Age Groups

An early Pathfinder tradition that endures today is the affiliation of our camper age groups with significant and meaningful indigenous cultures of eastern Canada. 

Mic-Mac & Chippewa - Our youngest camper group, age 7-10, enjoying camp and taking their first steps as canoe trippersLearn more about Mi'kmaq and Chippewa Culture

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

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

Ottawas - A group of trippers age 13-14, likely paddling in the backcountry for more than half their camp stay. Learn more about Odawa Culture

AAs - (Activity Assistants) The oldest campers are more skilled canoe trippers, ages 15 - 16,  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.


AGE 7-10

How Long are Mic & Chipps at Camp?

Mic-Mac (Mi'kmaq) Campers - Our short sessions are a perfect first Pathfinder experience for this age group, giving them all the excitement of both in-camp activities and the canoe trip experience. Mature Mic-Chipps stay Half-Season.

• Age 7 Campers - 1-week session

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


Chippewa Campers - The older and more experienced of the Chipps get to have a 4-7 day canoe trip and spend time in activities with age-11 Crees. A number of Chipps stay Half-Season.

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


What is a Mic & Chipp Canoe Trip Like? 

Mic & Chipp trips can be anywhere from an overnight to Linda or Owl Lake 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 a longer trip, or up to 4 fantastic shorter canoe trips. 


Mic & Chipp trips travel through Algonquin Park lakes big and small, trails long and short. Longer Mic & Chipp 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 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 Do Mic & Chipps Live?

Mic &Chipp Ville - [ 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 older Chipps live in tents 1 & 2 with one other camper and two staff.


A Typical Mic & Chipp Day at Camp...

A Mic-Chipp day includes lodge clean-up after the all-camp breakfast, followed by 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 Mic-Chipps 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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AGE 11-12

How Long are Cree campers at Camp?

Cree campers may attend for 2 weeks, but often stay for 3 & 1/2 weeks to make sure they get a good amount of canoe tripping in as well as time in camp. Some Crees stay the whole summer (7 weeks).


What is a Cree Canoe Trip Like? 

Canoe trips for Crees are exciting, with treks of 3 days to a week at a time, exploring all corners of Algonquin. This is the age when many Cree 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 Do Cree campers Live?

Cree Row (Tents 3-13)

 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 Crees and some Otts.


A Typical Cree Camper Day at Camp ...

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 Cree 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 Cree 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.

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



AGE 13-14

How Long are Ottawa campers at Camp?

Members of the Ottawa Tribe 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 river trips with fellow Otts.


What is an Ottawa camper Canoe Trip Like? 

Ott 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, Ott trippers venture from Algonquin to treks in Temagami and other areas of Ontario.


Where Do Ottawa campers Live?

'Skid Row' (Tents 18-26)

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

Sunnyvale (Tents 27-30 & 35)

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

Otts 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 Ottawa camper Day at Camp ...

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

Ottawa 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 Ottawa 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.

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Wikipedia, “Odawa,” Jan. 27, 2020.

Read Here



AGE 15

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 32-40 day long awaited AA canoe river trip in northern or western Ontario or Quebec.  

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


What is the AA Canoe Trip? 

This is the ultimate summer for trips. Their 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.