Friday, June 16, 2017

Helping your child get ready for camp food

Having a child or teen who is a picky eater can be challenging at home, school and during social engagements. Many parents worry how their child will do at summer camp away from the safety net of regularly accepted foods and plunged into the unfamiliar world of camp fare. My advice is, to go for it. Not only will the camper gain a multitude of enriching life experiences at summer camp they will be introduced to a rich food experience, especially at Canoe Island French Camp.

April's son, Evan, enjoying fresh mussels

The heart of Canoe’s food program is in providing thoughtful food experiences which focus on local ingredients that are minimally processed. Campers have responsibilities in the family service dining area and the Chefs are vital members of the staff and frequently share the recipes and cooking process with the campers. Three well balanced meals and at least one snack are served each day. Campers have choices of typical and novel foods throughout each session and meals are a time to gather, share about the day and an integral component of each session’s theme. Campers, counselors and staff all eat together at Canoe in a family style, community dining room and the peer interaction is rich. Food variety and mindful eating are modeled. Because Canoe is a small island, nearly all food is shipped in from the larger San Juan Islands & mainland. Water use on the island is tracked so there is a nice emphasis on how the footprint of campers effects the local ecology. Eating seasonally, composting scraps and using untouched leftovers are important.

As a dietitian who specializes in pediatric feeding and swallowing disorders, Canoe Island French Camp provides an optimal environment for expanding food repertoire for all kids because they intergrade mindful local eating and weave food-based cultural experiences, celebration and cooking into the curriculum of camp. Cooking classes are one of the most loved activities and each 2- or 3-week session closes with a plated, 7-course Bon Voyage banquet complete with multiple cutlery, wine glasses, and a cheese course.

Problem eaters are typically defined as people who consume a limited number of foods, often less than 10 or 15 weekly. They may shun whole food groups or eat only specific textures of foods or brands of food. They frequently demonstrate rigidity in other areas of their life, have other sensory-based issues, growth challenges and sometimes anxiety, especially if pushed or forced to try a new food or flavor. If you have a potential camper who has these tendencies, a talk with staff is advised. In this situation checking out one of Canoe’s shorter family camps may be a good starting point. Do make sure to allow your child the opportunity to eat near peers and staff and avoid negative language around dining. A good starting place is to offer two familiar safe foods at each meal with the expectation that there is exposure- in seeing, touching and possibly a taste of a new food.

Bon appétit, explorateurs de la nourriture

April Mitsch, Pediatric Dietitian
Assistant Professor- Pediatrics
Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland, Oregon

and mother of two campers

Friday, May 19, 2017

Promoting French in the Pacific Northwest


French class at Canoe Island ready to partager le Français!
Canoe Island French Camp was just awarded Special Distinction for promoting French culture in the Pacific Northwest by the French American Chamber of Commerce at its 3rd annual French American Business Awards dinner in Seattle May 12. This is the second year Canoe Island French Camp has been nominated for the Culture Award. First place Gold Award went to the Alliance Française de Portland.

We are honored to accept this award and thank staff, board members, and campers and families who help us share our love of French language and culture through our programs. A special merci to Mathieu LeMerle, past CIFC counselor and current Engineering Manager of Operations Innovation at Starbucks in Seattle who represented Canoe Island at the dinner. He is married to past counselor Eugenie (Howell) LeMerle who he met at CIFC in 2008.

We hope to see many of you très bientôt on Canoe Island and encourage all of our community members to keep promoting values of language and cultural exploration here in the Pacific Northwest and worldwide!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Le Quebecois


Le Quebecois
by Lead Counselor, Charlotte Megret

You might already know that Canada has two official languages: l'anglais and le français. But did you know that the province of Quebec has declared that their only official language is French? Le Français plays a very important role in the way manle Québécois and French from France are actually quite different. I wanted to share with you some Québécois expressions très utiles that I heard everyday while living in Montreal.
y people from Quebec define their identity. Yet,

1. J'ai le goût de ________ : is used to say "I want to". In France you would say "j'ai envie de".

2. ça a pas d'allure!: a way of saying "That's ridiculous"

3. mon char: means "my car". this word is often said to be un anglicisme, but it can also be that many words in Québécois are old French words that France decided to drop a long time ago. In France, you would say "ma voiture".

4. tu m'niaise?! : "You're kidding?!". A very popular expression that you will hear all the time! In France you would say "Tu plaisantes?!" or "Serieux?!" (slang).

You are now ready for your next trip to Quebec, and don't forget to try their famous dish: La poutine!

