2009 Alumnus of the Year
We are pleased to announce Daniel Bell ('87) as 2009 Alumnus of the Year.
Daniel Bell (‘87)
Indian Hills Christian Camp
San Diego Christian College
is please to Honor Dan Bell’s
Dedication to Sharing the Word of God,
Serving Youth, and Supporting the Growth of
The Word of God and People
Dan Bell attributes his direction in life to his youth pastor who said, “There are only two things to take with you to Heaven, the Word of God and people.” Years later, this phrase still encourages Dan who has been serving youth for over 21 years at Indian Hills Christian Camp in Jamul, California.
Dan’s involvement with youth began while he was a high school student. He found his first opportunity to serve at a day camp program offered by Scott Memorial Baptist Church (now Shadow Mountain Community Church). This opportunity, along with participation in a summer evangelism program, sparked Dan’s heart for ministry. These programs and other opportunities had a “good impact in my life,” Dan states.
During the summer of 1982, Dan worked at Indian Hills Christian Camp (IHC) as a counselor. After his first summer, Dan decided to follow in the footsteps of his brother who attended Christian Heritage College. Throughout college, Dan stayed connected with IHC, returning four summers to serve as a counselor.
Dan and his wife Candace, a 1988 CHC graduate, think often about their days at Christian Heritage. “There are a lot of years of good memories,” they state. Candace laughingly remembered attending new student orientation as an incoming freshman. She said she had, “come all the way from Brazil to seriously study the Bible at a Christian college.” During the orientation chapel, however, she was particularly offended by a charismatic guitar player performing onstage. She had no idea that she would later marry that outgoing individual.
As a college Junior, Dan was asked to declare his major. “What am I going to do,” he thought. Reflecting again on the words of his youth pastor, he chose a major that would prepare him to serve people and share the Word of God—Social Science/Secondary Education. Dan remembers fondly the many hours of training under Dr. Jimmy Phelps who was the chair of the department at that time.
Toward the end of his college days and while student teaching, Dan wrote a proposal to IHC Director Don Barber stating, “God is calling me to work at the camp.” Don informed Dan that he would love to have him on staff but that he could not pay him. Dan accepted the job anyway. Dan states, “Not getting paid didn’t matter because I knew I was right where I was supposed to be.”
After graduation, Dan moved into a tiny trailer on the camp property in Jamul. Dan remembers having to walk to the camp bathrooms to shower. Supported with by a monthly stipend of $125.00 from his church, Dan began his career in Christian camping.
Dan was joined by Candace the next year after celebrating a March wedding. Dan helped with operations and programming while Candace assisted with office responsibilities.
Dan and Candace continue to pour their lives into young people. “Seeing the impact that a Christian camp can have in the lives of youth is awesome,” says Dan. I love what I do, and it’s great to see God work. This is VBS on steroids!”
According to Dan, “each day and every activity is an opportunity to communicate Christ’s teaching.” Dan especially loves working with the college aged counselors—“shaping and molding them to take Christ-centered leadership to other places.”
A few years ago IHC started a missions program called Global Reach. Through the program, Dan helps plan, organize and oversee mission groups that train youth leaders in other countries to organize Christian camping experiences. IHC teams guide locals through the process of organization, team development and promotion and stay for a period of time to help operate the camp. IHC staff members have served in 10 countries with Dan personally travelling to projects in India, Poland, Nicaragua, and Mexico.
IHC also offers foreign church leaders who are passionate about Christian camping the opportunity to come to Jamul to train. Bringing them to the camp provides a growth experience, not only for the foreign leaders, but for IHC staff as well. Dan states enthusiastically, “this program is an excellent way to leave a lasting impression on children in other countries, often encouraging church planting. It is wonderful to see what God is doing with the efforts.”
Traveling occasionally with Dan and the IHC team plus working with internationals at the camp has allowed Candace to help with IHC training and program activities. Her perspective as a MK has provided a unique point of view thereby enabling IHC staff to better understand the foreign nationals and their cultures.
Together, Dan and Candace are fulfilling their passion of sharing the Word of God and sculpting the lives of youth and youth leaders. Dan and Candace continue to live on camp property in a modest home surrounded by friends and their four children, Jonathan, Bethany, Samuel and Sarah.
It is interesting to note:
* Lewis Barclay Bell, Dan’s father, served as a Trustee for SDCC for many years.
* Rebecca Barber, wife of former IHC Director Dan Barber, was the daughter of SDCC co-founder Henry Morris
IHC was founded for the purpose of introducing boys and girls to Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord and to disciple them in such a manner that He is manifested in all areas of their lives: spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically. IHC also accepts the mission of training, discipling, and developing evangelistic vision in high school and college students in youth ministry to develop them for further service in the local church or the mission field. Indian Hills Christian Camp’s motto is: Reaching and Teaching Children for Jesus Christ through a Traditional Camp Experience. www.indianhillscamp.com