Scenic view of trees at camp

Staff Profile: Annelise “Smilin’ Into Your DM’s” Morrison

by Karissa Pitaniello


This staff profile is sure to make you smile! (Get it?) Enjoy learning about the new Silverado Director while laughing along to stories and reflecting on the beautiful simplicity of the Gospel.

Tell us about yourself!
I grew up in Birmingham, Alabama and went to the University of Alabama! I studied Elementary Education there and then two days after I graduated, I headed to Texas to begin working at Silverado full time! I have three siblings in total: two sisters and a brother. My younger sister is actually having a baby this upcoming May! Each of us lives all over, so we’re really grateful whenever we get to be back in Alabama together. I’m living in College Station now and it’s been a blast getting to be in a college town! I love getting to live near staff.


Do you get to go home to Alabama often?
Pretty often, yeah! I try to go home every holiday, and we always take recruiting trips there to visit our Alabama staffers. Also, pretty much every spring my family has a big event happen like a wedding or a baby being born, so I head home then too! It’s always refreshing and fun to be there.


You mentioned that you studied Elementary Education. Were you planning on being a teacher?
Yes! But I actually started my time at Alabama studying nursing. It took me one semester to realize that I don’t like anything medical. It was after working with elementary students my first summer that I realized I loved young kids and really wanted to be a teacher! After a few summers, the Lord kept putting camp ministry on my radar. So I never became an actual teacher, but I still get to use a lot of what I learned in my current role! 

How did your time at Pine Cove begin, and what different roles have you held?
I had never heard of Pine Cove before my first summer! One day during lunch at Alabama, a girl that was in my sorority mentioned Pine Cove in passing and told me that I should think about applying. The next day I had a free hour so I went to the Pine Cove booth that was set up on campus and decided to interview! When I filled out my application I thought Silverado was a cool name, so I put that as my top choice. I almost didn’t accept my offer but then after talking to my parents I decided to go for it. After my first summer, I absolutely fell in love with camp ministry. I was a summer staffer for three summers, then a Women’s Director for two years, then an Associate Director for a year, and I just became Director of Silverado!

What is it that keeps you going back to youth camp?
Two main things come to mind. First, campers get to come to camp and get away from daily distractions. They get to just be kids together! They’re disconnected from stressors, schoolwork, iPads, and social media. They get to just go off the blob and have dance parties with their friends, all while learning about Jesus in a safe place. They walk away with such simple, profound truths.

And second, I am so grateful to play a part in the college ministry that happens. College students are pushed out of their comfort zones and into dependence on the Lord. By the end of summer, we’re all one big family. When I reflect on my summers, those are two things that really encourage me to keep going back and giving it my all.

How did you get your camp name?
So my camp name is “Smilin’ Into Your DM’s.” I usually just go by “Smilin!’” There are two parts to my name game story and they’re both equally embarrassing. Unfortunately, I was born with a missing tooth! And back in college, I could easily take my fake tooth in and out of my mouth. When I was on stage for my name game, someone brought up my tooth. Suddenly the entire staff was chanting, “Take it out!” So of course I had to! Also, when I get nervous I laugh a lot, so I was basically laughing throughout my entire name game. The “DM’s” part of my name comes from a situation where before camp one of my friends took my phone and DM’d a majority of people on staff that I had never met! So that made for some hilarious conversations once I made it to camp. Put all of that together and you get “Smilin’ Into Your DM’s!” 

What has been your favorite part so far as a camp director?
So far the best part has been calling each of our summer staffers to check in! They’ve been getting super excited for this summer and very supportive throughout our transitions with full-time staff. It’s made me so pumped to get everyone back on the camp property to do ministry together. I’ve also loved getting to learn from other directors as I step into my new role and soak up their wisdom!

What meaningful camp memory comes to mind first?
A lot of conversations with staffers over the past few summers have been a huge blessing. But the main memory that sticks out happened my first summer during my first week! One of my campers was having a hard week and on that Thursday we got to really talk about what was going on. She was struggling with insecurities and I got to share the Gospel with her and basically talk to her about how God is better than what other people think of us. She ended up accepting Jesus into her heart that night! She closed her eyes and prayed, “Okay Jesus, you can come into my heart now.” It was the most beautiful, simple prayer I’ve heard. Someone on the media team ended up taking a photo of us while we were talking and now I look at the photo on my desk every day. It consistently reminds me of why I do what I do, and the impact of the truth of the Gospel in people’s lives.

That is so encouraging! What advice would you give to your past self or a new counselor who’s about to experience their first summer on staff?
Soak it up! You’re going to be overwhelmed your first couple of nights. You’re going to think, “What’s going on here?” But jump in! Get to know people, have fun, let your guard down, and be real about what’s going on in your life. The days are long at camp but the weeks really do fly by. So take advantage of every moment and every conversation. 

Do you have an embarrassing camp story?
Too many to count! Especially my name game story and any skit I’ve been in! There also was an incident where I accidentally fell off the water zipline tower too early and completely belly-flopped. It knocked the wind out of me and the entire program staff was watching! I don’t think I’ll ever be able to try the zipline again! 


What are some of your favorite things right now?
Well, my favorite food is always pineapple. I just love it! In the summer I’ve always got it in my fridge. I’ve been loving playing pickleball with friends, especially since it’s been warming up a bit outside. I always love taking trips to see friends. And I love new music! I’m not great at finding it, but my friends always send me what they’re listening to. And my final favorite thing right now is Wilder Woods! He’s an artist who has a new album coming out soon, so I’ve been counting down the days until that happens. 

What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
There are so many random things I could say! One thing about me is that I still have to use my maps every time I drive in College Station, even though I’ve lived here for two years. I think I could technically get where I need to go without using my map, but having my maps on guarantees that I won’t miss a turn and I’ll know what time I’m going to arrive, which is important! 

What’s something that the Lord has been teaching you recently?
Over and over again He’s been teaching me that He’s with us. It just keeps coming up in Scripture, conversations I’ll have, or sermons I’ll listen to. He is with us in every situation—whether there’s a hard conversation we don’t want to have, something we’re grieving, a transition, or even a fun trip coming up. He is with us and present each day. When life is hectic, He is who we cling to.

What are you most excited for this summer?
What keeps getting me pumped for summer is thinking of our summer staff being reunited during our training weeks. I’m ready for them to be here and to just do life and ministry alongside them. I’m also excited in general to get people back on property! Whether it’s staffers, parents, or counselors, I’m excited to get summer started and see what the Lord has in store! 

Posted Feb 13, 2023

Karissa Pitaniello

Content Coordinator

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