Strathcona Park Lodge attracts and trains impressive individuals.
Olympians, world class mountaineers, MBAs and doctorates, entrepreneurs and overachievers have all graced our humble operation with their influence. They come for the lifestyle and stay because this place is good for you. We find employees love this place as they’re own. They care and that means guests enjoy unsurpassed service.
We’d like to introduce you to some of our staff. If you see them during your visit they’d love for you to say hello.
Myrna Boulding – Founder
Myrna, along with her husband Jim, was way ahead of her time, starting an eco-lodge in the 1950′s. Connecting with nature, offering healthy local food and doing more with less were things she not only taught but lived long before they were common place. When they started the Lodge Jim and Myrna were teaching full time in Campbell River and raising young children. Myrna says the lodge made it this far because exceptional people arrived just at the moment they were needed. Many of the stories of these “exceptional people” can be found in Myrna’s book “Survival, Strathcona Style: Off the Grid and On the Edge,” which she published in 2009 to celebrate the Lodge’s 50th anniversary.
Myrna’s five children all continue to have some involvement with the Lodge, outdoor pursuits and teaching, no one more so than her eldest son Jamie. He and his wife Christine took over the day-to-day operations of the Lodge in 1993 but Myrna continues to provide a guiding influence. Her life-long interest in nutrition and its role in good health dictates the kind and quality of food served at Strathcona. She will notice if you skip the vegetables at dinner in the Whale Room. Myrna’s partner of many years, Brian Gunn is a social and environmental activist, engineer, cowboy, former guest ranch owner and major project manager on three continents. Recently he spearheaded the Wilderness Tourism Association, and continues to fight to protect wild salmo
Jamie Boulding and Christine Clarke – Executive Directors
The dynamic duo keep the Lodge humming; Jamie runs the outdoor operations, while Christine manages finance and administration. With up to 70 staff and infrastructure to accommodate 150 to 200 guests they essentially run a small town off the grid.
Don’t let Jamie’s size intimidate you. At 6’6″ he’s a gentle sort of giant and impressively agile. He’s friendly, supportive, always willing to answer questions and pass on wisdom. No one knows more about Strathcona Park Lodge than Jamie. He grew up here. Beyond running a remote, wilderness lodge, Jamie is passionate about “teaching the teachers” and can be found on the water instructing the COLT program and Lodge staff. He is one of the most respected outdoor educators and paddlers in Canada holding certificates for master canoe instructor, senior whitewater kayak instructor and sea kayak full guide examiner. He volunteers on the Water Use Planning committee for our local watershed and invested countless hours developing standards and best practices in outdoor leadership and education. Previous to the Lodge Jamie went to the University of British Columbia where he was the Thunderbirds Varsity Basketball Team Co-Captain. He started rowing at UBC, landing a spot on the Canadian national team, where he met his wife Christine.
Seventh of nine children, Christine grew up trying to keep with all her older sisters and brother around the family farm near Embro, in southern Ontario. With a few Olympic rowers in her family, she did a lot of chasing, but the hard work paid off. She joined the junior national team in 1978, graduated from Princeton University and was on the Canadian national team from 1983 until 1988. The highlight of all the racing were the years spent training with intense, dynamic and brilliant athletic women, who introduced to her to Jamie. In Jamie she discovered another person to try and keep up with as Jamie is a natural at all things Strathcona.
After rowing she earned a graduate degree from University of Victoria before joining Jamie at the Lodge. In 2003 Princeton honoured Christine and recognized the Lodge with the Josh Miner ’43 Award for outstanding contributions to the field of experiential education. She has volunteered on the board of a number of community organizations and continues to ponder what responsibilities we have with all we’ve been given. If you’re at the Lodge on New Year’s Day she’ll try to talk you into jumping in the lake to start the year fresh and new. After eighteen years of sharing the job, Jamie and Christine also share an idyllic life with three beautiful daughters, much like Jamie’s own upbringing.
Andrea Stapff – Managing Director
Andrea came to Strathcona after 25 years of teaching and coaching in Canada and Australia. Like many Lodgies before her, Andrea moved from St Catharines, Ontario, to B.C. in search of “a place with bigger mountains and trees.” She found them on the west coast where she went to university and pursued rowing. She got pretty busy, graduating with a bachelors in political science and a masters in exercise physiology, and in her spare time making the Olympics and winning a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games with Canada’s national rowing squad.
After her rowing career she moved to Australia with her husband Chris. There she worked in sport science and as a physiologist for the Australian Women’s National Basketball Team. Back in Canada she taught and coached at a Vancouver Island boarding school for 10 years.
Andrea met Jamie and Christine in their rowing days and would visit them at the Lodge. “After visits with Christine and Jamie I always came away saying, ‘I’d love to work at a place like this.’” Luckily for the Lodge it all worked out. Andrea manages all the outdoor programming, ensuring everything runs smoothly. When she’s not at work, she can be found on her cottage deck with the husband, son and daughter, running on the local trails, ocean kayaking or rowing on the lake
Paul Chatterton – Program Director
If you organized a school program at Strathcona you probably dealt with Paul, one of the friendliest people you’ll meet. He spends most of his office time coordinating the couple thousand school-aged kids who come to the Lodge every year.
Paul grew up in Vancouver where he spent a lot of time on his bike. He graduated from Thompson Rivers University with an Adventure Travel Guide Diploma and a Bachelor of Tourism Management. He worked at various outdoor jobs around the province before coming to the Lodge. He has no plans of going anywhere else.
