The Legacy of Canyon Summers

There is something wonderful and beautiful about summer in the Frio Canyon.

Campers leaping into Blue Hole. Families singing at Roundup. Lodge guests learning from world class theologians and teachers and musicians and artists.

I remember my first summer in the Canyon like it was yesterday.

In hindsight, I recall how my father-in-law was carefully courting me to join him in the work of the Foundation. In my life’s work, I learned so much from Howard as I served alongside him for more than two decades.

Lately, I’m asked questions by guests about our organization’s future. Camper families wonder if their grandkids will still have Family Camp or LLYC. Lodge guests reminisce and affirm our unique and generous hospitality as well as the deeply grounded theology our speakers deliver in the Great Hall. So many have experienced a glimpse of God’s goodness in the Canyon, and they want to know if the opportunity will be extended to future generations of campers and staff and Lodge guests. 

The short answer to that question is simple: Yes!

How can I say that with such confidence? Honestly, the answer is a little boring. Our board—consisting of Deborah, her two brothers, and me—spent the last two years developing robust policies and procedures for the future governance of the Foundation. We have welcomed fourth generation family members to the Board—our daughter Alexandra Crawford and Stephen Butt’s daughter Sarah Butt. Also, we included Howard Butt’s son Jeffery and our son-in-law Patrick Crawford to the investment committee, both having strong finance backgrounds.

I have confidence in our future because I have confidence in the governance we have crafted to keep the Foundation healthy, strong, and missional for the next generations. 

But don’t take my word for it. Virginia Esposito, founder and senior fellow of the National Center for Family Philanthropy, guided us through this process. After interviewing family members and examining the history of our work, she said, “[The Butt family] understands the Foundation has its own distinct mission… No one I met felt entitled to a seat on the board or had any expectation of personal privilege. That sense of service and selflessness made for one of the most inspiring set of interviews I have ever had. And I’ve counseled hundreds of philanthropic families over the years.”

The Foundation has served Texas faithfully since 1933—that’s almost 90 years—and we’re going to be here at least 90 more.

I hope you and your children and children’s children will come along for the ride.