Scenic view of trees at camp

Recruiting Training and Orientation

by Valerie Morby

staff praying

“Welcome to Summer 2022!”

Although those words were spoken only a few weeks ago, they are, believe it or not, all too accurate. Our full-time camp teams are embarking on one of the first major steps needed to climb the mountain of preparation for next summer: recruiting and hiring more than 2,000 summer staffers!

Earlier this month, Jeff “Backfire” Lay and the recruiting team coordinated and oversaw two and a half days of “Recruiting Training and Orientation,” also known as RTO. Sixty-five Pine Cove staff members, from Georgia, South Carolina, East Texas, and Central Texas, gathered at the Woods Family Camp to learn how to evaluate applications, conduct interviews, contact references, and ultimately hire the college students who will help run our camps next summer. And of course, since this is Pine Cove, they also had some serious fun as well!

From directors who have conducted the hiring process upwards of ten times to new staffers who are learning the ropes for the very first time, Jeff and his team made sure everyone caught Pine Cove’s vision for hiring only the most qualified staff to serve at our camps. 

For Michael “Deli” Miller, Chimney Point’s new men’s director and a longtime summer staffer, it was an eye-opening opportunity to see things from the other side—particularly how detailed and extensive Pine Cove’s recruiting and hiring process truly is.

“There’s definitely a lot more that goes into it than I ever assumed!” Michael explains. “But it’s also really fun now learning how the interview process works and recruiting works. To then think that when I was getting interviewed, whoever was doing it was thinking through these certain things. And now I’m the one who gets to think through them while I’m talking to college students, which is really exciting.”


Thinking through those elements all add up to Pine Cove’s hiring philosophy: who we hire, how we train who we hire, and what we expect of who we hire. 

“People love Pine Cove because of their counselor,” Jeff says, “And that all goes back to ‘who we hire.’ There’s a lot of roles, and we need to hire enough people. But we’re not going to lower the standards. We really have to go to great lengths to find that standard of staffer. And so the ‘who we hire’ really starts now.”

Miranda “Treat Yo’ Self” Lehman, Associate Director of the Shores, is looking forward to a specific step in the hiring process: the interview. 

“Interviews are such a ministry opportunity,” she explains. “We get 30 minutes to an hour of uninterrupted time just to sit and to talk with college kids. And so the fact that we just get to dive in with them and get to know them, care for them, hear about their life, and then potentially be a part of their story is so encouraging and so beautiful. Not only because we want them on summer staff, not only because we care for them as an employee, but because they are a child of God, and they’re in the Kingdom!”


Antonio “Mamba’s Boy” Wright, one of Pine Cove City’s Central Texas site directors, knows RTO to be the event that sets the tone for the entire nine-month recruiting season, most notably as part of a community of fellow believers. This year’s training, Antonio’s third to attend, introduced an encouraging new aspect. 

“One unique thing about this RTO,” he says, “is that people have been sharing their stories of how they got to Pine Cove. And a lot of these stories I’ve never heard before, like hearing from Taylor Jervis and Coleman Ross, hearing from Tyler Wilhelm, Cassie Whiteneck, the barn manager at the Woods. It was just so awesome hearing how people got here. And so that’s been a lot of fun, seeing that not only are these my coworkers, but I’m getting to go deeper into their lives as a brother and as a sister and we’re laboring together to make this place better than it was last year, make Jesus’ name known, and impact our college students.”

Beyond the sharing and training, the staff also got to play the Name Game, perform the Birthday Rap, play pickleball and basketball, and enjoy treats from Pokey-o’s and Travelin’ Tom’s Coffee! Now that’s seriously fun.


As the camp teams head out on the recruiting trail and take the necessary steps to see our summer staff grow to more than 2,000 in 2022, we’re asking for your prayers. 

“Pray that we would be attentive to the Spirit, and that as we are interviewing and on the road, that we’re caring for people really well, that we’re able to share not only Pine Cove’s mission and heart behind why we do camp ministry and why we love Pine Cove, but that we actually get to share the Gospel!” Miranda expresses. “And just pray that we’re able to hire super humble and godly staff that are going to care for our campers all summer.”

Do you know someone who’d be a great fit for our Christ-centered, others-focused, and seriously fun summer staff? Tell them to head to our website and create an account. Even just taking that first small step will set them up to be in contact with our full-time staff!

“Our camp teams are so good about reaching out to people who have created accounts and started that process,” Jeff says. “If you’re considering it, just create an account, be praying if this is something the Lord has for you, and then our team will reach out.” 

We’re excited. We’re ready to go. And we’re chasing hard after the theme of our recruiting season: “Go With,” inspired by Matthew 28:19-20. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”


Posted Sep 15, 2021

Valerie Morby

Social Media and Copy Manager

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