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Ekocamp International
International Summer Camp in Canada

History

The notion of an international values-based camp evolved through discussions between Louis Gibeau and Nigel Martin, president and international vice president of Ekocamp International, respectively. Although from very different academic 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 quietly, but 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.

They both come from differing cultural backgrounds; Mr. Gibeau is a Franco-Quebecker, while Mr. Martin is an Anglo-Quebecker. They have lived both lived through the tension of cultural misunderstanding and the joy and human fulfillment of coming together across these same boundaries.


From left to right:
Louis Gibeau , Jean-Pierre L'Heureux,
Nigel Martin

Both are fluent in each other’s mother tongue while Mr. Gibeau also speaks fluent Spanish and burgeoning Polish. Between them they have visited the majority of the countries of the world and have worked for extended periods in Peru, Columbia, Senegal, Nicaragua, Great Britain, Bangladesh, New Zealand, Holland and Poland.

One of the conclusions they reached in common, resulting from their experiences 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, Messrs. Gibeau and Martin met with experienced camping experts from throughout the Laurentian area and rapidly decided to join forces with Jean-Pierre L’Heureux. Jean-Pierre has been running camps for 30 years. City born and a graduate in Physical Education, he has become one of the most experienced camp operators in Quebec. What most impressed Gibeau and Martin was his exceptional abilities 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, Jean-Pierre 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?"

  The fourth key person in this endeavor is Jolanta Wnuk. Jola, an experienced English teacher in her native Poland, is also an accomplished translator of English books into Polish. Her specialty is children’s books, and over the years she has become expert in the works of Lucy Maud Montgomery.

Jola brings her years of language teaching to full effect in the designing of the language training program. She oversees the curricula development for the camp as well as the implementation of all formal language classes.