Check out these Staff Spotlights! Some of our staff have been with us over 20 summers, and the others are recent additions to the team, but all of them bring unique personalities and strengths that make them amazing at what they do.
Lindsay fell in love with the recreation industry and has developed her passion working at day camps, overnight camps, and outdoor adventure programs across the country. She earned her degree in Recreation Management from UMass Amherst, with a minor in Psychology to further develop her skills with children and teens. While studying in Barcelona, Lindsay discovered her enthusiasm for travel and its profound effects on one’s perspective. After graduation, she pursued her career in outdoor education and leadership, and continued to spend her summers on the water providing a thrilling and safe environment for teens. She assumed safety leadership roles as a Lifeguard & First Aid Instructor, certified boating operator, and Water Safety Instructor. Lindsay joined the WCC family in 2012 and now runs our Mamaroneck, NY office. She helps families choose the program that is the best fit for them, interviews and hires talented summer leaders, supports programs on the road, manages our summer communication center, and is part of our safety & risk management team. Like so many others in the company, she shares a passion for both camp and travel that can be seen in her big smile that wins over participants and staff alike. Contact Lindsay
After completing her degree in family and child sciences from Florida State University and working to assist families in need with local Florida non-profits, Alexa joined our enrollment and client service team and was a leader on the Californian Extravaganza. Like all of us, the beauty of the western National Parks and the close-knit special bonds of our western trip got her hooked. She loves speaking with teens and parents to guide them through the enrollment process and is the Product Manager for our Major League Madness Baseball Tours. If you are lucky to travel with her on the road next summer, be sure to ask about her more interesting hobby of diving for lobsters! Contact Alexa
Ashley first started with WCC as a Program Leader in 2014 when she decided to leave camp and seek out a new adventure. After leading the California Sprint and European Discovery she was amazed by the unique experiences and close relationships she made along the way. Having graduated from Western University and working in other industries, she knew her heart was set on joining our team. More recently Ashley led our Hawaii & Alaska, Australia & Hawaii, and California & the Canyons tours. She works in our Toronto office handling client inquiries. Most of all, she looks forward to the summer when she gets to travel the world, meet new people and create more amazing memories. Contact Ashley
Aaron lives for the summer! Aaron joined WCC after spending over two decades in the summer camping world as a camper and staff member. He has held many roles in the past including the Summer Director of an overnight camp and as the Assistant Director of one of Toronto’s largest day-camps. With his past experiences combined with a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of British Columbia, Aaron continues to share his passion of experiential education and community service with hundreds of youth. He also has a deep-rooted love of travel having gone on many trips with family, friends, and youth groups. Aaron works in the Toronto office handling client inquiries and supporting multiple WCC programs including Community Service, Pre-College Enrichment California, and Global Adventures. Contact Aaron
Erica knows she has the perfect job considering she minored in Travel & Tourism and has an extensive marketing background. When she’s not on the phone assisting families with her extremely warm personality, she brings her smile and good nature to many of the South Florida Summer Opportunities Fairs. When not on the go around town or traveling for pleasure with her “three boys”, husband Kevin and sons Dylan and Jared, she enjoys leaving the luggage at home and helping parents and teens plan the perfect summer! Contact Erica
Adam is a true camp person at heart. He attended sleep-away camp for 12 summers as a camper, counselor and supervisor. Adam joined the enrollment team in the New York office as a graduate of the State University of New York College at Cortland receiving his degree in Recreation Management. While working towards his degree he was a trip leader for the Outdoor Pursuits Center, leading camping/hiking trips and became a certified Level I/II whitewater kayaking instructor. He discovered his love for traveling after an exciting backpacking trip across Europe and the Middle East in 2017 and studying abroad in Germany in 2018. In his free time he enjoys hiking, camping and playing Ultimate Frisbee. Contact Adam
