Bryan McDaniel: Two Decades of Investing in the Young

Date Posted: 8/13/2015

St. Stephen’s UMC is celebrating longtime UM ARMY and Big House volunteer Bryan McDaniel for his 20-year legacy in youth ministry.
He has volunteered over 800 hours in 18 Texas cities and one city in Louisiana. With the exception of one year, Bryan McDaniel, St. Stephen’s UMC, has participated in UM ARMY in some notable capacity since 1995. UM ARMY work is Monday-Friday during a summer week and includes building and/or repairing wheelchair ramps, stairs, porches, painting, lawn care, and almost any other service needed by clients.
“When we decided to design a special presentation to honor Bryan for his 20th year of service to UM ARMY,” says fellow member Chris Barcus, “we were overwhelmed by the number of people who wanted to participate in order to honor him because of the impact he's had on them and the impact they have seen him have on others. Those in attendance for that tribute this summer included church members of all ages, members of other churches who attended camps with him, and several former camp directors.”  The St. Stephen’s UMC program involved former camp participants and camp directors presenting the camp t-shirts from each year he attended as the year and city were announced.
According to Chris, Bryan’s dedication to youth is deep and wide. It includes involvement with the church youth group, including serving as Interim Co-Director during a transition a few years ago.  Adds Chris, “Bryan has also served for many years at BIG HOUSE camps, the junior high version of UM ARMY, he willingly participates in church work projects, and assists members of the community with various needs.” Chris believes Bryan strives to help youth learn so they can grow as individuals and in their walk with Christ, while also looking for ways to keep them engaged through fun activities. “His strong work ethic is evident in everything he does and he is a great asset to the school where he teaches, to the church, and to the community.”

Others believe Bryan’s most lasting UM ARMY legacies include his ability to complete intensive construction projects in a short period of time, his love of a good laugh, and his unshakable dedication.
Youth director Frank Chambers has known Bryan for 25 years. “In 1995, I invited four high school freshmen boys to join me at St Stephen’s first UM ARMY.  Three were able to go, one was Bryan.  Bryan has attended all but one of St. Stephen’s UM ARMY camps over the last 21 years.  He went four years in high school, served as a young adult helper for four years of college, and has been a small group leader, and color group leader.” Adds Frank, “I was site coordinator and I always knew Bryan would complete his project while impacting the youth and the client in a positive way.  

He is a dedicated young man.  He is a strong Christian.  He believes he can make a difference in other lives.  He is a wonderful example for the youth and adults he comes in contact with.  I am very proud that I know Bryan and have had the opportunity to watch him grow from a youth into the wonderful young man he has become.”