Scenic view of trees at camp

Staff Profile: Grant “Judge Juicy” Seifried

by Pine Cove


Grant “Judge Juicy” Seifried is Pine Cove’s Senior Director of Staffing. He graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in international studies and a minor in economic studies. After graduating in 2009, he went through the Forge program, had an awkward encounter with the woman who would later become his wife (keep reading for more on that!), and worked in South Sudan before coming back to Pine Cove.

How did you get to Pine Cove?

I started off as a Ranch camper in sixth grade and then was a Young Gun, which is a program that doesn’t exist anymore. It was a discipleship program for graduated male high school seniors. Then, I worked two summers at the Shores and one summer as a Straw Boss (like being a counselor/leader for Young Guns). That was how I knew Pine Cove. As far as working full time, I guess that’s a bigger story. Craig “Dutch” Langemeier was a mentor of mine when I was working overseas. When I was transitioning back to the States, he knew I was coming home and the director of recruiting job was an opportunity to work at Pine Cove. My wife Elizabeth or “Deja” became the Women’s Director at the Forge for the next couple years. (After taking that initial recruiting position, Grant’s role has changed into being involved in any staffing decisions at Pine Cove and staying connected with former staff.)

What did you do overseas?

I worked with a group called East African Ministries in South Sudan. I first implemented a mobile medical mission program. We used mobile medicine in South Sudan to plant churches. So we’d partner with other church planting organizations. Then the second two years that I was over there, I drilled water wells and launched a new base for water well drilling to plant churches.


How did you meet your wife?

I met her when I was back in the USA for a short trip, and I had brought one of our national leaders from South Sudan with me. While he was here, I wanted him to meet some of the guys who mentored me at Pine Cove. We stayed one night at the Woods, and then we were going to spend all day connecting with people, and that’s when I met Elizabeth.

How did you get your camp name?

I was pretty mischievous as a high school kid. I got into a prank war with my pastor. There were four different stories of kinda near arrest incidents. There was this whole “law and order” theme, plus Judge Judy was a TV show they referenced. Also, my high school had been known for a huge steroid scandal. I wasn’t involved, but they were all “juicing” and so they named me “Judge Juicy.” I used to tell campers that it’s my name because I sweat so much! I really would literally go through three t-shirts in a day, so that also made sense.

What are some of your favorites?

I’m so bad at these kinds of questions. I would say, I love Skittles and Starbursts. I’m a sucker for war epic movies. I also love competing.

What is your favorite Bible verse?

Galatians 2:20 has probably been my longest life verse of the go-tos. I am a performance junky, so the idea that it’s nothing that we have done, but that it is only by the grace of God that we have a relationship with Christ is something I have to cling to.

What is your favorite thing to do at Pine Cove?

I was about to say a hangtime, but as far as activities, pickleball would be on there. Turkish Delight would be up there.  Yeah, let’s say Turkish. That would be up there.

What is your most embarrassing camp moment?

It actually involves my wife. We actually did meet the one time before I saw her at the Woods. It was at a Leadership Weekend during the summer. I actually wasn’t even working at camp that summer. To pay for the Forge, I had been working as a commercial fisherman in Alaska. So, I had just spent two months on the water, had dreadlocks, and a nasty beard. I showed up at Leadership Weekend to say hi to some friends before I moved to South Sudan. I thought she was Hannah Carter from behind, so I spun her around and was like, “Hannah!” And gave her this huge hug. She played it off really well, but it was so awkward because we were total strangers. It was not one of those meet-cute moments in a movie where then we hit it off. I felt so weird. I was like, “I just hugged this random person.” I removed myself as soon as I could and tried not to come close to her for the rest of the evening.

That’s actually how we connected when I saw her later at the Woods. It was like, “Hey, I’m the guy that randomly hugged you. I don’t have dreads anymore!”

You’re stranded on an island and you can only pick three Pine Cove staff members to organize your rescue. Who do you pick and why?

Brooks Beless. His camp name was “Hasta La Vista Baby.” He is now an Army Ranger, and he’s going to make sure every detail is executed to perfection. I’d probably say Jake Collins or “Dr. Shakel.” Because it doesn’t matter what the weather is or what the challenges are, he’d be there. I’d probably say Michael “Hy-O” Wilson too. All of these guys are just like, get it done. It doesn’t matter what the challenge is. Yeah, those would be my three guys.

What is one of the funniest that’s happened to you at camp?

Oh, man. That was so long ago. We had a whole spirit stick run with one of my senior cabins at the Shores. We were literally the “Pain Train.” It was this whole series of chants like imitating Mr. T. It pretty much involved screaming in people’s faces. We all had cardboard boxes that we made into a train. It was one of the funniest things seeing these high school kids imitating Mr. T. They got so into it. It was stuff like, “The Pain Train’s a’comin’!”

What are some of the awesome life transformation stories you’ve been a part of or seen?

The Shores is just an age where there’s so much happening in people’s lives. I remember a camper who was legally deaf. He had just gotten a Cochlear implant in that year, and this was the first time that he had ever learned how to speak. He had never really interacted with other kids his age. He had always been isolated. There was just so much going on in his heart of anxiety and fear—just really heavy stuff. That week watching the Lord work in him and in the campers as they served alongside him was amazing. That cabin of guys kept up for years. It was a really powerful connection. There was something that happened in his heart at Pine Cove. He learned how to live out his identity as a man.

How do you explain Pine Cove to people who’ve never heard of it?

The thing that I love talking about is the mission of investing in college staff. Camp directors honestly don’t see themselves as ministers to the campers as much as they do to their staff. It’s the model of “I’m going to invest in the people that I’ve got and then they’re going to invest in their campers.” It’s a model for discipleship that I think is just so effective. It’s not about teaching a bunch of information. It’s about walking beside someone as they pour out their life. That’s where God meets us and transforms us. I think because of how much it transformed me in college, it’s the piece that’s like I know you probably have a picture of what a summer camp is, but that’s not what makes Pine Cove awesome. We’ve got all the ziplines and whatever, but what God’s doing is transforming lives here.

Is there a Pine Cove person who has really affected your life?

The first ones that came to mind are Chris Legg and Kevin East. They both kind of founded that Young Gun program. There was a moment for me junior year of college when we were sitting around a fire, and they spoke some things over me and basically in that moment these two men that are a standard for me of what it means to be a man, they both viewed me as a colleague and as a man. It was this moment of “Okay, I’m a man now.”

How has being at Pine Cove changed you?

As a kid, it set a standard for me of what it looked like to be a college student and love Jesus. In our world, those two things don’t seem to mix well. It put me on a trajectory of what I wanted to be. I think probably eight of my ten groomsmen were Pine Cove guys. The people that I got to know in college and my community there were mostly through Pine Cove. Truthfully, the standard of what it is to be a godly father and a godly husband, those two things in particular, the directors that I had, are who shaped the standards I have of what I want to be as a Christian man. I didn’t come to know Jesus at Pine Cove. Short of that, it was basically my education and discipleship. It’s hard to put into words how impactful it’s been to me.


Posted May 29, 2018

Pine Cove

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