New Life Ranch announces purchase of second camp facility
COLCORD, Okla. — New Life Ranch of Colcord, Okla., announced last week the purchase of a 230-acre camp facility on Oklahoma’s Lake Hudson.
The summer camp purchased the facility, formerly known as Dry Gulch, U.S.A., from Church on the Move of Tulsa, Okla., on Aug. 22, according to a press release. New Life Ranch will own and operate the facility under the new name: New Life Ranch — Frontier Cove.
With this transaction, New Life Ranch will double its service capacity to serve campers and retreat guests for the near future.
Due to the impeccable condition of the property, New Life Ranch — Frontier Cove will begin serving retreat groups immediately for the fall 2018 and spring 2019 seasons. Registration for both senior camp at the original Colcord location, now referred to as New Life Ranch — Flint Valley and junior camp at the newly acquired, New Life Ranch — Frontier Cove, is now open for summer 2019.
With more than 90 years of Christian camping ministry between the two organizations, the sale is an exciting exchange for both organizations, the press release states. The two organizations have an understanding that much of the original intent and mission of the original founder, Willie George Ministries, will continue under the new stewardship of New Life Ranch.
Dry Gulch, U.S.A. was founded by Willie George in 1986, as a summer camp and retreat facility, as well as an Old West movie set for The Gospel Bill Show. For more than 30 years, Dry Gulch was a cornerstone ministry for Church on the Move, based in Tulsa.
It was widely recognized for the Christmas Train attraction that was staged each December and attended by more than 50,000 guests from the broader five-state area. The heart of Dry Gulch was always outreach and ministry. In recent years, Church on the Move together with founder and pastor Willie George determined to liquidate Dry Gulch and redeploy focus and funds toward the expansion of the local church.
“We are thrilled that New Life Ranch is building on the foundation of the ministry that my dad started so many years ago,” said Whit George, lead pastor of Church on the Move. “They really have a vision to impact campers for generations to come, and we love that. It’s such a win-win for both ministries because we both get to focus on what we do best; New Life Ranch with their camp programs and Church on the Move with our local churches.”
In addition to the sale of Dry Gulch, Church on the Move is preparing to sell Christmas Train to a group in another state.
“To all of you who have served over the years to build Dry Gulch and Christmas Train, we want to say thank you, thank you so much,” said Willie George, founder of Church on the Move and Dry Gulch. “It’s amazing that both of these ministries are going to continue beyond what we have built together.”
Concurrently, New Life Ranch in Colcord has been looking to expand.
New Life Ranch, originally established in 1958 by former Tulsa Bible Church founder, the Rev. Willard Heck and partner Tom Hull, has served as a Christian camping and retreat facility to churches and youth from Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Northwest Arkansas and the surrounding fivestate area for more than 60 years.
Now, seeing more than 4,000 campers each summer and 16,000 guests throughout the balance of the year, in recent years it had reached the growth impasse of capacity. Noting that Dry Gulch was for sale, the two organizations had first entered into discussions about two years ago, but finally reached an agreement in March of this year. It is notable that in subsequent months following the contract signing, New Life Ranch has been gifted the funds required to acquire the camp and will assume ownership with no debt on the facility.
“We are overflowing with thankfulness toward Hobby Lobby, The Jasco Giving Hope Foundation, and two other families for their gifts,” said Tom Graney, executive director of New Life Ranch. “It has been an absolutely incredible journey over these past couple of years. As we have sought the Lord’s leading, he has made our path clear. It hasn’t always been easy, but he has abundantly met our needs, as we’ve tried to be faithful to follow. To have four different families meet this financial need is incredible. We are so thankful to gain some much-needed capacity, to be able to accomplish our mission of proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ and equipping believers for ministry, in the lives of more people. We are thrilled to build on the legacy of Dry Gulch being a property that has a ministry focus of making a difference in the lives of kids and adults.”