Sydney joined our team as a recent graduate of the University of Western Ontario. After participating on our U.S. Explorer in 2011, she got the travel bug and knew Westcoast Connection was the right fit. She enjoys walking with her dogs Jackson and Parker, hanging out with friends and cooking. After working at day & sleepaway camps since she was 16, she is excited to continue working with teens in the summer and families during the year to create unforgettable summers! Contact Sydney
Bella began working for Westcoast Connection in 2017 as a summer leader. She has worked with teens in both the Pre-College Enrichment and Volunteer divisions in locations that include Spain and Hawaii. Bella fell in love with helping teens find their confidence and enjoys guiding teens in activities outside of their comfort zone. Upon her graduation from the University of Florida with a degree in Public Relations, Bella joined the full-time enrollment team in sunny, South Florida. Now, she is able to help families find their perfect summer program based on their unique interests. In her free time, Bella enjoys visiting art shows and exhibits, playing her ukulele and traveling to new places on her ever-growing travel bucket list! Contact Isabella
Pam’s first experiences in camping were at a YMCA where she shadowed campers with special needs. She then went on to be a counselor and run the CIT program. In 2001, she joined us as a Food Director on our very popular California & the Canyons and helped out behind the scenes in the Communication Center. Her talent for helping to support Program Directors on the road while assisting parents with an empathetic ear led to her becoming a fixture in the summer office. After graduating from McGill with her teaching degree, Pam taught during the year and became an increasingly valuable member of our summer team. She joined us full-time in 2006 with her penchant for detail as a planner helping to ensure incredible European, Australian and Global Adventure programs. Having planned trips from South America to Asia and across all our program types, she now focuses her attention on managing our Planning department and supporting our meticulous program coordinators. She also heads up one of our two summer Communication Centers and serves as a summer Company Director. Outside of work, Pam is a “curler” having played competitively for over 20 years, going as far as the Nationals, and coaching Special Olympics curling. She is also a soccer player, coach and while we don’t call her a “soccer mom” around the office, her four adorable children will surely be getting her soccer talents passed on. Contact Pamela.
Amazingly, Lori has been with Westcoast Connection since our 2nd season! After spending 10 summers attending and working at summer camp in Ontario, and earning her BA in Psychology and working with children, Lori was recruited by Stan as our second ever Program Director – and the rest is history! She directed our western trips and pioneered our first European itinerary back in 1990 and has since worked as a supervisor, Company Director and Program Coordinator. Lori has traveled extensively, is a passionate skier and tries to head to the slopes whenever possible! Lori and her husband have two sons which help her relate to the many teens she creates trips for as the architect and planner of our North American Active Teen Tours. A former east coast gal, Lori is based on the west coast close to many of our suppliers and perfectly located to greet and supervise trips during the summer months. Program Directors turn to her for advice and guidance. Her invaluable years of planning experience and tricks of the trade ensure our teens enjoy the most efficient and well run trips in the industry. Contact Lori
Michelle was born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa and after university and a business career came to the USA, started raising her family of three children and becoming very involved in their schools. Lo and behold, she befriended Lori who recognized Michelle’s sharp eye for detail. That combined with Michelle’s travels and love for visiting many interesting cities and historical sites in the U.S. made her a perfect fit for our program coordinator team which she joined in 2004. Who would have thought that a girl who grew up in a country of cricket matches would be planning our Major League Madness Baseball Tours? She is intricately involved in a myriad of details involved with managing over a thousand North American suppliers and of course she also serves as an in house go-to person for our South Africa Community Service programs. Contact Michelle
Symon began life at WCC back in 1998 when he took his first group of teenagers out west. At the time he was living abroad teaching autistic children in London. That incredible experience on our western program inspired him to move back across the pond to take his years of experience working with kids and teens and apply it on a year-round basis. Symon’s diverse experiences include teaching nursery school kids in Canada and underprivileged students in Israel, volunteering at children’s hospitals, and living in India, Europe, the US and Australia. Due to his nomadic nature, Symon has worked in three of our offices and now calls Toronto home where he lives with his wife Carolyn and their two young children that he loves to watch giggle together. He also loves to ski, play tennis, and volunteer with a research network dedicated to improving the lives of children with developmental disabilities. He is the Director of our School and Custom groups division, which operates programs throughout the year, and he oversees our programs in Australia and New Zealand. As a Company Director you might be lucky enough to catch up with him as he visits different summer trips and shares his invaluable experience with our Program Directors on the road. Contact Symon
