Making an Impact for Generations

Sep 4, 2020


Volunteer Daniel Darby headed up the repairs for the bridge running through part of Echo Grove Camp and Conference Center.

With Echo Grove Camp and Conference Center not hosting overnight campers due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the grounds are a bit quieter. For Dan Darby, who has volunteered at camp since 2013, this means that there is more time for projects to make camp even better. The retired hospital administrator also serves on Echo Grove’s Advisory Board with his wife. Previously, the couple served as second career missionaries in China for 12 years, and they have also supported various missionary work. The essence of volunteering is sacrificing of yourself to make the lives of others better, and Dan exemplifies this spirit. With the intent to highlight Echo Grove Camp and spur others to greater action, Dan decided to share his story.

How did you first get involved at Echo Grove?
Since we were first married, my wife and I knew we wanted to support missions. Over the years, we supported numerous missions groups and churches. We are also typical Michiganders who wanted to retire on a lake, so that’s exactly what we did! Shortly after we moved into our house on Lakeville Lake, we realized that The Salvation Army’s camp was right there. We wanted to do more in the community, so I sent them an email. They were happy to put me to work right away staining the picnic tables, and I have volunteered at camp a few days a week ever since. We have done countless repairs and projects around the camp; right now, I’m working on power washing and sanding all the outside furniture. It’s hard work, and it’s good work.

Why have you continued to volunteer for The Salvation Army?
For me, the real impetus is serving the Lord, and I can see that happening through The Salvation Army. After I work hard at camp, the reward is evident for me: I see the kids come and have a blast at camp. I especially love it when kids who have never experienced nature before come and get immersed.  I’ll take campers on hayrides, pontoon rides, and lead archery camps as well. More than anything, though, I love hearing reports from the counselors about kids who have encountered God here and put their faith in Him.

What would you say to someone thinking about volunteering for or supporting The Salvation Army?
Ask God about it and then try it. You will be appreciated, and it’s a great environment to be in. During this time of social isolation, it’s a great reason to get out of your house and engage with others. Do it for God, and keep showing up.


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