Known for his contagious joy and state of the art pranks, you’ll love getting to know Justin “I’m Kinda A Pig Deal” Halferty! Read about what it looks like for the Pine Cove team to be Christ-centered and seriously fun even behind the scenes, and be encouraged as Justin shares how he’s learning to fully entrust his children to The Lord.
Tell us about yourself!
I was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona and moved to Texas when I was in high school with my family. I went to Dallas Baptist University (I love the Patriots, they’re the best!) and graduated in 2011 with a Marketing degree before getting my MBA in project management. DBU is where I met my wife Delaine! She worked on summer staff at Crier Creek in 2010 and 2011. I, on the other hand, was never on summer staff at Pine Cove. Delaine introduced me to Pine Cove along with two of our other friends Monty Spurgeon and Daniel Lindsey. After I graduated college, I actually was a branch manager for a few years at Enterprise. I wasn’t really passionate about it and, after a few difficult situations, I decided to quit. After resigning, Delaine was the one to encourage me to work at camp. She knew I loved camp ministry because at DBU I was on the Rec Team for three summers, which included traveling to different camps to put on games, add hype, and share the Gospel. Soon enough, I was having a long interview (like 9 am to 3 pm long) with Jeff Lay who, at the time, oversaw the Retreats Department. We got to spend the day together and really get to know each other. Then, he offered me a job! The crazy thing about that is Jeff actually had also worked at the same Enterprise branch that I was at, just 19 years apart!
What is your family like?
I have been married to my best friend and the funniest person I know, Delaine, for the past seven years. We have two awesome kids: Evelyn, who’s five years old, and Dean, who’s two years old. Evelyn is a ball of outgoing, creative fun! She loves making arts and crafts for new friends and has such a sweet spirit. Dean is my teddy bear. He is sweet, cuddly, and sentimental! My parents also just moved to Tyler, which has been such a refreshing blessing. We definitely want to go to family camp soon!
What are some of your favorite things right now?
If you ask the Reggies (aka our registrars), they’re going to tell you that I love Dutch Bros energy drinks. I’m very into that right now. My go-to flavor is Dragon Slayer… Who wouldn’t love rolling up to a drive-through window and saying, “Yeah, I’ll take the Dragon Slayer.” Also, July is my birthday month (specifically July 4th), so I have been loving fireworks! It’s always fun that every American joins me in celebrating my birthday. Another favorite thing Delaine and I have been loving is having dinner parties with our friends! We also have a current family tradition of Friday night movies where homemade nachos are always included!
I hear you like to prank people, any recent prank standouts?
Well, yesterday I was working and could hear something chirping every five or so minutes. After doing some investigating, I found a little motion-censored card that would chirp every time something near it moved. So I picked it up and headed toward some of my friends on the Strategic Communication team. They were all working and laughing at their desks as I nonchalantly put it under a table near them. No one saw me do it and for the next 30 minutes I heard, “What is that?” or “I think it’s over here… no wait maybe it’s behind me!”
What different roles have you held at Pine Cove?
I started in 2015 as a Retreats Specialist and then I became a Retreats Manager that fall. After a couple of years, I became the Retreats Director. After that I oversaw the Retreats Ministry Department which included the Retreats Department and the Institute of Wilderness Studies program. After a year, I got asked to come to the Pine Cove HQ to become the Director of Registration and Camp Advising. Then just recently, I began my current position as Director of Camper Support. I oversee our registration processes and our registration team, but I also do camper acquisition and help see when there’s an opportunity for growth across Pine Cove.
What’s your favorite part about leading the registration team?
Gosh, the staff we have in Registration is just incredible. We have a lot of people who dearly love Jesus and love serving others. It is so cool to see them navigate difficult conversations and ease parents’ fears. They want campers to come to camp and they want to see lives transformed. I love that each of them is passionate and excited about that! They are some people’s first impression of Pine Cove, and it’s so fun to see them take on that role with such love.
What does your ideal day off include?
Ideally, my kids sleep in past 7:30 am! I’d love to just wake up with my family, have some breakfast, and get ready to go to the pool. We’d have a nice pool day and eat a packed lunch, then bring the kids home for a nap. After some rest, we’d take a trip to Dutch Bros! Then, I would love to just chill and spend time with my wife. We have lots of house projects going on, so we’d potentially work around the house. Then for dinner we’d grill out!
How did you get your camp name?
My camp name is “I’m Kinda a Pig Deal”! It stems from the fact that in fourth grade I showed animals at the county fair. But I didn’t show pigs… I actually showed guinea pigs! I won best in show, which, in Craig Langemeier’s opinion, makes me a Pig Deal! Another name that almost sold was “Win-A-Prize We’ll Pig You Up” which tied in the guinea pig layer and the fact that I worked at Enterprise.
What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
I love puzzles and games—I’m a big board game person. I recently discovered that I especially love tangram puzzles. My friend Valerie “Ouch Potato” Morby posts daily puzzles at HQ for everyone to try to solve. Through those puzzles I found my love of tangrams!
I’ve heard you use the hashtag “sloth tales” on social media. Can you explain that?
In college, I was part of a ministry where we would go to different churches and be Disciple Now leaders. The churches would reach out to DBU if they needed help, and we’d go out every few weekends to lead with other volunteers! One of the churches I went to introduced each of the small group leaders by bringing them up on stage and putting a picture of their look-alike on the screen behind them. Each leader was matched with people like Jennifer Aniston, but when I went up there, I was matched with Sid the sloth from the movie “Ice Age!” The sixth grade boys I was leading that weekend loved it. The sloth stuck with me and that’s how #SlothTales was established!
Over the years at Pine Cove, what meaningful memory stands out?
There have been so many times when I’m working with somebody and no matter what we’re working on, the sole focus of the conversation becomes the Gospel. I was a part of the team that consulted with a software company to create the now-current registration software called iCamp Pro. It was a lot of work and every single time we showed up to discuss different software ideas the focus was always to get campers to camp so that we can tell them the Gospel. Even behind the scenes, I have so many memories of every person collectively agreeing and working toward the same goal of sharing the Gospel so that campers can be transformed. Also, the staff culture here is unlike any other! My nephew passed away in 2018—he was two and a half years old. Multiple Pine Cove staff members were at the funeral and showed up for me. It’s a totally different experience when the people you work with love and care about you not just because of the work you do, but because they care about you as a person. We want to live out the Gospel with campers, of course, but we’re also living out the Gospel day in and day out behind the scenes.
What’s something that the Lord has been teaching you recently?
As a dad, I struggle sometimes with balancing work and family. I want to make sure that I am constantly investing in my children’s spiritual life and making sure that they are constantly hearing Scripture or seeing me pray so they can know who Jesus is. But sometimes, I can try to almost work my children into salvation. I have to remind myself that I can’t save my children—the only person that can save them is Jesus. It’s been a recent prayer of mind that the Holy Spirit would move and soften their hearts so that they would be receptive to the Gospel, and that Jesus would call to them and that they would respond to that call!
Posted Jul 18, 2023