"I was expecting one thing and I actually came away with so much more."
It's early on a Tuesday morning, the day is just beginning at Pine Cove Christian camp. The sausage is hot, the sleepy is about gone, and the worship is about the begin. Located just outside of Tyler, Pine Cove doesn't look that much different than most summer camps. But looks can be deceiving. "I thought the one thing I was going to remember about the summer was going to be water rocketing, high ropes, extreme elements," says camp Counselor Ginger Morby, "but I actually came away remembering the talks every night and the praise and worship that we had and my counselor and the time she sat down, one on one with me and shared about her life and asked me about my own."
Ginger Morby, better known by her camp name "Tuck-n-Whoa," started coming to Pine Cove in 1994. Today she is the counselor that in one week helps shape lives forever. She knows special places like Pine Cove really has nothing to do with geography.
"Pine Cove is just a place and its just one place. I mean God can choose to touch my life my life through so many areas but specifically Pine Cove did impact me and it is continuing to do so," says Ginger. "And more than anything I think it taught me that the world calls out to me, hey you gotta do this to be liked, you have to do this to be successful. You need a certain job or you have to do well in sports or athletics, or you have to be the most popular one in your class. I think every year I walk away thinking I am special, I am significant because the Lord loves me."
A daily Bible study is mixed in with all the other activities. But theology and preaching are not the focus. But that atmosphere, coupled with a break from the busy schedule of everyday life gives them a chance to make a change.
"And what happens is they come to camp and for the first time, maybe in a long time in their life they are examining who they are before a holy and righteous God," says Pine Cove CEO Mario Zandstra.
The real success here is also found in relationships. For Ginger, camper turned counselor, she is amazed at the work God can do in just a week. "I am just blown away," says Ginger, "every time I hear one of those kids stand up and say, I'm going to go home and I'm going to be different because I met with the God of the universe this week and he's changed my life forever. This is a time when they decide who they are going to be for the rest of their lives. And when we come along side them and say, you know what you don't have to fall into anything, you don't have to step up to anybody's standards, all that matters is that you become a follower of Christ and you just go wherever he takes you."
Despite so many different options these days many of these kids and counselors believes this is where God leads them every summer. "I can't think of a place I would rather spend my entire year than here, says Ginger, "my friends are always joking with me because they say I am obsessed with Pine Cove...but I just love being here. I love the people, I love being outdoors, I love the Jesus I see in this place and that's why I keep coming back."