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Board of Directors

The National Board of Directors is made up of elected members from the Outdoor Council of Canada (OCC). These individuals are elected during the Annual General Meeting and hold their positions for the term of two years. The Board meets regularly in person, and via conference calls, to help direct the path of the OCC.

The Executive Director of the Outdoor Council of Canada is Albi Sole

  AlbSole has been guiding since 1979 and has spent the last fourteen of those years working at the Outdoor Centre at the University of Calgary programming avalanche awareness, ski touring and climbing courses for the public. Albi has an extensive resume including: writing the World's first waterfall ice climbing guide, first climbing ascents in Europe, North  and South America, and the Himalaya. Albi worked as a heli-ski guide for 13 years, has guided groups to Aconcagua, Huascaran,  and   Denali, led two expeditions to Himalaya, and was a participant in lightweight sieges of the West Ridge of Makalu and the first ascent of the West Ridge of Everest from Tibet. In 2008 Albi completed an MSc. researching risk taking in avalanche terrain. Albi lives in Calgary and is married with three children aged 19-25.

Directors serving on the National Board are:

Bernie Woods: President

Bernie began the Company of Adventurers with a goal of passing on a love of wild places to generations of young people in the Calgary area. He grew up exploring the Canadian Rockies and continues his explorations with programs that appeal to students of all ages in our beautiful landscapes. For more than 35 years Bernie has enjoyed a career in the outdoors as a camp director, outdoor educator, teacher and guide. He relishes pursuing adventures of all sorts and maintains certifications in a wide variety of outdoor pursuits and disciplines.

Keeping Lau: Vice President

Keeping (KP) Lau is an entrepreneur and business consultant in the Education and Food & Beverage industry.  He has a degree in Outdoor and Environmental education from Acadia University, a MBA in Marketing from Australia, and a PhD from the Hard Knock School of Life. 

KP started his career with Outward Bound, moved into Outdoor Management Development for Fortune 500 executives, and later pioneered the International Service-Learning (ISL) movement in Singapore. For ISL, he worked closely with International SOS to oversee both rural and wilderness expeditions in 12 countries, and his team won an award from NSEE for their work in training expedition leader-facilitators. When he immigrated to Canada in 2004, he served as a business lecturer at Acadia University and cofounded a network of Organic Fair Trade cafes. He now lives in Vancouver where he is a partner to a chain of Asian-inspired restaurants gearing up for international expansion. He is married to a Cape Bretoner and they have two children. As a family, they spend a lot of their time camping and immersing in nature. Recreationally, KP spends time kayaking, sailing, toying with kickstarter projects, training at the boxing club and introspecting during his daily walks.  He has a burning desire to help himself and others live out the full meaning and purpose of life, and he continues to hustle out that mission every day.

Kelly McDonald: Treasure

Kelly McDonald has always been called to by the Rocky Mountains. As a child and youth, some of his fondest memories are of camping, hiking and backpacking in Kananaskis and the National Parks. Today as a father of two, he is active in Scouts Canada as a Beaver Leader, and is always eager to get his kids out into the mountains. During the week, Kelly is a Senior Manager in Deloitte’s Technology Strategy Practice and holds a MBA from Cornell University.

Nick Townley: Director of Associate Membership

Nick is an Outdoor Education Teacher and Program Director at Sea to Sky Outdoor School for Sustainability Education, near Vancouver BC.  As an avid adventurer, educator and sustainability crusader, he feeds his sense of wonder by self-propelling through the magnificent rivers, lakes, oceans and wild spaces of Earth Island.  He is a graduate of the University of King's College, Otago University College of Education, and University of British Columbia.  In 2005, Nick volunteered with the Otesha Project's Coast2Coast Bicycle Tour.  For five and half months Nick bicycled and lived communally with a group of 15.  They bicycled 8,500 kilometres, from Vancouver to Corner Brook, Newfoundland, and presented environmental and social justice workshops to over 10,000 youth.  In the summer of 2009, Nick spent six weeks braving the rain and black flies of Northern Ontario, canoeing from Sioux Lookout to Hudson Bay.