After picking up a surfboard for the first time some years ago in Central America, Chris knew that the beach would forever be a special place. Recently he visited Tofino, British Columbia on a surf trip and was left in awe by what his own country has to offer. Chris has taught swimming, led high school trips, organized camping and skiing trips with Dawson College and McGill University, and hiked the volcanic giant Cotopaxi in Ecuador. He brings his love of travel and organizational talents to the Planning team. With his additional experience working as an administrator in emergency rooms and years of lifeguarding, he adds greatly to the safety reviews of vendors and locations. Contact Chris
After 10 years at sleepaway camp, including 4 years as staff, Brittany’s love of camp and travel led her to begin her WCC career as a Program Leader on our California & the Canyons in 2008. After a second summer out west, she was a Program Leader on our Backpack France & Switzerland program in 2010 and relished her summers working for WCC so much that she hoped to return if ever possible. After graduating from Concordia University with a B.A. in Communications and a minor in Sociology, she worked for five years in entertainment, touring live shows, and three years at a company focused on team building for students. Her organized nature and extensive experience in logistics led her back to WCC full-time where she is thrilled to be part of the Planning team. Contact Brittany
After catching the travel bug as a teen, when touring Europe as part of a music group, Sandi has since visited 27countries and 5 continents including living abroad in Japan and Australia. She uses that first-hand experience as an enthusiastic program coordinator!! Sandi grew up in Edmonton, Alberta, not too far from the Canadian Rockies and studied theater in the Fine Arts department at the University of Alberta. She has worked with youth as a program planner at summer camp, taught English while living overseas, and shared her theater and programming skills as the children’s production coordinator in her local church community. She puts together amazing and unique itineraries and is thrilled to pass the bug on to young travelers and inspire them to continue exploring the globe. Contact Sandi
From a young age Nadia loved travelling and discovering new places. Her sense of adventure and curiosity led her to move to China for a summer without speaking a word of Mandarin. Twenty years later (about 15 of them in China), she worked with special needs kids, taught English, worked for summer programs for kids, picked up a Degree in Chinese Language & Culture, and for several years, she worked in study abroad in Beijing, for both college and high school-level American Students. Also, she’s now pretty fluent in Mandarin! Nadia’s mission is to spread the love for learning abroad, both inside and outside the classroom so it was a logical next step for her to join our Planning team as a Coordinator and Developer of Curriculum for our Pre-College Enrichment programs and course offerings in Barcelona, Florence, Montreal & Los Angeles. With her own passion for education that led to graduate degrees in Environmental Impact, Geography & Urban Studies, it’s little surprise she strives to prepare WCC students to be successful in their post high school years and to gain a taste of college life away from home. Contact Nadia
After earning her Bachelors in Communications and her MBA from McGill University, Donna worked for several years in consumer product marketing and in healthcare. But it was her love of summer camp from her younger days as both a camper and staff, and passion for travel that brought her to join the WCC team. As the parent of two boys, she combines her mother’s intuition, knowledge of camp and travel, and her extensive business experience to help our planning department provide teens and staff with well-researched and detailed itineraries. Contact Donna
