Our History

At Sherwood Forest, we believe education and opportunity are rights fundamental to all children. This vision guides our mission: transforming the lives of children in need through powerful programs that allow them to discover their self-worth, realize their potential, and become productive citizens. We help kids discover the best in themselves so they can grow up to do good in the world.

And while this vision may seem ambitious, our beginnings are quite humble. In 1937, with a volunteer staff and only $2,000 for food and cooks, Sherwood Forest provided a camp experience for 600 underprivileged boys and girls, aged 12-16, who were referred by social service agencies in St. Louis city and county. Operating on a rented site at Cuivre River State Park in Troy, Missouri, Sherwood Forest gave these children an opportunity to participate in a variety of activities, ranging from archery to swimming, acting to hiking, canoeing to pottery. For 41 years, Cuivre River was the home of Sherwood Forest, and a place of learning, friendships, and countless memories.

In 1978, Sherwood Forest’s Board of Directors authorized the purchase of 478 acres of Ozark forest land formerly known as the Wiggins Ozark Camp, located just outside of Lesterville, Missouri. Facilities currently include three villages of cabins, a dining hall, activity lodge, health center, swimming pool, high ropes course, teams challenge course, archery range, campfire circles, outdoor performing arts stage, barn which houses programs in the creative arts and outdoor living skills, and lots of room for exploring nature. This is the present location of Sherwood Forest, and the place that today’s campers often call their “second home.”