Canoeing is a pillar program and mainstay of Camp Pathfinder. For Pathfinder boys, paddling is a lifelong skill and joy. Campers master canoeing in all age groups, to explore both our home lake and to venture throughout the Park and beyond on canoe trips.
Canoeing at camp includes basic stroke work, rescues and safety on the water, advanced strokes and techniques, and for the older boys, whitewater paddling. In the end all of these contribute to growing as a paddler while you grow as a camper and staff man.
Our Canoe fleet is the camp's pride and joy. We are one of the only Ontario camps still tripping almost solely in cedar canvas canoes. The current fleet ... consists of 48 individual works of art, named for famous people in Pathfinder history. Camp's collection of beautiful Hurley canoes is cared for and growing thanks to the on-island Canoe Shop. Here, campers can learn the woodworking skills to repair and build these amazing craft.
Along with the wood fleet, camp has two dozen Kevlar and ABS Royalex canoes by Swift, Old Town and Nova Craft. These boats are used for remote whitewater river trips and to teach canoeing to novice paddlers.
Kayaking at Pathfinder has taken off in a big way in the last few years! A fleet of touring flat water kayaks from Necky and Swift provide endless paddling time for campers. In the past few years we have added a fleet of whitewater or "play boats" from Jackson Kayak. They have played a huge role in helping get kids to experience different ways of being on the water. It also introduced camp and kids to the emerging world of whitewater kayaking.
This summer we plan on expanding both fleets to include more Swift touring kayaks for younger campers and getting some more whitewater kayaks to continue growing our program.
Still new compared to our open canoeing program, kayaking reflects the camp staff's search for new ways to share lifetime paddle sports to the kids.
Pathfinder has taught swimming and aquatics as a pillar program since her founding in 1914. Swimming at camp includes daily instruction, free swims and "soap baths" throughout the summer.
The program teaches campers with both Royal Lifesaving and Red Cross swim curricula.
Swim games and meets, long distance swims, canoeing safety, aquatics and pre-lifeguard skills are all part of the experience. Creating a lifelong safe waterman and swimmer is the goal.
A classic summer camp program that has always been a fun tradition at Pathfinder. Our archery program is set up for novice, intermediate and expert shooters. The range located on the back of the island is surrounded by the Algonquin woods. Boys here work on their AA (Achievement Awards) and an array of fun shooting challenges.
Archery training for camp staff is conducted each June by former Canadian champion archer Bill Embury of Saugeen Shafts. Bill helps our counselors get campers off to a great start in the sport.
Ropes & Challenge
Ropes and Challenge courses have been making a huge impact on camper skill and confidence over three decades at Pathfinder. Pioneered here in the 1980s by owner Mac Rand and alumnus Gerry Taylor of Project Adventure, the Pathfinder course was redesigned in 2006 with Challenges Unlimited, including a massive rock wall, giant's ladder, pamper pole, zip line, and cat walk.
Just as important as the high elements are Pathfinder's low elements and staff leadership. The entire Ropes-Challenge program emphasizes teamwork, trust, and problem-solving as much as alpine climbing skills or pushing personal envelopes. Campers come away from each Ropes session with a renewed awareness of what a group of motivated people can accomplish.
Traditional Skills & Earth Lore
The practice of woods skills and appreciation of ecology and natural science at Pathfinder has been called many things over a century's history in Algonquin. At the century mark, we have brought a group of topics under the umbrella of Traditional Skills or "Trad Lore." Trad Lore includes survival skills, map and compass, nature education, rope work and knots, shelter, fire, and open-fire cooking.
Earth lore has always been a big part of camp, and thrived under director Lance Kennedy in the '70s, '80s and '90s. Earth Lore grew out of a Lance camper Chris Brackley, who brought a new method to teaching an appreciation of Algonquin in the 2000s.
Both activities are available to all camper ages. They combine with canoeing and tripping in service to the idea that Pathfinder campers make a personal connection with the natural world, and are inspired to protect and preserve it through knowledge and low impact choices.
Arts & Crafts and Woodshop
Arts & Crafts includes watercolor painting, leather and hemp craft, wood burning, photograms, collage, models, masks, picture frames and more. The A&C area is at the historic Rec Lodge along the eastern shoreline of the island.
The Canoe Shop offers the chance to learn woodworking basics. Campers can repair or build a canoe, make coat racks, boxes, bowls and utensils.
Pathfinder sits astride some of Algonquin excellent bike trails. There are two rails to trails routes within a 5 minute van or barge ride of camp. The challenging Minnesing Bike Trail mountain bike terrain is just east of the camp. The Pathfinder bike fleet is all brand new Specialized gear.
Algonquin offers small mouth bass, speckled and lake trout, Splake and Walleye. We also catch far north fish on the long river trips our oldest campers take. The staff all are asked to get their Ontario Fishing License in the beginning of every summer to ensure that we can catch as many fish as the kids are interested in and that it is all done legally according to Ontario Parks. The fish in Algonquin are plentiful and while we can't always say the same thing for source lake, most of the time you will here of someone going on a late afternoon or early morning troll and getting some laker at the last minute that was enough for 3 people.
Ageless traditional in-camp sports including; Baseball, Kickball, Tetherball, Frisbee Golf, Ultimate Frisbee, Coneball, Badminton, Horseshoes, Basketball, Soccer, Lacrosse, Volleyball and more!