Jason’s foundation is deeply rooted in summer camp. He spent 20 years at CBB of Ottawa, from youngest camper to working with teens and eventually helping to run the place as Assistant Director. After years of us calling him to check references on his former staff that we were hiring, he became intrigued enough to see if we might have a need for his talents too. Sure enough in 1999, we lured him to our New York office where he joined us in meeting and speaking with inquiring families. That summer he also directed our American Voyageur. His soft-spoken style, selfless leadership, tireless stamina, and legendary patience were immediately in full evidence. After a few years in New York, Jason’s phone calls with our other office led to a wonderful Westcoast “Connection” when he and Susan from our Montreal office got married in 2002 and that led to him moving back north. He has a great head for systems and somehow manages to help thousands of moving parts come together and make it look easy. He manages much of our extremely complex operations and logistics which includes about 5,000 flights a summer, our warehouse of camping equipment and its distribution to those western tours with camping and Campsite Managers, and is our self-taught tech guru. Jason is the Product Manager of our North American Teen Tours. During the summer, you can always see him in his trademark shorts (okay during the other three seasons too) as he loves being on the road visiting our western tours mentoring our Program Directors and leaders and lending a hand in any way he is needed. As a Company Director, Jason wears many hats but perhaps due to his love of the “camp experience,” one of his favorites is his secret planning of the surprise program at our annual Program Directors’ training retreat. Contact Jason
It seems like we attract summer camp junkies and Susan is part of that dedicated group of people who have a history and love for camp combined with teaching. Susan enjoyed 14 years at sleepaway camps including nine summers as staff. While a teacher for 10 years, she started sharing her summer talents with us in 1990 and after leading several western and European trips and helping support groups from the Communication Center, she joined us full-time in 1999. Her conscientious and meticulous approach helps keep the office humming smoothly, everything from our database, credit cards, welcome aboard packages, and pre-departure information packages. Outside of work she’s pretty busy with her husband Jason and their two kids. Contact Susan
From his first taste of WCC as a participant on our American Voyageur in the summer of 2002, Brandon knew the moment he got home that he wanted to work for us one day. He honed his counseling and leadership skills working at a traditional summer camp in Ontario, Canada and 5 years after his own participant days, he joined our family as a Program Leader on the very same itinerary. In the fall of 2009, Brandon joined our full-time team where he now manages our IT department along with many operational aspects of our business from our online forms to our flight database. He also plans enriching and adventurous Community Service and Language programs in Costa Rica. Outside of the office Brandon manages a minor league hockey team, and enjoys adventure travel with friends and family. Contact Brandon
Education and travel are what fuels Rich’s interest in the world. Rich (better known by participants and leaders affectionately as Swami) has lived and traveled to every continent in the world except Antarctica… but don’t doubt that he’ll get there too one day! His passion for world travel was sparked in elementary school after he visited Africa and volunteered with his uncle who worked for the United Nations. Since then, Rich completed his Undergraduate Degree in Child, Family and Social Studies at the University of Guelph and started his Master’s of Education, focusing on experiential education and service-learning while traveling the globe. Rich loves to coach soccer, hike and play with his young sons. Rich oversees the hiring and training of our summer team of Program Directors, Leaders and Supervisors. In his different roles as Program Director, Supervisor, Director of Training and Development and Company Director, he has been able to help create meaningful experiences leading to lasting memories for teens and staff alike. Perhaps his most memorable Westcoast moment was arranging for his 40 participants to sing a song for a surprise proposal to long-time Program Director Lindsey Reid on Main Street, U.S.A. in Disneyland. Oh, and she said yes! Contact Rich
Emily’s passion for travel was ignited as a teen after embarking on a community service trip to Peru. During college, she enjoyed her time as a resident assistant, helping guide first-year students in the transition to life away from home. Her encounters and friendships with the international student community motivated her to set out on her own journey and she finished her communications degree abroad in Melbourne, Australia. Following graduation, she helped lead hundreds of university students on weekend ski trips, solidifying her desire to pursue a career in the student travel industry. She initially joined Westcoast helping to organize the thousands of forms received in the Forms Center and as a Trip Monitor in the Communication Center. Since then, she was part of the Planning Team and is now our Coordinator of Hiring, Training Development. Emily uses her creativity and teambuilding skills to engage new and alumni staff along with finding creative and forward-thinking ways to train and develop our summer staff. In the summer, she manages one of our Communication Centers. Contact Emily.