Jan Lapierre: Director of Communications

Jan-Sebastian LaPierre hails from beautiful Herring Cove, Nova Scotia. He grew up a stones throw from the Atlantic Ocean, and in doing so, developed a passion for all things water related. A dedicated surfer, paddler and expedition leader, Jan is most at home when he is floating. Jan realized the power of nature very early on and has committed his life to helping people connect to the natural world. His career has spanned many roles but he has made a focus on utilizing nature as a tool and a medium for discussion around mental health. He’s the CEO and co-founder of A FOR ADVENTURE, a marketing company for the outdoors. He’s a best selling children’s book author, CBC contributor, and sought after storyteller.  

Ryan Barfoot: Director for British Columbia

Ryan is happy to serve as the BC Director for the OCC. After graduating from the University of Victoria, Ryan completed his Bachelor of Education specializing in Outdoor and Experiential Learning at Queens University and a M.Ed. in Curriculum Development and Implementation at Simon Fraser University. His research interests include transformative education, contemporary Rites of Passage, place-based and ecological learning environments. Ryan has delivered education programs at the grassroots and governmental level. He has worked with Parks Canada, BC Parks, the National Forest Service and the National Parks Service before building the Outdoor & Ecological Learning department for the Powell River School District. He also chairs the district Sustainable Schools Committee and is the program coordinator for the Coast Mountain Academy. Ryan has piloted sustainability programs and co-authored curriculum documents with the BC Ministry of Education. He speaks & delivers workshops in the areas of Environmental and Nature-based Education and is a core team member of the Classrooms to Communities Provincial PD project. With a passion for pretty much everything, he puts his heart and soul into all he does. Ryan is guided by his belief that a better world is possible and relentlessly endeavours to be a net benefit to this world. He, his wife Karin and son Wren currently live in the old Townsite (Powell River) on the Sunshine Coast BC, Canada.

Shauna Heighton: Director for the Maritimes

Shauna currently teaches in a public high school in rural Nova Scotia and over the last twenty years she has had the opportunity to live, explore and teach in Alberta, British Columbia and Nova Scotia.  During this time she co-founded and coordinated the TERRA Outdoor School in Port Coquitlam, B.C., authored curriculum for the Nova Scotia Department of Education, has written for PHE Canada,  has taught elementary, middle, and high school students, and mentors and supports fellow teachers in their efforts to bring experiential approaches into their programs.  Shauna has a BPe, BEd, and MEd, along with NOLS and Project Adventure courses. Shauna continues to ride, hike, paddle, ski, and snowshoe with her students and along with her partner shares her love of the outdoors with their daughters, Ella and Severn.

Director for the Prairies

Position is vacant

Nicholas Vienneau: Director for Canada North

Nicholas was born and raised in Ontario where his parents introduced him to the outdoor life style. Nicholas grew up exploring all of Ontario’s backwaters going on countless canoe trips around the province. In 2007 Nicholas moved to the Yukon to teach where he brought his love of the outdoors to the classroom. Since then Nicholas has infused experiential education into all his teaching practices. Nicholas was the acting Experiential Education Consultant for the Yukon for almost two years and really enjoys helping teachers incorporate more experiential education into their daily teaching practices. 

Gina Marucci: Director for Ontario 

Gina is the Outdoor Education Resource Teacher at the Vivian Outdoor Resource Centre, located in the York Region District School Board. Prior to this, she was seconded to Waabgon Gamig First Nation School where she helped to develop the Mother Earth Mentoring Program, a land-based program that works to build students’ naturalist skills and nature awareness while integrating big ideas from the Ontario curriculum and indigenous knowledge. Her work over the years has allowed her to partner with Deep Nature Connection Practitioners to design curriculum that integrates core routines into daily practice. Before teaching, Gina had an extensive career in archaeology that allowed her to work throughout remote regions of the continent. She is passionate about transformative education, hands-on experiential, inquiry-based learning that embraces indigenous knowledge. Gina spends her free time playing in nature with her husband and two boys. To contact Gina:

Simon Trudeau: Director for Quebec

Content to come.


Position is vacant

Sarah Sandy: Indigenous Director

Content to come.

© Outdoor Council of Canada

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