Big Oak Ranch

Issue: 03 2022


01. A Note from Brodie

Great success for any individual or organization comes with a combination of motivation and discipline. Discipline, as an organizational root value at Big Oak, is vital to moving the needle forward, to increasing awareness of our mission and effectiveness of our daily work. Discipline is no less vital in our walk with Christ, in our marriages, in parenting our children.

I remember rivalry games where the emotions are heightened, the environment is tense, the racing thoughts and electricity on the field. It was in one of those rivalry games, a coach said to me, “Weather the storm, emotion won’t last for more than a quarter. The most prepared team will prevail.” You see, motivation gets us to a point where discipline must pick up. And, discipline is so important because one doesn’t rise to the level of their goals, but falls to the level of their habits.

There is something about discipline that is freeing. It creates structure, balance and healthy order. That is why it’s a vital practice in our faith, families and work if we want them to thrive.

But the enemy will do his most cunning work when we are least expecting it, and we must keep a close check on allowing discipline to trickle into control. We can’t allow discipline to equal control because control is what one has to exert because they are tethered to a current comfort with no destination in mind. This is why control-minded leaders are bound to their mission, lost in their direction and crippled by their decisions. In contrast, discipline is what one gets to do with a dedicated focus on a future they want to see. This is why disciplined leaders are sold out to their mission, confident in their direction and convicted of their decisions, while open to embracing the stretch into new approaches should God direct.

Often the enemy manipulates great strengths, such as discipline, so they become great weaknesses, such as control. In doing so, that control thwarts our trust in the promises of God, causing us to question His timing and plan. It stifles strong bonds within our marriages and creates resentment within the parent/child relationship. It heightens anxiety, leaving no room for joy. It hinders our growth and chokes out strong roots.

At Big Oak, we have chosen to make discipline the dedication to work with what we have until God provides what we cannot. As you see through each Timbers, we continue to position for increased strength and growth, with defined vision. Where God calls us to more, we will go. Where He calls us to slow down, we will. We will refrain from emphasizing structure to the point it removes the opportunity for a miracle. Just as we will refrain from sitting back, waiting and dreaming but not doing.

We will operate in disciplined dependence on God’s direction, knowing He is the God of the harvest and He will control when that harvest comes. We encourage you to adopt this same commitment in your own relationship with Christ, in your families and as you serve those around you.

Keep Planting,

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!

Septembert Birthday List Digital Timbers
October Birthday List Digital Timbers
November Birthday List Digital Timbers
December Birthday List Digital Timbers

03. Growing Oak


Growing Oaks Boy
Boy Francisco

Francisco, 17

  • Has lived at Big Oak Boys’ Ranch for 4 years
  • Lives in the U.S. Army Home with Jeff and Christi Meador
  • Attends a local church with his family
  • Is a Senior at Westbrook Christian School
  • Has earned the position of Head Wrangler for Big Oak Cattle
  • Plays on the varsity football team at Westbrook Christian School
  • Plans to join ASCEND after graduation and pursue a degree in Orthodontics at UAB
  • Has a desire to serve God and grow in his relationship with Christ
Looks like Jackson enjoyed riding the go-carts

Looks like Jackson enjoyed riding the go-carts

Happy 16th Birthday, Clay!

Happy 16th Birthday, Clay!

Victor after his first football game with his #1 fan, Mom Snider

Victor after his first football game with his #1 fan, Mom Snider

Francisco getting his first tank of gas as Head Wrangler

Francisco getting his first tank of gas as Head Wrangler

Mason & Skylar with Miss Alabama

Mason & Skylar with Miss Alabama

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”


Items Needed for the Boys' Ranch

Batteries (AAA, AA, 9V)

Toothpaste and Mouthwash

Men’s/Kids vitamins

Clinical Strength Deodorant

Dishwasher & Laundry Tabs

Kitchen Trash bags


Men’s Razors

Large Griddle

Acne Wipes

Shout/Spray ‘n Wash

Adult Size Sleeping Bags

Please send donated items to:

Big Oak Boys’ Ranch

250 Jake Mintz Road

Gadsden, AL 35905

04. Growing Oak


Growing Oaks Girl

Haley, 18

  • Has lived at Big Oak Girls’ Ranch for almost 4 years
  • Lives in the Brewer-Calhoun Home with Houseparents John and Amanda Gasser
  • Is a Senior at Westbrook Christian School
  • Loves her job and recently received a promotion
  • Attends Church of the Highlands with her family, where she serves in Highlands Kids
  • Is a great big sister and loves being the oldest
  • Is interested in working in the occupational therapy field after graduation
Happy birthday to Haley

Happy birthday to Haley

Jasmine & Izzy celebrating their salvation decision with baptism!

