Trish is one of my favorite people of all time! I feel so blessed that my relationship with her has gotten to be so multifaceted as she has filled so many roles in my life as I have grown up. I got to know her as “Coach” in high school because I played volleyball for her. Wow! That, in itself, is a blessing because she was the best coach I have ever had. She loved her players dearly and she demanded excellence from us with an intensity that not only dented the gym floor (thinking high heels stomping on the sidelines during a game when a play was missed), but with an intensity that came from the love of the game. The love of her players and the hope that excellence would be something we would strive for long after the game was over.  Her fierce determination and enthusiasm reached far beyond the volleyball courts and into the lives of her players because she cared so deeply. Does that even make sense? I’m not sure, but she was literally the world’s best coach!

Trish was a collegiate track athlete, and she was a high school track, volleyball and basketball coach for 14 years as she taught English. I remember being so sad for the kids at Branson High School when my dad hired her to work full-time at Kanakuk. I think that bringing Trish to Kanakuk to teach the girls at Kamp how to run an enthusiastic and effective class was one of the best things that ever happened to K-2 because the girl Kampers began to get that intensity and excellence that Trish once gave to her athletes. By year three at Kanakuk, she was the Women’s Director, and she is now the Executive Woman’s Director for all of Kanakuk Kamps, Inc. My Pappy (Spike) always said that we are “in a battle against mediocrity,” and Trish embodies this daily.

Trish is married to Jason Barnes (side note, he is the son of one of my dad’s best assistants, Charlotte – for those of you who remember her). He is a phenomenal husband, and he loves Trish so well. She has three children who are married and she is about to be a grandmother for the first time!  

I asked Trish to tell me about her favorite part of working at Kamp and she told me that she is motivated by getting to speak truth to a generation that is filled with lies and uncertainty. Trish is bold in her faith! She told me, “I love having intentional conversations with people and helping them see their potential and what God desires for them; I love seeing them start owning their faith and make it their own, not their parents’ faith. I love working alongside people for a common good and sharing hope to others who might not have much hope.”  

Some of her highlights are making those Kampers that don’t feel valued at home feel like they are so important at Kamp. She did that in the high school as a coach. I felt that and witnessed that first hand, and now she is doing that at Kanakuk.

I asked her the most rewarding part of her job and her answer echoed her answer above, but I wanted to share it because it really shows her relentless faith and her beautiful and empathetic and fierce heart. She said, “There is nothing better than watching a girl come to know Jesus; get rid of anger or resentment; forgive herself or others; and find Jesus in the midst of the hard. I feel so called to speak truth while loving people right where they are. I have such a passion to create moments of awe and wonder and then equip girls to take what they have learned back home to their communities!”

I asked her what she would write a book on (if she ever had time), and she said that she would write one on Self-Talk vs. Soultalk. It would highlight the stark contrast between the things we tell ourselves, how we self-deprecate ourselves, compared to what God says to us through Scripture. I’d read that!!!

Here are a few Q&A’s with Trish:

During Kamp in the summer, if Kamp is a body, what part of the body are you?

I would say I am either the heart or the head of Kamp. I have such a passion for the lost and a passion for girls to know their value and their worth through the eyes of the Lord and not the world. I am pretty compassionate and am always thinking about others and how something might affect them. However, I am also the head….some because of my position, and some because I think through the things we do and the impact it will have. I have a clear vision of what I want and how I want that to happen.

What number are you on the Enneagram? 

I identify most as a two; I’m a helper who strives to not be an enabler; I also am a leader who is pretty black and white.

If you could go on a canoe trip with some Kanakuk legend (dead or alive), who would you go with and why? 

Debbie Jo and Diane Harmon because they are stinking FUN and FUNNY and they are amazing in a canoe!!!

If someone gave you $1000 and said you had to spend it completely on yourself, what would you do with it? 

I would get a massage and then go to back to back movies, and then, I would eat a really good steak!

What is something about you that most people would be surprised to find out?

I am an introvert! People don’t believe that about me, but I like time to unwind and be by myself and just talk to Jesus or spend time in the Word. People always think I’m such an extrovert, which is good I guess, but I truly am an introvert.

Trish is one of the best! She takes excellence to an entirely different level. She expects the best of herself and of others and, as a result, she gets that. She was a phenomenal coach. She is a great Kamp Director. She is an appreciative wife and a mom who loves bigger than one can measure. She loves the Lord with a devotion that is evident in her life, and she loves people with a selfless intensity that is humbling.  

Staff Spotlight