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Pathfinder News & Notes

Welcoming Syrian Boys to Pathfinder 2017

Syrian boys who are refugees from the war in Syria are coming to CPI. Glenn and Sladds are hosting them as guests without any fees. There will be 5 boys in Session C and 5 boys in Session D. They are mostly ages 11-14, with one boy an age 8 Mic Mac, and one boy an age 15 Ottawa. Their families have arrived in Canada within the past 6 to 12 months.


Currently these families are living in the Toronto area, assisted in starting a new life here either by private family sponsor teams, or by non-profits which provide similar close support for one year.

Pathfinder supports Canada’s embrace of Syrian families tormented by the 12-year Syrian conflict, which has already claimed over 300,000 lives, so many of them women and children. For the families who have reached Canada, there is safety at last, but of course a challenging experience ahead as they work to build a new life.  For Syrian kids, summer can be a time to forge their own new paths and see new horizons, to try out the Canadian tradition of summer camp, to make great friends, immerse in English, and hopefully let many stresses and anxieties fall away.

We believe that welcoming these boys will also be an extremely positive experience for all of us staff and campers who already love and thrive at Camp Pathfinder.

Early Efforts
Sladds began a search over the off-season to meet sponsor families and agency staff. Toronto meetings were held with Syrian families and their sponsors.  Sponsor parents, a doctor running a Syrian health clinic, two Arabic translators, and advisors from the Syrian community became partners with Pathfinder. After sharing details of camp life and referring some campers to other opportunities, ten boys from six families were invited to attend Pathfinder.

A Pathfinder Welcome
Most important is the way we welcome these boys, all of us as Campers, Staff and Alumni of Pathfinder.
What are some accommodations Pathfinder can make to ease the boys’ arrival at camp?

- camp will have a fulltime Arabic translator counselor in residence
- a Halal menu will be available
- support to increase swimming experience
- a safe and quiet space for observant Muslims to pray each day
- thoughtful sleepage pairing of campers with peers and staff

Pathfinder is organizing a visiting day in July for all the Syrian families and their sponsors, to come from the city and enjoy a day of Pathfinder fun with the whole crowd at camp. The adults will certainly want to see where the boys will be going in August, and we’re sure these new campers themselves will feel more comfortable discovering Pathfinder for the first time with their parents along.

Will You Join the Welcome?
If you would like to join in the effort to make a great summer experience for these boys, please get in touch. We could use some help in camp bus transportation and gathering some camp gear for our newest Pathfinder campers.

1. If you can send a gently used rain jacket, headlamp, paddling vest, fleece or sleeping bag ... check with us for sizes.

2. Or, if you would like to send a MEC or Algonquin Outfitters gift card .... these will also help us get our guys outfitted properly.

3. If you want to support their camp bus trip to and from Pathfinder with a small contribution, get in touch.

Other ideas? Just contact Sladds to learn more. We are happy to shoulder costs, but a little CPI family help is always awesome.

Thanks in advance for joining in this effort in support of your Camp and some more great new Pathfinder campers.
sladds & glenn 

Spruce Root 2017IMG_2915.jpg
A Chautauqua for Pathfinder Headmen

Over the last 15 years, Pathfinder staff training has branched out quite a bit, from certification courses in wilderness medicine and paddling, to include visits from psychologists, scientists, cartographers and trip guides. An idea bounced around for awhile, that a June conference could gather lots of top minds and give headmen a useful cerebral jump start to their leadership season ahead.

Thus, the biennial headmen’s gathering “Spruce Root” began in 2015 as a chautauqua, an informal June Crew gathering of experts in fields related to our world of wilderness canoe tripping. Eighteen presenters from many walks of life gave TedX talks and workshops to two dozen active headmen. A dozen alumni trip staff joined the headmen and guests in this experience. The word went out that this was an event not to be missed, and more alumni will be on hand this season.

During the off-years, 2014 and 2016, a few presenters came to the island for small-group field workshops. These were also highly effective, and preserved the energy of the Spruce Root concept. Now we're back to the large Spruce Root format for June 2017. This year’s topics for the big gathering of panels, cocktail dinners, keynotes and workshops include:

'canoe guiding for joy moments - professional route planning; boys’ development and concepts of masculinity; film technique and concept for capturing the human experience of tripping; literature revealing the histories of Algonquin and the DuMoine country; climate challenges and the life of Dickson and Lavielle Lakes; a guide perspective on non-emergent health care of children on trip; traditional canoe travel ethics and practice; our connection to waters of the Great Lakes Basin; positive leadership of boys in outdoor settings; building better trippers through the in-camp program,' and more.

An added feature of this year’s Spruce Root will be two advance events: a field workshop with map maker Jeff McMurtrie of “Jeff’s Map” and a private behind the scenes tour of the collections of the Canadian Canoe Museum with curator Jeremy Ward. Stay tuned on these pre-chautauqua events.

Now for the formalities ...

Spruce Root 2017
‘Professional Practice of the Headman’

Camp Pathfinder Staff Training Program & The Centennial Fund 

Mike Sladden, camp director

Dr. John Herman, alumnus

Guest Hosts, Sunday June 18
Jack and Peggy Hurley

Pathfinder Island  June 16 - 18, 2017

Chautauqua, noun ‘she-to-kwa’

Describes an adult education movement popular in rural America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Named for the western New York lake where it was first held and continues today at the Chautauqua Institute. Notable presenters in culture, arts, philosophy, education, sciences, religion and humanities assembled at Chautauquas across North America. Teddy Roosevelt said Chautauquas were the ‘most American thing about America.'

Pre-Conference Events
'Map and Mind' - A Headman’s practical workshop with topo maps
Hosted by cartographer Jeff McMurtrie

The Canadian Canoe Museum - A Behind the Scenes Tour for the Headmen
Hosted by curator Jeremy Ward

Spruce Root Presenters

Dr. Christopher Thurber, psychologist and instructor
Phillips Exeter Academy

Roy MacGregor, columnist  and author
"The Globe and Mail” newspaper

Prof. Robert Henderson, outdoor studies
McMaster University (ret)

Paul Errickson, outdoor educator / head of middle school
Nichols School, Buffalo

Linda Leckie, Algonquin guide/ COEO/ department head (ret)
Outdoor education, Bishop Strachan School, Toronto

Wally Schaber, founder and author
Black Feather / Trailhead Outfitters
“Last of the Wild Rivers” - a history of the Dumoine Watershed

Dr. Julia Orkin, Pathfinder camp physician
Chief of Chronic Illness, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto

Allison Lake, biologist
Algonquin Park Staff

David Hartman, filmmaker and founder, Hayfire Media Co.
“Nine Rivers”, “Keepers of the Trail”, “A Paddler’s Pilgrimmage”

Corot Reason, alumnus
systems auditor, Symcor, Inc, Toronto

Craig MaDonald, chief ranger (ret)
Algonquin Park Staff

Sandy Smith, environmental engineering science / faculty
Nichols School, Buffalo

Mark Eustis, alumnus
 geospatial technologist, Grey Owl Analytics, LLC

Goh Iromoto, filmmaker, human geographer
“The Canoe”, “We Belong to It”, “The Path of Grey Owl”
Webeo Award, Canadian Society of Cinematogaphers

Matt Thompson, canoe guide
Wilderness Canoe, Knoydart Scotland

A Look Back at the 103rd Summer
Tent camping

Highlights of the 2016 season included: 

The Annual Pathfinder Poster
Old map

See 7 season posters, 2009-2015

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