Guido was born and raised in The Netherlands where he completed university and started his career in accounting. His passion for travelling brought him around the world discovering new cultures including an international exchange program with an Australian firm in Melbourne. It was also pretty special to see kangaroos and koalas in their natural habitat. Additional adventures included trips to Malaysia and Singapore. Climbing Kota Kinabalu in Borneo to the summit (towering at 13,435 feet) feet during the night to see the sun rise was a once in a life time experience. But one trip changed his life most. Visiting Ecuador and the Galapagos he saw many lizards and shared beaches with many sea lions and seals. In this magnificent setting he met his significant other Sandrine, a Canadian who shared the same passion for traveling and after a few years in The Netherlands they moved to North-America with their two boys. With his CPA and CA designations, and 20 years of international accounting experience and wanderlust in his heart, it was most fitting for him to land at an international travel company. Guido is our controller, making sure that while so many of us are busy playing and having fun, the very complex accounting and finances are running smoothly. It is no easy task juggling Euros, British pounds, Swiss francs, Peruvan nuevo sol, Costa Rica colons, Thai baht, and dollars (US, Canadian, Aussie & Kiwi)! His efficiency, systems and attention to detail helps Program Directors and Leaders focus on the students in their care and making sure they enjoy a lifetime experience. Contact Guido
Joyce joined WCC in 2016 and oversees the marketing department. Previously, Joyce has worked in various online marketing and data analyst roles in some of the fastest growing companies of Silicon Valley. The highlight of Joyce’s childhood was the opportunity to travel and compete in different countries as a gymnast - which is very much like the experience of exploring the world and making close friendships on a teen travel program.
Meghan has been with WCC since fall 2016. She started as an intern for the marketing team, and soon after joined the full-time team as a Graphic Designer. She studied at Dawson College and completed a 3-year intensive technical program in Graphic Design. Growing up in a big Italian family, she feels right at home in the environment WCC creates for its staff and travelers. In her free time, she fosters stray cats and prepares them for adoption, skis (weather permitting), and likes to hone her design and art skills.
Sean joined our marketing team in September 2018 and has taken on the role of Marketing Coordinator at WCC. A recent graduate of the University of Ottawa, he spent the last 4 years studying Marketing and gaining experience with a number of organizations. As the undefeated Bananagrams champion of the company (self-proclaimed with a 2-0 record), Sean is right at home working on blogs, social media posts, and emails to help grow the WCC brand.
Angela joined the team in 2017 and is a Senior Marketing Manager. With 10 years of experience in travel marketing, working with brands such as BritRail, Eurail, Renfe and Trenitalia she handled international marketing and communications for these partners, as well as, traveling Europe by train. After growing up in Morin-Heights where she worked as a lifeguard at a local camp, her passion for travel started thanks to family trips to Japan, Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands. Her love of writing and photography complements her education in marketing and she’s happy to be a part of our marketing team!
Kathy joined the Westcoast family with 13 years of experience in education and travel. She led programs in several locations, as far away as Australia, which only furthered her desire to share travel as an integral part of education. She is passionate about helping students reach their potential through new experiences. With a Masters in Communication from Emerson College and prior experiences directing USA Gap Year fairs, managing non-profit organizations and overseeing recruitment for colleges, Kathy found her home among the WCC enrollment team connecting with our advisor and educational consultant community and assisting custom group inquiries. She lives in Wilmington, NC with her four-year-old son who aspires to be a paleontologist. Contact Kathy.
Nicole enjoyed many summers at various camps as a camper and as a counsellor. Her love for both camp and travel led to her joining Westcoast Connection in 2017 as a Trip Leader and she has been with us since. Nicole graduated from McGill University with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Nicole has led 3 Active Teen Tours – California & the Canyons, Ultimate California, and Australia plus Hawaii. She credits these trips for developing her appreciation for the learning opportunities and adventure that travel offers, as well as growing her love for meeting new people and building relationships. She looks forward to using that passion as a program coordinator, planning trips for all of our divisions: Travel, Learn and Volunteer. Contact Nicole
Rachel’s interest in travel was sparked at an early age after living overseas with her family for over a decade in South Africa, Malaysia and Zimbabwe. Over the course of her studies in Political Science at Concordia University, followed by a Law degree at McGill, Rachel worked as a swimming instructor, elementary school program supervisor, research and teaching assistant and a program coordinator for summer camps and research fellowships. Throughout her employment at various schools, camps and non-profit organizations, Rachel gained a keen interest in developing and implementing dynamic activities and programs for youth. Rachel bringing her international background in addition to her organizational and research skills to the Planning Team. Contact Rachel
Adam enjoyed 11 incredible summers at overnight camp as a camper and staff member. His love for the summer camp experience naturally led him to Westcoast Connection, where he led the California and the Canyons in 2010 and the European Discovery in 2011. He then helped support programs in Peru, Costa Rica and California. After graduating from Concordia University, he worked in the gaming industry for 7 years and created his own social game called Movie Showdown! As with most of us, his passion for summer camp brought him back to Westcoast Connection where he is thrilled to be a part of the Marketing team. In his free-time Adam enjoys playing basketball, going to concerts and watching films. Contact Adam.
