I had the pleasure of getting to know Danielle “Be Kind Rewind” Smith growing up; we went to Pine Cove the same week for numerous years. She was always very inviting, loving, and fun. It was sad saying goodbye to such a great friend for the last time at the Shores our senior year of high school. We never really kept in touch after camp as she headed to A&M and I headed to Baylor. Little did I know that God would bring us back together. This summer, Danielle and I are working together here at the Timbers! She is everything she was when we were campers and more: she has grown tremendously in her faith and as a person, she gives awesome advice, loves me unconditionally, and understands me completely. Today, I got to talk to Danielle about her story and hear her heart behind working here this summer.
I was the “life-time” camper, the one who went to Pine Cove every year since 2nd grade. I knew that working here was something I always wanted to do. When I went to college, my twin sister, Madison “Walk With a Porpoise” Smith, was a a part of the Baby Ruth program. When she was here and I wasn’t, I missed Pine Cove, but I thought it would be fine because I would eventually be able to become a counselor.
Coming to college, I felt like I forgot who I was. I abandoned a lot of what I knew in my childhood and what truly mattered to me. I started investing in other things that were not close to my heart. Whenever the time came to apply for a counselor position at Pine Cove, I knew it was what I always wanted to do, but I didn’t feel as good about it. I still applied, went to an interview and gave them all of the answers I thought they wanted to hear, all of the cookie-cutter answers. Out of the 13 people that I knew that applied, I was the only one who got the call only to find out that I did not receive the job. I was crushed, but I knew that I was not in a place of spiritual leadership and that the Lord had a lot more growth waiting for me.
When the summer came around, everyone was off working at Pine Cove, and I was at home. I thought a lot about the place the Lord has me and how I was supposed to seek Him in it. When I reapplied the next fall, I realized God had used the previous year to grow, stretch and prepare me in ways I could never imagine. During my interview, I realized He had developed authenticity and “rawness” that I was lacking the previous year. It was easy for me to be vulnerable and honest.
I remember in my interview being asked, “Why do you want to be a counselor?” I didn’t know what to say, but eventually the only thing I could think was, “I’m just ready to show my campers that God doesn’t just live at Pine Cove. This isn’t the only place that He’s fun. This isn’t the only place He connects with me. This isn’t the only place where He can be applicable to little things such as playing cards or jumping in a lake. He is applicable everywhere.”
I feel like I was really never told that as a camper. No one ever really pushed me to believe that being a Christian was more than just going to camp in the summer and that He was alive and well in my life the other 51 weeks of the year.
I know the struggle of uncertainty. I know what it feels like to be dejected and insecure in where the Lord is taking you in your life. But I’m confident that I am where He wants me to be for now. No matter where the Lord takes me, I know that He calls me to be faithful in glorifying him. I know that God uses Pine Cove to transform lives, but I also know that God doesn’t need camp for that: he can do that at homes, universities, in our everyday lives. I know that God put me in a season of waiting so that He could mold me to be a better vessel for Him. I want campers to know what it means to seek Him even in the midst of uncertainty or doubt. I want them to understand that God can work in their lives outside of camp too, and that His love for them doesn’t stop
And that is why I work here.
Please join me in praying for Danielle and the rest of our staff as we journey on this summer. God is moving mightily here, in our campers and in our staff. Pray for energy, joy, and rest in the Lord, that we may be used as vessels by Him and to His glory.
Until next time,
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