The staff of Strathcona Park Lodge

People of Strathcona Park Lodge

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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.

Jamie Boulding and Christine Clarke

The dynamic duo keeps the Lodge humming; Jamie runs the outdoor operations, while Christine manages finance and administration. With up to 80 staff and infrastructure to accommodate 150 to 200 guests they essentially run a small town off the grid.

Jamie,-Tina-(Family-photo)

Jamie Boulding – President

Jamie surfing a tidal rapid at Surge Narrows.

Hometown:

Campbell River, B.C., now Strathcona Park Lodge since 1973

Typical day on the job:

Jamie is responsible for running the organization with a focus on empowering and training the employees. He’s the face of the Lodge and steers how the Lodge fits in the world. He also helps out whenever his extensive knowledge and experience is needed. A master of many skills, that may be plumber, contractor, general fixer, purchaser (even though “I’m cheap and don’t like shopping”) and instructor. He’s been teaching COLT paddling programs since he was a teenager.

Claim to fame:

A former national team rower and captain of the University of British Columbia basketball team, Jamie also competed at a high level in dragon boat paddling and whitewater kayaking. Around the Lodge people know the humble, 6’6″ giant more for his encyclopedic knowledge of just about everything to do with running the place.

Stats:

  • Placed 4th in rowing at the Pan-American Games
  • Canadian rowing Champion
  • Co-captain of the UBC Thunderbird basketball team in 1985 that placed 2nd in the CIS
  • Sea kayak examining guide and master instructor
  • Guide trainer for Paddle Canada
  • Small water system operator
  • Radio Operator

Why Strathcona:

Jamie started working at the Lodge as a teenager. After university he returned full time in 1986 and started managing the business in 1992. Running the operation with his wife Christine, Jamie’s goal is to “find a balance between a minimum footprint and creating the maximum impact for guests and staff.”

Favourite place at the Lodge:

Anywhere on Lodge property as long as he’s outside and feeling like he’s doing something tangible. “It could be pruning trees or kayaking on the lake,” he says.

Christine Clarke – Executive Director

Christine

Hometown:

Embro, Ontario; now Strathcona Park Lodge since 1992

Typical day on the job:

Christine oversees the internal decisions that govern the day to day operations of the Lodge, from human resources to running the office, programming to interacting with clients. Along with Jamie she steers the decisions that position Strathcona in the world.

Claim to fame:

A national team rower from 1983 to 1988, Christine’s highlights were two world championships and a Commonwealth Games Gold Medal. In 2003 Princeton University honoured Christine and recognized the Lodge with the Josh Miner ’43 Award for outstanding contributions to the field of experiential education.

Stats:

  • 4th place at the 1984 Olympics and a Gold at the 1986 Commonwealth Games
  • Bronze Medalist at the world rowing championships in 1985 & 1986
  • Bachelors degree from Princeton University
  • Masters degree in Public Administration from the University of Victoria.

Why Strathcona:

Her job provides “endless opportunities to learn,” she says. “The job has tremendous scope; so many different things demand my attention. It’s not possible to be bored.” It’s also a wonderful place to live and raise kids.

Favourite place at the Lodge:

Escalante, a remote, white sand beach on Vancouver Island’s west coast, where wolves, humpbacks and sea otters are the most likely visitors. “But with the right crowd it could be anywhere – a fun party in the Barn for instance,” she says.

Gai Kay – Guests Services Director

Gai-Kay

Hometown:

Taree, Australia, now Gold River, B.C. for last 33 years

Typical day on the job:

Gai oversees everything that goes on in the office and by extension much of the Lodge. She’s also a veteran Events Manager having planned and organized 93 weddings and even more family gatherings. Unofficially she’s the onsite counsellor, the chair in her office always welcoming in a crisis. “A lot of the staff see me as a surrogate mother,” she says. “They come to me to talk. It keeps me young, as well. My kids are older than many of the staff.”

Claim to fame:

An admitted hockey nut and long-suffering Vancouver Canucks fan, Gai learned to play hockey when she was 36 and went on to coach one of her sons’ teams. The highlight of her coaching career came when a team she was coaching got to play during the intermission of a Canucks game. She also has an impressive home garden; the flowers in the office are often picked from it.

Stats:

  • Raised three boys.
  • Ran a fishing lodge in Nootka Sound for 10 years.
  • Successfully organized more than 100 weddings as Strathcona’s Events Manager.

Why Strathcona:

“I just really enjoy the people and what I do,” she says. Even though there are a bunch of new staff every year they are always “incredible people,” she says. “They are always nice, respectful and encouraging.”

Favourite place at the Lodge:

The short hike along the Preece-Evans and Bog trails is a perfect way to unwind from a day of work, spend some time in the bush and get some exercise.

Paul Chatterton – Program Director

Paul

Hometown:

Vancouver, B.C.; now Campbell River

Typical day on the job:

Paul’s responsibilities may begin with a mail pick up on his way to work or other town business, but mostly he focuses on the logistics of visitors coming to the Lodge. With up to 4500 school kids and hundreds more summer guests visiting the Lodge each year that’s a lot of people to look after: meals, where they’ll sleep, programming, staffing, buying equipment and maintaining the boats, trails and other equipment they’ll use during their stay.

