As talented in the outdoors as they are adventurous, we hire the best outdoor leadership instructors to create an amazing summer experience for our campers.
Jeff Willis, Owner, Founder
Since 1991, Jeff (aka Willy), has been developing and leading various camps, expeditions and outdoor programs throughout Canada, Japan, Germany and the Arctic. His love of outdoor education coupled with formal training and years of experience in youth and family work led him to create Fireside Adventures. He is the quintessential camp director – an energetic leader, creating meaningful experiences for campers and having a load of fun along the way!
Carmen Chandler, Assistant Director and Lead Instructor
Carmen Chandler Torontian by birth, west coaster by choice is a recent graduate of the University of Victoria’s Teacher Education program. With a passion for nature and the great outdoors Carmen spends a lot of her time exploring, learning, and teaching. She has volunteered with Girl Guides of Canada, specifically with the Trex program for 3 years running outdoor programs all over Vancouver island and the lower mainland. Other experiences include working in international summer camps, community centre after school programs, Indigenous camps, and as an intern with Outward Bound Canada. The idea of Paying it Forward is one of the biggest driving factors for Carmen's passion for Outdoor Education. As a teenager Carmen had the opportunity to take part in many different experiences. Being a part of the Fireside team is her chance to facilitate similar life changing experience for the next generation of youth.
Allie Livesey, Assistant Director & Lead Instructor
Allie has been playing in the dirt since she was a little sprout. Her love of the natural world has taken her in many directions (including up many mountains!) She has spent many years caretaking the land by working on organic farms, creating gardens, wandering through the woods, and wildcrafting. Over the past few years, her love of plants has taken root and bloomed into the world of herbalism. She is passionate about exploring and sharing the uses of the plants that inhabit our world, and creating dynamic learning environments to share this spark with others. When she’s not out exploring the forest, Allie has worked in youth centers, YMCA day camps, girls empowerment groups, after school programs, and is currently working at a nature connection and education centre in Ontario. She loves to bring people of all ages outside! She hopes that through her work with Fireside Adventures she can help others foster a deep connection and relationship with themselves, each other and with the land.
lenaya sampson, Lead Instructor
I am a Nlaka’ paumx woman who works, lives, learns and plays within Squamish, Musqueam and Tsleil-Waututh territories. I joined Sparrow to help youth and young adults connect to their roots and potential by experiencing the benefits of outdoor education and Indigenous leadership training. As an Indigenous youth, I have personally experienced and developed from the benefits of strength based and experiential leadership courses like Sparrow.
For the past 7 years I have grown immensely from being a camper, intern and now staff with Fireside Adventures. Throughout all my life experiences, I have witnessed the positive impacts of children and youth rediscovering themselves as they develop a stronger sense of resiliency and positive personal identity when reconnecting with the land and accepting the support from others.
As Indigenous people, we are dynamic, resourceful, driven and much more. My "Indigenous Roots" are nurtured by my values of family, community building, personal development and following traditional teachings. I look forward to being your instructor and a positive character in your story this summer as you join Sparrow.
Felicity Feinman - Community Engagement Strategist and Communications Coordinator
Felicity Feinman has broadcast live video from the Northwest Passage, recorded audio postcards in rural Tanzania and served on a Canadian trade mission to the United States. In short, she loves a challenge. She brings seven years of experience in communications to the table as well as a bachelor's degree in journalism. She is a Jill of all trades and counts among her skills: strategic communications, excellent writing, bilingualism, social media content production, videography, photography and 360 videography. Felicity is also a certified Wilderness First Responder and Stand-up Paddleboard Instructor. She cares deeply about the environment, reconciliation with Canada's Indigenous peoples and social justice. Felicity loves working with Fireside to build a better world through radical empathy.
Jess Dick, seasonal instructor
Jess Dick is thankful for her small town start to life in Alberta, Canada. It was on horseback she quickly developed a sense of adventure, a strong work ethic and respect for nature. When she finally climbed down from the saddle, Jess found herself on a volleyball court. An amazing opportunity to play university ball arose in New Hampshire, USA where she graduated with a BSc in Environmental Science: Soil and Watershed Management. Jess set off to India to volunteer on farms; this one-way ticket resulted in six years in numerous Asian countries, where she worked as an ESL teacher, SCUBA Divemaster, travel writer and experiential education instructor. These experiences allowed her to become deeply connected to nature, increase her understanding of self, and create a passion for her to share her knowledge with others. With a recent transition back to Canada, Jess wants to better understand, support, grow and explore the local cultures.