Le français ~ French language

l'anglais ~ English language

Le Québécois ~ French from Quebec

Très utiles ~ very useful

Un anglicisme ~ an anglicism (a word borrowed from English into a foreign language)

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Protecting a Gem


Protecting a Gem~ written by Max Thomas, Science and Outdoor Education Director at Canoe Island French Camp

Anyone who has been to the Salish Sea knows how special this place is. The Salish Sea is the body of water that encompasses Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan De Fuca, and the Strait of Georgia in British Columbia. It's hard to come here without falling in love with the abundance of wildlife, sheer beauty of the mountains and ocean, or the sense of pristine wilderness. This place also has strong cultural roots and incredible scientific importance. The rich diversity of species is unique to North America, and it's no surprise why people have settled here for over 10,000 years!

Within the past year there has been a grassroots effort to designate this amazing place as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This designation would be a recognition of outstanding universal value to not only people who live here, but to the world as well. Sites that are considered for this honor must reach one of ten criteria, and many leading this effort believe the Salish Sea meets six. Some of the most spectacular areas in the world are World Heritage Sites including the Great Barrier Reef, Yellowstone National Park, and the Amazon to name a few. Protecting the Salish Sea is protecting our legacy. We are intertwined with these waters and land, and future generations will thank us for many years to come.

The partnered groups heading this effort are SeaLegacy and the Salish Sea Trust. To learn more about their mission and vision for protecting the Salish Sea, visit We Are the Salish Sea or Salish Sea Trust.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Le Carnaval


Happy Mardi Gras everyone!

Charlotte Megret, our lead counselor, recently shared some fun customs surrounding the celebration of Le Carnaval from around the world.

Elaborate costumes for le Carnaval!

You may have heard of le Carnaval in Rio, Brazil or Mardi Gras in New Orleans but did you know that this évenément takes place in many Pays Francophones as well? On the French island of Guadeloupe for instance, le carnaval is a really popular event where everyone has to wear un déguisement. A huge parade is organized, and people march and dance to the sound of tambours. Another important tradition is the défilé des chars where the best floats are showcased. Many people start decorating their char a year before the next Carnaval!

In France, some cities like Nice also host great carnavals, but most people prefer to eat plein de bonnes choses! Mardi Gras literally means Fat Tuesday and was traditionally a religious celebration that took place the day before the start of Le Carême. The goal was to rid the pantry of all the fatty food and the best way to do this was by making des crèpes and des beignets. Today is Mardi Gras so get your masque à plumes out or your deep fryer, if you prefer!

Le Carnaval - the Carnival

Un événement - an event

Pays Francophones - Francophone countries

Un déguisement - a costume

Les Tambours - drums

Le défilé des chars - the float parade

Plein de bonnes choses - literally "a lot of good things" (used when talking about food or to wish someone a happy new year)

Le Carême - Lent

Des crèpes - crepes

Des beignets - donuts

Masque à plumes - mask with feathers

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Nous HEART Camp aussi!


Bonjour and merci to everyone who submitted photos for I HEART Camp Day 2017!

Here is our valentine to all of you. Bisous!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Babysitting and chutney selling: one camper's entrepreneurial efforts to raise funds for camp!


Max making new friends while babysitting to raise money for camp
From chicken sitting, dog sitting, babysitting to selling coffee and chutney, Max F. has done them all to raise $2000 towards his Canoe Island French Camp tuition this summer. We award between $30,000- $40,000 in scholarships every summer to make camp affordable for anyone seeking the opportunity. Max, 12, camper and scholarship recipient for many years, decided he'd help his family afford the tuition this year by seeking support from his Shaw Island community. He's half way there! Max and his mom, Stephanie, shared with us why he's decided to raise money this year and what sorts of things he's done to rake in the dollars.

"Our family loves the experience that camp provides," says Stephanie.

"Work teaches Max the value of money, communication with his clients, scheduling, accounting, and allows him to take pride in his own abilities. From selling coffee and chutney, to stacking firewood, changing diapers, babysitting, chicken sitting, dog sitting, and helping me with extra projects around the house and my work, Max is learning to help himself achieve his goals."

Max raised $400 last year in addition to the scholarship he was awarded through camp. This year is tackling his goal of $2000 to attend a longer session. "On a typical day I raise $100 by donation only. I also work year round and save almost every penny," says Max.

Max has other motivations as well, "I have been going to Canoe Island French Camp for many years now, and I have found the true meaning of camp. I love French Camp because you learn French, cool facts about the islands' geology, wildlife and nature; how to use different weapons such as the bow and arrow, the trebuchet, and the tomahawk; and of course French cuisine. Making new friends and seeing old ones is a highlight of camp. If you attend camp I guarantee you will make new friends. My goal is $2000 and I'm halfway there. I have a bunch of new friends to meet this summer!"

We are so proud of Max and all his efforts and hope everyone has the chance to meet new friends this summer!