enjoying the WCS Fall Festival

Macey purchasing her first car. We are so proud of you!

Macey purchasing her first car. We are so proud of you!

“She is clothed with strength and dignity and laughs without fear of the future.”


Items Needed for the Girls' Ranch

String Lights for Deck

Citronella Candles

Twin Sheets (not xl)

Percil Detergent

Fabric Softener Sheets

Vacuum Cleaner

Set of Dishes for 12

Cereal Bowls

Photo Albums

Makeup Wipes


Razors for Females

Shaving Cream

Wash Rags

Band-Aids and Toiletries

Hair Mousse

Cookie Sheets

Pizza Stone

Kitchen Organizers (containers)

Please send donated items to:

Big Oak Girls’ Ranch

6000 Shelley Drive

Springville, AL 35146

06. A Life Changed

Kristy's Story

A Life Changed

My Christmas Memories From Big Oak Ranch

My first Christmas at the Ranch was in 1994 and I was 10 years old. It was my first of many years to go to the Alabama Theatre for White Christmas, a Girls’ Ranch tradition that we all loved. The summer before that, we went to the Alabama Theatre for My Fair Lady and that was so much fun, but at Christmas, with all the decorations and seeing White Christmas, it was magical! I have watched White Christmas every year since, and in recent years, gone back to the Alabama Theatre with one of my Ranch sisters Trinity Bundrum. It was great to be able to share the memories and time during the holidays with her.

Another Ranch tradition was the Phi Mu Christmas Party at The University of Alabama. College students would take time to host us for dinner. Athletes would visit and talk with us, sharing stories and encouraging us to do our best in school and extracurricular activities. Phi Mu would give each of us a sorority t-shirt, commemorating the Christmas Party. My Ranch sisters and I were so excited to wear our UofA, Phi Mu Christmas t-shirts throughout the following year.

Kristy and Eric with dog, Jayce

Kristy and Eric with dog, Jayce

Kristy, Christmas 2000

Kristy, Christmas 2000

WCS Christmas Dance

WCS Christmas Dance

Kristy with her family in the McDaniel home

Kristy with her family in the McDaniel home

Kristy in front of the McDaniel home

Kristy in front of the McDaniel home

For many years, my Ranch sisters and I participated in Shop with a Cop through the Fraternal Order of Police. This is where the police officers from Jefferson County would take us to Walmart early in the morning, and spend their hard-earned money on us to be able to buy presents for our families. Then we would all go to breakfast. I am so thankful that I have those memories.

During a weekend every December, host families from Shades Mountain Baptist Church would plan meals, Christmas activities, and games that would give us all a weekend retreat. They opened their homes and hearts to us and it made the Christmas season feel even more like a time of giving and family gatherings.

Christmas Banquet at the Ranch in 2001

Christmas Banquet at the Ranch in 2001

“I do not take these memories at the Ranch for granted.”

We would always look forward to the BOR Christmas Banquet. It was such a fun night in Birmingham and the banquet space had so many Christmas decorations. We would all be dressed up in festive attire. We were able to meet many donors and spend time with those who gave towards our care throughout the year.

Living at the Ranch for over 10 years, it was always fun watching new sisters come to the Ranch and experience making a Christmas wish list for the first time and then having wrapped gifts under the Christmas tree in our home. Christmas morning was always big, loud, and exciting in my Ranch home!

Crystal, Kristy, Trinity and April

Crystal, Kristy, Trinity and April

“But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.”


My favorite Christmas memory at Big Oak has to be our Big Oak Family Christmas Gathering. The entire Ranch, all the homes, and staff would be there. For years this rotated between Boys’ Ranch and Girls’ Ranch. We would sing Christmas carols. Sometimes Ranch staff and houseparents would do funny Christmas skits. The office and gym would be completely decorated for Christmas. We would have family pictures all around the office Christmas tree. Every single year we would end the night with a candle ceremony. We all had a single candle and the lights in the room were dimmed. Mr. John would tell the Christmas Story, sharing the news of Christ; what our Christmas season is really all about. He would always say how the light of Christ lit up a dark world, one candle would be lit…then another. Everyone was encouraged to light the candle of the person seated next to them, symbolizing how the light of Christ shines in each of us to be shared with all around us. Watching the room, usually the gym, go from one single light to the whole room engulfed with light just shows how the love of Christ can spread one by one. Then we ended the night by singing Silent Night all together. The feeling of this important tradition stays with me to this day.

I do not take these memories at the Ranch for granted. To everyone who has made them possible, thank you. Now I share these memories with my family. The light of Christ carries on in me, not just during the Christmas season, but always.


07. Spotlights


Spiritual, professional and personal life preparation for the young adults of Big Oak Ranch.


One of our core promises to each child who lives at the Ranch is, “We’ll stick with you.” ASCEND helps us keep that promise.

Through ASCEND, we provide life training for our kids between the ages of 18-22, as they complete their fully paid college or skilled-trade education. They learn to live as responsible adults, to work, to finish their education, to deepen their relationship with Christ, to serve something greater than themselves, and to grow into the godly men and women they were created to be.


We provide the spiritual, professional and personal life preparation that helps each young man and woman transform the dependent habits acquired on the Ranch into independent habits necessary for adult life.

