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Age Groups

Learn about your campers' age group, what a summer looks like for them, and the Indigenous cultures campers learn about during their time with us in Algonquin Park .

7-8 Year Olds - Our youngest camper group, enjoying camp and taking their first steps as canoe trippersLearn more. 

9-10 Year Olds - Terrific campers in these age groups are branching out in interests, abilities and trip horizons. Learn more. 

11-12 Year Olds - A large and busy group at Pathfinder, taking full advantage of all Camp has

to offer, both on the Island and on the trail. Learn more.

13-14 Year Olds - A confident group of canoe trippers , likely paddling in the backcountry for more than half their camp stay. Learn more.

15 Year Old AAs The oldest campers are more skilled canoe trippers, venturing out for 3 - 6 weeks a season on distant canoe expeditions. The AA season is a tripping career pinnacle, and preparation for invitation to the staff ranks next year. Learn More.

Campers ages 7/8 - 9/10

How long is my 7-10 year old at camp?

Our shorter camp sessions are a solid first Pathfinder experience for this age group, giving boys all the excitement of both in-camp activities and the canoe trip experience. Mature or veteran campers stay 3 1/2 weeks, the 'Half-Season.'

• Age 7 Campers - 1-week or 2-week sessions.

• Age 8 Campers - 2-week or 3 1/2-week sessions. 

 • Age 9-10 Campers - 2-week session or a customary 3 1/2-week session.  


The older and more experienced of this age group get to have at least one 4-7 day canoe trip ,and spend time in activities with age-11 campers. Most of these 9-10 year old campers stay Half-Season.


What is a Canoe Trip like for my 7-10 year old? 

Our youngest's trips can be anywhere from an overnight to Linda or Owl Lakes, to a 7-day canoe trip across Algonquin. Campers staying one week typically set out on an overnight with new friends from their group. Campers who stay 2 weeks are able to enjoy one longer trip (4-7 days) or two smaller trips (2-3 days). Campers who stay the 3 & 1/2 weeks may be able to set out on an ambitious longer trip, or up to 4 fantastic shorter canoe trips. 


Trips travel through Algonquin Park lakes big and small, trails long and short. Longer  trips may be trucked to a destination on their first day to get them experiencing areas of the Park they have not seen before. 


All trips are staffed 1:2, with a capable and trained crew of 3 headmen, secondmen and CITs. 


The boys learn how to paddle, portage, set up and take down the campsite, and wallop. They spend their campsite free time in water play and exploring, catching fish, whittling, playing cards and campsite games, or just chilling out.


Where does my 7-10 year old camper live?

THE LOWER KINGDOM - [ Lodge I, Lodge II West, Lodge II East, Tent 1 & Tent 2 ]

"The Lodges" are rustic cabins along the southern shoreline of Pathfinder Island. Lodges accommodate 6-8 boys and 3 staff men. Senior counselors live in each Lodge, and two camp directors are in charge of the group. The 9-10 year olds live in tents 1 & 2 with one other camper and two staff.


A typical day at Camp for my 7-10 year old...

Begins with a bell for flagpole and all-camp breakfast, followed by lodge clean-up, a morning of exploration, swim class and a sports period. Following lunch and a rest hour, they attend their favorite afternoon activities. Then comes free time- fishing, cards and tetherball! After Dinner, an evening program brings all age groups together for all-camp games and events, mixing younger campers with the big guys. Evening free swim is a favorite, followed by call to quarters, when counselors read to the boys before lights out.

Tomorrow may bring a day adventure or overnight canoe trip!


Mi’Kmaq Culture

Affiliation of Pathfinder boys ages 7 - 8.

Outdated spelling, MicMac. In Maritime Canada, often pronounced “MigMaw”.

The Mi’Kmaq are an indigenous people living in what is now Atlantic Canada, including the current Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Gassp´e Peninsula in Quebec.


Descended from first peoples in the region whose presence dates to 13,000 years ago, they lived a nomadic lifestyle prior to European contact, moving from coastal to inland life from summers to winters. Hunters and gatherers, they used the resources of the land for their every need. They primarily hunted small game, caribou and moose. From the coasts, they harvested sea life, especially seals, fish and shellfish.


Their culture’s history evokes a reverence for northern forests and animals, expertise in handling boats and canoes, and astounding beauty in functional hand-made art and craft.

Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. "Mi’kmaq." Encyclopædia Britannica. June 20, 2019.

Read Here


Video: CBC “Land & Sea” The Mi’Kmaq Journey. Feb. 24, 2017.

