LLYC Legend and Family Historian Dan Roloff Retires

Dan Roloff has witnessed tremendous transformation in the organization since the 1980s. He worked alongside LLYC founding director Frog Sullivan. He was there when current president David Rogers spent his first summer in the Canyon. And he served Howard Butt, Jr., for more than two decades. The quintessential oral historian of the Canyon’s best tales, “Ramblin’ Dan,” as he was sometimes known around the Canyon, retired on March 28.

Dan first came to Echo Valley in 1982 for a Texas Outdoor Educators Weekend. Toward the end of that retreat, he found a quiet spot by the river and prayed. He didn’t know how a place like the H. E. Butt Foundation Camp could possibly exist. He didn’t know why God had brought him there. But he knew he wanted to be part of the work.

He applied and was turned down twice by Howard Butt, Jr., but he was finally hired full-time as Associate Director of LLYC.“God’s got a special blessing for everyone at this camp,” he would tell campers then, “and if you listen, you’ll find it.”

Campers and counselors from the ’80s and ’90s were direct beneficiaries of Dan’s friendship, mentorship, and innovative thinking. Erik Silvius, director of HEBFF Outdoor, explained, “Everything we think we started here at HEBFF Outdoor—mountain biking, high ropes, kayaking—Dan did it here before we did.”

Glenn Echols, head of Property Planning & Stewardship, said, “Dan was instrumental in establishing the hiking trail system in the Frio Canyon. I doubt if there is any ridge, creek, or meadow in the Frio Canyon that he hasn’t been to.”

 

 

By the early 1990s, he was trusted to prototype a new Family Camp concept for the Foundation with Chandler Pruitt. Today, Laity Lodge Family Camp owes a tremendous debt to the vision and tenacity of Dan.

Chandler, now the Senior Director of LLYC, said, “Dan started the Singing Hills’ backside campout in 1982. We slept on tarps with no cover and it rained. He was never afraid to try something. And when we failed, he’d smile and say, ‘We better not do that again.’ He gave me space and the opportunity to create and fail. He was my biggest cheerleader and so much of a friend.”

Dan later worked directly with Howard Butt, Jr., on publications that shared the organization’s mission with an even wider audience. Books like Renewing America’s Soul and Who Can You Trust?, as well as The High Calling, a radio and web ministry conceived in the late 1990s, went on to influence millions of Christians to honor God through their daily work.

“No one has had the breadth of influence on vision across the programs that Dan has.”

David Rogers

 

Keith Mirrer, Director of Communications during The High Calling era, said, “Dan’s humbleness is only exceeded by his huge and generous heart and his love for this organization and the Butt family in particular. He was the go-to guy when it came to anything we were working on with Howard Butt. Whether it was his books, his radio spots, or his commentary in Connections newsletter, we all turned to Dan for guidance and direction.”

In one of those Connections articles from 2004, Howard Butt, Jr., wrote, “Dan Roloff told me how he counseled his young daughter, Lindsay, about her nervousness before her first middle school volleyball tryouts … Dan told her … that the Lord would be with her in the whole experience, whatever the results. She should pay attention to what happened and how it happened, in order to understand what God might be saying to her. Dan’s counsel rightly valued the natural order.”

During his most recent years in the Foundation, Dan transformed the Foundation Archives from a functional storehouse to an organized preservation of its mission through the years. His final hire was a full-time archivist, Hannah Hawes, to whom he has passed this work. Already she is creating new processes for acquisitions and access in a way that preserves the materials and shares its knowledge and history.

“When we know where we came from,” Dan said, “we can make wiser decisions about where we should go next.”

Facebook Facebook