Making the Most of Incomparable Surroundings

Outdoor Center Director Craig Paiement

Craig Paiement has lived in many places—18 at last count, including California, Colorado, West Virginia, Thunder Bay, Ontario, and Indiana—all with diverse offerings. “But none compare to what Plymouth and New England as a whole bring to the table,” he says. 

His life experiences, both personal and professional, are as varied as the places he has called home. Paiement is a former professional triathlete, adventure racer, strength and conditioning coach in the Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles minor league systems, field instructor, operations and logistics coordinator, and college professor.  All of these things, he believes, have brought him to his current job as faculty in adventure education and the Outdoor Center director. He said it is his dream position, even if the path to get here wasn’t a straight one. 

“My last job on a three-year contract at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario, was coming to an end and I saw this job at Plymouth State, and it was exactly what I was looking for,” says Paiement, who has twin 13-year-olds. “I like teaching, but I also like working outdoors with students.” 

“I came into this position weirdly angled. This is more of an evolution than the next step.”  

Colleague Christian Bisson, a professor in adventure education, has been impressed with his fellow Canadian native in the short time he has known him. He feels Paiement’s many different experiences will lend well to his dual position. 

“Craig is coming in with a diverse background and doesn’t have just one type of skill, and I think that will help as an outdoor educator,” Bisson explains. “He has worked with some of the best scholars and outdoor programs in the country.” 

Paiement even intends on using his current work on renovating his new house in the area for his work at PSU. He has been knocking out walls, stripping rooms down to the studs, and installing wood floors, all mostly new experiences for him. He says the unknown and necessity of using a process to complete the task is not unlike what is needed to succeed in the field. 

“This house project is metaphorically very similar to trips in the field, and connects in the same ways from a learning and human development standpoint,” Paiement says. “There is a process and an order, and you have to be patient.” 

While Paiement is bringing a little bit from all of his experiences to his new position, he also fully intends on making the most of his new surroundings. He mentioned that the immediate area boasts great places for camping, hiking, rock-climbing, white-water rafting, and biking, all of which will benefit students in his classes and at the Outdoor Center. He plans to get as many students involved as possible, even if they are not in the adventure education program. 

“When you live and come to a place like this, you have to get outdoors,” says Paiement. “It’s winter for a good chunk of the time you are here so it is important students are engaging in the outdoors. As the Norwegians say, ‘there’s no bad weather, just bad clothing’.”