The 2017 Staff

Katrina Bitar has been the Director of the St. Nicholas Camping Program for 15 years. She is a graduate of St. Vladimir's Seminary and has been working for the church in youth and young adult ministry positions since she was 21. A piece of her heart is always with the camp community when she is home in Pittsburgh, PA.  When she's not at camp, she directs the Youth Equipped to Serve (YES) Program of FOCUS North America.  Walking with young people as they discover their true selves in Jesus Christ is her greatest joy and her true calling.

Michelle Nicola is the Assistant Director at Camp St. Nicholas.  She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area where she works as an 8th grade U.S. History teacher.  She loves hiking, going to Tahoe, and really any activity where she can be outside adventuring with people she loves.  Michelle is so inspired by the Camp St. Nicholas community, their love for others and how it is constantly growing.  She can't wait to be with all the campers and staff and see what Camp St. Nicholas 2017 has in store!

Luke Pettygrove is starting his last semester at Cal State Fullerton for Elementary Music Education. He was a camper at camp for 8 years, counselor for 3 year, head counselor for 2 years, and is now starting his second year as administrative director. His job during the school year is as a nanny, so he has many years of experience working with children from ages 2-18. He really enjoys the outdoors and is looking forward to experiencing the joys of summers at Camp St. Nicholas.

Haley Speier, formerly Hammers, is so excited to be returning for her twelfth year at Camp Saint Nicholas in her new role as Head Female Counselor and Infirmary Administrator! She lives in the beautiful city of Irvine, California and works in Newport Beach as the Marketing Director of the national event company Stylecon. Haley also works as a Youth Group Director at Saint Luke in Garden Grove, California. She wants to be on staff this year because she loves being part of such an inclusive, respectful, caring, creative, fun, loving, and servant lead community. 

Trent Speier is a Junior High Math Teacher living in Irvine California.  He has been serving at Camp St. Nicholas since 2010.  Trent is very excited to continue his ministry at Camp St. Nicholas, and is also very excited to lead the Afternoon Program.  

Christopher Stokich is from Phoenix Arizona, and a freshly graduated Secondary Education Major. This will be Chris's fourth year coming to Camp to serve and have a blast. He is looking forward to help organize the Morning Program activities as well as serve as Head Counselor throughout the month!

John Paul Kouri has been attending Camp St. Nicholas since the age of 7, and hasn’t missed a year since. He has served on staff as a counselor and as evening program director which he is excited to be doing again this year. JP is currently attending California State University at Long Beach where he studies marketing and film and looks forward to bringing his film talents to camp as he puts together the weekly recap videos. He also looks forward to entertaining the campers with some new and exciting evening programs.

Rose Ansara is beyond ecstatic to fly across the country from Grand Rapids, Michigan to play and skip through the mountains with each and every one of you! She is currently pursuing a major in Deaf Studies Specializations with an emphasis in Audiology. Rose has had the ultimate blessing to have worked within countless ministries such as the Antiochian Village, Special Olympics, The YES Program, Teen SOYO board, IOCC Real Break and now Camp St. Nicholas! Rose is thrilled to work at Camp St. Nicholas to build friendships and knowledge in the faith! (Not to mention the endless singing, dancing, and chores!!!)

Rachel Bargoot is from Boston, MA and is beyond excited to view the world from the west coast this summer! She is a sophomore at the University of Massachusetts Amherst as a Sociology major.  At school, Rachel is an active member of OCF and is looking forward to serving as an officer in the fall. She grew up attending the Antiochian Village and is delighted to be experiencing her first summer at Camp St. Nicholas. Rachel knows that she will learn so much from spending time at camp! She cannot wait to pray, dance, and play with campers and staff! 

Ethan Brown is from Ligonier PA, and he currently attends James Madison University where he is a member of Army ROTC, and majors in Intelligence Analysis with a minor in Military Science. Ethan has been a camper at the Antiochian Village since he was 11, and has been a staff member for both the Antiochian Village and Camp Catanese in previous summers. He is very excited to be on staff at Camp Saint Nick's this year, and applied because of all the great things people have to say about this camp! He can’t wait to meet all the campers and fellow staff members, and hopes this will be one of the best summers ever!