Claim to fame:

Paul’s number one passion is biking. He owns five of his own and is constantly considering adding to the collection. He grew up on a BMX bike, before discovering mountain biking early in the sports evolution on Vancouver’s famed North Shore. Now he’s just as happy exploring a backwoods logging road on a cyclocross bike as he is racing on buff singletrack.

Stats:

  • Yamnuska Mountain Skills Semester
  • Thompson Rivers University Adventure Guide Diploma and Bachelor of Tourism Management
  • Former director of the Federation of Mountain Clubs
  • Director Canadian Avalanche Centre
  • Coach hockey and cross-country skiing

Why Strathcona:

It’s all about diversity. “There are always new things I can do in my job,” he says. “It’s a small enough staff that I can take on new roles. I’m never pigeonholed.” And in his free time he likes that he can be skiing, biking, boating, hiking and surfing all within half an hour of his house.

Favourite place at the Lodge:

The main viewpoint on the Ridgeline Trail. “It looks down on the Lodge and out on the water,” he says. “It gives me a different perspective on what we do here, away from the chaos.”

 

Sebastian Tashiro – Co-COLT Manager

Seb

Hometown:

Goch, Germany

Claim to fame:

One of the few employees that ended up at Strathcona by accident. He and his girlfriend Julia were travelling in British Columbia looking for jobs. Stumbling upon a job opening at Strathcona he applied and was called for an interview, but the Lodge was not where his directions said it should be and he gave up on the opportunity. They decided to go hiking in Strathcona Park instead and passed the Lodge on their way. He stopped in, interviewed and was offered a job.

Stats:

  • Geography degree from the Ruhr-University of Bochum
  • Masters in Outdoor Experiential Education Philipps-Universitat Marburg
  • Graduate Diploma in Science. Victoria University of Wellington

Why Strathcona:

Sebastian believes everyone should live as good a life as possible. For him that means finding a balance between making a living, protecting the environment and having a positive impact on society. The Lodge comes closest to that balance of anywhere he’s been.

Favourite place at the Lodge:

The Bedwell Lake area in Strathcona Park. “I can go there again and again,” he says. “There are so many peaks, waterfalls and meadows.”

Julia Leibold – Co-COLT Manager

Julia-Leibold

Home Town:

Bergkamen, Germany

 

Claim to fame:

Julia wanted to become a lifeguard so she could go swimming all the time. Julia never became a lifeguard, but having a beautiful lake right outside her doorstep came pretty close to the main goal.

Stats:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Social Psychology and Education – University of Bochum, Germany
  • Master of Arts in Adventure and Experiential Education – University of Marburg, Germany
  • 13 years of Volleyball
  • Trekking and Mountaineering Guide License
  • Level 2 Sea Kayak Guide – SKABC

Why Strathcona:

Learning something new and being challenged every year is one of the main reason Julia likes working here. “Oftentimes we talk about places away from here as “the real world” because working and living here seems too perfect to be true sometimes. Imagine this: Your way to work is a walk in the woods, amazing food is made for you and you get to enjoy it in company with your friends, your work is fun and rewarding, on your day off you can putter around in the garden in the morning, go along with a group of climbers or kayakers in the afternoon and enjoy a peaceful evening on your porch playing music and listening to the birds. Meanwhile you keep meeting incredible personalities that inspire you to do good for the environment, people and the world. And it’s real!”

Favourite place at the Lodge:

At the Lodge – my balcony, definitely
In the area – The Burman River

School Program Manager

Typical day on the job:

Waking up in a cabin on a lake surrounded by mountains and an open sky, the morning commute has never been better. From there the day starts with a bustle of energy, meeting with all of our instructors and going over the many plans for the day. Then it’s back to the office planning, scheduling and scheming with our school partners on what the following weeks of adventure will hold.

 

Myrna Boulding – Founder

Hometown:

Comox, B.C; now Strathcona Park Lodge since 1973

Typical day on the job:

Retired from the day to day demands of the business Myrna still putters away to make the Lodge as attractive as possible. She works in the gardens and has input in the kitchen too, ensuring meals are healthy and delicious.

Claim to fame:

Co-founder of the Lodge with her husband Jim Boulding, Myrna is now Strathcona’s historian; her book, Living on the Edge, recounts the Lodge’s first 50 years. Her wisdom and interest in health and well being, particularly with regard to food, is recognized in the name of the restaurant on property, Myrna’s.

Stats:

  • Bachelor of Home Economics from the University of British Columbia
  • Certified teacher
  • Redding University Regional Planning PhD course
  • About 15 years of teaching high school
  • Founded Strathcona with her late husband in 1959.

 

Favourite place at the Lodge:

Dripping with fruit and oversized veggies, her garden has become her passion. Sitting just north of the Whale Room you can almost see the plants grow under her green thumb. Picky eaters who won’t touch veggies anywhere else eat lettuce right out of the ground here.