A Board of Directors oversees and supports the operation of Canoe Island French Camp to help insure program and facility quality and safety.
Susan West, President
Susan West is an immigration attorney. She and her teenaged daughter Ria and their Golden Retriever Alex live on nearby San Juan Island, where Ria attends the Spring Street International School and sails competitively. The two of them travel extensively, most recently to Costa Rica; Thailand, Burma, and China; Greece, Italy, and of course France.
After graduating from Reed College, in Portland, Oregon, she went to graduate school at UCLA to study conservation biology, and attended the University of Michigan Law School. She loves to kayak, sail, cook, host friends, read, and garden. She is also a bit of a political junkie and is passionate about civil rights, immigrant rights, and art & science education.
Susan and her daughter sought out Canoe Island French Camp because it combines French language and culture, marine and conservation biology, and sailing in the beautiful San Juan Islands. They have formed deep bonds within its community of like-minded yet diverse people. Their love for Canoe Island began at Family Camp in 2011, and Ria has attended camp every year since 2012. Susan joined the board in 2012 and has been president since 2016.
Dan Root, Vice President
Dan is a Sleep Medicine Physician at Oregon Sleep Associates, in Portland, Oregon, He joined the Board in 2013. Originally from Houston, Texas, he moved to Portland for training and has lived the for most of the past 22 years. He has sailed in the San Juan Islands many times and has a love of the outdoors, French culture and cuisine, and science. He joined the Board and supports Canoe Island because “It is a wonderful combination of these interests in addition to a focus on internationalism and the environment.” His son Otis attends the French American International School in Portland, and along with his wife Julie, they have spent many wonderful weekends at the camp.
Laura St. John, Secretary
Laura was introduced to Canoe in 2008 through a family camp weekend and the whole family fell in love. They have been to family camp every year since. Her daughter Jillian has attended session 1 since turning 9 in 2011 and younger brother Reed is ready to go summer 2014. Both kids attend the French American International School and are fluent in French. Laura studied French in high school and has a large extended family in the south of France. Laura is a finance controller at Intel. She has an MBA and hopes her extensive experience in long term strategic planning can be put to good use for CIFC!
Shannon Tracy, Treasurer
Shannon Tracy is a CFO for Yalla Mediterranean, a Mediterranean cuisine restaurant chain. She grew up going to Canoe Island French Camp as a camper from age 10 to 16 years old and then returned for three summers as a counselor and Program Director. Shannon has been heavily involved with Canoe Island alumni since her graduation from UC San Diego, where she earned her degree in Economics and a minor in French Literature. Canoe Island was a major influence on why she pursued French in her college studies. She looks forward to the day her daughters, Amelie and Juliette, are old enough to attend French Camp.
Aaron Andrews grew up on Puget Sound, raised with a love for food and cooking. Upongraduating culinary school, Aaron began to travel the globe in search of the best things to eat and drink, including visiting France where he discovered excellent cheeses.
Interspersed between his many foreign adventures, his diverse culinary work experience included time spent working for a small organic farm on Vashon Island, cooking in fine dining establishments in New Zealand & Seattle, and being the owner of an award-winning ice cream manufacturer of eclectic local and seasonal ice cream flavors.
Aaron arrived on Canoe Island for the first time in the spring of 2012, having been hired as the chef for the year. Instantly falling in love with the wonder and beauty of the place, he worked a second summer, and kept connected to the Canoe Island family after that. In the summer of 2016, he and his wife were married on Canoe Island, which introduced the magic of the island to family and friends.
He currently lives in Sweden, and is looking forward to the day when his child can experience summer camp at CIFC.
Teresa Eyler is a high school French teacher in the Seattle area. She fell in love with the French language and culture while studying abroad in France during college. Although she grew up in Washington State, it took living 5000 miles from home to find out about Canoe Island. She was a counselor and program director for four summers and comes back for yoga and reunion weekends at least once a year. She had the opportunity to live and work on Lopez Island through a camp connection, and loved the island culture and community. Between Lopez and Canoe, she learned to throw pottery, knit, sing in a choir, and speak (a little) Spanish.