Brian directed our Northwestern Odyssey in 2019 and after enjoying that fantastic itinerary and group experience, has joined our full-time team in the sunny, South Florida office. He earned degrees in Marketing and in Management & Strategic Leadership at Ohio University. Brian’s thirst for adventure began while traveling with the Boy Scouts and has grown exponentially throughout his life. He is a firm believer that traveling allows for a dramatic shift in perspective and is excited to impart his love for nature and the outdoors with the next generation. In his spare time, he enjoys doing yoga, reading, hiking and continuing his never-ending search for the best ice cream in the world. Contact Brian.
Danny grew up on the beaches of Florida, earning his degree in education from the University of Florida, and spending his weekends surfing and training for triathlons. Danny has led 23 programs over 14 summers with Westcoast Connection. When he isn’t building homes with Habitat for Humanity in Maui, surfing waves in Costa Rica or hiking Machu Picchu during the summer, he teaches math, trail runs, snowboards, speaks Italian, and leads the Global Service program at a boarding school in Switzerland.
Nick is a life-long traveler and student! He was born in the Middle East, raised in Montreal, and has lived in Ottawa, Vancouver, Vienna, and in Porto Alegre, Brazil where he taught high school social studies for two years. His degrees are in IT Management and Education and a Master’s in Interdisciplinary Studies, and he loves photography, hiking, and learning new languages. During the school year, he is the vice-principal of a high school. He has traveled to 39 countries and still counting! He joined the Westcoast family in 2005, has led trips on four continents, and hasn’t looked back since!
A small-town New Jersey girl, Joelle has now called 5 different states and a major city in Greece home! She attended West Chester University of Pennsylvania, and received her Bachelor’s in Political Science. After graduating, she spent a year teaching Peace and Conflict Resolution in Los Angeles before earning her Master’s in International Education from Columbia University. Currently, Joelle is working to provide access to global education for underrepresented students and development resources for professionals in international education.
For more than 18 years, Adam has led our trips all around the world. He has lived overseas to help fulfill his passion for travel, and has walked the Great Wall of China, gone SCUBA diving with Aussie sharks, zip lined the rainforests of Costa Rica… and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Adam is a plant-based athlete, wellness advocate, athletic director, health & physical education teacher, personal trainer and podcast host. He has completed several marathons, triathlons, ultra marathons, and Ironmans. Adam is always looking forward to the summer and making new connections with each participant he meets!
A native Vermonter, Charlsie now calls the Sunshine State home. Charlsie first found the magic of camp as a six-year-old and has since spent almost every summer of her life as a camper, a staff member, or a program director. She holds a Master of Education degree in Human Development from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in Cambridge, MA. In her free time, she likes to be outside hiking with her dog, kayaking, swimming, experimenting in the kitchen, or reading a good book. She always looks forward to her summers providing our travelers with incredible experiences.
Originally from Toronto, Ronen has lived in 5 countries on 3 continents, most recently in Providence, Rhode Island. Since joining WCC in 2006, Ronen has directed programs in our Teen Tours, Global Adventures, and Pre-College Enrichment divisions in Europe and North America. Away from WCC, Ronen is a professor in downtown Boston. He teaches classes on communication, advertising, and media management. No matter what he’s doing during the school year, Ronen is always looking forward to spending his summers exploring unforgettable destinations with WCC.
Julie joined us back in 2003 after many summers working at camps in Ontario and in Maine. She has been a camp counselor, a waterfront director and program director. She has led programs in our Active Teen Tour, Community Service and Global Adventure divisions. Whether whitewater rafting on the west coast, working at the Boys & Girls Club in Hawaii, exploring fjords in Alaska, or working in a primary school in South Africa, Julie is an avid traveler, always planning her next world adventure. When not on the road, Julie is a teacher with a background in special education and early years.