Jasmine & Izzy celebrating their salvation decision with baptism!

Makenzie is ready to cheer on the Warriors

Makenzie is ready to cheer on the Warriors

Macey & Haley enjoying the Big Oak Beach Trip Kickoff Party

Macey & Haley enjoying the Big Oak Beach Trip Kickoff Party

Gail is ready for a great school year

Gail is ready for a great school year

Axlin created a masterpiece

Axlin created a masterpiece

“But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles.”

ISAIAH 40:31

Items Needed for the Girls' Ranch

Bounty Paper Towels

Dishwasher Tablets

Laundry Detergent Pods

Tall Kitchen Trash Bags (with drawstring)

Band Aids

Children’s Chewable Tylenol & Ibuprofen

Women’s Toiletries

Vacuum Cleaner

Aluminum Free Deodorant

Large Food Processor

Bathroom Towels

AAA & AA Batteries

Dish Towels

Outdoor String Lights


Hobby Lobby Gift Cards for Christmas Decor

Razors/Shaving Cream

Measuring Utensils for Kitchen

Brooms and Dustpans

Swiffer Dusters

Wax Melt Warmer

Please send donated items to:

Big Oak Girls’ Ranch

6000 Shelley Drive

Springville, AL 35146

05. Back to School

Faith, with her husband Donald and daughter Camryn

Faith, with her husband Donald and daughter Camryn

Faith Mostella Morgan, a Former Resident, still overflows with gratitude for all of the academic opportunities she received while at Big Oak Ranch.

“Big Oak provided me countless opportunities through Westbrook Christian School – opportunities that enabled me to dive into my academics and achieve more than I ever expected to find within a school. I was offered the foundation of a Christian education and was connected to a community of teachers, tutors, administrators, classmates and more – all who helped equip me so that I could come out of high school fully prepared for continued education and motivated to pursue what God put me on earth to do.

The chance I received through academics while at Big Oak propelled me to Auburn University where I received my undergraduate degree and then went on to receive my Master’s in Social Work.

I spent the first part of my career as a child protective investigator. And today, I provide therapy services to adolescents, adults and couples who are struggling with mental health disorders and marital issues. I get to offer the same Hope I once received as a child.”

06. Family Beach Trip

Our Big Oak Family Beach Trip to Panama City was full of laughter and fun, as well as family bonding and time together. We are so thankful for Al Worthington, the staff and everyone at The Cottages Christian Retreat, who blessed us with a wonderful place to stay. Thanks also to the Haas Family who fed ALL of us dinner one evening. The Men’s Ministry at First Baptist Church Panama City also provided a BBQ dinner – what a wonderful treat! Thanks SO much to everyone who made this trip possible and helped create life-long memories and relationships for our children and staff! We appreciate you.

Family Beach Trip

07. A Life Changed

Travis' Story

A Life Changed

Thirty years ago, I arrived at Big Oak Boys’ Ranch. I remember my very first week in the Osborne’s home, playing with baseball cards in my room. Another 8-year-old boy walked into the room and began to ask me questions – who are you, what do you like to do, why did you come to Big Oak Ranch? I answered by telling him that my dad was a famous baseball player, and that is why he couldn’t take care of me. He returned with, “Oh yeah? What team does he play for?” I frantically scrambled through my baseball cards and landed on one in particular, exclaiming,“Here he is!” Weeks later, I discovered that the boy I was talking to was Brodie Croyle.

There are millions of reasons for why we all come to Big Oak Ranch. In truth, I came to Big Oak because I was abandoned. At five or six years old, I sat at the top of the stairs and watched my father and mother fight over my siblings and me, as if it were the NFL draft. After their divorce, it didn’t take long before my father flipped through a phonebook and dialed random numbers, searching for anyone to care for his children. Bouncing from one place to another became the norm, and I felt unwanted. By age eight, I was so angry with God and consumed by questions of, “Why would God allow this to happen to me? Why do I feel unwanted?” Soon after, I was dropped off for the very last time – at a place called Big Oak Ranch.

