The Big Springs

A Brief History

Ranch Map

Bee Creek RV Park

Wilderness Camping

Back Country

Sculpture Park

Visitor's Guide

Big Springs Ranch for Children in Leakey is a sister campus to Hill Country Youth Ranch in Ingram. Both campuses are governed by a Board of Directors and are dedicated to providing long-term therapeutic care and substitute parenting for abused and abandoned children from all over Texas. Ranch life at Big Springs will reflect the world we want our children to grow up in. The children will live in reconstructed families in residences designed to house 6 to 8 children and houseparents. They will receive an education anchored in Judeo-Christian values, and be nurtured by a Christian community of caregivers.

The Big Springs Ranch for Children began with the generous vision and gift of Miss Oma Bell Perry.

In 1996, Miss. Perry donated her 7,000 acre, Big Springs Ranch to the Hill Country Youth Ranch to become an intergenerational children's home.

Oma Bell Perry came as a young woman to settle the Big Springs Ranch on the Frio with her family in 1932. Along with her mother, her brother, and two sisters, she has worked and cared for the land ever since. Now, as the last living of this remarkable family, Oma Bell's vision is that the Ranch will be developed to serve those who can most benefit from its naturally healing expanses, primarily homeless and abused children.

Country of 1,100 Springs

Many Texans know of the Ranch through its nickname "country of 1,100 springs", made famous in the 1970s by a TV advertising campaign featuring the falls and river. To be sure, there are few places on earth that can match its breathtaking beauty. The Ranch's new purpose will be unique, not only because of the size of the land, but also because of the size of the vision, which will include:

  • A children's village.
  • Homes for retired persons will nestle in the landscape as part of a program to bring the generations together.
  • Also, parts of the 7,000 acre ranch will serve as a wilderness adventure park for underprivileged children from throughout the nation.
  • A Sculpture Park for people from all over the world to visit.
  • Finally, the working ranch will be kept in tact as a source of education, recreation, and revenue.

Miss Perry is fond of saying, "Mama always said to keep the land just as the Indians left it". And that is exactly what is being done. The first children's residence, the Davenport Homestead, was completed in May, 1999, on a flat beside a spring-fed draw and on the very site of the first European settlers who came to the valley around 1900. Now, young pioneers of the 21st Century call the spot home.  The first "grandparents" cottage has been constructed right next door, and became available for occupancy in January, 2000. Great care is being taken to keep the setting as undisturbed as possible as its naturally healing powers are made available to its new residents.

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