Getting to Know George Paitich – Upper Sophomore Boys Group Leader

Untitled-3George hails from St. Paul, MN.  Like many boys from the Twin Cities, George grew up playing hockey, but also had a strong passion for football.

This coming summer will be George’s second year at Iroquois Springs.  Prior to becoming the Upper Sophomore Boys Group Leader, George spent 10 years working at a day camp at an elementary school in his hometown.

He earned is Special Education degree in 2010, and this coming fall, he will earn his Elementary Education degree as well.  For the past five years, George has taught 2nd – 5th grade DCD (Developmental Cognitive Disabled) at Como Elementary School in St. Paul.  He is looking forward to his return to Iroquois Springs this summer to guide his group and his staff to help them grow and enjoy their time together.

How many summers have you spent at Iroquois Springs, and what brought you here in the first place?
This will be my second summer at Iroquois Springs. Being a teacher during the year, I was looking for a great summer experience to continue working with kids.  I also wanted to travel and meet amazing people.  My first summer at Iroquois Springs far-exceeded my expectations, and I am really looking forward to getting back to camp for my second year.

What was your childhood camp experience like?
As a child I attended a few hockey camps, one of them being an overnight camp.  My hockey skills improved, but more importantly, I grew as a person and formed incredible bonds during my time at camp.  It’s been almost 20 years since I last went to hockey camp, but to this day, I still maintain the friendships that I made and enjoy reminiscing about the experiences that I shared with my friends.  Summer camp offers children an incredible opportunity to forge lasting relationships, and I’m glad that I can be a part of making this summer a great one for the boys in my group.

What do you believe makes Iroquois Springs special for campers and staff?
The camaraderie, the excitement of each new day and the countless activities that friends experience together are what makes Iroquois Springs so special.

This is especially true during Color Week.  While the camp may be divided in half during the competition, Color Week culminates in a big celebration that brings every camper back together as one at the end of it all.

Color Week allows each camper to experience what author and Professor, Dr. Randy Pausch, calls the “head fakes of learning.” The campers and staff have fun while competing as they learn how to be courageous, resilient team players.

This is just one of the many experiences that make Iroquois Springs an amazing place to be in the summer.

Please discuss briefly anything that you feel helps create a smooth mid-summer transition as partial summer campers leave and arrive.
I believe that parents of partial-summer campers should address this situation before their children arrive at camp by allowing them to discuss any concerns that they may have together.  When the actual transition occurs in the middle of the summer at Iroquois Springs, their “camp family” (group leader, counselors, fellow campers) works together to make sure that it goes as smoothly as possible.  By and large, kids have a way of adjusting fairly quickly to the disruption, so it doesn’t take long for them to resume their normal routine.

How do you spend the 10 months waiting for camp to start?
My ten months leading up to camp this year I have been very busy. I currently work in a 2nd– 5th DCD (Developmental Cognitive Disabilities) classroom, and will graduate next fall with a degree in Elementary Education.

What are your hobbies?
Being from the frigid state of Minnesota, I play a lot of hockey.  Football is also a passion of mine. Other than sports, I love travelling, reading non-fiction literature, coaching and spending time at the lake cabin.

What are your favorite Iroquois Springs activities, events, traditions?
As I mentioned earlier, I really love Color Week.  I also really enjoy all water activities (swimming in the lake, going in the pool and even having fun on a slip n’ slide with the campers).

Please share a fond memory or two about your time at Iroquois Springs:
I fondly remember the first few days at Iroquois Springs. As a newcomer, I must admit that I was a little timid at first. However, it didn’t take long for a new friend to take me under his wing to help me feel like I was a part of the camp.  This is something that every newcomer gets to experience.  Everyone at camp is so friendly, and before long, you feel like you are a member of a big family that you’ve been a part of for years.