Watch Here

Chippewa Culture

Affiliation of Pathfinder boys ages 9 – 10.

The Chippewa, also known as Ojibwe, (the names Chippewa and Ojibwe may originate from the same word, varying in pronunciation) are an indigenous people from Southern and Central Canada. Part of the larger cultural group known as Anishinaabeg, which includes the Algonquin people of the Ottawa River drainage.


Descended from first peoples in the region whose presence dates to 13,000 years ago, Chippewa used birch bark for their dome-shaped wigwams and superlative canoes, and traded copper and wild rice, which they mined and cultivated expertly. They have a complex oral and written language called Ojibwemowin, are noted for their detailed spiritual observances documented in the famous Birch Bark Scrolls, and are the second largest population of Indigenous peoples living in today’s Canada.


Their culture’s name evokes a reverence for canoe travel, for use and trade of the premiere white birch bark and canoes, and for Ojibwe historical and spiritual connections to the Algonquin region now comprised, in part, of Algonquin Provincial Park.

Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. "Chippewa ." Encyclopædia Britannica. June 20, 2019. Accessed August 08, 2019

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Campers ages 11 - 12

How long is my 11-12 year old at camp?

Age 11-12 campers may attend for 2 weeks, but often stay for 3 1/2 weeks to have the fullest experience of tripping, in-camp action and to relish camp friendships. Some stay the whole summer (7 weeks).


What is a canoe trip like for my 11-12 year old? 

Canoe trips for 11-12 year olds are exciting, with treks of 3 days to a week at a time, exploring all corners of Algonquin. This is the age when many boys get hooked on tripping and start building up their tripping resumes to get ready for 2-week and even 3-week trips as older campers. Their growing size and strength make for fast and fun woods travel.


Where does my 11-12 year old live?


 A series of canvas platform tents leading up to the waterfront. Each tent has a counselor and three boys.


THE WATERFRONT (Tents 14-17)

A series of canvas platform tents that line the waterfront right outside of swim dock - for older boys and some 13-14 year old campers as well.


A typical day at camp looks like ...

The boys have small-group instructional periods in the morning, and optionals in the afternoons. Typically, a Cree may be swimming and climbing or paddling in the morning, and choosing from sailing, kayaking, archery, mountain biking, athletics or survival skills after lunch.

For these campers, social interactions with peers and counselors are all-important. The camp staff works hard with this age group to encourage positive friendships and to help boys to interact positively, to pull together on tasks, to treat each other as they would like to be treated in return. This is also an age when the boys aspire to expertise in athletics, canoeing, swimming, climbing and camping skills. A counselor's dream, the 11-12 year old camper wants to learn how to do it right and do it well.


Cree Culture

Affiliation of Pathfinder boys ages 11-12.

The Cree people comprise a rich, multi-faceted indigenous culture living in Northeastern Canada. The largest remaining population of indigenous peoples in the country, with an Algonquian language heritage, they reside throughout North America and on their vast original hunting, trapping and fishing territories from the time of European contact.  Many northern Pathfinder AA trips travel in the Cree lands of James and Hudson Bays, often guided by and staying in Cree First Nations communities as guests of residents there.


Given the huge area of Canada inhabited by the Cree, Cree people of the Quebec and Ontario bay regions were understood by the French and English colonizers as Woodland or Swampy Cree, with their neighboring community members to the west in Canada’s northern prairies generally referred to as Plains Cree. Within these loose categories, however, are many distinct groups identifying themselves by allied families, language nuances and regional locality.


Their culture’s name evokes their expansive lands, where Pathfinder canoe trips venture north of Algonquin Park, and the relationships the camp has forged with Cree families from Whapmagoostui and Waskaganish, to Fort Severn to Bloodvein. In 2017, the camp began a program to welcome Moose Cree youth of the Mushkegowuk Council communities for friendship and canoe tripping with our CITs.


Among other connections from Pathfinder to Cree communities, a Pathfinder tripping director of the ‘40s, Tom Dodd, notably retired from life as a college professor to devote himself to research and publication of a grammar of Cree language, and was known in bay villages from his many visits.


Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. "Cree." Encyclopædia Britannica.

May 30, 2019. Accessed August 08, 2019.

Read Here

Wikipedia entry, “Cree”, Feb. 11, 2020.

Campers ages 13 -14

How long is a 13-14 year old at camp?

Members of this age group are encouraged to stay for a half season (3 1/2 weeks) or the whole summer (7-weeks) to ensure they have the days available for long extensive trips with fellow 13-14 year old campers.


