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Dear SFR Family and Faithful Friends

The reason for this letter is to update you on the growth and positive transformation that is taking place here at the Ranch and why this growth is making 2011 one of the best years ever to come to camp!

This summer we will have a new Meeting Room and Bathroom on the top of the hill so our campers and guests will not have to use our dining room to meet and they’ll no longer have to use the dreaded Port-a-Johns! Hallelujah! This building along with the new pavilion and ball court at Briggs Park built last year combine to create a much more inviting environment for all our guests. Wait ‘til you see the deck!! You’ll love it!

This summer is the summer to be “CLEAN” and our camper numbers are ahead of schedule! Mark 1:41 talks about the leper asking Jesus if He would be willing to make the man clean. Jesus said, “I am willing. Be clean.” This summer is all about discovering the willingness of Jesus to make us clean! This is a powerful message to a culture that prides itself on “self-achievement”. Our children need to grow up with this message: “GOD LOVES YOU AND IS WILLING TO MAKE YOU CLEAN”. We want to invite your children and their friends to come to The Fold and encounter the loving heart of the Father this summer. My daughter, Clare, has recruited five of her friends to come to SFR this summer for the first time! As a dad, I’m so glad that she will have friends next year at school that will have had this common experience with her of feeling God’s desire to be their friend.

The ministry through Shepherd’s Fold has always been about “training up a child”. Over the years we’ve had hundreds of testimonies about how God has touch hearts in a personal way while a child has been at the Ranch for a week of summer camp. This past year, we have expanded our ministry beyond summer and even beyond the Ranch. We now do after-school programs for at-risk children in Skiatook and in Tulsa. We have three leadership training programs and a discipleship training school. This summer we are even sending our summer camp experience to South Africa to minister to vulnerable children in Cape Town! The Lord is “expanding our tent” as we continue to listen to His voice and respond to His direction.

These encouraging developments are a part of the transformational process that began at our Board Retreat in January, 2010. While anticipating the summer of 2012 as our 40th anniversary, the Board began looking at the next 40 years. The Board unanimously agreed that the course is “further up and further in” and that we must do everything we can to prepare this “ship” to sail boldly into the future. It became clear that in order to move confidently into the future, Shepherd’s Fold would need to begin adding leadership positions to ensure that the people behind the programs possessed the support and diversity necessary to achieve the Ranch’s long-term goals.

This planning process has led me to announce our biggest news this spring. The Board of Directors is proud to announce Ron Griffin as the new Executive Director of Shepherd’s Fold Ranch. Last summer, I began talking with Ron, a long-time Foldie and supporter of the Ranch, about the need to have someone join our executive team and take over the daily management of the Ranch. The Board, Lisa and I realize that this change has become necessary to allow Lisa and me to develop new ministries and programs the Lord has laid on our heart. It quickly became apparent that Ron and his wife, Lucia, were well suited to assume this responsibility. After conducting an extensive interview process, the Board asked Ron and Lucia to join the Ranch in our endeavors.

As the Executive Director of Shepherd’s Fold Ranch , Ron will be focused on the daily management and administration of the business of the Ranch. I will begin transitioning to a new position—Chief Executive Officer of Shepherd’s Fold, Inc. From this position; I will be able to focus on our newly developing programs and ministries. I will also continue to lead the ministry and discipleship training at Shepherd’s Fold Ranch and develop vision for the future. Together, Ron and I will make a more equipped team to help SFR continue it’s meaningful camping ministry into the future.

I am eager to welcome Ron onto our leadership team. I am including his biography so that you can learn more about his experiences at Shepherd’s Fold as well as the things he has done in his professional career. He has a wonderful story that you’ll want to hear. Ron is tremendously excited about promoting the mission of SFR: “Providing a place in the country to do business with God.” In fact, it’s precisely because of the encounters Ron had with the Lord at SFR that he is so excited to come and be a major part of creating a place for those same experiences to happen with this next generation.

Ron and his family will be moving into the Lodge (the house my family most recently lived in) this summer! In early June, Lisa and I will be moving into a house just up Javine Road toward Skiatook (9 minutes away). I will be spending most of my time this summer at the Ranch leading Camp, The Furnace, and the Summer Leadership Team. Having Ron join our executive team is a huge blessing for Lisa and I. We are extremely excited about what the future holds for Shepherd’s Fold Ranch, our staff, our campers and all of the people that will be encountering the Lord here in the years to come!

“Further Up and Further In”,

Clay Staires
Shepherd’s Fold, Inc.

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