Travis & Courtney on their wedding day

Travis & Courtney on their wedding day

Courtney & Addie welcoming Travis home from deployment

Courtney & Addie welcoming Travis home from deployment

Travis coaching football

Travis coaching football

My first set of houseparents were the Osbornes, as they became the first people who invested in building the foundation of the man I am today. After days, weeks and months of their love and discipline, I learned many moral and character values that I still hold today – values of humility, integrity, accountability and loyalty. As the Osbornes transitioned to serve at Westbrook and at the Girls’ Ranch, I received Mom and Pop Gilbert as my houseparents, and through them I experienced a compassion, love and devotedness that changed my life. They continue to be solid pillars in my family today, supporting every aspect of our life through still being present with us. They have taught and influenced me to be a better man, to do the right thing and to follow the right path. The difficult questions I had as a young child began to be answered with, “I love you. I’m preparing you. You are wanted.”

My houseparents sacrificed so much for us, specifically through their unconditional love, and their sacrifice – it marked me. It guides me as I serve our country.

After graduating high school, I felt that serving in the Military was my path. After talking with several recruiters, I was convinced that the Air Force was for me, especially after finding out that I could be the one to load fighter jets, ensuring they are up correctly and safely. At 20 years old, I joined the Air Force and I have continued to serve for the past 18 years. Being a weapons loader involves working on a flight line and loading munitions onto military aircraft. This position requires attention to detail, the ability to be a part of a team and a strong work ethic, all attributes which Big Oak instilled in me from a very young age.

Travis with Houseparents, Dan & Liz Gilbert

Travis with Houseparents, Dan & Liz Gilbert

“I will forever be grateful for the values I learned at Big Oak Ranch.”

I began my training at Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas, and was later stationed in Italy for a while. Soon after, I learned I was being deployed to Iraq and panic ensued, followed by every emotion in the book from anxiety to zealousness. However, I can now wrap up my first Iraq deployment in two words, life-changing. Since then, I have been on seven more deployments, though, I still remember the first – the intensity of the heat, sweat and sand covering everything, the road stretching out to meet the horizon. I still see the faces of the Airmen from my unit when I close my eyes, I still feel the excitement and accomplishment when an aircraft returned to base safely and with a mission accomplished. Being able to serve a greater purpose is something I wouldn’t trade for the world.

In October 2019, I faced another difficult trial as I received a daunting diagnosis of Lymphoma, just as my wife, Courtney, was undergoing strenuous tests surrounding her own battle with cancer. Months of chemo ensued and there were some very difficult and frightening days. But, just like I learned at Big Oak, we persevered and fought for joy. Thankfully, my wife and I are both in remission. And, just like the days of my childhood at Big Oak, we felt the continued love and support of our Ranch family throughout our journey.

I will forever be grateful for the values I learned at Big Oak Ranch, and for the gift of family that a lost child had always longed for.


Travis with his family in Hawaii

Travis with his family in Hawaii

“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.”


08. P21 Rodeo

P21, the equine ministry which operates within Big Oak Cattle, is an 8-week initiative throughout the summer that guides our children through the fundamentals of caring for and riding our horses. We recently hosted the P21 Rodeo – a night where our girls and boys displayed the new skills they’ve learned as they impressively rode horseback to complete barrel races, obstacle courses, relay races as well as team penning and sorting.

P21 is a nurturing ministry, restoring gentleness and trust in the places where fear was once instilled. Drew and Sissy Jackson, Big Oak Cattle Directors, get a front row seat to the transformations that take place. And, Sissy shares this story of how God used the majestic qualities of a horse to reveal His majesty, His loving presence in one girl’s life.

She began the 8-week initiative engulfed in fear anytime she got near the horses. She decided the very first week we began that she was firm in her decision not to do the Rodeo. However, during the first week she also learned how the fear of the Lord is a reverence towards the Lord. Together, she and others observed how the greatness, the might and the power of a horse symbolizes the greatness, the might and power of God. Further, how the healthy fear of horses translates to a healthy fear, a respect, of the Lord. Throughout the next few weeks, she wrestled between crippling fear and growing confidence. However, on the night of the Rodeo, she went from being crippled by fear to being a conqueror of fear. In her own words she explained, “The scariest parts were my favorite parts. The things I didn’t want to do and what seemed the scariest to do, were the most fun.” She learned that often God asks us to do things that we are scared of, things that we just don’t want to do. However, when we do what He has asked of us, we trust Him within new depths and receive His healing comfort like never before.

