International Summer Camp in Canada


The notion of an international values-based camp evolved through discussions between Louis Gibeau and Jolanta Wnuk, now retired from Ekocamp. Although coming from very different cultural and political backgrounds, they both shared a passion for, and extensive experience in, internationalism.

They were both witnesses to, and actors in, a world which they felt was changing rapidly. Both were convinced that these changes were of such magnitude that previous theories would not be helpful in understanding the world of tomorrow. They felt that ultimately, understanding would have to come through the intimacy of human contact.

Louis Gibeau and Jolanta Wnuk

From left to right:
Alexandre Lafitte and Jean-Pierre L'Heureux

One of the conclusions they reached in common, resulting from their experience in such diverse countries, was that the natural openness of youth towards understanding cultural differences was a potential gateway to a better future.

With this in mind, Mr. Gibeau and Ms. Wnuk met with many camp directors in Quebec and Ontario and rapidly decided to join forces with Jean-Pierre L’Heureux.

With a degree in Physical Education, Mr. L’Heureux has been running camps for over 30 years. He has become one of the most experienced camp operators in Quebec. What most impressed Gibeau and Wnuk was the exceptional abilities he displayed with youth.

"He possesses that rare combination of empathy and discipline towards children," says Gibeau, "and the kids love and respect him for it."

Importantly, L'Heureux also wanted to go international. "For a long time, we had been getting a mix of Anglo and Franco campers," he said. "I could see first-hand the amazing benefits of kids learning each other’s language and developing friendships across cultural lines. If it could work well here, why not try it on a replicated global scale?"

In 2010, Ekocamp's administrators Mr. Gibeau and Mrs. Wnuk retired from a good 15 years serving kids and parents from all around the world. Their excellent work is now being continued by Ekocamp's new administrator: Alexandre Lafitte.

Alexandre came to Ekocamp with over 10 years of experience in the camp domain as well as in teaching. Fluent in French, English, Spanish and advanced in Italian, he has always been fascinated by different languages. He brings enthusiasm and youthful energy to the company, and both traits provide him easy contact to Ekocamp's young clientele. A graduate in Hispanic and Business Studies, he spent five summers working as a camp counselor, then two years as full-time camp director and ended up in 2008 at Ekocamp.

Curious by nature and open to other cultures, he has travelled in Central America, Alaska and Western Europe, and has spent periods living in France, Spain and Italy. In his free time, Alexandre acts as a Youth staff employee on cruise ships around the world.


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