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 for the people. Our employees love this place as their own, and continue to set an industry standard with their knowledge, service and passion.
While it takes a village, these key players keep operations ticking. Meet our team of managers and directors:
Jamie Boulding and Christine Clarke
This 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 200 guests, they essentially run a small town off the grid.
Jamie Boulding – President
As the son of Jim and Myrna Boulding, Jamie started working for the family business as early as the age of nine, when he remembers pumping gas. At the age of 15, he was teaching canoeing, then at 17, in 1978, he was already leading groups. Jamie then moved to managing the Lodge in 1993. Active in all aspects of the operation, he continues to steer the vision and values of the Lodge, alongside his wife, Christine.
When he’s not instructing, operating a small water system, or fixing something around the Lodge, the humble 6’6” giant is happiest when he’s outside or doing something active. He is a sea kayak guide examiner and instructor, and a trainer for Paddle Canada, not to mention a former National Team rower, and captain of the UBC basketball team.
With the ultimate goal of finding the balance between a “minimum footprint” and creating a “maximum impact for guests and staff,” Jamie continues to educate and empower the Lodge community with his passion for sustainability and outdoor recreation.
Christine Clarke – Executive Director
Hailing from Embro, Ontario, but calling the Lodge home since 1992, Christine oversees the internal decisions that govern the day-to-day operations of the Lodge. Whether it’s programming, human resources, office work, or ensuring that clients are well taken care of, no task is too big or too small. Alongside Jamie, Christine steers the decisions that make the Lodge what it is today.
Her efforts have not gone unnoticed, and in 2003 Princeton University honoured Christine and recognized the Lodge with the Josh Miner ‘43 Award for outstanding contributions to the field of experiential learning. She is a major force behind the scenes and loves that her job is never boring, and provides endless scope and opportunities to learn.
Like Jamie, Christine has a passion for outdoor pursuits, and has achieved excellence in sport. From 1983 to 1988, Christine was National Team rower, winning fourth place finish in the 1984 Olympics, two bronze medals at the 1985 and 1986 World Championships, and a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in 1986.
While Christine still loves being on the water, today she spends her free time exploring remote areas of Vancouver Island’s west coast with her family, and on occasion can be found kicking up her heels at a barn dance.
Gai Kay – Guests Services Director
Gai has called Gold River home for over 30 years, but hails from Taree, Australia. Always up for a challenge, Gai ran a fishing lodge in Nootka Sound for ten years, raised three boys, and learned to play hockey at the age of 36. She loves being outside, and spends her free time cultivating her impressive home garden.
As the Lodge’s Guest Services Director, Gai has overseen the office team since 2005, and has organized hundreds of weddings and family gatherings. With her calm presence, and practical demeanour, she is seen by many of the staff as a surrogate mother and unofficial onsite counsellor.
Like many who stay long-term, she loves the community of incredible people, and enjoys the constant problem-solving of her position.
Paul Chatterton – Program Director
As the Program Director since 2006, Paul is responsible for the thousands of school kids and hundreds of summer guests visiting the Lodge each year and like most Lodgies enjoys not being pigeonholed. His position offers fun challenges and constant diversity that keeps things exciting.
With a Yamnuska Mountain Skills semester, an Adventure Guide Diploma, and a Bachelor of Tourism Management from Thompson Rivers University under his belt, Paul brings a wealth of experience to his position. Paul also serves as a volunteer on the board of directors for Avalanche Canada and the BC Camps Association and is a past board member of the Federation of Mountain Clubs of BC.
When Paul isn’t at the Lodge, coaching hockey and skiing, or spending time taking his family on adventures, Paul can be found on one of his bikes (the collection is growing). But, while he grew up on a BMX bike, and was an early member of North Vancouver’s mountain biking scene, today he is just as happy exploring backwoods logging roads as he is on buff single tracks.
Sebastian Tashiro – Co-COLT Director
After stumbling upon the Lodge on his way to hike in Strathcona Park, Sebastian was hired as an instructor, and has since moved up the ranks to be the Co-COLT Manager, a position he shares with his partner, Julia. While originally from Goch, Germany, Sebastian and Julia have made a home at the Lodge over the years, and are an integral part of the community along with their young son, Felix.
With a geography degree from Ruhr-University of Bochum, a Masters in Outdoor Experiential Education from Phillipps-Universitat Marburg, and a Graduate Diploma in Science from the Victoria University of Wellington, Sebastian is a knowledgeable and welcome addition to the Lodge’s Program Office.
