"...as you each have your last look at the canoe dock on your way back home in a couple of days, you can say goodbye knowing with excitement that this place will always be here, waiting for us to say another hello." - Ally Rail, Chapel Speech 2019
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Parent Bulletin May 3, 2021
Read the outline of our Pathfinder Covid Plan for Summer 2021.
Greetings from Pathfinder!
As promised in the April 20 parent bulletin, Pathfinder has given the past two weeks a hard look for progress toward Ontario accepting camps' health guidance, and authorizing the reopening of overnight camps. And, for the Canada border authorities creating an exemption to allow American campers to come up north in July.
Canadian policy makers insist they want what we want: for camps to be open to our kids, and for the U.S. kids to get back to their camps.
Yet on May 3, we find ourselves and Ontario camps in much the same place as two weeks ago, when Pathfinder projected that by now we would have more news for everyone who is part of our 2021 Summer.
Today, the signs of progress are only mixed, in the quest for these goals. To have our exhaustive camps guidance approved by public health was expected long ago, but thrown off a natural timeline by this third wave of Covid infection in Ontario. The presence of Covid variants, and worries of more reaching Canada, has slowed the border discussions.
The clear-eyed assessment today is that Pathfinder will continue to plan for camp.
Normal camp sessions this summer remain Plan A. We will push ahead, making these Pathfinder sessions the first priority. That includes all our tripping and our junior counselor programs, too. We will stick with that Plan A for the next two weeks, knowing that Ontario’s camps announcement came May 19 last year.
It’s a canoe tripper’s nature to be optimistic and to stand fast. For us, that optimism remains strong. The maximum effort continues within the OCA task force and I’m still right there in it. Yet we know that the time frame for the outcome we want is growing ever shorter.
So, we will remain true to the promise of telling you everything we know, and of square dealings with all our families. We will give you straight advice, and the choice to stay with us in the Plan A approach, or to set up alternatives for your boys. We will honor our tuition refund commitments as you need them, and offer our own Plan B programs in case they become needed.
These Plan B options can include Pathfinder family retreat stays, AA expedition trips, and junior counselor development sessions.
The Broad Strokes
Families of campers and young staff in the U.S. can both stick with Pathfinder’s Plan A but also seek out an alternate American activity choice for their boys. We hope you’ll pivot back to Pathfinder as soon as the word up here is ‘Go!’. But we understand completely if you feel you have to make a change.
Camp is also committed to running family retreat programming this summer if children’s overnight camp is not authorized, and to welcoming all our American families once the border is open. You can choose to stick with Plan A but reserve your place for family retreat sessions or an AA expedition for your senior tripper.
And, in the event that the border is opened to Americans but that children’s overnight camping is not authorized, Pathfinder will still run its AA trips as expeditions, using the island as their start-and-end base. There are some Ottawa trippers who would love a great expedition trip, too.
For Canadian families, we know that Pathfinder remains a clear choice, and that it’s likely camps will be opened, if only on a delay or for Canadians at first. If needed, Pathfinder will run a first-rate program for all the Canadian campers, using Canadian and American staff members. This includes running the AA trips as expeditions. And, if overnight children’s camp is not authorized, either in July or at all, Pathfinder will run its family retreat program. You can elect to stick with Plan A and still reserve your place for optional family retreat sessions, or an AA expedition for your senior tripper.
Some Background on The Situation Today
In Ontario, daily cases of Covid are steadying, even dropping, and the wave is said to have ‘crested.’ Cases in our region remain low. But infections, hospitalizations and ICU admissions in the urban core areas remain too high. Vaccination rates have accelerated and 50% of vaccination is being targeted to high-infection areas. Still, too many Canadians are only vaccinated once so far.
Millions of new doses of vaccine are now on their way to Canada, itself a major positive sign. But authorities worry openly about virus variants causing more uncontrolled outbreaks if the province opens to more normal life too fast. A political disagreement is even underway. The province’s leader asserts border measures must be tightened. The prime minister disagrees, and U.S. legislators are moving to set up a border opening plan.
Bottom line, the Premier’s office is not ready to authorize overnight camps, and Ontario Health has slowed its approval of camps health guidance which would give the Premier the go-ahead.
Please know that I’m reaching out to each family in the coming days and will canvass your preferences and help you accordingly. If I’m working my way toward contacting you, but you need to contact me first, please don’t hesitate.
Pathfinder remains financially stable and debt free. As ever, you can rely on Pathfinder to refund all or any portion of your tuition, to credit forward and gratefully accept any amount you can leave with the camp toward its financial health, and to price your future sessions and family programs reasonably.
In conclusion, we are planning for camp and will give you additional options because of the difficult times facing us all again this year. Stick with Pathfinder in the knowledge that you have those options, and that we’ll help you with them.
More to come in May.