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The Story Chapter 1: The Ambassador

Joe Yahner is one of SpringHill’s key leaders.  Through his job as our Michigan Facilities Manager he daily makes a significant impact on our campers, staff and guests.  But there was a day five years ago when he made an impact in a way that he, nor any of us, could have ever envisioned.

Joe sitting on his chosen method of transportation for getting around camp.

On that day Joe stepped out of his normal role and became a SpringHill ambassador, something all of our staff do on a regular basis.  Little did Joe know that he would be initiating a story that would become, for many of us, one of the most remarkable SpringHill stories we have had a privilege to be a part of.

Joe was doing some “side” work installing new appliances for a local company (he was doing extra work so he could save for a new house for his family) when he was sent to a house in Big Rapids that had just been bought by a recent college graduate from Iowa.

As Joe  was doing his work he began talking with both the home owner and his parents, Arvin and Darlene Van Hall, who had come from Pella, Iowa to help their son move in.  During the conversation Joe shared that he had a “day job” working for SpringHill Camps.

Arvin and Darlene then shared that they too were involved with a camp in Iowa, called Lakeview, that focused on serving kids who had a parent in prison.

Joe then explained that SpringHill’s vision is to reach more and more kids beyond our current markets as well as helping other ministries fulfill their own visions by sharing our experiences and know how with them. Joe gave Arvin my name and number and encouraged him to contact me to see how we might help Lakeview in its next stages of development.

Arvin and Darlene made a trip to SpringHill, spent time with our staff and talked about how to reach more kids in Iowa and here in Michigan.  This visit, the result of Joe being a SpringHill ambassador, was the beginning of blessed relationship and the next chapter of this incredible story.

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