Big Oak Cattle

Big Oak Cattle is designed to provide a self-sustaining, naturally-raised, beef production system (no hormones, no added antibiotics) for feeding our Ranch families.

Even more, it is an opportunity to help rebuild our children’s confidence and their ability to trust. It teaches responsibility, accountability and the value of working for something greater than oneself.

Big Oak Cattle

As colder winter weather arrived, so did about a dozen calves – our first group for 2022. Our freezers are now completely full of premium beef for our families and 35 young, weaned steers growing for next fall’s processing season.

After many COVID related delays, additional fencing at the Girls’ Ranch is in process and will provide over 50 acres for our horses and cattle in Springville. Plans also include building a hay barn, grain feeding system and cattle handling facility this summer as we anticipate welcoming over 50 weaned calves late fall for winter feeding. Our girls will have the opportunity to care for all of our young, growing steers and developing heifers.

Big Oak Cattle

This summer will not only involve projects that bring Big Oak Cattle to the Girls’ Ranch, but the large task of re-staining our three-board fencing at both Ranches. It will be an incredibly beneficial opportunity for our houseparents and staff to teach our children the skills that allow them to lead so many aspects of Big Oak Cattle and P21.

Planting Oaks

As an extension of Big Oak Ranch, Planting Oaks resources and equips like-minded ministries as they establish Christian homes for abused, neglected and abandoned children.

Planting Oaks

As we raise the children who call Big Oak home, strategic growth is vital to meet the needs of those who don’t yet know the safety of a loving home. Planting Oaks is a path to strategic, sustainable, increased impact in serving the more than 3.5 million children across the country who need intervention on their behalf.

Through Planting Oaks, we share our insight and experience. We provide mentorship, resourcing throughout each phase of growth, collaborative partnerships and a strong, national network.

2691 Children Served.

through the Planting Oaks partner network in 2021

82 Planting Oaks Partners.


25 States.

Planting Oaks

08. Note From the Business Office

Recurring Gifts

Consistent monthly giving ensures we have the resources to sustain our ministry and provides life-changing daily care for our children. Setting up a monthly, quarterly or annually recurring gift is easy.

Call (205) 467-6226, ext. 1222 or visit BigOak.org/donate.

Business Office

We are truly grateful to you for ensuring the future of our children through our recurring gift option!

09. Ways to Help

There are many ways you can have an impact on the lives changed at Big Oak. Please choose the option that works best for you, and know that we appreciate your support – no matter how or where you choose to give.

Daily Prayer

Daily prayer is a true source of power, with the ability to effect positive changes in our children’s lives. We humbly ask for you to pray daily for our staff and children.

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”

1 John 5:14

Critical Support for Daily Necessities

Critical Support for Daily Necessities

Every gift matters. Gifts of $25, $50, $100 on a monthly basis help cover the costs of raising a child at the Ranch. These gifts provide clothing, food, education, medical care and much more throughout the year. You can write a check each month or set up an automatic payment through your bank.

Memorial & Honorarium Program

Memorial & Honorarium Program

The Memorial Program allows you to honor a deceased loved one. The Honorarium Program allows you to celebrate special friends or relatives on occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries or holidays. In each case, we will send an appropriate letter acknowledging your gift.

If you have questions about our Memorial/Honorarium Program, please call the Business Office at (256) 892-0773, ext. 1313, or email Mary Hutto at mhutto@bigoak.org.

Big 12 Club Membership

Sponsor a child. Invest in their future.

Big 12 graphic

You can have a tremendous impact on the life of one of our children by participating in the Big 12 Club. Members of the Big 12 Club make an annual pledge of $12,000 to cover the cost of raising one of our children for one full year and ensure that our children have the essentials they need.

In-Kind Donations

In-Kind Donations

As a professional, you can provide tremendous help to our children through in-kind donations of your skills and expertise. Donations of in-kind services by doctors, dentists, lawyers and other professionals are tax-deductible, but more importantly, they make a huge difference in the quality of our children’s lives.

If you are a professional who would like to donate your services, contact:

Robin O’Leary at (205) 467-6226, ext 1226, or roleary@bigoak.org.

Volunteer Resource Families

Volunteer Resource Families

Each month, our Houseparents get one weekend away beginning on Friday and ending on Sunday evening, to regroup and recharge so they can best serve our children. During this time, we pair each child with a family. This is called the child’s Resource Family.

If you would like more information about becoming a Resource Family, please call Robin O’Leary at 205-467-6226, ext 1226, or roleary@bigoak.org.

Guidance into Adulthood

Guidance into Adulthood

One of the core promises we make to each child who lives at the Ranch is, “We’ll stick with you until you are grown.” ASCEND is one way we keep that promise, as we provide life skills training for our 18-22 year-olds. This training sits alongside a fully paid college education or skilled trade certification. Through ASCEND, our young adults learn to transform the dependent habits learned on the Ranch into independent habits necessary for adult life.

Heritage Giving

Heritage Giving

For gifts of personal or real property, trusts, life insurance, marketable securities or estates, phone the Business Office at (256) 892-0773, ext. 1317, or email robert.duke@bigoak.org.

Multiplying our impact across the country

There are more than 3.5 million children in this country in need of intervention on their behalf. We help those children by resourcing and equipping like-minded individuals and ministries as they establish Christian homes for children in need of a chance.


“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

Psalm 73:26