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June 2012 - Irish Life Experience

Protected: I’m Not Short…

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Protected: The Summer of a Lifetime Begins

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Olympic Hopeful-Melinda Owen

Melinda Owen, from my hometown of Polson, Montana will be competing in the Olympic Trials for pole vaulting today at 5:30 PM and on Sunday at 2:30 PM (Pacific Time). Please send her good vibes and cheer her on.

“I have always been pulled toward sports. I think it was because of my family dynamics. My father used to wake my siblings and me up in the morning after he got back from his run, and we all did sit-ups and push-ups together. When we all finished, we got to sit on his back while he did his. He made it very fun for us. We were in clubs depending on the number of sit-ups and push-ups we could do, and we always were trying to get in the next club! Because of this, we all loved being both active and competitive! And both of my parents were very supportive with any and every sport we wanted to try. I did pretty much everything that Polson had to offer, so when it came time in high school to make a decision on just three, it was very tough. Track, and specifically pole vault, was difficult to spend much time on due to the fact that it typically snows off and on until June in Montana. This is why I felt it was so important I participated in both basketball and volleyball as well. With the combination of the three sports, I believed that helped make me a more well rounded athlete.

The journey that I have taken to get me where I am today has been nothing less than amazing. The people around me were willing to make sacrifices for me, because of the work ethic my parents had instilled in me. My high school coach stuck around even after all his kids had graduated to see me to my own state championship title! In college I was fortunate enough to have a coach that selflessly worked harder than any other person I have yet met in my 25 years. The time he dedicated to my training was a large part in what helped me become the best collegiate vaulter by my senior year. Because of that mark, I was then asked by the Olympic coach, Ty Sevin, to join his small group of athletes at the Arco Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California. So as you can see, there really isn’t one person or situation that got me where I am, but instead it was a combination of very dedicated people and some rare opportunities. My most stable help has and always will come from my faith and family. Their combination keeps me humble, honest, passionate and loved. Without all of it I would have never became the person I am today.”


Introducing Kevin Shpritzer-Your 2012 Male Counselor

Hey Gang, Kevin here. I’ll be one of your Counselors for the upcoming Irish Life Experience Program, and I am pretty psyched about it. In the real world, I am finishing my 9th year as an Elementary School Teacher and living in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Working with the younglings is fun and all, but I’m looking forward to changing it up this summer with some energetic teenagers who all know, hopefully, how to tie their shoes and keep their fingers out of their noses.

I do have plenty of experience with high school students from my many years of working at a day camp near Boston. There, I supervised and trained counselors and counselors-in-training who were aged 13-22. I always worked to create a fun, yet business-like, rapport with them all and hope to do the same with you.

I’m an avid snowboarder, average guitar player, and partake in a number of random sports activities. I also have a side job volunteering as a roller derby announcer for the Boston Derby Dames. My codename there is KevinUp. I can’t wait to meet you all, and explore Ireland with you!