There is a team of dedicated staff who work throughout the year to promote and support the Kinark Outdoor Centre (KOC) and all camp visitors. Our year-round team has worked to support families and youth in recreation for many years. Our team loves the outdoors and are experienced parents and child care workers.
Ryan Mortell first visited the KOC as a participant in 2009 during a student placement while finishing his Child and Youth Worker Advanced Diploma. He enjoyed the staff, programs and the natural environment so much that he was excited to learn that the KOC was looking for summer staff. As an Outdoor Educator, he quickly fell in love with the supportive programming available to kids and families and the variety of groups that attend the KOC. Ryan has been a member of the KOC team since 2009 and has worked in a variety of roles, including his current position of Operations Manager. When Ryan is not working, you can usually find him playing guitar, in the garden, playing with chickens, reading books or out on a trail.
Elisha first started working for the KOC back in 2007 as an Outdoor Educator with already having experience working at other outdoor centres. She was excited to gain a broader knowledge and skill with the diverse groups and clientele that were visiting the KOC. After leaving in 2013 and being on a 9-year hiatus, Elisha is thrilled to be back at the KOC this time in the Interim Program Manager role where she is looking forward to reconnecting with old groups, creating connections with new ones, supporting the current and future Outdoor Educators, and helping create lasting memories for everyone involved. Backcountry camping, traveling, hiking, cross country skiing and just enjoying being in nature is how she likes to spend her down time with her husband and dog.
Michelle began working at the Kinark Outdoor Centre in 2014. Her passion for the natural world has taken her to many places and offered her many exciting opportunities. From working with bugs and sea turtles in Costa Rica, to teaching at an outdoor forest school, Michelle loves new adventures and soaking up information. Her heart; however, has always brought her back to Kinark, where her values and interests are perfectly combined, allowing her to work closely with our community, in a magical wilderness location. She has a wealth of knowledge about wetlands, bugs, reptiles and amphibians, along with nutrition and gut health, and loves being able to share all of it with our visitors. Michelle has been a lifeguard and canoe instructor for over 12 years. You can always find her (or lose her) paddling through the wetlands searching for turtles. She loves working with youth and young adults in natural settings and hopes that every individual can cultivate their own meaningful relationship with the earth. Nature is Michelle’s place of joy, purpose and serenity. She cares very deeply about mental health and emotional well-being, almost as much as she tenderly cares for every spider on the dock or snake on the road. She loves to chat with the parents of our Autism programs and is happy to answer any questions regarding food and nutrition.
Chelsea began working at the KOC as an Outdoor Educator in 2019; first learning about the organization while completing her degree in Recreation Therapy. While working there she learned about her love of working in the outdoors and teaching kids about nature. Taking on her current role as a Program Supervisor, Chelsea enjoys guiding and supporting staff, creating meaningful connections, and delivering quality programs. Her background in Recreation Therapy helps her guide her programming to create meaningful purpose behind everything she facilitates. If she isn’t in the office, you can find her at the archery course shooting bullseyes or creating a new craft activity for future guests. Outside of work Chelsea loves camping, painting, and completing various 5K runs!
Pat has worked at the KOC for over 25 years, so it is completely surprising to many that Pat rarely spends time in a canoe or on a pontoon boat. She is a dedicated sister, mother and grandmother, and when asked why she works at the KOC, she is quick to say that she loves kids, and it shows! Pat is the voice you hear when you call the KOC and she supports registration for families and coordinators.
I started at the KOC as an outdoor educator and coordinator and worked in this facet for five years. I moved to another facility, and over another five years, I gained a diverse skill set to aid me in my current role. With a happy heart I returned in 2018. I love the people who choose to gather in this wonderful place. Kinark calls to people who are mature, thoughtful, and giving by nature. This creates an inclusive and cooperative environment. This site holds different meanings to every person who comes here. For me, it was my first outdoor education experience while I was a student in the Forest Recreation Technician program in 1999. Working with the maintenance team, we have revitalized many of the cabins for clients and staff alike. We have improved the trail systems and have shifted the forward planning of the facility. As maintenance coordinator, I try to keep the hard-working staff motivated and the daily operations moving forward, while planning to optimize the facilities and environment for the future. Outside of work, I love to travel, hike, camp and ski with my wife and dog. I also enjoy woodworking and cheering for les Habitants!
The KOC prides itself on the depth and talent of our staff. Our reputation, program diversity, and philosophy have enabled us to attract a group of highly-skilled and caring front-line outdoor educators and behind-the-scenes program support staff. The KOC is dedicated to creating an inspiring and positive experience for families and campers by providing consistent support and thorough training throughout the season.
The Kitchen team prepares dishes for the whole family. Catering to unique diets and picky eaters is their specialty! The maintenance team (Shane Sisson, Donalda Smith, and Lois Dunlop) keeps our buildings, cabins and landscaping in tiptop shape for families and staff.
The KOC facilitates a range of outdoor education, therapeutic recreation and experiential adventure programs designed to meet the specific needs of its diverse client population.
Visiting groups include: children’s mental health centres, community living agencies, elementary and secondary schools, colleges, universities, and various other organizations serving youth, and adults and individuals with special needs. The KOC also offers a range of programming for children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, including Family Camps, Family Respite, and 5-day summer camp programs throughout July and August.
If you share our passion for helping children, youth and families, we invite you to view our available positions.