Hello, and thankyou for viewing a page all about me: Matthew Malecha.
This is somewhere between my 9th and 11th year at camp, depending on who you ask. I’ve been a counselor, village leader, MFG, and wilderness trip leader. Now… I am going to be the CIRCLE leader, which is kind of like Cedar 5 taken to the next level, and includes making a big game, so I am pretty stoked.
I have assumed many names and identities in my life. Malecha, Matt Palecha, Mateo, Matthew Teacher, Cat Matthew. Don’t get me started on EP names. I like being called anything. In my heart, I’m a pal of the village.
If you came to this page, I suppose that you want to know a little about who I am, which happens to be a very hard question. Every year in my life has been so crazily different. This also happens to be one of the things in my life that I am most happy about! You see, I love change and new adventures and learning and exploring and meeting new people. And all those crazy new things have led me to find out that some things never change. For me, those include:
- I have always loved playing outside.
- I have always loved animals.
- I have always loved to play games – all types of games!
- I have always loved fruit. Yummy tasty!
- I have always loved laughing – my mom is a cute & funny lady.
- I have always loved challenges.
- I have always loved lots of colors.
- I have always loved racquet sports – ping pong, racquetball, tennis, and now pickleball!
On the other hand, some things have changed about me. But hey, change is novelty, and novelty is often remarkable! Here are some things that certainly have changed in my life.
- I tried REALLY growing a beard once. And long hair. That changed.
- I used to be extremely patriotic in a way that was unfounded in my actual values. That changed.
- I used to be very competitive. Winning used to be very important to me, as well as not losing. That changed.
- I used to be afraid to eat sushi. That changed.
- I used to really really really like those spinning tires on playgrounds, and would spin myself in them as fast as I could. That really changed.
- I used to not like rollercoasters. That changed.
- I used to think that I wasn’t very good at reading. In fact, I went through my whole high school years reading less than 5 books. Then I found Kurt Vonnegut and Siddhartha. That changed!
Now another insight into who I am might come from some of my experiences. Afterall, we are a collection of what we’ve been exposed to.
- I was born in Arizona, moved to New Hampshire for Kindergarten, Texas for 1st-10th grade, Indiana for 11th-12th grade, and went to college at Hendrix College in Arkansas.
- I taught abroad in South Korea (in a city of over 1,000,000 people) and in the Republic of Georgia (in a city of ~500). In Georgia, I lived with a host family and was the only English speaker in the village; though we all played soccer fluently.
- I am an Eagle Scout and have ventured to most National Parks around the country and spent a winter working as a wilderness field guide in Utah.
- I WWOOFed on a farm in Georgia (the state) and spent a month interning learning to build Earthships. I really want to build one of my own some day!
- I worked at a school in Costa Rica for a year and a half, running extracurricular activities, leading wilderness trips, and having life chats over games of Ping Pong.
- I started a company in 2015 with some great friends from Camp Augusta selling some of our favorite evening programs that we created.
- Amidst a couple summers of camps and games and camping, I moved to Asheville, NC to take a job at a new boarding school that was opening up. Unfortunately, the school never opened. But I did love me some Asheville.
- I was a science writer for the nonprofit A Meaning of Life for a couple years, and then got drawn back to camp after the COVID years to get excited about seeing people again.
- In 2021 I spent my first summer as Assistant Director. I had been in many areas of camp before, except the office. So that was and is new, though I am getting the hang of it now. Well, maybe. Hahahaha.
Or even better yet, from some of my ideas. Note: Credit to my extremely creative uncles for instilling this kind of unbridled entrepreneurial vision in me
- I want to open a sandwich restaurant that instead of ordering a specific sandwich with ingredients, you order by choosing 3 adjectives that you want to describe your sandwich and anything you don’t want on it. Then I craft an inspired sandwich for them. Million dollar idea.
- Take mountain board wheels and put them on roller blades. Mountain blades. Million dollar idea.
- A fan that makes white noise the frequency of the Ohm. Million dollar idea.
- Make an EP style game that integrates the curriculum of a public school grade level and run it with them at the end of the year. Million dollar idea.
- In my future, I want to start a community where many of my closest friends live together, and I want to start a gap year program between high school and college called the Community of Life where the students live, work, play, and participate in an intentional community focused around self-knowledge and emotional intelligence. Probably not very profitable.
But for me – in the end – who I am right now is what I love right now. I am a big fan of love. As an agent of changing my life, and changing the world. Some things I love right now?
- Being in Community with people that I love <3
- Sandwiches – especially ones that I make myself
- Expressing myself through dance, play, art, journaling, and other
- Reading (especially The Prophet, The Alchemist, Siddhartha, and The Story of B)
- Zombie apocalypse dreams
- Thought provoking conversations about life, meaning, and philosophy
- Sitting down to a meal when I am very very hungry, and eating it slowly and thoroughly.
- Creative problem solving
- Pickleball, Pandemic: Legacy, King of Tokyo, and – of course – Tetris
In 2020, I moved to Asheville, North Carolina, where I currently reside and do my best to incorporate all of the above into my life. I do so with an amazing life-partner (Cat the Craft Fairy), wonderful roommate (Greta!), close friends (Margaret, Morgan, Natalie, and many non-augustans), and the newest addition to our family: Bebe. A.k.a. Baby bear. She was born on June 6th 2020, and is the cutest cavapoo cutie. She loves socks and cuddles and is running for mayor (i.e. she loves going and meeting everyone!).
In this first year of living here, I also published a Children’s book with Greta, which I came to love through my time at camp: The Borgons Visit Earth.
Western North Carolina is an amazing place – filled with nature, small mountains, artistic people, progressive ideas, diversity, plenty of farmland, simple living, and southern kindness. I hope to buy land, form community, and keep learning about humanity with other humans.
As usual, I am excited to be at camp, and excited to do what I want. Which right now, in my finality, is share my favorite quote of all.
“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.” ― Paulo Coelho
To hacking some sack together,
This lake is a circle. Maybe this is where it all started….