“The lodge is a special place,” he says. “The integrity and commitment of the Boulding’s to uphold the values of the Lodge is inspiring. It is great to have variety in work and I enjoy getting out of the office to work on trails, build new adventure elements and take groups rock climbing. Hearing about the impact our programs have on students makes it all worthwhile.”
Away from the Lodge Paul can often be found mountain biking on the smooth trails around Campbell River, where he lives with his wife Cheryl and their two energetic kids.
Dave Jackson – Chief Instructor
Haling from Hudson, Quebec, slightly west of Montreal, Dave has been living in B.C. for the past 6 years and now shares the chief instructor position with Sebastian.
Dave’s love for the outdoors was cultivated at a young age in the Adirondack Mountains south of Montreal; his dad taught him to climb at eight and he has been a Scout for 20 years. So it was no surprise that after high school he pursued a career in the outdoor industry. In Quebec and Ontario he taught white water kayaking and sea kayaking on the Rouge, Ottawa and St-Laurence rivers. He went to university at Laurentian University earning an Honours Degree in Physical Health and Education with a specialization in Outdoor Adventure Leadership.
Even after many years of outdoor education Dave still enjoys sharing the wilderness with first timers. “I love the look of amazement when you show someone something they never would have dreamed of, and it is right in their back yard!”
Sebastian Tashiro – Chief Instructor
Sebastian grew up in Goch, Germany which is 100km north of Cologne. After getting a degree in Geography, Sebastian continued his education to obtain a Master’s in Outdoor and Experiential Education. His passion for the outdoors has always been there and continues to grow as he spends more time climbing and mountaineering. He has also recently taken up the sports of canoeing and white water kayaking. Following his passion for the outdoors Sebastian has worked a variety jobs in the outdoors including; freelance climbing instructor, guide for school kids in the Swiss Alps, a ski instructor for VISAS, adventure based learning for school groups in Germany and co-instructed a COLT trip. One of Sebastians favorite places at SPL is going on a Bog Walk sharing the wonders of nature with others.
Gai Kay – Events Manager
Gai lived in the nearby community of Gold River as a part owner of a fishing lodge, driving past the Lodge on a regular basis. “I had always known about the Lodge but like a lot of people had always driven by not really knowing what they had to offer. I applied for a position in 2003 and have been here ever since.”
Gai grew up on a dairy farm in New South Wales Australia, moving to Canada in the 1980s with her three boys. Today she manages all the big events at the Lodge including weddings and family reunions. When she isn’t at work your can find her in the garden or cheering on the Vancouver Canucks! GO CANUCKS GO!
Jim Miller – COLT Director
Jim wears three hats at Strathcona. He’s the Canadian Outdoor Leadership Training director, coordinating and running the Lodge’s outdoor leadership semester; he’s COLT’s chief rock climbing and mountaineering instructor, joining almost all land based trips; and he’s constantly wearing a hat to cover his bald head.
Jim’s a constant presence during COLT and students will get to know his easy going personality well. His passion for wild country is contagious and his love of teaching as a chosen profession is a natural.
As a dual citizen of the US and Canada, Jim has traveled all over western North American seeking mountains, rock walls and snow covered ski slopes for play and work. Jim has been with the COLT program for seven years. Before COLT, he worked with Prescott College in Arizona, Outward Bound in the U.S. and B.C., and ran his own ski touring business out of Park City, Utah. Although he loves to explore the ocean coastline by kayak and has been known to jump on a river wave or two, mountains and the people that travel in them are his main interest.
Dr. Amy Dugas – Office Manager
Amy Dugas grew up in a small village on the south coast of England. She studied Geophysics in Liverpool and Dublin universities where she graduated with a doctorate in 2001 before working in the financial sector for 7 years. To balance out life in the big city Amy went on lots of adventurous holidays such as dog sledding in Arctic Sweden, mountaineering in Romania, canoe tripping in New Zealand and cattle sorting on horseback in the US. In 2009 Amy decided to take her interest in outdoor pursuits to the next level by doing the Canadian Outdoor Leadership Training (COLT) program and four years on, she is a full time Lodgie. “Experiencing the different seasons at Strathcona is very special- from the busy, summer fun to the quiet winter snows,” says Amy. When Amy is not in the office, she loves exploring her new home. “Kayak or canoe are my favourite ways to travel, and after last summer’s cross-Canada bike trip I guess I like biking too.”
Scott Ballhorn – Online Communications Manager and Outdoor Instructor
Scott grew up on a farm outside Wetaskiwin, Alberta, where he learned how to work with animals, handle heavy machinery and stop a slap shots. (His two older brothers made him be their goaltender.) From this eclectic background Scott formed a variety of passions, which eventually lead to Lakeland College, in Vermilion, Alberta, where he received a Diploma in Adventure Tourism and Outdoor Leadership. He then went to Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, BC (Degree in Bachelor of Tourism Management). He travelled and worked all over the world: France (tourism and construction), Italy (road cycle guide), Chile (developed sustainable tourism as part of a university course) and the Rocky Mountains (raft guide). On good advice from friends Scott came to the Lodge as an instructor. “I love to pass on my passion of the outdoors in a fun and educational setting,” he says. “I work with talented, fun and energetic people and I have everything I would ever want to do in the outdoors 30 minutes from my front door. I love that in one day I could potentially be snowboarding in powder, paddling a river, wake boarding, golfing, climbing and biking.” Along with instructing Scott manages the Lodge’s online presence, updating our blog, Facebook site and web page. Take a surf around, he’s always posting interesting stuff
Mike Martinson – Food and Dining Manager
Bio coming soon.