Landon has grown up saturated in the Christ-centered, others-focused, seriously-funess that is Pine Cove. Starting at the Towers, he’s made memories at almost every camp in East Texas, and joined in the fun of Pine Cove City! Be encouraged by Landon’s humble and fun spirit as you laugh along to camp stories and are spurred on by the Lord’s full-circle work in his life.
Tell us a bit about yourself!
I grew up living in Grapevine, Texas and went to camp every summer from the Towers to the Shores. I have an older brother and older sister who are both married and my sister has two kiddos. After high school, I headed to Abilene Christian University where I studied ministry. Throughout college, I got involved with Young Life and each summer I worked at Pine Cove.
Do you remember any counselors from when you were a camper?
I definitely remember some! One of my counselors at the Ranch was Wally “JJ Redneck” Jenkins-he was awesome. A couple of summers at the Shores my senior counselor was Brandon “Bomb Squawks” Gray, and then when I was a Counselor In Training he was also my site director! It was a really cool full-circle moment when he, having been my senior counselor, offered me a job.
What different roles have you held at camp?
I started as a CIT for Pine Cove City, then the next summer I was a counselor at the Shores, then a senior counselor, then the Overflow program director. After that, I was a site director for two years. I was on team Boulder my first year and then my second year I was on team Boulder Edge because we combined teams. I was fortunate enough to be combined on a team with Antonio “Mamba’s Boy” Wright, one of the greatest men to walk planet earth. After that, I accepted an offer to become the men’s director at the Towers, so I moved to Tyler!
What are some things you like to do in Tyler?
Well, most of my free time is currently consumed with wedding planning! I’m marrying Avery “Queen Juice” Harlan, the Shore’s women’s director, on April 2nd. So that’s been pretty time-consuming. Other than that I like to play sports, watch sports, watch movies, go on walks, and just hang outside when the weather’s nice.
What’s your camp name story?
The audience asked if I had a rap name, which basically ended in me being convinced to freestyle rap in front of everyone. So that’s where “Rhymes” comes in. I played basketball and my favorite basketball player is Penny Hardaway. When you throw a good pass in basketball it’s considered a “dime,” so that’s how the second half of my name came to be.
Do you have any favorite skit characters you’ve acted as?
Well, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the times I was Justin Bieber. That was a classic, some may even consider it legendary. Another character I enjoyed was Cornelius Archibald Ludwicky III, who was a British detective but an East Texas native who rescued the Shores from evil.
What specifically are you excited about for this summer?
I’m excited to spend so much of my time discipling the college men. As a City site director, you get to lead both women and men which is a blessing, but I am excited to get to really focus on the guys this summer. I’m also pumped to manage a property and basically get to host people. It’ll be really fun on opening days to get to welcome so many families in and just host them at a place where we’ve spent so much time and effort getting ready for them.
If you could go back and give your younger self advice before your first summer on staff, what would you say?
My advice would be to go all-in, and go all-in as fast as you can. Buy into the camp culture around you and invest in all of the fun, godly, awesome people surrounding you. Also, treat every camper like they are the most important person in front of you.
Throughout your time on staff, who are some staffers you’ve looked up to?
When I was on staff at the Shores, Luke “Thunder Up” McGrath was the men’s director, and he’s a huge reason I am the man I am today. My friendship with him was formative for me in college as he consistently walked with me through fun things and hard things and valued me as a friend other than just one of his staffers. Because of all of that, he’ll be standing in my wedding which will be cool. There overall is a long list of people I admire whether it be Taylor “Fish Face” Jervis, Rebecca “Deemer” Smith, Antonio “Mamba’s Boy” Wright, or Andrew “Get Smart” Boshell—all great role models and people who are easy to follow and fun to learn from consistently.
Do you have a meaningful camp memory?
Something that I love to think about is the life change I experienced as a young camper at the Towers. Now I’ve come full circle and have the privilege to play a role in that for other campers. As a third grader, I learned that life with Jesus is a relationship, not a religion. That was a huge realization that changed the way I viewed God. Now, I get to serve where that happened and pray for other campers to learn the same thing.
What is a funny camp experience you’ve had?
This past summer my staff got very into collecting Pokemon cards! It started as a fun way for them to connect with their campers, but then it slowly became an addiction across my team. It was crazy and hilarious. I joined in and got some packs of my own and at one point pulled a “Golden MewTwo Vstar” which the staffers told me was a big deal.
What’s been your favorite thing recently?
March Madness has been my favorite recently. There’s a lot of basketball to be watched and I’ve just been enjoying the chaos. I’ve got the Houston Cougars winning the championship this year because defense wins championships and they’ve got the best!
What keeps you working at camp? What’s your why?
I love what I do and I love the opportunity to see what the Lord does in college-aged men and women every summer. I love camp! Camp is a place that changed my life as a camper and a staffer. So, to get to contribute to making that run each year and to create an environment where other people can experience life change, and to encourage young men and women to serve and minister to others, it’s all just awesome. It all keeps me coming back.
Posted Mar 20, 2023