What does a canoe trip look like for a 13-14 year old? 

13-14 year old's trips are exciting, from one week to 18 days at a time. They are masters of Algonquin canoe routes. Once they have adequate Algonquin experience, trippers venture from Algonquin to treks in Temagami and other areas of Ontario. Pathfinder's epic 'tours de parc' or 'Meanest Link' routes are often fare for these campers.


Where do 13-14 year old campers live?


Located past the Infirmary, Skid Row is a series of canvas platform tents that form a village away from the front of camp, allowing boys more independence. 


Located at the top of the tent line next to the Ballfield, this series of canvas platform tents is another more independent village for boys to live in during camp time.


Agee 13-14 campers still have Pathfinder counselors who live in a 1:3 ratio per each tent lodge, but the campers are at the age to choose how they will handle their clean-up duties, divide responsibilities, and agree to 'house rules' in their living areas. 


A typical day at camp looks like ...

Their in-camp time includes opportunities to focus on high achievement in camp sports. Campers have the chance to practice leadership skills, and to be more independent in their living areas and activity choices.

Campers are able to sign up for all-day out trips on trail bikes or in kayaks. They can push their limits at ropes-challenge and survival skills. And they can reach for the highest skill levels in swimming and canoeing.

Being an older camper also means being an active part of sustaining Pathfinder traditions, whether it's leadership at a council fire, showing friendship to younger campers, helping with conservation and island stewardship, or setting a good example for the camp in partnership with the staff. Certainly, it includes being a Pathfinder ambassador on the trip trail.


Ottawa / Odawa Culture

Affiliation of Pathfinder boys ages 13 – 14.

The Odawa, or ‘Ottawa’, are a first nations culture indigenous to the Ottawa River,  French River, and Georgian Bay regions. Their name, Odawa, is thought to be a derivation of the Anishinaabe word for ‘traders,’ and modified by the English to ‘Ottawa.’ The Odawa are one of Canada’s Anishinaabeg peoples, speaking an Algonquian language closely linked to Ojibwe. It is believed the Odawa moved from eastern coastal areas pre-contact, to reside on Manitoulin Island and the Bruce Penninsula, and later to the river drainage and now-capitol region that bears their anglicized name. Prior to colonization of their lands by the French and English, the Ottawa were semi-sedentary, living in agricultural villages in summer and separating into family groups for winter.


In Ottawa culture, planting and harvesting crops were women’s occupations while hunting and fishing were the responsibility of men. Ottawan villages could be palisaded and walled off for protection from foreigners or invaders. ‘Odawan’ people were an important link in the intricate, complex network of trade between indigenous peoples in North America. Primarily traveling through the Ottawa and French Rivers waterways and into Quebec for commerce, they traded commodities such as cornmeal, furs, sunflower oil, mats, tobacco, and medicinal herbs. 


Their culture’s name evokes their close connection to the Algonquins of our region, and to the camp’s connection to the canoe country of the Lake Huron and Ottawa River watersheds in both Ontario and Quebec, with our home Source Lake being the headwaters of the Ottawa’s important tributary, the Madawaska, an ancestral homeland of a clan of the Algonquins.


Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. "Ottawa." Encyclopædia Britannica. June 20, 2019. Accessed August 08, 2019.

Read Here

Wikipedia, “Odawa,” Jan. 27, 2020.

Read Here

AA Campers ages 15 - 16

How long are AA campers at Camp?

AA campers are encouraged to be at camp the full season (7-weeks) to allow them to venture on their long-awaited 32-40 day AA canoe river trips in northern or western Ontario or Quebec.  

Half-season AAs choose the 3 1/2 week sessions and take sensational 18-day canoe trips. 


What is the AA Canoe Trip? 

This is the ultimate summer for trips. Their expeditionary journey takes them down rivers in northern and western Ontario or Quebec. The bonds of friendship and the feelings of accomplishment are lifelong.

AAs who show real leadership potential and are steeped in Pathfinder values may be invited to join the CIT Leaders Program in the coming year, beginning a 3-year staff apprenticeship at Pathfinder.


AA Camp Culture

Affiliation of Pathfinder boys age 15.

Pathfinder AA canoe trips venture north of Algonquin Park, and the relationships the camp has forged with Cree families from Whapmagoostui and Waskaganish, to Fort Severn to Bloodvein.

Many northern Pathfinder AA trips travel in the Cree lands of James and Hudson Bays, often guided by and staying in Cree First Nations communities as guests of residents there.

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