Friday, Sept. 24, 2021
Phew! That's about all an exhausted staff can express, after a season filled with challenges but also filled with beautiful experiences for the campers, counsellors and directors who together made for a safe, healthy and happy 2021 season - Pathfinder's 108th.
It was classic Pathfinder. People worked together to make a unique community, just like our canoe trips, and overcame all the obstacles that could be overcome. The result: sessions in July and August, no positive cases of Covid-19, and 45 canoe trips posted in a year when so many of our kids were still prevented from attending due to border closure.
A full recap would take many blog posts to paint in all its colors. As autumn settles in over the Algonquin highlands, and camp welcomes a few of its traditional school partners - and a couple of joyous wedding events - the 'looking back' highlights have to include a big nod to the dedication of the camp staff and parents.
Moms and Dads hung in through months of uncertainty over Ontario's choices for overnight camps, and federal choices on border policy. They patiently worked with us on the needed pre-screening, isolation and testing their boys would use to resume residential camp life in Covid times. And they reassured their campers throughout, until those boys could land on Source Lake and nestle under the wings of their Staff. That group of leaders, tested in myriad ways before they could gel into a sensational 2021 crew, were ecstatic to welcome the kiddos and simply did a phenomenal job.
It's overwhelming when I think about the grinding isolation and serial disappointments our staff of high school and university kids faced over the months since March 2020 (not to mention our senior staff career professionals in health and education). With everything seemingly arrayed against their efforts, they resolved to isolate, pre-screen and test - to arrive at Pathfinder and complete a long quarantine - to adapt, enliven and disinfect every aspect of camp life and program - to update all their qualifications and certs from a dormant 2020 - even to simply do all the dishes each day in a province with a wrecked labour pool - and to turn their internal monologues toward a collective outgoing chorus that gave campers the gift they needed most -- a safe, reliable routine of joy.
That's just for starters. But whatever breather we eventually take this autumn and whatever stories I relate to you in the coming off-season, you can know and be certain that Pathfinder is right back at it for Summer 2022, and we can't wait. Noonway, sladds