Scenic view of trees at camp

Staff Profile: Rebecca “Deemer” Smith

by Pine Cove


Rebecca “Redeemer Retriever” Smith went to Auburn University and graduated in 2011 with a degree in psychology and a minor in human development and family studies. She currently works as a regional director for Pine Cove’s Camp in the City (now called Pine Cove City), and loves investing in her staff and campers. As her camp name implies, her “animal personality” is a Retriever.

What did you want to be when you were younger?

It kind of seems like everybody says, “This is what I wanted to be.” I feel like I bounced around for a really long time. I thought about being a nurse, and then I realized that I am really bad at math and science. Once I got to college I thought about doing a lot of things. I was really interested in adoption/foster care ministry. Then I worked at camp and fell in love summer after summer, and just realized, “Man this is what I love,”  and I became passionate about camp ministry.

How did you end up at camp?

It’s actually kind of funny, and that is how I know that it is of the Lord.  Back then there were only six staffers from Auburn at Pine Cove, which is crazy because there are over 100 now.  There was a guy in my dorm that I was friends with, and he worked at the Towers after our freshman year at college. We were just talking about summer and he was very low-key about Pine Cove.  He was like, “I worked at Pine Cove. I loved it. You should do it.” And I knew it was of the Lord looking back on it. Because I had never been to the state of Texas, and I didn’t consider myself a camp person. It wasn’t like a life-long dream to be a camp counselor by any means. I am not really sure why I applied. But I got out of class early one day, and they were on the concourse. I went over to talk to them, and they were like, “You should interview right now!” I didn’t feel like I could get out of it. I remember in the interview asking as many questions about Pine Cove as they were probably asking me, too. I had no idea what it was. But, yeah I got a job. I worked at Outback for three summers.


How did you get your camp name?

My full name is “Redeemer Retriever” because I was on a date with this guy in high school, and we went out for lunch one day. When I was away from the table or at the bathroom, he wrote on the window of my car, “Will you go to homecoming with me?” I guess I was just dumb, I don’t know, but I didn’t see it even though it was in massive letters. And it was on the windshield. He put roses on the windshield wipers, and I just didn’t see it. Maybe I was just so enamored by him.  So I got in the car, and I was like, “Okay bye! Thanks for lunch! This was great! See you later!” And then he was still standing there. And I drove out. And by the time I got to the highway or main road, I looked in the rearview mirror and saw it. And I was like, “Oh my gosh! Didn’t notice that.” So I drove back and he was still standing in the parking lot and he was like, “I thought you were rejecting me.” It was just really awkward. And I was like, “No, I am so sorry. I’m stupid.” So, I said I would go with him. I “redeemed” him by coming back. And then my favorite book was “Redeeming Love.” I was also a 40 Retriever when I took the Lion/Otter/Beaver/Retriever test. And we have always had Golden Retrievers growing up, and I really love my dogs. It’s a weird name. It doesn’t really make sense, but I go by “Deemer.”

What are some of your favorites?

I love coffee like most people do. I love books. I am a really big reader, that’s the way that I recharge. I love breakfast food. Like, if I could eat breakfast food for the rest of my life, I would be totally content. Get rid of every other food. I will just take waffles and omelets and bacon forever. I love living in a small town like Columbus. And I probably wouldn’t have said that for the entirety of my life, but I have really grown to love living in a small town. I live across from a cow pasture which is hilarious. I love going for walks with people and cooking.  

What’s your favorite part of your job?

Camp in the City beautifully mixes all of the different parts of ministry that we do. Obviously you have elementary ministry, which is awesome. Then you just really get to do family ministry as well because our staff are staying in host homes and that’s a way to give back in a really cool way. And then also, you’re doing college ministry on a very real level because your team dynamics are so… it’s just so different because you have such a small team. When you’re traveling with a team of 35 college students, you just get to know each other. The college ministry side is really, really cool, and so I am just glad that we get to do that. But then you also get to do church ministry, which is different than any other camp gets to do. You combine all of those things together, and you get so many different aspects of ministry. I love that about my job. It’s different. It changes so often. It keeps you on your toes.