Natasha grew up in Brampton, Ontario and holds a certificate in Teaching and Training, as well as a degree in International Development Studies. During her semester abroad at the University of Havana, she fell in love with the Spanish culture and language. She has spent 7 summers with our groups, two of which in Spain, taught ESL at summer camps there and has spent countless more weeks exploring the country. She has also worked in Ecuador with student volunteers eager to learn Spanish and is currently a study abroad coordinator in Uruguay, helping students plan their study abroad dreams around the world.
Jason joined the team over 23 years ago and has played an integral role in building our international Active Teen Tours. During the summer, Jason brings his many experiences leading, directing and supervising programs in Australia, Canada, Central America, Europe, and the United States. During the school year, Jason can be found teaching special education in Toronto. Jason is an avid snowboarder who can also be found biking with his kids or just reading a good book. He is known for his commitment to “Each & Every” and ensuring that all participants have the summer of a lifetime.
JP grew up in Brampton, Ontario and attended Tusculum College in Greeneville, Tennessee on a soccer scholarship to study Special Education with a Modified and Comprehensive concentration. He is a specialist in Special Education and Physical Education with Principal Qualifications. He enjoys coaching and developing ways to integrate students and families into community organizations. He played soccer in the 2011 AMF World Cup on Colombia representing Canada. JP has spent many summers with us, hiking Canyons, supervising Community Service programs in Costa Rica, and leading trips through Europe.
Julie loves to learn about the world by travelling and meeting new people. She’s led trips across 4 continents, mostly in our Community Service and Global Adventures divisions, before becoming a Company Director. Julie grew up on the east coast of Canada and has taught, mentored and coached students in high schools and universities across her home country. She holds degrees in Science from the University of New Brunswick and Education from McGill and her Master’s in Education from the University of Alberta. Currently she teaches high school science online to local and international students.
Sam has an unparalleled passion for working with teens and puts this drive and excitement into each of the programs that she leads. Sam completed her Master’s of Teaching at the University of Toronto after completing a Life Sciences degree at McMaster University. She grew up going to summer camp and is currently a full-time guidance counselor. She loves staying active with yoga and ultimate frisbee and has run programs in California, Costa Rica, Australia and Europe. She makes a habit of capturing the breathtaking views, practicing another favorite hobby of hers; photography.
Kara has degrees in Spanish with International Relations and Latin American Studies from Cornell, a Master’s in Education from UConn, and a second Masters in Educational Leadership from Baruch College. So it’s no surprise that she loves teaching and inspiring students during the summer. Her passion for travel & the Spanish language was reinforced during college while living and studying at Universidad de Sevilla in Spain. During the school year, Kara is dedicated to working with inner-city, low-income high school students.
Matt joined Westcoast Connection in 2004 and has led well over 650 students in their global travels. When he is not traveling the world, he is continuing his graduate work in child psychology. He holds multiple graduate degrees in the areas of child and youth studies and psychology. His philosophy is to learn about people and the world through travel. He motivates people on his program to become more knowledgeable and experienced global citizens. He pours everything he has into each program he leads and he tries to make sure each and every person on the program feels respected, safe and having fun.
Catherine grew up in Brooklyn, NY and attended Manhattanville College where she earned her degree in English Education and then received her Master’s in Special Education at CUNY City College. While in college, she embraced her love of cooking and traveling, exploring new cities, and perfecting her Italian language skills during her semester studying Art History & Language in Italy. Cat (as her participants call her) now teaches Middle and High School English and is currently teaching abroad in Singapore. Her favorite moments on her WCC trips are sharing the excitement with participants as they try new activities like surfing for the first time!
