The Wetfoot Blog

Thursday, March 24, 2011

At the Mic with Jeff Pereles

Spirituality, confidence, leadership, flexibility, and taking risks are a few things that Jeff Pereles, our current Board President, learned from his time at Camp Manito-wish YMCA and still holds these values close. Jeff’s journey at Manito-wish began in 1975 as a camper in Idlewild Cabin and continued through his Canuck in 1980. He then joined the staff until 1985. He has been a board member since 2002 and was welcomed as the Board President November 2010. Jeff will serve a two-year term.

Pereles, or as others may know him "Fearless Pereles," lives in Whitefish Bay with his best friend and wife, Lisa. They celebrated 25 years of marriage in August! Congratulations Jeff and Lisa! Jeff recently transitioned from Choice Construction where he was a co-owner to a position as a Consultant for Contractor Litigation Support at Benes & Krueger. Throughout his career he continues to utilize the leadership and confidence he learned at Manito-wish.

Here’s a bit more about Jeff…

Tell us about one of your favorite memories at Camp.
I loved the trail, so my favorite memory was at the beginning of each trip every year when we first got into the canoe and started paddling. We were either paddling away from Camp or the Outpost staff dropped us in Canada. A new adventure with new possibilities for discovery-what a rush!

As a staff member, my favorite memory was addressing a packed Nash Lodge and doing the announcements the first night of Camp when I was program director. The excitement and nervous energy was intoxicating. Looking out and seeing all these wide-eyed individuals, staff included, wondering what’s in store for the next three weeks. Subsequently, the energy at the last breakfast before their departure on the buses or being picked up when these same individuals looked and acted differently. They had a resolve in their eyes that exuded confidence, a higher self-esteem, and awareness that reflected a successful session, their hard work, and the hard work of the staff.

Since trail was your favorite part of Camp, what is your favorite piece of gear?

My favorite piece of gear was Garlic. When I was a counselor I used it in all of the food prepared on the trail. My campers called me the garlicman.

Tell us how you choose your current profession?

I always liked math, and my father owned his own business, so I thought, math + business equals accounting. I worked with a lot of construction clients when I first started in the field of public accounting. As a CPA, I developed an expertise for working with construction companies. I met my former business partner through my work as a CPA, and we eventually joined forces to form Choice Construction Companies, Inc.

Can you leave us with a Trail Tip of the Day as we all are gearing up for the summer?

My father told this to me a child and he had heard it from a friend. “If taken in the right way, every knock is a boost.”

Thanks to Jeff for his continued support and passion for Camp Manito-wish YMCA, and for sharing a bit of his story with our community!

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