Pathfinder Island / Source Lake, Algonquin Park
Greetings Pathfinder Families –
Here’s Where We Stand Tonight May 25-
I say, Pathfinder - Let’s wait no longer.
Let’s plan to move ahead, and be ready to have a terrific season!
I’m able to share a well-deserved update with you, after more than a week’s constant
news-making developments, positive and negative, across Ontario, Canada, and the
Our planned May 17 camp update came and went, as pandemic and political events
churned in Ontario over recent days. The past week has been a crazy procession of
hope and anxiety. Ontario Health measures shift, American vaccination rates soar,
Ontario brings its sobering third-wave under control, and US-Canadian border
discussions ebb and flow.
With Ontario’s third-wave pandemic numbers improving, the Ford government finally
addressed camps, through new health guidance and a sudden brand new 3-stage
Reopening Ontario plan for the entire province. Overnight camps are, at last, included in the plan's "Stage 2".
Now, Ontario’s 450 accredited summer camps are making their choices. Many camps have
elected to delay a final plan for a while longer. Some are promoting a traditional start
date even though Provincial instructions make that improbable. Some have decided it’s
best to close down for another year.
Pathfinder plans to move ahead and to operate.
We will hold sessions for our campers, staff and families, adapting for you and using
responsible and healthy practices, a Pathfinder tradition, in this unique setting.
We’re ready to finalize plans with you for a camp season. Let’s adapt to the state of the
pandemic in the U.S. and Canada, and schedule Pathfinder in both July and August for
our 108th year.
As we ‘Get Paddling’ and chart our own course of action, camp will assist each of you –
camper family or staff - in any way we can to arrange a fantastic Pathfinder summer
experience for our guys.
So, Here We Go for Pathfinder Summer 108!
The Season In A Nutshell: A Pivot Plan -
Canada and Ontario policies continue to evolve and change. We acknowledge that
camp remains subject to the decisions of government, even as we see positive steps
happening. This includes emerging news on the US-Canada border.
The Reopening Ontario announcement sets cautious steps and a high bar for opening
up activity in response to public health improvements. At the federal level, the goal remains
that people soon be able to cross the US-Canada border, and on this subject vaccination rates above all give everyone great hopes. There are lots of reports, rumours, headlines and initiatives. But as yet, no formal announcement is in place for the timeline or detailed criteria.
Our plan in response is to pivot our program. July’s first half session will see a delayed
camp start and a two-week session only, available for Canadian boys. We expect to be
able to start July 10. This shorter July session will run July 10 to July 25. We will also run a
small family retreat program in parallel during this time. Each stream -- campers in
session and families on retreat -- will be cohorted and staffed separately.
Next up, a traditional all-campers full length second half session that’s classic
Pathfinder. It will be as it always has been, July 27 – Aug. 20, including both C and D two-weeker sessions within the longer 'half season' dates. The C session is July 27 – Aug. 8 ,and the D session is Aug. 8 – 20. Most second half boys will attend the whole session, July 27 – Aug. 20. Of course, the C and D two-weeker sessions will be managed so that each group of campers remains cohorted, not mixed, when the sessions change.
Camp’s pivot plan brings on all our counselor and camp staff for 2021. This includes all
Headmen, In-camp staff, Second Men and CITs. We will have our full staff be on duty
for the full season of events, both in July and August. The staff will report to camp as
they always do, in late June, for training and preparation.
Pathfinder’s delayed-start July first half session for Canadian campers is based on
Ontario’s timetable for overnight camps to open, and based on the slowed pace of
border opening progress. Camp will continue to monitor border developments and
advise everyone. It may be possible for US campers or families to join in at some point.
Camp’s classic second half session is for all campers, U.S. and Canadian. This session
will be the same as ever, and very important – it is open to those boy transferring in from
first half enrollments, as well as to those already having their second half spot. We have the space to be able to welcome our American boys from first half into second half.
Meanwhile, we will continue plans to embark the AA trips, already routed and staffed,
with all enrolled camper members. These trips may themselves have to pivot, adjusting
timetables with the Ontario plan and the border progress. For now, we will assume they
can assemble and prepare to trip in the normal camp season time frame. Camp will
send all AA families a special bulletin and convene a videoconference to share details.
For the entirety of our Pathfinder pivot plan, in all circumstances and all sessions, we
will continue to use OCA accreditation standards and definitive public health guidance in
our programming this season.
When it comes to Covid-adaptive policies, plans and practices, Pathfinder will have all
of you play your part, too! We will use the established method of layered mitigation to
safeguard everyone’s experience and we thank you all in advance for joining us in this
way of protecting everyone. Your part includes pre-camp isolation, testing and more.
Next Steps -
In the coming days, we are reaching out to our families with details, and sharing a set of
special pages on our web site, updating everyone on 'Pathfinder Pivot' options for
I’ll contact you personally to supplement these pages, and we’ll watch Ontario’s
progress along with you through the end of May and into June, getting your instructions on your
We’ll help each family arrange the best option for their camper or staff member. Of
course we want everyone to stay ‘on the bandwagon' with Pathfinder, but let’s make
sure everyone has the freedom to choose what’s best for them, if that means making a
session change, sticking with the planned experience, or even if it’s to make the tough
decision to regretfully withdraw.
We will help you stay a part of our season if you can – But always know, it’s your call!
We believe in a phenomenal summer to come, and we are ‘sticking with the trip’ to see
it through. All during these past weeks, your emails, texts and calls urged us to keep the
season in play and ‘make it happen.’ Within the boundaries of good health practice and
good sense, that’s what we will do.
This matches the spirit of our camp community and it just goes to show how powerful
are the friendships, the pride of place, and the need like never before for what we do,
here in the north woods.
Look no farther than Pathfinder Island and our little May Crew staff: Americans and
Canadians, vaccinated and tested, cohorted and bubbled -- passionate about the
tripper’s life, the paddler’s art, the promise of Pathfinder for our kids – working their
hearts out so all the boys can be on Source again this year. You’d be proud of them!
They know how many of you feel the same at home. They know that nothing can stop
what Pathfinder is.