Scenic view of trees at camp

Staff Profile: Stacy “Cha-Ching” Colvin

by Karissa Pitaniello


Meet Stacy, a Louisiana native with a heart as warm as her Southern roots. Born and raised in the charming town of Ruston, she’s a hometown enthusiast with a deep love for family and a passion for creating lasting connections. As you dive into Stacy’s story, you’ll discover not only her knack for turning test answers into song lyrics but also the lessons she’s learned through life’s twists and turns.

Tell us about yourself!

I’m a Louisiana native, born and raised in Ruston. I adore my hometown and have only lived in two places, Ruston and Tyler. I have one younger sister and am an aunt to three wonderful kids: a niece who’ll be 16 in April and twin nephews about to turn 10. They were born on the day after Christmas. Being an aunt is one of my favorite things!

Growing up in Ruston with just my sister, I eventually attended Louisiana Tech University in the same town. Initially, I thought staying close to home would be the exact same as growing up and high school, but college life turned out to be very different! Living in the dorm, engaging in activities, and classes were all so fun. I also created super deep relationships with friends that I still love. Looking back, I cherish the friendships I made and the educational and ministry opportunities on campus.

I studied finance, starting in accounting but switched to finance midway through my sophomore year. This change allowed me to avoid summer classes and work at Pine Cove for three summers between school years—after my freshman, sophomore, and junior years. The decision to switch gears proved worthwhile, and I have no regrets!


How did you get to Pine Cove?

My first time at Pine Cove was during a spring break work weekend! A friend, whose youth director shifted from summer staff to full-time youth ministry, invited me. We did volunteer work, like carving out space for a future sidewalk in what’s now called the Woods. Years later, I walked that same sidewalk during my summer staff days.

Fast forward to college. I spent three summers, from 1995 to 1997, serving on summer staff in the day camp program, working with both family camp and “town” kids. I rotated between counseling family camp kids and town kids, building deeper connections with families during family camp weeks. After graduating in 1998, I worked in banking for a couple of years. A friend, Amy, who was on Pine Cove’s full-time staff, told me about a potential job. I applied for an accounting position but ended up in the development department, focusing on fundraising. This began my full-time staff journey in September 2000.

I’ve worked in development, marketing, retreats, and now serve in our HR department! Each of those roles contributed to my deep connection with this place.

How have you seen Pine Cove change in the years since you first came on full-time staff?

I mean, of course the growth, which has been phenomenal. When I started on summer staff, there were only three camps in Tyler—two youth camps and one family camp. Witnessing the physical and programmatic expansion in Tyler and Columbus, as well as the addition of traveling day camps in cities and a family camp in South Carolina, has been remarkable.

Despite the significant increase in staff from around 40 full-time employees when I started to over 150 resident staff and 2,000 summer staff now, what has kept me here is the unwavering commitment to the core values. Regardless of our size, we prioritize being used by God for His purposes. It’s not just about numbers; the friendships made along the way are immensely valuable. Pine Cove remains true to its principles and maintains a deep love for its employees and the ministry’s impact on summer staff and campers.

What are some of your favorite memories from serving on resident staff?

One of my favorite memories is from the first what we called “Free Family Day” in Columbus. We wanted to promote summer camp in the soon-to-be-built Outback, next to the existing family camp, Crier Creek. I distinctly remember my role: riding on the back of a hayride, guiding thousands of people through the Outback, which was mostly just the studs of one cabin at the time. Armed with a megaphone, I tried to paint a vivid picture of what the camp would become, when at the time it was just dust and dryness.

Despite the long, dusty day, it has become a cherished memory. Looking back, it’s funny how we convinced people to get excited about a camp that was practically non-existent. Laughing with other staff afterward on the drive from Columbus back to Tyler, we realized the absurdity of it all. These experiences, similar to marketing the Timbers, have become vivid memories, witnessing places come to life and reflecting on the ways we tried to get people on board. As an introvert, becoming a tour guide on the back of a hayride was challenging, but great as I tried to help people envision the future while standing in a place that was, at the time, a whole lot of nothing.