Sophia Cisneros is eighteen and goes to St. Peter's Church in Pomona, CA. She is currently a freshmen in college at Mt. San  Antonio college and is pursuing a career as a Nurse Practitioner. She has been a camper at Camp St. Nicholas since she was seven. Sophia wants to be a counselor this summer to bring campers closer to each other and to God. She wants her campers to learn as much and have as much fun as she did when she was a camper.

Jack Corbin is from Yorba Linda, California and is going into his junior year of college at Cal State Long Beach as a Human Resource Management major. Jack has been on staff at Camp St. Nicholas for the past 2 summers and has attended camp since he was 7 years old. He is excited to see/meet all of his campers, have beautiful church services, and of course beat the campers in the counselors vs. campers game. In his free time, Jack likes to watch an endless amount of sports, hang out with his friends, play basketball, eat, and sleep. Jack wants to be on staff at St. Nicholas because he loves the community and environment that is present and he is thankful that he is blessed to be a part of it.  

Joanna Howell is from San Jose, California and is going into her sophomore year of community college as a Psychology major. Joanna is currently working as a teacher’s assistant at Child Development Centers, specifically working with preschoolers and kindergarteners. She aspires to one day become a social worker for abused children and travel to India after her college education is completed. Joanna was a counselor at Camp St. Nicholas last summer and is beyond excited to be a returning counselor this summer. Joanna cannot wait to meet new campers and staff,  as well as to see returning ones. Joanna’s main goal is to make the camp experience of the campers the best it can possibly be. Camp Saint Nicholas is such a blessed and warm community and Joanna feels gratitude that she can be part of it.

Marcus Kinan is currently a student who will be going into his junior year of college at Wichita State University. This will be his first year at the school after spending two years living at home and going to Fullerton College. He has lived in Yorba Linda, California since the day he was born and is excited to see what Wichita, Kansas will have to offer him in August. This will be his third year being a counselor and he would not want to spend his summer anywhere else. He can not wait to reunite with his campers and friends from the two previous summers and is looking forward to creating new relationships this summer.

George Matta is from Livonia, MI. He just graduated from Michigan State University (Go Green!) with a degree in Nutritional Sciences.

George has been a counselor at other Orthodox camps and has participated in many things like YES and SOYO.

George wanted to be on staff at Camp St. Nicholas so he can finally experience the warmth and love he has heard so much about. Most of all, George is very excited to meet all the campers and form relationships with as many of them as possible.

Mary Pettygrove is from Pomona, California. She will be a Sophomore at USC, studying Choral Music. She enjoys snuggling her cat, drinking tea, and napping. She works at USC as a receptionist and she will be a Resident Advisor for incoming Freshmen. She has been going to Camp St. Nick’s since she was seven years old but this will be her third year as a counselor.  She is so excited to be a part of a wonderful community in Christ! 

Serena Sabbagh has heard that California girls are unforgettable so she decided to come all the way from Jersey and give it a try! She is a junior at Ramapo College of New Jersey as a Physical Therapy major. Serena was a camper at the Antiochian Village for 3 years and now wanted to see what Camp St. Nicholas had in-store as a first year counselor. She loves sitting in the sun with her fluff (Joey the pup) and could each sushi for breakfast, lunch and dinner. She cannot wait to have a blast and share the Love of God with everyone!

Taylor Salamone is SO excited to make the drive to camp from her home in Yorba Linda, California! She is currently counting down the days of school at Saddleback College so camp will come faster! She was once president of Saint Luke’s SOYO and is now involved in the churches GAP/YAM group. She has gone to CSN since she was 8 and has been both a CIT and a counselor. Taylor wants to be on staff at Camp Saint Nick’s again so she can learn how her and her house will serve the Lord (like Joshua in Joshua 24:15), make the longest lanyard in camp history, and sing her heart out at the camp dance with all the campers!! #YAY

Nick Salibi will be spending his sixth summer at camp and his second year as a counselor. He will be going into his second year of college this coming fall at Long Beach City College. Nick loves to play sports such as basketball, football, volleyball, and baseball. He also enjoys playing cards and going on hikes. Nick had one of the best months of his life last summer at camp and there was no way he could turn down the opportunity to come back for another summer. Camp has always been one of Nick's favorite places and he can not wait for another summer of dominating the campers in two towers and eating the majority of the cookies that get put out during snack time. 

