Wednesday, October 26, 2016

A divided France


At Canoe Island French Camp we encourage the development of our campers emotional and social intelligence through group activities and learning a new language and its culture. By engaging in a new language with people of different backgrounds from our own we begin to broaden our capacity for empathy and our world perspective.

France is currently undergoing a test of compassion with the recent rehousing of thousands of refugees from the town of Calais. A National Public Radio broadcast shares some of the responses to the rehousing, and brings into question how we as humans deal with the dire needs of displaced peoples and our own fear of the unfamiliar.

French counselors show their national pride on Bastille Day 2016

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Guillaume le conquérant

October 14, 1066

Guillaume of France and Harold of England bring their armies head to head and the epic Battle of Hastings ensues! This battle marks the beginning of French rule in England, and the introduction of 10,000 french words that are still used in English today. Travel back in time with historians in this recent news clip from France 24 to hear the story and see the places of this historic battle. Also enjoy this short video that explains the influence French has had on the English language.

Consider registering for our Session 4, les chevaliers where campers learn about this story and the code of chivalry!

campers learn to use a trebuchet during the chevaliers session

Thursday, October 13, 2016

A Day at Family Camp

Sometimes the best way to feel the value of a Canoe Island French Camp program is to delve into the favorite memories we have of it. Karen Leeds, who recently attended our Labor Day Family Camp shared some photos and memories that her family David, Eli and Nick will keep from their time at Canoe.

First thing in the morning we all gather at les drapeaux to raise the American and French flag while singing the national anthems. Karen expressed a fond memory she had of the experience:

"One of my favorite moments was when Eli cued up the singing of the French national anthem with 'un, deux, trois'! I had no idea he had picked up on how to do that and he'd never spoken a stitch of French in his life before that weekend!"

Eli giving folks an 'un, deux, trois'

After flag everyone heads to the Maxim's, our dining hall named after the famous restaurant in Paris. We all read the menu en français, and recite the benediction. Karen admits that after camp "we are still chanting 'tous sous le même toit!' around our house". French is woven into multiple aspects of programming, from meal times, to French class, and activities; it's easy for folks to apprendre le français. 

The days at Canoe Island French Camp are as structured or relaxed as you'd like them to be. We offer a wide array of activities for the whole family to try. Eli and Nick's favorites during the weekend included tomahawk throwing, a night paddle in the big voyageur canoe to witness the bioluminescence, and rock climbing on the far side of the island with our camp director Joseph Jones.

families get ready to circumnavigate the island aboard the voyageur canoe!

Great memories are formed outside of the planned activities as well. Dave enjoyed walking the trails around the island "there seemed to be something new and interesting to see everywhere we looked". Nights can be spent either in one of our platformed canvas tipis on our cots, or under the stars on the sports field. Nick and Eli chose the latter for one of their nights on island and have some favorite memories from their experience of dormant sous les étoiles. Eli loved "finding the Big Dipper. It was so dark so we could see so many stars". Nick also enjoyed experiencing the night sky "Sleeping in the field out under the stars was my favorite part. We saw so many shooting stars".

The view from inside the Leeds' tipi

Aside from the amazing natural surroundings and outdoor opportunities, it's really the people you meet and friends you make here on Canoe that form lasting connections. Another favorite memory of Nick's was, "playing new games with new friends". 

The final night at family camp we have a talent show that features anyone and everyone with something special to share. Karen relates her memories of that event as, "the talent show was such an unexpected surprise. It connected us to so many of the campers. And of course to see little Eli up there doing his thing, it was unforgettable". For those who weren't in attendance, Eli gave a memorable diablo performance!

With registration now open for all our 2017 programming, we hope you'll consider bringing your family to form your own memories and friendships here at Canoe Island French Camp.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

47 années des souvenirs, pourquoi aimez-vous Canoe?

Canoe Island French Camp, founded in 1969, is home to 47 years of memories, friendships and stories. Why do you love Canoe? I invite all those with connection to this special place to reflect on that question and let us know! Be it in the comment section here, or an email sent to

I'll start. Why do I love Canoe?

It's an island enchanted by years of shared experience, growth and exploration of culture and nature.

Campers and families find a sense of home and belonging to something bigger than themselves.

Our caring and attentive staff bring such passion and richness to the programming.

Grasse matinée!

Share with us why you love Canoe!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

le voila joli mois de Mai

Happy May Day! in France today is known as la fête du travail (labor day). All over France you will find vendors selling les muguets (lily of the valley). Lillies are often shared with friends and relatives as a sign of appreciation today. With that in mind, we'd like to show our appreciation for all of you by sharing this sweet poem avec quelques brins des muguets.

Here you are the pretty month of May
With your beautiful muguet
a little bouquet
to mark friendship...
a little bouquet
to bring happiness...
some sprigs of sweetness
some sprigs of happiness
on this first of may
to bring luck and joy

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Knights of the Round Table Trivia

Les chevaliers


The legendary King Arthur ruled Britain honorably and vanquished both human and supernatural foes. His loyal and righteous round table of knights accompanied him on many adventures. French writer Chrétien de Troyes wrote of sir Lancelot and the story of the Holy Grail. In the French region of Brittany, King Arthur is a well known personage. French and British lore and language have influenced one another throughout the ages. Les chevaliers session at Canoe Island French Camp focuses on these connections and culminates in our own quest for the Holy Grail and knighting of King Arthurs court! See how well versed you are in medieval knowledge.


1. qu'est-ce que c'est, "la joute"?
what is "jousting"?

2. qu'est-ce que signifie un blason?
what does a coat of arms represent?

3. quelles sont deux qualités d'un chevalier?
what are two qualities of a knight?

4. quelle tapisserie fameuse raconte l'histoire du Guillaume le conquérant?

what famous tapestry tells the story of William the conquerer?

Les réponses

Check back next week for the answers!

See how much you knew about le monde francophone by checking your answers.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

All the world's a stage!

Past camper and program assistant Yann Dardonville is no stranger to the world of theater. As a camper in 2011 he was part of an enthusiastic group who wanted their Soir au Theatre to be a reenactment of the entire story depicted in the Bayeux tapestry. For those who are unfamiliar with this tapestry, it depicts the Battle of Hastings, an important victory for the Normands (French speaking) against the English. The tapestry is 20 inches tall and 231 feet long! It was a wonderful play. Yann says that Canoe helped give him the confidence to act in his high school productions.

Yann is now a senior at the Bush School in Seattle and chose to direct a short play for his culminating project after three years of involvement with high school theater. He is one of five directors who have prepared pieces for the 2016 Bush School Student Directed Short Play Festival. Come support Yann and his fellow directors this Wednesday and Thursday, April 28th at 7pm in the Benaroya Theater at the Bush School!