Instructors and Guides
Already as a young child Keiran was paddling many of the rivers of southwestern BC with the Beaver Canoe Club. A highly-trained and experienced canoeist, Keiran is also a graduate of the Thompson Rivers University Adventure Guide Training Program and has worked in many parts of the paddling tourism industry. He currently works as an elementary school teacher and as a canoe guide in the Northwest Territories during the summer months. Keiran is very interested in local ecology, geography and history and has a passion for teaching about the outdoors and sharing his love of adventure.
Captivated by a vision to travel the world and meet new cultures, Alvin discovered the National Circus School in Montreal at the age of 18 and trained intensively for 4 years. He eventually ended up crossing the globe several times as an acrobatic performer, coach and actor working with many circus and theatrical companies, including the renowned Cirque du Soleil, in KA in Las Vegas. He now speaks four languages and has traveled to over 12 countries performing over 3000 shows. Alvin is the co-founder of Barefoot Sanctuary yoga studio, author of “The Art of Impossible” and pioneer of Acrofit, an acrobatic fitness system. Alvin brings over 25 years of professional circus, martial arts and teaching experience to his coaching repertoire and has taught thousands of children, youth and adults in circus camps around the world.
Jada is a professional yoga instructor of 16 years and developed the Expressive Yoga Dance form, a relaxing and revitalizing form of yoga and ethnic dance. Her unique yoga form blends traditional Hatha techniques, deep breathing and hip and heart opening movements that increase circulation, flexibility and creative flow. Jada also has lead intramural gymnastics, trapeze, creative dance and has taught kids’ circus camps and global retreats. She is a strong advocate for healthy eating, strength building, herbology and nutrition through nature. Jada is the co-founder of Barefoot Sanctuary, Las Vegas’ premier community yoga studio and creator of Medicine Kid, an herbal immune support supplement that kids and families love. Jada is a trusted natural healer, published author and accomplished artist.
– assistant guide of the Upper Stikine River Canoe Expedition
Growing up paddling in Ontario’s vast lake country, Mark began his passion for wilderness canoeing at age 10. Spending his youth at summer camp, first as an avid participant on lake and river trips, and then as a leader and guide on those same lakes and rivers, wilderness has always been synonymous with reflection, connection and discovery of place, others, and self.
Mark has worked in the Canadian Rockies for YMCA Camp Chief Hector as a hike, canoe and horse instructor for 7 summers. Mark was the director of a unique and award-winning leadership wilderness program run from a remote mountain site on the north-eastern border of Banff National Park. There, Mark held training, guiding, and programming responsibilities for 10 staff, 32 participants, and 20 horses. Mark directed 30-day sessions focused on personal growth and the development of strong backcountry skills through wilderness living and travel.
At Camp Chief Hector Mark also co-guided a transformative 65-day western arctic river expedition focused on river travel, leadership, cultural awareness, and the fostering of community relations with the diverse Dene, Gwich’in, Sahtu and Inuvialuit communities along the river.
Mark trained as a lawyer in British Columbia studying Aboriginal law and working for the Attorney General of British Columbia on the Tsilhqot’in Nation case, now the leading Aboriginal rights and title case in Canada. Mark has taught senior courses in law, economics, and history at a downtown Toronto high school for the past 9 years.
– Back to Your Roots Nature Retreat co-facilitator
Originally from the Netherlands, Anneh Kessels now has her studio next to the beautiful Bulkley River. She has found her way to Quick, BC, in a very round-about way, and is extremely happy to live in this great and lively community!
Anneh has been making willow baskets for the last 12 years. Recently she started incorporating bulrush, birch bark, cedar bark, driftwood and clay pottery into her basket adventures.
Anneh enjoys going out and wild-crafting all her willows, bulrushes, birch and cedar along local rivers, streams and lakes. After this she cures all her materials, before making them into traditional or one-of-a-kind baskets.
– Back to Your Roots Nature Retreat co-facilitator
Barbara and her family immigrated to Canada in 2003, leaving a demanding career in advertising and marketing behind to live a different, more meaningful life. She feels fortunate to have found Bear Valley Highlands as her little paradise which the family shares with a small herd of Scottish Highland Cattle, a mixed herd of dairy goats, horses, chickens, cats and dogs.
Barbara is passionate about organic, local slow food that tastes amazing and still leaves her with time to play!