You’re a big college football fan. Who are your teams?

I’m a die-hard Louisiana Tech Bulldogs fan! They’ll always be my top loyalty. But, I also root for the LSU Tigers since they’re not in the same conference and the two teams rarely compete. Despite initial skepticism from Louisiana friends, living in Texas has only strengthened my support for LSU, mainly because I don’t have any ties with any Texas schools. On most Saturday mornings, you’ll find me tuned in to College GameDay, enjoying the commentary and gearing up for game time—checking when Louisiana Tech and LSU are playing!

What’s your favorite place that you’ve traveled to?

Stateside, hands down, my top summer pick is Mackinac Island off Michigan’s coast. It’s a gem with a unique twist—it’s completely car-free. Getting there involves a ferry ride, and once you arrive, it’s all about biking, walking, or catching a ride on a horse-drawn carriage. I went in July, and the weather was fantastic, with temperatures in the 70s and 80s, cooled by the breezy Great Lakes.

Another standout spot is Stockbridge, Massachusetts, a charming town west of Boston. Known for Norman Rockwell, who lived and painted there, it’s a quaint Christmas town with a Norman Rockwell museum adding to its charm. The whole New England region during Christmas is just breathtaking.

Internationally, a couple of years back I embarked on a Christmas trip to the eastern side of France, dipping into Germany and Switzerland. It was four of us, me and three friends from college, and it turned into an adventure we’ll never forget! One iconic town we visited was the inspiration for Beauty and the Beast, and it was truly magical.

Can you tell us about your friends that you grew up with and still travel with? 

Yeah, I think that’s a perk of growing up in a small town! In Ruston, our group of friends formed through our youth group. Even though we didn’t all attend the same college, we made a commitment during college to reunite every summer. Our goal was clear: whether married, with kids or not, we’d take a trip or spend good quality time together. Initially, we stayed at each other’s homes for short periods. Then, over the years, we evolved from local stays to more expansive trips like Mackinac Island or Seaside, Florida. These girls are like sisters to me, the five of us are still really close today. The fact that our parents still live in Ruston adds to the ease of coordinating and meeting during holidays.

Are you still in touch with any of the people you served on summer staff with?

I am! I would say social media has allowed for me to reconnect with a lot of staff that I was close to in summer. What’s been really cool is that because of working full time, I get to see a lot of staffers through the years come back either to drop their kids off at youth camp or come to family camp! I’ve definitely reconnected and gotten to sit at lunch or at dinner with old friends, so that’s been really neat.  

What’s an interesting fact that most people might not know about you?

I used to memorize song lyrics! My friends would even call me “DJ Master,” simply because you could bank on the fact that I knew the lyrics to songs. I could pick up on just a few notes of something musically, and then I’d be like, ‘Oh, yeah, I know the lyrics to that,’ and be able to spout ’em off pretty quickly. I used to think if I could turn test answers into songs, I’d remember them better. Now, while I may not recall every word, I still have a good grasp of most lyrics from the mid-nineties!

What’s God teaching you right now?

My mom passed away in January of 2022, and I think through that I’ve been reminded to be so very grateful for time with friends and family. There have been seasons in my life where I feel like I’ve been spinning a lot of wheels at the same time, and struggling to ask for help. But in reality, time with people is precious, and I don’t need to be in go, go, go mode. Instead, I need to take time to really focus on where the Lord has me.

So God’s been teaching me to take time for relationships, and to recognize when I need assistance—there’s freedom in asking for help. There’s freedom in not having the mentality of, “I should be the only one doing this.” My identity is not found in how much I can handle on my own, the Lord doesn’t see me any differently whether I’m knocking it all out myself or collaborating and seeking out help from others.

Posted Dec 12, 2023

Karissa Pitaniello

Content Coordinator

Read More Posts

Click here to sign up for our Inside the Cove newsletter!