09. Spotlights


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


Continuing our promises.

“ASCEND has meant the world to me. It has helped me achieve my childhood dream of attending the University of Alabama and pursuing a degree in Sports Broadcasting. My time living on the Ranch changed the trajectory of my life. It prepared me for the life I want and need. ASCEND continued to prepare me as I learned to apply what Big Oak Ranch taught me. ASCEND has helped me reach milestones toward my goals, taught me skills such as time management, healthy relationships and how to live independently and responsibly. Most importantly, I have learned how to remain fixed in my faith and remember who I am in Christ no matter the circumstances of life.” – Adrian


Resource Parenting

Resource Parenting, a life-changing volunteer role.

Each month, our houseparents get one weekend away to rest and restore so they can best serve our children.

Volunteer Resource Parents are vital ministry partners — supporting our houseparents and offering our children extended family. One weekend each month (Friday – Sunday), each child has the opportunity to join their Resource Family – to simply be a part of their lives.

The relationships built and enjoyed through this valuable part of our mission are life-changing for our children and our resource families.

“We had been praying about what we could do, how we could be a part of the Big Oak ministry. Little did we know, God had been working on both of us individually, specifically speaking to us about Resource Parenting. Our prayers became, ‘Lord, show us who.’ He had a specific child in mind and it was cool that it ended up being a boy the same age as our son. We know it was ordained by the Lord that he would be a part of our family.”

– Greg & Tassy Townsel, Resource Parents

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.

Planting Oaks

A network of Christian homes for children needing a chance.

Wayne Palica and Ben & Molly McAuliffe

Wayne Palica and Ben & Molly McAuliffe – I Am Here Ministries – California, Long-term foster care community

Planting Oaks Partners, Ben and Molly McAuliffe of Desert Streams Ranch, have now partnered with Planting Oaks Partner, Wayne Palica of I Am Here Ministries! In September of this year, Wayne, Ben and Molly acquired a beautiful ranch located in the mountains of northern California.

Phebe’s Home – Georgia, Long-term residential care

Phebe’s Home has recently purchased 27 acres, and is in the process of transitioning onto the property where they will immediately begin serving children in the south Georgia area.

Phebe home
Triple R Ranch

Triple R Ranch – Florida, Long-term foster care community

Triple R Ranch finished remodeling Hawkins Home and welcomed their first set of foster parents in August of this year.

10. Note From the Business Office

End of Year Gift Dates

To receive a receipt dated in 2022, your gift must be in the mail and post-marked (US Post Office Postmark) by December 31, 2022. 

If you wish to make an honorarium or memorial gift for Christmas and would like for the acknowledgement letter to arrive prior to Christmas Day, the donation and list of individuals you are paying tribute to must be received by our Business Office no later than December 9, 2022.

If you are sending an endowment contribution for 2022, please make your gift by December 9, 2022.

If you are planning a gift of marketable securities, please email Lauren Williams in our Business Office at LWilliams@bigoak.org for transfer instructions, and provide your name, address, quantity and description of securities you are contributing. Please make your gifts of securities by December 19, 2022.

If you are planning a non-cash gift, please phone our business office for IRS Rules. All non-cash gifts must be in our possession by December 19, 2022.

Note From the Business Office
Note From the Business Office

11. 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 and further awareness of our mission. These gifts provide clothing, food, education, medical care, and much more throughout the year as we advance this mission. 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 Club Membership

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.

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.

Corporate Matching Gifts

Corporate Matching Gifts

Many companies support their employees’ charitable giving by matching their donations. And yet, a recent story on CBS News says that as much as $7 billion goes unused each year.

If you give to Big Oak Ranch, check to see if your employer has a matching gift program by contacting your HR department. HR can usually inform you on whether or not your employer has a matching gift program and what steps will need to be taken to apply for the matching gift. In most instances, this is filling out an online request.

The request might require Big Oak Ranch’s tax ID number which is 23-7413017. Once you have completed the form, your submittal will be sent to Big Oak Ranch to verify that the gift was received. Once verified by Big Oak, your employer will process their matching donation.

Please join us by checking on corporate matching gift opportunities with your employer as your gifts could have double or triple the impact as we work together to relieve the suffering of abused, neglected and abandoned children.

If you have any questions, please contact Robert Duke at robert.duke@bigoak.org.

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.

“For great is His steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.”

Psalm 117:2