February 1, 2021
In three months the first staff boots will touch bare ground at Pathfinder Island, and begin
opening up the camp for our 108th summer.
In just five short months, the Pathfinder Staff will be at the motorboat dock to welcome our first
campers, most of whom have waited an extra year to get back to one of their favorite places.
Milestones. There’s so much work ahead to get to those happy milestones.
Not to mention the work of July 1 – Aug. 20, when a massive minute-to-minute collective effort
will yield the joy of camp along with a new high bar of health awareness for camp life.
But, man, do we ever need to get to those milestone days.
Because our kids are in desperate need of the Pathfinder experience.
Our campers and counsellors have been shut-in, shut-down and shut-off from the physical, social
and emotional lifeblood of what Pathfinder time means: interacting happily and ambitiously in
Already, health and social science professionals are gathering studies, showing social regression
in young people, an increase in depressed feelings, a disturbing trend toward physical inactivity
and constant indoors screen-time, a starvation for authentic face-to-face connections with others.
It’s like an intensified version of what Pathfinder already helps with in today’s world. What
Pathfinder already exists to counteract. A way of living, moving, breathing and connecting that’s
more natural. More needed than ever.
Combine these study results, and darker outcomes of recent studies, with the truth that,
pandemics aside, our young people always needed and deserved an enriching mix of physicality,
social oxygen, role-modeling and time spent in tune with nature’s beauty, peace and rhythms.
That’s why camps like Pathfinder formed and thrived, even through world wars, Spanish Flu and
So, we have milestones to hit, and we know why they matter so much.
But there’s more.
Right Now, February 2021 – This is when we will meet our kids’ need and guarantee those
milestone moments to come.
Now is when all the preceding 2020 months of preliminary efforts at Pathfinder morph into an
intense period of planning for a safe, fun, happy, awesome Summer 2021.
What can we expect?
Well, for one, we can expect more weeks of tense news on the pandemic itself, with variant
strains of Covid-19 accelerating transmission rates, along with new efforts to lock down
communities while vaccination ramps up.
For another, we can expect government to brake-check on its fervent desire to get summer camps
open again, and for the US-Canada border to open, especially for outdoors-minded visitors.
We can expect that Pathfinder’s tactics for summer ’21 will mirror the leading thought on
resuming summer programs. Rooted in part in the example of the CDC’s guidance and
documentation by several exemplary camps in Maine that operated safely in 2020, and bolstered
by Canada’s YMCA and Outward Bound experiences last summer, there is high-quality
guidance emerging from our team as well as our accrediting association, our public health
authority, and the Ontario government itself.
And, we can expect that you at home will be enlisted into the Pathfinder effort. For campers and
counselors to attend this summer, there will need to be family help. They will need their families
to help them plan and prepare, to isolate and test, to transit carefully to camp, and be ready to
play their part in keeping themselves and their friends safe.
But here’s something more you and your Pathfinder kid can also expect. All the Pathfinder
leaders, from the owners right through the doctors, directors, and guide staff, will be working
hammer-and-tong to set our camp up for success, when the outlook does brighten in spring.
And that outlook will brighten.
I also feel pretty keenly that our kids need to see that we can be optimistic and determined for
camp to reopen in July; to see that goal and be devoted to getting there. They need that as much
as they need what a Pathfinder summer can provide. And, to make sure your optimism and
commitment to Pathfinder in 2021 will not harm your family no matter how camp unfolds, the
camp will continue a policy of refund or credit-forward to your enrollment for Covid-related
events we can’t even predict right now.
Already, spaces at camps like Pathfinder are almost all spoken for.
Without meaning to add pressure, I urge you to grab your son’s spot if you haven’t already.
It’s a safe investment in a summer for him filled with happy milestones. Get in touch and keep
watching this page and our web content, for frequent updates!