Scenic view of trees at camp

Staff Profile: Kase “Optimist Crime” White

by Karissa Pitaniello


Kase has spent almost every summer of his life blobbing, zip-lining, and learning about the Lord at Pine Cove! He is an East Texas native and graduated from Oklahoma State University  (Go Pokes!) with a degree in finance. Enjoy laughing along to his hilarious stories as you get to know one of the most joyful and seriously fun men at camp!

Tell us a bit about yourself!
I grew up in Longview, Texas! I still have lots of family that live there, so East Texas means a lot to me. After high school, I went to Oklahoma State University where I ran track for a few years. I graduated with a finance degree and I worked at the Shores for four summers throughout that time. But that wasn’t my first time experiencing camp! I actually grew up going to camp every summer: Towers, Ranch, Timbers, then Shores. After being on summer staff I realized that there was nothing else I would want to do full time other than camp. I became the Site Director for City Team Canyon after my 2021 summer, so I moved to College Station and have been here for two years now! 

What different roles have you held at camp?
During my first summer working at the Shores I was a counselor. The next summer I worked one half as a counselor, and the other half I operated the Slick Track where campers get to ride go-carts, and I did projects throughout camp! At the Shores we call this person the “Grease Monkey”— it was such a blast. Then in 2019, I did an internship where I learned that I didn’t want to pursue corporate finance like I thought I did. So, I headed back to camp and was a Senior Counselor for a summer. During my last summer on summer staff, I was the Program Director! 


What are some things you like to do in College Station?
Hear me out—College Station actually has lots of nice parks! So with the spring weather, I’ve loved doing anything outside. I’ll spend time with friends at a park or go on a jog or bike ride! I also love spending time in Downtown Bryan where they have fun restaurants like RX Pizza and Cafe Capri.  

Do you have any favorite skit characters you’ve acted as?
One character I frequently became at the Shores was Bubba. He was a country boy from Louisiana who worked on a gator farm. Bubba showed up often on theme nights and skits wearing a straw hat that seemed stepped on and denim overalls that were three times too big. Since being on staff with Team Canyon, I have played the human version of an Olympic Torch a few times, which has been hilarious. 

What specifically are you excited about for this summer?
I am really excited to visit churches that I got to work with last summer! I think it will be cool to continue to connect with families that are hosting staff again this summer or sending their kids to camp. I love that we partner with local churches. Our end goal is to bless them and lift them up so that they can continue to pour the Good News into these campers once we’ve packed up and hit the road. So, overall I’m excited about relationships this summer—continuing some relationships that were created last summer, and fostering new relationships with staffers or churches! 

If you could go back and give your younger self advice before your first summer on staff, what would you say?
My gut instinct is to tell myself, “It’s not about you. Just love your campers, teach them the Gospel, and get them from place to place.” There’s so much at camp that we can let ourselves be anxious about and overthink, but at the end of the day it’s not about you, it’s about the Gospel! So I would remind myself to just focus on that and try to not overcomplicate things. 


Throughout your time on staff, who are some staffers you’ve looked up to?
Automatically I think of Taylor “Fish Face” Jervis and Luke “Thunder Up” McGrath. Those men were my Camp Director and Men’s Director for four summers, so they have definitely made an impact on me. Also, Josh “Prankster’s Paradise” Bice was my Program Director while I was a summer staffer, and now we’re on the full-time team together. All these years, he’s been someone I can look up to and seek advice from. As I stepped into my full-time position, Mitch “Wildabeast” Hartt was a true blessing and is a mentor I can look up to not just for camp things but also for life in general.

Do you have a meaningful camp memory?
When I was a Senior Counselor in 2020 I had a moment where things clicked for me and I realized I wanted to pursue camp full time. Jared “Mudpie Master” Kane and I were having multiple hangtimes throughout one week with a camper as we explained the Gospel to him. When we got to Friday night, he still didn’t seem interested in faith, so Jared and I had a conversation about how it’s okay to not see the fruit of our labor and continued to pray for the camper. Right before going to bed, the camper ended up accepting Jesus into his heart! We all freaked out and it was the most amazing glimpse of the celebration that I knew was going on in heaven. We literally all sprinted to the kitchen, screaming at the top of our lungs, raided some Pop-Tarts, and had our own little party celebrating what the Lord had done! That was the closest thing I can imagine of heaven coming to earth. 


What’s been your favorite thing recently?
I’ve loved being active and outdoors—hiking, biking, and walking. I’ve been following the NBA playoffs closely, which has been a blast. Also, with the new “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie out, I’ve definitely gotten back into watching Marvel movies.

What keeps you working at camp? What’s your why?
I truly think at camp you get glimpses of heaven. Pretty much every summer of my life I’ve been able to see the life-changing power of the Gospel on display at camp. I know that it’s not only at camp where that exists, but if I have the chance to continue to watch and play a role in that, why would I not want to be there? The relationships I’ve made through Pine Cove are going to last me a lifetime. I consistently get excited for the campers and staffers that will be coming in and will be able to experience the Gospel in fresh ways this summer!


Posted May 16, 2023

Karissa Pitaniello

Content Coordinator

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