What’s your favorite camp cheer?

We do this cheer at Camp in the City, and I think they tried to make it a thing at on-site camp, but I don’t know if they do it. But we have the Gospel Cheer. And it’s really, really catchy and it’s so good! I woke up the other day and was singing it, out of nowhere! It’s just catchy. But it’s so fun, and it’s really neat to hear our campers in the hallways of churches literally proclaiming the gospel even if they don’t realize it because they are just doing a fun cheer.


What is your favorite Bible verse?

Oh, gosh. It kind of depends on the day. One of my favorites that I go back to a lot is James 3:17 where it talks about how the wisdom that comes from the Lord is first of all pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. I feel like I go back to that, and I tell people all the time when it comes to wisdom and when you’re in camp ministry and when you’re doing this job so often when I’m asking the Lord for wisdom. Just being reminded of the fact that wisdom that comes from the Lord is rooted in these things.

Let’s say that you’re stranded on an island, and you can only pick three Pine Cove staff members to come to your rescue.  Who would it be and why?

Oh my gosh.  Okay. Um….three Pine Cove staffers that could organize my rescue. If I pick four, I am going to say all of my site directors because they are the most capable leaders ever. I would just absolutely trust them. The more I think about it, it’s like, yeah, that’s a serious answer. Dexter, Will, Garret, and EJ. I would want them to organize my rescue. They would be very, very competent.  

What are some spiritual truths that have been revealed to you lately?

I have been in Colossians a lot this summer which has been really good. Colossians 1:11 says, “May you be strengthened with all power according to His glorious might for all endurance and patience with joy giving thanks to the Father Who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.” This verse is jam-packed. There is so much goodness, but just talking about, “May you be strengthened with all power according to His glorious might.” The fact that I can’t do anything according to my might, and everything I do is going to come up as filthy rags. It says just a little bit later that He is the one that has qualified us. Pine Cove can’t be the one that qualifies me. Camp in the City can’t qualify me. Nothing outside of the Lord can qualify me. But then it also says in that verse “giving thanks to the Father,” and how are we giving thanks to the Lord? He calls us to give thanks to Him no matter the situation.

Are there any awesome life transformation stories that you have witnessed or been a part of through camp?

At family camp I’ve seen time and time again families come into camp broken and then walking away from camp as the Lord has done a work and really restored them. And then at Camp in the City. One of the reasons that we do Camp in the City is to plug families back into the church. So I had a church contact tell me yesterday, “There is a family last year, and they didn’t have a church home. They came, and they have started coming church because of Camp in the City. It’s like, yes, you hear stories of salvation at Camp in the City. Kids’ lives are being pointed back to the gospel, but also things on the fringes that you don’t think about—the parents and the host homes and even the churches that we help reinvigorate with Camp in the City, which is really cool.

How has being at Pine Cove changed you?

I could talk to you all day about that. When I came into Pine Cove, I was going into my junior year of college, and I really didn’t know how much I needed to be matured and challenged. Camp is like a greenhouse effect where you strip away all these distractions and you put people in an environment where they are ready for growth. I have learned a ton when it comes to working at camp and really just see how the Lord really used Pine Cove in such a neat way. And it’s not Pine Cove. It’s really the Lord working through Pine Cove, and the same God that’s here is the God who is everywhere!

What staffer or director of Pine Cove person in general has made the biggest impact on you?

Easy, easy answer. It’s Jared Schuler one hundred percent. Jared has been my boss for a long time. He was the Crier Creek director when I was full time. Jared and his wife really are the most influential people in my life hands down. They have really invested in me and loved me really well. I am abundantly grateful for his investment and Heather’s investment in my life.

Posted Jul 18, 2018

Pine Cove

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