Syria Project, Indigenous Initiatives & Camp Scholarships
In service to our campers, staff members, parents and alumni, Camp Pathfinder conducts outreach programs to engage underserved communities, enriching our community, and sharing the benefits of the Pathfinder experience.
Pathfinder Refugee Project ( the Syria Project) began in 2016, and coordinates with both private family sponsor networks and government-assisted refugee resettlement organizations. To date, Syrian, Iraqi, Eritrean and Afghani families --fleeing sectarian violence and beginning a new life in North America-- are welcomed by Pathfinder, where their boys can join the camp season. It is a goal that some will enjoy a long camper career and join the staff. The camp itself covers all tuition expense, and provides for religious observance, appropriate menu, and language support. Donations for the boys' clothing, trip, transport and incidental expenses are sometimes generously offered by our own alumni and camper families, while partial support has come from Amici Camping Charity and KidsInCamp charity, Toronto. The camp project was the subject of the 2017 documentary New Homeland. See the film trailer, New Homeland
In the U.S., Algonquin Campership Fund, an alumni fund of Camps Pathfinder and Northway, was established in 2000 to provide scholarships to camp for children whose families demonstrate financial need and extraordinary life challenges. The Fund awards partial or complete scholarships to US applicants, for both individual boys and girls, and for school-to-camp visits for underserved urban populations.
In Canada, Amici and KidsInCamp are Canadian partners with Pathfinder, providing camp scholarship support to children in need. Their partial scholarship awards are matched by the camp.
Pathfinder Indigenous Initiative is a multi-faceted effort, beginning in 2009 with the advent of collaborative experiences between our senior camper expedition trips and host families in remote Bay communities.
In 2017, the camp began a cooperative truth & reconciliation canoe trip with James Bay region Cree youth, in partnership with Rotary International HIP, Toronto, the Mushkegowuk Council, and Camp Wabun Temagami. In 2018, the camp began a collaboration with Algonquin educator Christine Luckasavitch McRae, who provides summer session enrichment workshops and in-service training for our campers and staff. Christine helped owners Sladds and Glenn create their own Indigenous Camper Scholarship program. Christine also became a teaching fellow of the Pathfinder Spruce Root in 2019. That year, the camp established an annual collaboration with the 'Algonquin Peoples All Nation Gathering' organized each summer by Algonquins at Whitefish Lake, gifting the food for the event.
During summer '22, Pathfinder joined in a grant application with Algonquin Outfitters, to have an authentic birchbark canoe crafted in Algonquin Park by indigenous master builder Chuck Commanda.
In 2023, these initiatives continue. What's next? We're partnering with the camps and lodges of Algonquin to underwrite publishing of an historical text on the experience of Algonquin peoples in the region of today's Algonquin Provincial Park. At this time, the project will be conducted with the Friends of Algonquin.