Wednesday, January 4, 2017

New Year's Resolutions


Sailing around the world in 49 days and cycling over 22 kilometers in an hour at age 105? The French have set two new world records in the past couple weeks and it is great motivation to set a New Year's resolutions to get active in 2017.

Thomas Coville, of Rennes, set the world record for a solo sail around the world December 25, 2016. In just over 49 days he sailed 28,400 miles at an average speed of 24 knots. His vessel was a 31 meter long and 21 meter wide trimaran. His determination and resilience would make Jules Verne proud.

Thomas Coville setting a new world record for solo sailing

In another inspiring story from France, Robert Marchand, of Paris, set a world record for cycling at the age of 105. A life long athlete, Marchand said in an interview, "I've done sport all my life, eaten loads of fruit and vegetables, not too much coffee". Today he track cycled over 22km in an hour, a new record for the over-105 year age group.

Robert Marchard on pace to make history

Here at Canoe Island French Camp we have many unique activities for campers to engage in: archery, fencing, sailing, kayaking, canoeing, sports of all kinds. What drives you to stick with the sports you love? I hope these stories help reinvigorate you as you begin 2017.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Ibis Element


Our next artist within the Canoe Island French Camp community is Margaret Schafer. She has been a counselor, marketing coordinator, assistant director and is now the administrative director at Canoe Island French Camp.

Q. What are the mediums you work with?
A. I make jewelry as a hobby using the lost wax casting method, also known by its French name, "cire perdue". This method involves carving an object out of wax and then replacing the wax with metal. All my designs are currently cast in yellow bronze.

Q. How would you describe the art you create?
A. Unique handmade jewelry that recalls styles of antiquity but remains modern. I hope to create pieces that can be worn everyday but still feel special.

Q. How can interested buyers get in touch with you?
A. Feel free to have a look at my Etsy shop at or email me at with any questions.

Q. Where do you draw your inspiration from?
A. Many of my pieces evoke the form of insects, which have always fascinated me. And I'm constantly inspired by living on Canoe. One of my recent pieces resembles the plate of a chiton, which I sometimes see on the paths when I walk around the island.

Q. What were some of your favorite things to create in the Atelier at Canoe Island French Camp?
A. When the campers are on the island, I love working in clay with them in the Atelier. I really appreciate seeing the inventive, whimsical pieces the campers make and I love the thrill of putting a ceramic creation in the kiln and seeing the transformation.

Q. What advice do you have for young artists?
A. Take pleasure in the process of creation and don't be discouraged if your first try doesn't match the vision in your head. Each day that I spend time on jewelry I can feel myself improving little by little, but I had to make a lot of bad work before I could make pieces that live up to my vision.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Eden Cooke's Whimsy and Magic


For those looking into arts and craft festivals for their holiday gifts, look no further! You may find the perfect hand crafted gift made by someone within the Canoe Island French Camp community. Canoe Island French Camp has welcomed many young artists over the years. Some have gone on to continue their artistic practice as careers. Over the next holiday weeks we'd like to introduce you to some of these artists.

Our first artist is Eden Cooke. We asked her to answer a few questions about her connection to CIFC and her art. Eden was a camper for many years and then went on to be a counselor, program coordinator and artist in residence. You can find more of her artwork at

Q. What are the mediums you work with?
A. I'm an illustrator who uses several different media with a focus on Graphite and Photoshop. I also make ceramic brooches with clay.

Q. How would you describe the art you create?
A. Whimsical illustrations that tell stories for a variety of ages. For the most part I create illustrations with some form of whimsy or magic. I like to include a lot of detail which allows the viewer to find something in the image with each viewing. I also love an illustration to give at least part of an interesting story.

Q. How can interested buyers get in contact with you?
A. Interested parties can email me at

Q. Where do you draw your inspiration from?
A. I am typically inspired by a good folktale, a beautiful and bizarre landscape and little bit of story that's stuck in my head.

Q. What were some of your favorite things to create in the Atelier at Canoe Island French Camp?
A. When I was a camper I loved being in the Atelier because it gave me a lot of new people to draw, and practice drawing different types of faces. As well as allowing me to experiment with new media and methods. As a staff member I really enjoyed inventing and creating illustrated card games with campers.

Q. What advice do you have for young artists?
A. Don't be afraid to make ugly drawings or ugly projects, if you have an idea you should try it.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Amaury in Chad!


Amaury hitching a ride in Chad

Past Canoe Island French Camp program coordinator, Amaury Coin, is currently in Chad! Amaury is working as an international aid worker with a NGO named MOUSTAGBAL. The organization focuses on helping those who live in poverty through education, professional development, social and economic reintegration, food security and health. Amaury is the technical assistant to the director and works to execute the current projects by writing up reports for partners and funders, writing and submitting grants, and attending meetings with partner groups.

Here is a short excerpt about the weather in Chad from his newsletter "La Reine du Guera" .

The “rain season” is 90% done, we get a rain once a week now and by the end of October we shouldn’t have any rain until June. Which means it’ll be sunny every single day. I still don’t really realize that aspect of life. I’m so used to have rain and/or cold every often in Lille, Paris. But it seems to be true, every morning, when I wake up at 6am, there’s a warm sun and a perfect blue sky, with some white clouds sometimes. 

For the full newsletter en francais click the newsletter title above the excerpt.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

France's reaction to Trump's victory


cover of La Croix after the US election

News across France last Thursday led with headlines relating to President-elect Donald Trump. Most included tones of shock and disbelief for his victory. La Croix was titled "L'inconnue" in reference to how little is known about his foreign policy and how many of his policies may impact the globalized world. They also warned against worrying too much with this message:

"What brings us together is worth more than that which divides us, it's better to build bridges than walls"

For the full range of discussion points around the United States election in France, including what it may mean for the upcoming elections in France, see this news clip from France 24. 

At Canoe Island we are constantly working to build bridges to understanding those different than ourselves: different languages, different cultures, different world views. Connie Jones, camp director, shared a message for the vision of Canoe Island French Camp looking forward:

"What we do for and with children and their families and the lessons we teach, should give us strength in the knowledge that we will make a difference in the outlook of the upcoming generation."

The desire to inquire and learn about those with different viewpoints from our own should not stop at camp. If anything, this election has revealed just how divided in thought an conversation the United States is. We need to focus on building relationships in our discussions and lead with curiosity from our hearts.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Bring out your inner artist!


Ever wanted to share your artistic expression through film, writing or design? Not only do you have the opportunity to do all these things at Canoe Island French Camp, you can bring these passions into your classroom back at school!

Every year, during National French Week, the American Association of Teachers of French invite students to muse on the annual theme and submit short films, essays, and posters. Sometimes all it takes to enthuse a new generation of filmmakers, writers and graphic designers is the right subject. And what is more inspiring than the theme "Onward to New Frontiers for French!" Enjoy the submissions for this year's French week, or see the winners from National French Week 2014.

CIFC camper designing a poster in art

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

En avant vers les nouvelles frontières du français!

Canoe Island French Camp mimes ready to perform!

Always up for an adventure, we at Canoe Island French Camp, along with the American Association of Teachers of French, explore the wonderful world of French November 4-10! National French Week is an annual celebration of French language and culture. The theme this year, is "Onward to New Frontiers for French," An inspirational sentiment in a global community that is ever changing and growing.

President Obama sent his support for the celebration of French in a letter relaying the appreciation he has for all the contributions French language and culture has made to the United States.

Send us a photo or upload one to instagram with the #canoeislandfrenchcamp #nationalfrenchweek of yourself and others celebrating French culture this and next week!

CIFC dancers in the San Juan Island 4th of July parade