Daniel Macías Barajas - Latin American Sales Coordinator
Daniel creció en el mundo del campismo, de niño atendió campamentos en México y Estados Unidos. Daniel tiene un Master en Gestión y Dirección de Centros Educativos por la Universidad de Barcelona. Sus veranos de estudiante los pasó siempre trabajando como miembro del staff en varios campamentos en Estados Unidos, Canadá, Alemania y España. Desde 2007 dirige la corporación International Camps Network a través de la cual gestiona recursos y fomenta la promoción de una vasta red de Centros Educativos al Aire Libre especializados en técnicas de Aprendizaje a través de la Experiencia. Entre los programas que dirige se encuentran Camp Europe y Camps Canada, éste último programa fortaleció los lazos con Fireside Adventures para crear una sinergia donde Daniel es ahora oficialmente el coordinador para Latinoamérica de Fireside Adventures. Y está muy emocionado por ello!
Sophie Hong Truong
Sophie graduated with a Diploma of Teaching and has gained many experience in education field for the past years. She loves spending time outdoors with students. Sophie has always wished to introduce not only the beauty of Canada’s nature but also the thrilling, rewarding Fireside Adventure Camping Programs to everyone in Southeast Asia. Fluent in both English and Vietnamese, Sophie will be a great helper to provide you with many useful information about various Fireside Adventure Programs.
Maria Jose (Majo) - Community Connector
Maria Jose (Majo) was born in Ecuador, which is located in the middle of the world and it is considered one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. Since she was child, she grew up traveling and learning about the unique ecosystems of her country. She loved to be outside and witnessed the breathtaking landscapes of her country. Her passion about nature leaded her to study Environmental Engineering. During her studies she realized that Education is a key factor in the preservation and the conservation of nature, as well as the mitigation of the environmental issues the world faces. It is important to mention that Majo is very passionate about Indigenous studies. Ecuador, as well as Canada, was conquered by Europeans and since then the Indigenous peoples have been fighting against environmental and social discrimination.
Majo decided to come to Canada and get her Master’s degree in Environmental Education in the University of Saskatchewan. Currently, she is living in Vancouver and she is exciting about this new period of her life where she is seeking to make a positive impact in the community.
Jesse Colautti - Instructor
For more than ten years, Jesse Colautti has been working with youth outdoors as a camp counselor, programmer, and director. Although originally from Toronto, Jesse has made it his goal to explore all corners of Canada’s backyard, which he’s been luck enough to experience through the Katimavik youth volunteer program, a master’s degree in Vancouver, summer camp in Manitoba, and frequent cross-county road trips. Currently based in Calgary, Jesse coordinates youth cross-country ski programs and is a pre-service teacher in the education program at the University of Calgary.
Myia Antone - Instructor
Myia Antone is a proud youth from Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation), as well as Ukrainian and Norwegian roots. She just graduated from the University of British Columbia on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ speaking Musqueam people, where she studied Environment and Sustainability and First Nations and Indigenous Studies. While her studies brought her to Vancouver, she was given the opportunity to live and study on Haida Gwaii to learn from the Haida community, and attend Dechinta Bush University, to learn on the land from Dene Elders, community members and Indigenous scholars.
Growing up in Squamish, she got to explore and love the land that her ancestors have occupied since time immemorial. Grateful and humbled by this, Myia is always looking for more opportunities to connect other people to her traditional land and water.
You can find Myia hiding in the mountains, swimming in the ocean or drinking coffee at an unreasonable hour.
TJ Turenne - Instructor
TJ was born and raised in beautiful British Columbia in a small boat-access only community called Gibsons. He graduated from the University of Victoria’s commerce program in entrepreneurship, but his passion for the environment has always led him to work in the great outdoors. TJ got his start in the outdoor education field working as a camp counsellor with the David Suzuki Foundation and has since worked as a nature-educator and interpreter for BC Ferries and Parks Canada. He is currently working as a program coordinator at a bilingual environmental education centre in Ontario.
TJ is a self-propelled travel lover and language learner. He is fluent in English and French, and is currently learning Spanish and Thai. His world adventures have brought him paddling, backpacking, and cycling in bio-regions everywhere from Africa to Southeast Asia. Throughout these experiences he has come to appreciate how outdoor adventures can empower us to deepen our connections across cultures and differences. He is now on a personal mission to inspire others to deepen their connection with the natural world in their own communities. He believes the first step to caring about nature is experiencing it first-hand and this summer he is eager share the natural beauty of his own backyard, the Salish Sea.
