by Jenny Sowers Posted Sep 29, 2020
Connor Gulledge just completed his first year on full-time staff at Pine Cove and gratefully recalls when the Lord made it clear to him that camp is where he would land for his first full-time job. Our conversation turned from serious to silly really quickly, and his most embarrassing camp moment will make your jaw drop! We hope you enjoy learning about one of Pine Cove’s newest site directors.
What is your current position and how long have you worked at Pine Cove?
I am the Camp in the City Site Director for Team Jungle. I served four summers on summer staff, and I joined the full-time staff last year.
How did you end up working in your current position?
I was a middle school youth pastor this time last year at the Bridge Community Church in Ruston, Louisiana, which is a Camp in the City church partner. I was just thinking through where the Lord would want me and I considered a lot of different options and had a pretty wide net cast. Then week 11 of camp, I felt like I was chasing things other than what the Lord had for me. And when I reflected, I saw that I was running after the wrong things, and realized that camp is where I have grown and want to be.
Every time I would say that I was going to do something else, I just had this cringe in me that that was wrong, but I kept saying it anyway. Then I had a lot of friends tell me “you just come alive at Pine Cove.”
And the rest is history!
What is your favorite part about working at Pine Cove?
It’s hard to pinpoint just one, but I think it comes down to one central thing. Every place that you go at PC, it is so clear that it is Christ-centered. I watch the leaders and how they model Christ and they shepherd their employees so well. I don’t know that I’ve ever walked into a part of Pine Cove without being overwhelmed by that.
What is your camp name and how did you get it?
Mount Brolympus. It’s kind of an interesting story. When I started working at Pine Cove, I just thought it was for the “bro-est of bros.” I noticed everyone said “bro” a lot, so, I just kept calling everyone “bro.” And since I once had a skiing accident, the crowd said that someone nearby would have reacted by saying, “Bro! You gotta go to the hospital.” I also love the movie Hercules and I watch it every year on my birthday. At the end of the movie, Hercules goes to Mount Olympus.
What is one story from your time in Pine Cove’s ministry that vividly sticks out in your memory?
Seeing guys leave camp as a totally different person. Specifically, watching one guy come into camp with his walls up, and really testing boundaries, and then him leaving as the most teachable guy I’ve ever met. He left as someone just so eager to grow.
Most epic skit character you’ve ever played.
Oh man. That is tough. I love skits! The most memorable is probably Prince S. He was “the ideal camp counselor.” He said “bro” all the time and was very clueless and was on a mission to win the daughter of the king. The only way to do it was to complete all these insane challenges that the king offered. He wasn’t very smart, but he always stumbled through the challenges.
What is your most embarrassing camp moment?
There was a skit where the characters would have audience members do things and they would voice over for those audience members and basically tell them what to do. I got called onto stage and the character narrated for me to “swing a right hook” at the other guy and they were going to tell me to pause just before I swung. But before they could say “pause,” I went for it. And I totally clocked him. We are talking bloody lip, everything. There was a collective gasp and then silence for a full five seconds.
Afterwards they said, “You weren’t supposed to actually punch him!” Hey, you guys told me to do it, so I did it.
That is true dedication right there.
What is your favorite camp cheer?
The Gospel Cheer is my favorite. First, it’s cool because it’s the Gospel, and second, there are few cuter things ever than seeing a first grade girl and boy stumbling through the words of the Gospel cheer.
What are some of your favorite things right now?
I like to try a lot of new things, so if you asked me this again next week, you may get a different answer. Disc golf. Audiobooks. The Marco Polo app.
How has working at camp changed you?
Camp opened me up to an understanding of who God is and how He teaches us that in community, and how He has created me to enjoy both of those things. Camp was my first experience of guys just doing life with me and really coming in with a surgeon’s scalpel on my life. Those dudes from my very first summer are still some of my best friends. That whole group and I still invest in each other and stick together. Learning all the tools God has given us and then how to use them.