Stan had a dream over 30 years ago to create a program for teens to learn and have fun through enriching travel. Actually, Stan just didn’t want to grow up. His many years at camp along with experience tutoring high school students inspired him to start our company directing our first adventure program for teens in 1983. Stan, his wife Elaine, and four friends as leaders journeyed across the USA and Canada with 40 starry eyed teens on a six-week adventure, the debut of today’s American Voyageur. Since then, he has surrounded himself with a talented and passionate team, living out his dream creating once-in-a-lifetime experiences for our teens from around the world. Stan gets as much joy from visiting groups each summer as he does reading end of summer surveys with rave reviews from parents and participants. He takes great pride hearing about new friendships being made, languages learned, and cultures explored. Stan hires many of our senior Program Directors, is involved in scouting new destinations, and leads our strategy and vision. From humble beginnings, who knew years later we would be operating offices in two countries and escorting participants across six continents? Contact Stan
Mark has been around from the early days. Sitting around the kitchen table of Stan & Mark’s former camp Director, a mutual friend sketched our first logo on a napkin and Mark got his first taste of the Westcoast Connection bug. After backpacking overseas and studying in France gave him a taste of life on the road, Mark came on board in our 3rd summer and combined his love for summer camp with his enthusiasm for travel and was a leader out west. Seeing Bryce Canyon and the Canadian Rockies and sharing it with a group of teens, he was hooked on the beauty of our National Parks. Mark directed programs in his summers during law school at McGill and knew he had to become part of WCC. In 1990, Mark established our New York office and has worn many hats over the years from staff recruiting and training to writing brochures and producing our early videos. Nowadays, Mark uses his years of experience to mentor and support our team and help programs run smoothly from our summer communication center. Mark and his wife Heather have 3 children and he loves cycling, kayaking, and whether in the Rockies, Andes or Southern Alps in New Zealand, Mark loves the mountain settings most on our itineraries and is always looking for that next great hike. Contact Mark
Ira joined our family in 2002 and brought his experience in owning and running the operations of Teen Tours of America (TTA). He operates our Weston, Florida office and along with Mitch Lerner, oversees our overall enrollment and participant experience. Ira uses his expertise in program planning and ability relating to teens to spearhead our European and Pre-College Enrichment programs, along with various Global Adventures. Among his many responsibilities Ira most enjoys managing our website development, developing marketing materials and hiring and training the best summer staff. He has a sincere passion for travel and has done the pioneering development work to create a number of itineraries in Europe, Costa Rica, Peru and Ecuador. Ira is committed to surpassing the expectations of our clients in all aspects of our enrollment process and in delivering an unforgettable traveler experience. In his free time, Ira loves riding dirt bikes with his son and in the winter skiing with his family and watching football. Speaking of football, Ira’s skill for outdoor barbeque cooking can be experienced by his friends and family at his legendary tailgates before Miami Dolphin games and by our travelers on North American Active Teen Tours when he visits them on the road. Ira’s passion for inspiring teens to achieve their goals was recognized when he was named Broward County High School mentor of the year. Contact Ira
In 1990, Mitch brought years of camp experience coupled with his knack for energizing a group from his days as a DJ to his role as a summer leader on the American Voyageur. Like many of us, he was hooked ever since - it’s just as powerful an experience for staff as for teens! He made a name for himself heading up several western and European tours. Summers were not enough so Mitch started speaking with and meeting prospective travelers and their parents in the winter months while finishing his studies. After eight months of backpacking in Southeast Asia and Australia, Mitch joined Mark in the New York office. Okay, it was really Mark’s one-bedroom apartment and with Mitch on board that meant it was time for a real office. After a few years, Mitch returned to his native Toronto where he manages our Toronto office, speaks with many teens and parents each year to share his vast knowledge of our programs. Mitch, along with Ira Solomon, oversees our overall enrollment and participant experience. He is also the Product Manager of our Volunteer division and various Global Adventure programs. He helps manage staff training, and is a Company Director who visits programs during the summer, with many other responsibilities. Be sure to call him by his nickname “Mr. Meetch”. Mitch loves the outdoors, skiing and water sports. Yet his favorite thing is visiting our programs each summer, coaching our Program Directors and getting to know the teens and staff! He and his wife Wendy scouted our Thailand community service program and have had the pleasure of seeing their own teens experience our programs! Contact Mitch