He strives to find a balance between making a living, having a positive impact and protecting the environment. For him, the Lodge is a great place to achieve that. The close proximity to peaks, waterfalls and meadows isn’t so bad either.
Julia Leibold – Co-COLT Director
As a Level 3 Sea Kayak Guide (SKABC) with a Mountaineering Guide License, a BA in Social Psychology, and an MA in Adventure and Experiential Education, Julia is another well-qualified addition to team. Also from Germany, Julia grew up an avid swimmer and competed in volleyball for 13 years.
Always keen to learn something new, she enjoys the challenges that each year brings. With the setting, the people and the work, life sometimes feels a little too good to be true… but she doesn’t question it too much. While she is always keen to explore new areas, she has a soft spot for her balcony, and loves spending time on the Burman River.
Sophie St-Pierre – Co-School Program Manager
Joining us from Compton, Quebec, our Co-School Program Manager, Sophie, has a Bachelor of Business Administration with a Minor in Management, as well as a Diploma in Adventure Tourism. These days, when Sophie isn’t making schedules, planning meals, transporting groups, shadowing instructors or organizing school groups, she can most likely be found shepherding around her three-pound puppy, Fuego.
In addition to being a successful dog owner, and an excellent karaoke MC, Sophie has an adventurous streak. She learned to oar raft on the Colorado River, and boasts a perfect line through Lava Falls, which has some of the fastest navigable water in the northern hemisphere.
Sophie chose the Lodge for the community and the location, and stays because it feels like home. She also believes in the core values. Her favourite place on property is in the apple orchard, and on clear evenings you might find her frolicking with Fuego through the tall grass.
Jessica Merrikin – Co-School Program Manager
In 2010, Jess found her way out of the concrete jungle and made her way to Sault College in Sault Ste Marie. It was here that she earned a diploma in Adventure Recreation and Park Operations, and became really good at push-ups.
Since graduating, Jess has done her fair share of exploring — she has guided backcountry canoe expeditions in Northwestern Ontario and Minnesota, taught Outdoor Education in Australia, and consistently looks for new and exciting ways to recreate in nature.
When Jess isn’t “teaching the kiddos,” she spends her time ski and cycle touring, climbing rocks and kayaking the seas. These days her head is in the mountains more often than not, but she still nurtures a soft spot for water sports.
She first found herself at Strathcona as an instructor in 2015, and has since developed a love for the food and the people. She keeps coming back for more, and enjoys being able to share her passion for outdoor recreation and stewardship as the Co-School Program Manager.
Allie Nassichuk – Co-Chief Instructor
As one of our Chief Instructors, Allie provides support for the instructors, and is a major organizing force behind the daily programs that happen around the Lodge, that is, when she’s not being distracted by puppies.
With her BA in Therapeutic Recreation, and years of outdoor instructing experience, Allie aims to have a positive impact on the next generation by building confidence, self-awareness, and respect for nature through outdoor recreation.
Allie values the sense of community that the Lodge provides, and loves being able to play a role in creating fun, new experiences for young people in the outdoors. When she isn’t working, she can be found shredding on her bike, or chilling by the water. She is a true BC woman at heart, and when she’s not at the Lodge, she calls Victoria home.
Ryan Schissler – Co-Chief Instructor
As Chief Instructor alongside Allie, Ryan shares a passion for the outdoors and a willingness to learn. In addition to program scheduling, he is always keen to support Lodge instructors with a bad joke or a listening ear.
Originally from Ottawa, Ryan completed a Diploma of Adventure Tourism at the College of the Rockies, and has a wealth of certifications with 80 hours of wilderness first aid, whitewater and avalanche rescue, and his AOG. He is also a former amateur unicyclist, and has a few hidden talents up his sleeve.
After work, he likes to run or bike on the trails on property, and has a soft spot in his heart for the sauna.
Myrna Boulding – Founder
As the founder of the Lodge with her late husband Jim, Myrna has been integral to its success and active in the Lodge’s evolution over the years, seeing literally thousands of students and staff come through its doors. While today she has retired from the day-to-day demands of the business, she still influences the vision and values of the Lodge.
With a Bachelor of Home Economics earned from UBC in 1956 followed by 15 years of teaching high school in Campbell River, her passion for outdoor education, shaping young minds and interest in health and well-being remains. Today she spends much of her time working in her expansive garden, and is the authority on the Lodge’s history. Her book, Survival: Strathcona Style, recounts the first 50 years of the Lodge, and is a compilation of artwork, photos, poems, maps and stories from many of the first “Lodgies” to call Strathcona home.