Fareed Samaan has been going to camp for the past 10 years and this will be his first time at Camp St. Nick's. He can not wait for a great time and to see what Camp St. Nick is all about. He is going to be a sophomore in college and wants to achieve his goal of becoming a lawyer. He loves adventures and having fun with all while putting a smile on everyone's faces. He can't wait to see everyone so soon and have an amazing time and make great memories.

Gabe Smith is from Boston and is studying Theatre at Wesleyan University. Although he loves New England, he has always felt a mysterious and romantic calling to California. He likes poetry, winning, and church. He has recently become a vegetarian but sometimes still has dreams of rotisserie chicken. He grew up as a camper at the Antiochian Village, but for the last two summers he has been a camp counselor at a Russian Orthodox camp in France. Gabe is looking forward to being on staff with his brother Theo who he plans to beat at four-square. He cannot wait to hear everyone’s beautiful voices singing together in church. Gabe wants to be on staff at Camp St. Nicholas so that he can further discover God in communion with other loving humans.

Theo Smith is wicked excited to be returning to Camp St Nick for his 3rd year on staff!  He is coming all the way from Boston, where he just graduated from the University of Massachusetts studying engineering and Spanish.  He loves to read, travel when he gets the chance, and is crazy about dancing.  He missed you all last year and can't wait to get back into the swing of things!

Matthew Soot is entering his senior year at Western Oregon University, where he studies Exercise Science. He has come all the way from Oregon (which is not that far) every summer since he was seven, to be a part of the loving community nurtured at Camp Saint Nicholas. After graduating high school in 2014, he has been fortunate enough to serve on staff every summer since. Matthew wants to keep coming back to the place that gave him his best childhood memories and his dearest friends in hopes of providing other campers with the same joy and love he experienced while at camp!

Michael Soot is currently in his last few weeks of college, which seem to be going by very slowly because he can't wait to join the Camp St. Nicholas staff this summer. As a "priest's kid", he has been an altar boy since he was two years old, attended Camp St. Nicholas since he was seven years old, and has been a Sunday School teacher at his home parish in Oregon. Michael wants to be on the Camp St. Nicholas staff because he wants to find out what God has planned for him and his campers. He would also to continue to pursue his lifelong dream of beating the campers in the camper-staff basketball game.

Tati Speier is so excited to be a counselor at Camp St. Nicholas! She just graduated high school and is working towards becoming a labor and delivery nurse at Santa Barbara City College. Camp holds a special place in her heart. Last summer she was a CIT for camp and couldn't resist coming back to be a counselor. She is ready to be goofy and have fun with her campers, and experience the love of God with everyone there. 

Morgan Veilleux is SO pumped to be at Camp St. Nicholas this year. She is a junior Cinema Production major (Directing concentration) at Point Park University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is originally from Bethel, Connecticut but spends most of her time studying in Pittsburgh and being a beach photographer in Panama City Beach, Florida. This is her first year as a counselor at Camp St. Nicholas. Morgan grew up at the Antiochian Village Camp in PA and was a counselor there last summer. She is super excited to be at Camp St. Nicholas to grow along side each other, learn about ourselves and Christ, build lasting friendships, and most importantly spread joy and L.O.V.E. with everyone!!!

Mikaela Wisniewski is from Arizona and on her way to the University of New Mexico this fall to begin her freshman year. Lord willing, this is where she will major in Speech and Hearing Sciences to eventually become an Audiologist. Early on, Mikaela discovered her passion for serving others which was inspired by God and her beautiful church community. Over the years she has volunteered with Hospice and Special Olympics as well as participated in multiple SOYO outreach events. As a member of the Camp St. Nicholas staff, Mikaela is honored and excited to stand by all of the wonderful campers in support and love as they continue their growth into the truest Christ-like versions of themselves.