Meet the directors

Maya & Dave Willis

Co-Owners & Directors

Maya and Dave took over Wilvaken in 1985, after Dave’s parents retired from their 27 year commitment to developing the camp. Family has always been an important aspect of life at Wilvaken; and that is made very clear through the effort and care put into everyday camp life.

Dave grew up actively involved with Wilvaken. Not only was he there to build the first cabins on the property, but also the first sailboats, along with the paddocks and riding ring for our equestrian program . To add to that, he spent his winter months at Wilvaken in the 1970s developing a cross-country ski program. Prior to rejoining Wilvaken in 1985, Dave followed a career in computer software development.

Maya spent her childhood summers at various camps, then took to travelling around the world after completing her college degree. She followed a career in Respiratory Therapy in Montreal for several years before joining Dave and the Wilvaken family. From camp life, to international and health care experience as an adult, Wilvaken was a great fit for Maya’s passions and interests. Maya is always looking to connect with those from around the world, and has even visited some of our camp families during her more recent travels! Her kind and caring disposition has made her the ‘camp mom’ that everyone can turn to.

In the fall of 2015, Maya and Dave’s dedication and commitment to camping was recognized by the Canadian Camping Association. They received the Award of Excellence, which was presented at the Quebec Camping Association annual conference in November 2016. Maya and Dave were honoured to be given recognition on a national scale. They hope that their values of appreciation for the natural world, connecting the global community, and creating genuine personal connections will be passed on in the generations to come.

Maya and Dave raised both of their children at Wilvaken and are thrilled that their daughter Lara decided to continue the family tradition for a third generation. Lara started this transition in the summer of 2016, and will work alongside Maya and Dave to learn the tricks of the trade in the coming years. They look forward to guiding her, and gaining insight from her various other experiences.

Lara Willis

Co-Director

 

Lara completed her Bachelor of Education at Bishop’s University in the spring of 2014. She then spent two years teaching in London, England. While abroad, Lara discovered that time spent as both camper and counsellor at Wilvaken allowed her to develop new skills as a teacher and adapt to the classroom in a way that might not have otherwise been possible. Her experience teaching gave Lara a greater understanding of the need for experiential education, where children can thrive because they are challenged yet supported in their learning.

Lara believes that learning can happen both in and out of the classroom; Wilvaken’s values of community, cooperation, independence and inter-dependence go hand in hand with her approach to teaching.

As co-director, she hopes to instill these values in both the staff and campers at Wilvaken. She is looking forward to seeing Wilvaken from a new perspective and help it move into the future!

Alana La Rosa Dancoste

Assistant Director
camper: 7 summers  CIT:2008  Staff: 8 years

 

Alana returns to Wilvaken for her 15th summer this year – as our assistant director. This is her second summer in this position.

She is very excited to be able to work with us in this capacity to help in the administration and organization of Wilvaken during the summer months.

Alana has experienced Wilvaken as a camper, CIT, counsellor and CIT coordinator. She is very familiar with a broad range of the activities we enjoy at Wilvaken, and definitely embodies the “Wilvy spirit”!

We look forward to working with her this summer!