Our Staff

Breakfast Time!

The Active Challenge program was started by Bear Creek Outdoor Centre founder, Jill Baxter.

Jill Baxter

Jill has been a working professional in camping and outdoor leadership for 20 years. Jill grew up in residential camping, having attended and worked at Camp Hollyburn for a total of 16 years. Jill received a specialization in therapeutic recreation during her undergraduate degree in Outdoor Recreation, Parks and Tourism from Lakehead University, she then went on to a graduate residency in Environmental Education at Utah State University. Jill is an outdoor skills instructor-trainer and teaches with the Algonquin College Outdoor Adventure Leadership program.

Jill has been operating Bear Creek Outdoor Centre since 1999, and is dedicated to seeing participants grow in their self awareness and determinism through outdoor adventure and quality relationships.

Active Challenge is the most powerful program that I have ever been a part of. Active challenge is about so much more than losing weight...It is about gaining...strength, perspective, confidence, friendships, knowledge, and understanding. I have never been so proud to be a part of something. Active Challenge participants are an inspiration to me every day.

Jill Baxter

Joanne Smith

Joanne Smith grew up in Ottawa, Ontario and at the age of 18 started to travel the world. She has accomplished many expeditions in hiking, sea kayaking, canoeing and white water canoeing.  Her passion for the outdoors led her to attended Algonquin College receiving a diploma in Outdoor Adventure.  After working in Melbourne, Australia at the Outdoor Education Group for 8 years she’s back in Canada as the Executive Director at Active Challenge.

Active Challenge is a very powerful tool to aid in the fight against youth obesity. This summer camp is like no other and I have seen the most amazing changes physically and emotionally in the campers. I am so proud to be a part of this amazing not for profit company.

Joanne Smith


Pascale Messier

Pascale is a Registered Dietician who teaches our campers to eat for a healthy life. She is a public health Dietician with the City of Ottawa, co-author of the FueltoXcell healthy school foods project and mentor to young women as a part of the Ottawa G.O.A.L.S (Girls, Obesity, and Loving Support) program. Pascale instills a real approach to eating using Canada's Food Guide to Healthy Living which is the cornerstone of the Active Challenge nutritional program.


Staff at the Active Challenge program come with credentials including Advanced Wilderness First Aid, NLS, Aquafit, and swimming instructors, fitness and sport coaching certification and diplomas in Outdoor Adventure Leadership and Fitness. Our staff couple their credentials with their enthusiasm. An unstoppable combination for a summer of fun.

All of our staff are looking forward to meeting you and helping you achieve all of your goals this summer.


Find Us on Facebook