Daily In-Camp Program

IMG_0423 (1).jpgAction at Pathfinder Island
 The In-Camp Program is designed to keep the spirit of the trail alive while campers are awaiting their next trip. Sports activities help manifest the characteristics and physical  abilities put to use on the trail. Arts programming gives time to reflect on the beauty of the natural surroundings and shared experiences between trip-mates. Traditional skills and Canoeing bring campers back to best practices in safety, survival,
and navigating rough terrain.

Explore Our In-Camp Activities
Canoeing    Kayaking      Swimming/Aquatics    Archery    
Ropes and Challenge    Traditional Skills & Earthlore   Arts & Crafts
 Day Trips & Biking        Woodworking      Fishing      Camp Sports   Sailing


Canoeing is a pillar program and mainstay of Camp Pathfinder.  For Pathfinder boys, paddling is a lifelong skill and joy. All camper age-groups work on canoe skills appropriate to their age. Canoemanship leads boys to explore the region, and to venture throughout the Park and beyond on their canoe trips.

_MG_1357.jpgCanoeing periods introduce basic stroke work, rescues and safety on the water, advanced strokes and techniques, and for the older boys, whitewater paddling. 

The 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 54 individual works of art, named for famous people in Pathfinder history. Camp's collection of beautiful Hurley and Pathfinder canoes is cared for in 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 three 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 is two-bladed solo paddling in a closed craft. The kayak allows quick feedback to maneuvering in wind and waves so it’s a great complement to canoeing. Kids new to paddling love the solo control of the kayak. A fleet of touring flat water kayaks from Necky and Swift provide endless paddling fun for campers.

Camp has added a fleet of whitewater or "play boats" from Jackson Kayak. These make a huge impact, helping kids experience different facets of paddle sport. The play boats also introduce our boys to the emerging world of whitewater kayaking. Senior boys can work up to introductory experiences on nearby rivers like the Madawaska and Gull, under expert instructors.

Each year new kayaks come into the fleet. Another addition, six new Bic SUP boards, have added to the paddling excitement!


Arts & Crafts

Arts & Crafts is located toward the back of the Island, behind the Rec Lodge. The shoreline and cedars offer great inspiration for artwork. While at arts & crafts boys can work on various projects including dreamcatchers, trip journals, leather stamping, watercoloring, printmaking, and more. Plus, they get to bring their masterpieces home to cherish for years to come!


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.FullSizeRender (15).jpg

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.

Day Trips & Biking

Home to scenic overlooks and historical landmarks, Algonquin Park offers the perfect opportunity for day trips away from the Island to learn more about the vivid landscape and culture within Park boundaries.  Trips include the Logging Museum, Algonquin Art Centre, Algonquin Visitor Center, Skymount Overlook, and more.IMG_3739.jpg

Pathfinder also sits astride some of Algonquin's 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 hear 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.

Camp Sports 

Ageless traditional in-camp sports including; Baseball, Kickball, Tetherball, Frisbee Golf, Ultimate Frisbee, Coneball, Badminton, Horseshoes, Basketball, Soccer, Lacrosse, Volleyball and more!


Pathfinder's very own canoe shop provides boys the opportunity to learn how work with their hands DSCN0113.jpg in a safe environment. Campers can aid in canoe builds and repairs, make and design their paddles, work on small projects, and more. 


Sailing has made a come back to Pathfinder Island in recent years! Camp is currently equipped with five Sunfish and Laser sailboats, with full size and radial rigs. Campers learn how to rig the boats and sail both as crew and captain. 


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