Let's talk about the plan.
Here is a summary of our summer plans so far. These may be adjusted by public health directives. We're sharing the broad strokes of the Pathfinder plan now so families can get prepared. More details will be available soon, by family email message and a spring videoconference meeting schedule.
Camp families will isolate and test their camper before Pathfinder.
Testing and Travel
A negative-PCR test and a ‘clean’ transit to camp.
Closed Camp Bubble
Pathfinder Island will be limited to campers and staff this season.
Camp life will be the most ‘normal’ with cohorting.
‘Family’ groups of cohorted campers and staff can live together but distance from other groups.
Enhanced Health Measures at Camp
More health staff and daily screenings will combine with follow up testing this summer.
Hygiene and disinfection will be highly emphasized throughout camp.
In-Camp and Tripping Life
Cohorts will sleep, eat, daily program and canoe trip together.
Multi-cohort activities will include normal masking and distancing practices.
Covid Management in the Bubble
Isolation, testing, care and clearing of anyone with Covid-related symptoms.
More Detail. Let’s dig in a little deeper on these topics.
Our families will be filling out some household information for Pathfinder, and planning to gradually increase isolation of their camper or staff member at home, during the 10-days before a test, and the couple of days after test and travel to camp on Source Lake.
In principle, a Pathfinder camper would begin to limit out of household exposures at 10-days before a test, then mostly stay near home and only have essential outside exposures at 5-days from the test. Each day the household would reply to health screening questions on a Pathfinder app.
If school or another youth program or family event is planned in these days leading up to a test, the family and the camp will assess together how to maintain needed practices and increasing isolation of the camper leading to test day.
Keep in mind, the most important isolation days are the 5-days prior to the test, and the couple of days prior to travel to camp. The quality of the test result depends on not having an exposure during the 5-days prior. Quality of isolation depends on not accidentally having an exposure between test and camp.
Testing and Travel To Camp
A Pathfinder camper would have a PCR (molecular) test within 4-days of traveling to camp. The date of the test depends on how quickly results can be obtained. Please find out now when and where you can obtain this test. Some communities limit test access for asymptomatic people. Best to find out now.
Following the test, it’s important to maintain isolation from outside exposures as much as possible, and when you have to interact outside the household, to wear a mask, hand-wash frequently, and distance. You can imagine that, though it's awkward, exposure inside the household to family members having regular contact with those outside the household, will require distancing and hygiene.
At last it will be time to head for Source Lake. Pathfinder families can travel their campers by air, camp bus or parent transport as usual. Each mode will have some special measures recommended to ensure no exposure before arrival at camp. Air travel, for example, is possible but will require great care at the departure airport, masking on the plane, and then Pathfinder staff will have a segregated, disinfected area at the airport for greeting campers. Pathfinder motor coaches will be low-capacity and distanced in masks, with staffing on board. Parent drop off's will involve a screening at the camp mainland docks.
Closed Camp Bubble
On arrival at Pathfinder, campers will find we are a closed ‘bubble’ community for the summer sessions. Staff and Campers will be the camp family, with no parent, alumni, guest or tradesmen visits to the Island.
Camp staff will be having their time off on Source Lake and at various interior camping places in the neighboring interior, per Pathfinder requirements. No staff travel away from camp this year.
Campers and staff will be in cohort groups, in which they can forego masks and distancing. The cohorts will be formed within age groups, and consist of 12 campers and 6 staff. All will be living in tents or lodges adjacent to each other.
The beauty of cohort living is that a group of campers and staff can live, eat, enjoy activities and head off on canoe trips, all without having to constantly mask and distance. Our cohort size is meant to be small enough to limit any possible exposure, but large enough so that boys have plenty of staff on hand and can choose which friends to spend the most time on trip with.
It will certainly be a pleasure for us to be able to live without masks within our cohorts. Overall, it's the quality of the pre-camp routine and test result that allows for this cohorting approach, advocated by Ontario public health experts. Another note: camp senior staff managing the summer, and not living in camper cohorts, will form their own cohort, but will be masking and distancing both with each other and all other cohorts. This will prevent one of the more likely ways a random Covid exposure could be transmitted to others in camp.
Camp life will include some masking and distancing when interacting with friends in between cohorts. Dining at camp will be spread out and include some outside meals to minimize crowd density in the Dining Hall, especially when camp is full. Once canoe trips start up, the camp size day to day will allow single meals in the Dining Hall for a small in-camp community. Daily program activities will be visited – archery to zip line – largely by cohort groups. And our famous canoe trips will be groups of boys and trip staff from within cohorts. On trips, cohort friends can live in trip tents, enjoy meals around the campfire, and generally be close to one another. A special effort will be made to outfit, prepare meals and handle cookware with extra hygiene. And cohort groups will have their own trip gear all season. See more below on canoe trips.
Health at Camp
Hygiene at Pathfinder will be of paramount importance, along with an enhanced health staff and health measures for this unique summer.
Pathfinder will double up on our full time resident nursing staff, devote a tent line in camp to precautionary isolation living if needed, and conduct daily health screenings of everyone in their cohorts. Follow up testing soon after arrival and any time of summer will be a feature of camp life this year, and the details on this approach are still evolving by the day in Ontario.
In-Camp Activity and Tripping
Campers and staff will really enjoy doing their camp sports and activities in cohort. That means no constant masking, and ‘normal’ life at swimming, canoeing, ropes course, archery, art, etc. We’ll be doing some exciting front-country day and overnight trips to cool sites around the Park. We will be seeking more fishing, human history hunting, bike and hike routes, and overlook treks to name a few.
Camp traditions are many at Pathfinder, and some will need modifications. Routines like Candy Line, Chapel, Council Fire will remain, but with some smart distancing.
Canoe tripping by cohort is a great solution. With an 18-man cohort, we can set up 2-3 trip groups with the kids still having input, and off they go. Outfitting will be by cohort reservation in the Trading Post. The cohorted trip means we can maintain our trip tent and canoe group traditions. We’ll naturally use special food handling and meal prep measures on the trail. There's been great interest in Pathfinder signature AA trips, and how they will fare this season. These trip groups will be formed and cohorted immediately on arrival at camp. They'll be tested again before embarking on the big trips, and we'll have maximum confidence the groups are Covid-free once they go.
Covid-Management at Camp
Anyone having routine symptoms that could be related to Covid-19 will isolate in camp from their cohort, be cared for and tested by a health staffer, and a positive test will require travel home to get well, while the affected cohort will be tested and observed to ensure their negative status.
Daily communication on camp’s web site will update families at home on the health status of the camp. We’ll alert the whole community in the event a cohort has a positive test, and provide special information and guidance to affected members of that cohort. This permits us to keep people informed but honor privacy obligations. As always you can rely on open, complete communication from Pathfinder. Sladds and Mary remain a message or call away at all times.