Longtime Bluff’s camper and Midwest native, Audra is in the swing of her second summer as the Women’s Director at the Woods! Learn about what the Lord has taught her through Pine Cove, and be persuaded to buy your very own crab costume!
Tell us about yourself!
I grew up in Springville, Missouri and still consider it my home—I’m a Midwest gal through and through! I went to school at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater (Go Pokes!) where I got my degree in Speech Pathology. After I graduated in 2020, I went through the Forge program! My family went to the Bluffs while I was growing up so I’ve always loved Pine Cove!
What are some of your favorite things right now?
I’ve been loving playing pickleball! I had never played before the Forge (except for in middle school P.E.). There was a group of people that loved playing in the Forge so that’s when I got into it! Now there’s a park near me and my roommate’s house, so sometimes we’ll go there to play. Pickleball is huge at the Woods! We sometimes will have a parent pickleball tournament and I’ve gotten to join in on that when I can, which has been a blast. Not to brag, but I’ve made it to the championship round each time, so that’s always fun!
Other current favorites are watching “Outer Banks,” going on walks with my roommates, and “Harry Potter!” Also have been LOVING these snacks called Drizzlicious that my Director of Details found at Brookshires this summer—they’re like tiny rice cakes that are a sweet treat and SO GOOD! The birthday cake flavor is my current favorite!
What different roles have you held at Pine Cove?
I was on summer staff for five summers at the Bluffs! I got to do a lot of different jobs throughout that time which was fun. My first summer I was a Cove Kids counselor, so I got to spend time with zero to four-year-olds. This is also when I met one of my best friends to this day! The next summer I was a counselor again, and then I was a counselor and head lifeguard. Being a lifeguard was the most fun job because I loved getting to be by the pool! Then, my last two summers on summer staff I was the director of details. After a few twists and turns in my plans, I ended up doing the Forge program and then joined the full-time staff doing my current role of the Wood’s Women’s Director! It’s crazy to look back on my time at Pine Cove and see the Lord’s sovereignty through all of it.
What does your ideal off day include?
Well starting with the weather, it would be cool enough for me to wear a long-sleeved T-shirt with shorts. I would sleep in until about 9:30 am and then drink my coffee and read my Bible on the couch upstairs in the attic that my roommate Kat and I share. After that, my roommates and I would start stirring around—making breakfast, talking, laughing, and eating brunch together. Then, I just love to be outside, so I’d go play pickleball with my roommates, and then maybe window shop around some of the stores in Tyler. Then I would finish my day with a nice walk around our sweet neighborhood before we all watch a movie together. Simple and restful!
How did you get your camp name?
My full name is “Tormater with the Ta!” Which is a silly play on words that comes from Mater’s catchphrase in the movie “Cars.” I was asked what my favorite Disney movie was growing up, and because I have two little brothers, “Cars” was the first one that came to mind. Then I was asked to share an embarrassing story, so I told about my fear of storms! I was unreasonably scared of storms growing up (past the “cute” age of being scared if you know what I mean), and one time I got so scared of a really bad storm that I threw up in my kitchen.
You wear a lot of hats at camp! What is something you like to do if you start feeling overwhelmed?
When I’m at home, I make time to be outside in the sun and still. It can be really challenging to find solitude and silence with the Lord after running around all day at camp, so I try to make that a priority with my roommate’s help. Sitting outside with a book has become such a relaxing thing for me to do! I love to read, and I find myself reading even more during the summers than during the rest of the year because of my scheduled off time. Also, my friend’s parents live in Tyler and her mom has been coming to have dinner with me every Wednesday night. Her name is Ms. Coreen and she has been a huge blessing to me this summer. She brings me delicious food, and asks great questions! So that is something that I’ve been able to look forward to consistently if a hard day happens. Sometimes at camp, even just filling up my water bottle by myself or going on a short walk helps me take a deep breath and reset with the Lord!
What are some of your favorite books?
I’m almost done reading through the “Harry Potter” series, which has been awesome. Each time I finish one of the books, I make a little event out of going to Half-Priced Books to look for the next book in the series! My roommates are always excited when I finish one of the books because that means we get to watch the movie all together! I read a fun book last summer called “Lessons in Chemistry,” which has been a recent favorite because of the way the storyline comes together at the end. I also recently read and loved “Cloud Cuckoo Land” by Anthony Doerr—it took me a second to get into it, but once the storyline began to come together I had to finish it! That book might be one of my all-time favorites, it just blows my mind how the author wrote it.
What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
My go-to fun fact is that I’m in the Guinness Book of World Records for playing in the world’s largest game of Duck-Duck-Goose! When I was in eighth grade, our school district got out of school for half of a day so that we could meet up at our school’s track and make a circle around the field to play a few rounds of the game!
Over the years at Pine Cove, what meaningful memory stands out?
From being a camper to a counselor, to now being on full-time staff, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 has been a verse that rings true for how God has used Pine Cove throughout my life. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” God has used this place and these people to bring comfort and healing as I walked through extremely difficult seasons like losing my mom, but also through normal daily life things that all kids and college students experience. Now, getting to sit with staffers and walk with them through their pain and do life with them is such a full-circle blessing.
Funny memory from camp?
Oh gosh, so many funny things happen at camp! Something silly from this summer is every Monday we have Treasure Cove, which is basically a pirate night. When planning what I was going to wear I didn’t really want to be a pirate, so each week I pull out my full-body crab outfit! I end up laughing at myself every time. Also, our week 3 skit was hilarious! The characters have been choreographing these intricate dances which has been making me laugh so hard. It’s so fun to have a front-row seat to the fun creativity at camp!
What’s something that the Lord has been teaching you recently?
This whole past year I’ve been re-learning how God designed life with Him to be light and easy! There are moments to favor each day. It’s been sweet to just laugh more and enjoy life more as I seek and find more joy and contentment at a heart level. I think it’s changed the way I lead this summer and allowed me to prioritize fun with the women on summer staff. At Pine Cove we say a lot that we’re “other focused and seriously fun,” and the fun matters! I’ve gotten to see how fun creates a really cool lane to do ministry with others.
Posted Jun 20, 2023