Working at Canoe Island French Camp can be a unique experience both for those visiting the United States for the first time, and for those from Canada and the United States who are already familiar with the Northwest US. With a small staff of 22 and only 46 campers at a time, staff and campers quickly get to know each other, making for a family atmosphere in camp. Away from the distractions of modern technology, highways, and malls, campers tap into their own creativity, curiosity and desire to learn.
Summer on a private island in the San Juan Islands can be a memorable experience. Be a part of an enthusiastic, creative, fun, and professional team who are dedicated to bringing French language and culture alive for children ages 9-16 and families.
Campers look to counselors for acceptance and understanding, and hence, counselors have a significant impact on campers' self-esteem and confidence. You will gain experience in the areas of leadership, communication, organization, and teamwork, as well as further your knowledge of French and French culture and history.
Counselors need to be at least 18 and have had at least one year of college, be conversant in French and English, be able to teach French at least at a beginning level, and be able to lead one or two of the activities listed below (see Job Descriptions for more details). Training week, the week prior to the first week of camp, will cover such topics as safety, emergency response, and working effectively with children.
Counselors live in tipis on wooden platforms with cots, mattresses and electric lights with 4-5 campers and are expected to speak French most of the time and be able to hold conversations in English. Time off is 36 hours between each session and at least 2 hours per day. Contracts are for 10 weeks of camp plus one week of staff training in mid-June. Additional work may be available in spring and fall with family and group programs.
The Program Coordinator works closely with the Camp Director to plan each day's activities, plans special activities, oversees counselor-led activities, and makes sure each day runs smoothly. This person often shares a tipi with campers.
The Chef and Sous Chef should have experience cooking for groups, be classically trained, and be interested in cooking recipes from the cuisines of France and other Francophone countries that are interesting to young people. A knowledge of vegetarian cooking is expected.
One of our most valuable assets is our past campers, and we hate to lose their participation just because they have passed the top camp age of 16. In an effort to keep our alumni connected to camp, we have established three summer volunteer positions so that they can still take part in the fun of Canoe Island, work on their French language skills, and have a more mature and responsible role. Applicants for these positions must be at least 17 years of age by the start of work, be a past CIFC camper, be mature, responsible and self-motivated, and must be able to understand the importance of establishing boundaries between campers and staff. Volunteers will receive free room and board in exchange for helping with the program, the maintenance, or with the chefs in the kitchen.
Each of the positions will be for 5 weeks. Three volunteers will work Sessions 1 and 2, and three volunteers will work Sessions 3 and 4. Transportation will be provided between Canoe Island and ferry-served Orcas Island
Counselors should apply in December or January as very often all positions are filled by the end of February. Volunteers are selected by February 1.