Scenic view of trees at camp

Staff Profile: Kat “Mischief Managed” McDaniel

by Karissa Pitaniello


What do an Aggie, a Chief, and a Russian all have in common? Find out when you read all about Kat McDaniel below! Enjoy her stories of mischief and each of her show-stopping fun facts as you get to know the executive assistant to the East Texas leadership team.

Tell us about yourself!
My name’s Kathryn, but I’m affectionately known as “Kat” around Pine Cove! That nickname started in college because Kathryn was apparently too long. I was actually born in Russia! My mom and dad adopted me when I was 11 months old. Then I grew up in Cedar Park, Texas which is north of Austin. I have a brother, Luke, who is also adopted and is seven weeks younger than I am. So we’re kind of like Irish twins! Each summer (for 11 summers to be exact!) my family went to the Pine Cove Woods. After high school, I went to college at Texas A&M. Because of how much I loved growing up at Pine Cove, I continued going each summer in college, but this time I was on staff at the Woods! I even remember my first summer as a camper; I was itty bitty and already knew that I wanted to work at Pine Cove full time. In college, I worked at Kyle Field as an events specialist so I figured I would continue with that instead of camp. But, doors kept sovereignly closing. My dream of working for Pine Cove came back when Chris Boddy reached out to me and let me know about the role that I’m currently in! 

What different roles have you held at Pine Cove?
I was a counselor for two summers, then I was the assistant director of details, then the director of details, all at the Woods.

How did you get your camp name?
My camp name is Mischief Managed, or “Chief” for short! The reason I got my name is because my brother and I are huge fans of the Harry Potter series. I also told a story about a time when my brother and I were younger and running around outside. As we were playing he ran inside and locked me out of the house, so I punched a window to unlock the door and get back inside! The name that almost sold for me was “Russian Around,” but the name “Mischief Managed” is a reference to a title of a chapter of Harry Potter and highlights how mischievous I was with my brother! 

What’s your favorite game to play with friends?
I love Catan—I think Catan is straight-up awesome! I also love Ticket to Ride and good ol’ card games. Recently, I’ve also gotten into the game of Mahjong. Mahjong is a tile game that has Chinese symbols on each tile. There’s a scene in the movie Crazy Rich Asians where they’re playing this game and it gets very intense. So, it inspired me to learn how to play! I have to admit that it’s my goal to create an East Texas Mahjong club. So far I’ve only played on apps on my phone because the tiles can be really expensive, but hopefully soon I’ll have a set of tiles and a club to go with it! 

We’ve heard you love to read. What are some of your favorite books?
I do love to read! I’ve actually already read 32 books this year. I think my very favorite book is “To Kill a Mockingbird.” I love it! It is such a powerful, poignant book. I also relate to Scout a lot in the way she is so inquisitive and wants to challenge societal norms. I of course love the Harry Potter series and I also love the Percy Jackson series. “Hinds Feet on High Places” is an incredible allegorical book. I also really like “Cloud Cuckoo Land” by Anthony Doerr. I just love reading—I’ll read any chance I can get! 

Do either of your parents have any fun quirks?
Oh my gosh, yes! My dad’s preferred way of communication is actually email. He has a cellphone but it’s basically a “dumb” smartphone, and he only turns it on when he travels for work. So, if I need to get in contact with my dad I have to email him. Or I call his office landline! But overall emails are easiest and I know I’ll get a quick response. 

What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
Well, my go-to fun fact is that I was born in Russia, but most of my friends know that about me. I went through a chocolate chip cookie phase in middle school. I baked chocolate chip cookies maybe five times per week. As you can imagine, my mom was not a fan of it. I had an Instagram account for the cookies I made, and I would pose the cookies around my neighborhood! It was called “Kat’s Kookies.” Another fun fact is that every year for Easter my mom and I make a Lamby cake! It’s a pound cake made in a cast iron lamb mold. Then we put cream cheese icing and coconut over it to make it look like a lamb.


Over the years at Pine Cove, what meaningful memory stands out?
During my last summer, our full-time staff washed my and the other leadership team members’ feet. Then, as a leadership team, we washed the feet of the summer staffers we were leading. Seeing the demonstration of what Jesus did for His disciples was amazing. This is what humble leadership looks like and what Christ-centered leadership is. That memory definitely stands out. Also, I just think back to moments when I was having a hard day at camp and how the other staffers and my women’s director rallied around me and supported me. Pine Cove taught me the beauty of community when navigating hard days.

We heard you have a “chicken cow lamp.” Can you give us the backstory behind that?
I never saw my lamp as a cow so I just call it my chicken lamp! But apparently, everyone else sees a cow. This lamp was in my grandma’s house for a long time and one day she gave it to me! I love my chicken lamp.


What are some of your favorite things right now?
Well, because of my recent tax refund I just treated myself to a new Patagonia duffle! It’s the same style of a duffle I currently have but this one is bigger because I love when things match. I’m also currently watching “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” for the first time and I think it’s hilarious. I’m in a big yogurt phase right now and have been loving CocCo June’s strawberry rhubarb flavor. My mom and I are traveling to Sweden in September so Sweden is also currently one of my favorite things. And coffee will always be a favorite for me! 

What’s something that the Lord has been teaching you recently?
I’m currently reading a book called “Return to Joy,” and it talks a lot about hiding below the shadow of the Lord’s wings. It’s allowed me to ask myself consistently if I’m living under His wings or if I’m trying to find rest and comfort somewhere else other than the Lord. It’s been really helpful for me in this season because I think it’s easy for us to depend on things other than the Lord. I think He’s teaching me to fight to depend on Him and let Him protect me and guard me. So I’m learning to hide under the shadow of His wings and know that that’s not a weakness but instead it’s the ultimate strength because there I’m surrounded by the Lord!

Posted Apr 18, 2023

Karissa Pitaniello

Content Coordinator

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