Anna Zaleska - Artemis Director
I am humbled and excited to be a part of Fireside Adventures team, as director of the Artemis Program. First, you should know a little about our amazing muse:
Artemis is the Greek Goddess of the Hunt, Forests and Hills, the Moon, Archery. She is known as the goddess of the hunt and is one of the most respected of all the ancient Greek deities. Daughter of Zeus, and the Titaness Leto and she has a twin brother, the god Apollo.
I have a feeling that Artemis herself will be leading us on our great adventures, as she is somewhat of a soul sister to me.
As director of Artemis I hope to foster an intimate, relaxed and unforgettable group experiences that will help you reach new heights and achieve more than you ever thought possible. This might be a tiny goal, like traveling solo, taking a hike longer than to the corner store, or even jumping into a 2 week rafting expedition. Heck, insert life changing dream here), and Artemis has got your back! Artemis groups are an inclusive, open minded, supportive tribe of women who are thirsty for adventure, reconnecting with themselves and finding their spark! Group travel, from my experience have so many benefits, beyond solo travel. Your power to break through barriers and negative mindsets is amplified in a fresh environment, and with a team of supportive tribe to cheer you on. This is Artemis! Respect, empathy and connection are key values on all our adventures. With these values as a must, let’s follow Artemis into the woods a bit further...
A little bit about me: I am a working mom of two wild and ‘spirited’ girls. Motherhood has been an inspiring and amazing experience, but as many of us know, it can be gruelling. I am humbled and inspired by moms working their buts off every day! I’ve been a stay at home mom, and juggled work / daycare schedules. It’s all tough! The full time ‘mommy’ identity was all consuming, and I lost my ‘spark’, my self confidence by focusing on others 100% of the time, rather than nurturing myself, heck, or even taking a hot shower. I know what it is like to be pulled in a million directions at once, and being overhwhelmed by the myriad parenting advice. I needed to slow down, take the time for myself, and refocus.
I believe that as women, we are meant to unearth and find ourselves again and again, rebuilding and moving forward with new strength. There is nothing stronger than a woman rebuilt. Oh yes! I genuinely hope that you take the time for yourself and lean into a new adventure. It might just be the boost you need to reconnect and take on those big dreams that are ahead!
I love that Artemis is a camp for women. Girls, women, and mothers share a connection. Our girls at Artemis are future leaders, community builders, changemakers and stewards of our planet. Their strong voices need to be heard now, more than ever. Artemis camps for our kids will be focused on helping them recognize the qualities of leaders, use their strengths, and develop their unique leadership style. Artemis experiences will be full of fun, challenges and activities which will strengthen and nourish young leaders, and develop their self confidence so they know the are valued I want to hear them roar and change the world.
For the mother and child camp Artemis delivers what I wish for my own family: joyful memories, laughter, tools for authentic communication, and shared experiences to deepen the bonds that will light the road ahead.
So let’s follow the path of Artemis, and begin our adventures! Aim your arrow high, grab a friend and lets get moving!
Caleb McIntyre - Instructor
Caleb is a second-generation settler born and raised in Coast Salish territory on beautiful Vancouver Island. Drawing from over ten years of experience leading outdoor adventures both at home and abroad, Caleb brings passion and intention to his role while injecting valuable lessons that resonate with audiences of all ages, cultures, and experience levels. Caleb's professional and academic experience as a geographer, business developer, and community leader supports his mission to deliver engaging, enriching, and risk-managed courses that help participants strengthen relationships with themselves, each other, and the natural world in which we thrive. When not guiding expeditions or conducting research, Caleb can be found hosting community art parties, writing music with friends, or exploring his home region by land or at sea.
We hire the best instructors to lead all our summer camps. The same qualified staff lead, teach and guide for the entirety of each program, ensuring consistency for campers. Our instructors must have the following:
• Valid driver's license
• Wilderness first aid and/or First Responder training
• Lifeguarding (at least one instructor per program will have this)
• Outdoor wilderness training
• Criminal record check
• Post secondary education
• English-teaching ability (for ESL camps)
Each camp will have one to two interns who are Fireside Alumni
Ratio: 1 instructor/intern per 8 campers