Teresa loves to take advantage of summers off to travel, and tries to go back to France as often as possible. Friendships made on Canoe have been long-lasting, and she feels lucky to have the time to visit these friends all around the world. When she is not teaching and traveling, she is singing in Seattle Ladies Choir, playing trivia, watching movies, or playing board games. She is thrilled to give back to the organization and community that has enriched her life so much.
Nataliya and her family connected with Canoe Island through her son, Constantine, who spent two summers as a camper on Canoe and an additional summer as a maintenance assistant. Her family lives in Seattle, WA. Her husband Nels loves the island and has helped with ongoing facility projects. Her son Constantine is a senior at West Seattle high school. Nataliya loves French culture and food and the community of people that Canoe Island brings together. Nataliya was born and grew up in Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine. She graduated with an engineering degree from Lviv Polytechnic University and later graduated with an accounting degree from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. She loves to travel and has traveled extensively across South Asia and Europe. Nataliya loves traveling, gardening, photography, and cooking.
She is a CPA who works for a public accounting firm in Seattle, WA and she is happy to be bringing her skills and experience to the Canoe Island team. Nataliya believes that Canoe Island provides great opportunity for children to spend time on the unique island and participate in the great summer camp program, enjoy the nature, and meet great team of camp directors, counselors and staff.
Creighton Hofeditz is a teacher and designer from Denver, Colorado. He first came to Canoe Island in the summer of 1998 as a 12-year old camper, and returned for three more years after that. He was then a counselor for four years, including one as Program Director. While he obtained a degree in theater from Northwestern University and his travels took him to Japan to teach English, he regards Canoe as the single most impactful experience and relationship of his life–tracing friends, music, a passion for teaching, and an abiding connection with the San Juan Islands to his time there.
After two years apprenticing on a permaculture homestead on Orcas Island, Creighton spent 6 years teaching public middle school in Denver. He currently focuses on adult education, design, and advocacy in the field of sustainable design and practice in urban areas. He is excited to work on the Canoe Board to help strengthen and enrich the place that has given him so much.
Mathieu is an engineering manager and leads operations engineering and innovation for Starbucks, in Seattle. He is originally from Lille, France, and was a counselor on Canoe during the summer of 2008. Mathieu has a Master’s degree in Mechanical and Automation Engineering from ICAM School of Engineering (France), and completed his thesis as a research scholar at Harvard University.
Although he only spent one summer as a counselor, Canoe Island has had a big impact on his life. Mathieu met his wife Eugenie on Canoe Island, where she was a counselor for two summers in 2007 and 2008. They have two children who were finally able to visit the island during family camp in September 2021. They both love Canoe and can’t wait until they are old enough to be campers.
Cristin Gordon-Maclean is a Seattle native who attended CIFC as a camper from ages 9-16 and returned as a counselor in 1998. Her introduction to the camp came through her older sister, who was also a camper for many years, and her French teacher from middle school. After a 20 year gap and time spent living on the East Coast, East Africa and the U.K., she returned to the island in 2018 for a yoga retreat and in 2019 for family camp. She was delighted to join the board in 2021 and looks forward to many more years of family camp and also sending her two young sons on their own in the future.
Her career focus and passion is improving the health and well-being of people worldwide through the development of new therapeutics, conduct of innovative and novel health research, and the delivery of high-quality health services. She is a team builder and program leader with extensive academic research experience, and a proven track record of guiding cross-functional teams towards complex outcomes. Prior to her current experience in oncology drug discovery and development, she spent 15+ years in the global health sector working in policy, service delivery and research across HIV/AIDS, cancer and reproductive health programs. In this work, she partnered with colleagues across sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, the Middle East and South America to implement health research, with a focus on capacity building to improve research and clinical care.
Assets that Cristin brings to the board are people management of global teams, non-profit administration and business operations, process development and improvement, financial management, and cross-cultural skills. Cristin also serves on boards and volunteers with other non-profits focused on education, children, and women in STEM.