Getting Ready for The Pathfinder Adventure 2018
  1. Update Your Camp Balance.
         Need a copy of your 2017 or 2018 Statement? …. Email

  2. Complete Camper Forms and Send in by Email or Post.
         Camper Transport Form 2018  ...

         Gear/Clothing Order Form 2018 ...

         Camp Health Form 2018 ...

  3. Review Transportation - Transport Notes 2018  ...

  4. Review Clothing / Gear - Clothing List for Summer 2018  ...

Does my Camper really need a camp trunk? Where do I get one?
A camp trunk or foot locker is a great piece of camp luggage. It becomes a dresser, stepstool, seat and table for your camper. You have two ways to go here. An inexpensive trunk is the Rubbermaid type storage trunk, which should have a hinged lid and snap closures. It can take a padlock. Pretty good solution. Not quite as much storage capacity as a steamer trunk. The other option is to get a quality camp trunk. Some have a tray inside to hold small stuff, kinda nice. If you don’t find one easily around town, order it online from where they have good products and make a charitable donation back to our camp and camps for needy kids for each trunk they sell.

A packing tip: you can roll up pants, shirts, sweats etc and stand them upright in the trunk. That way, your Camper can see everything without tearing apart stacks of clothes.

What other luggage is recommended?
A duffel bag or hockey bag is for extra gear like your sleeping bag, pillow, raingear, towel, life vest and more clothes. Also, a day pack or small hiking pack is a good idea, for extra items, and for taking bike, hike and day trips at Camp. A school pack works well for this, or a mid-range internal frame pack.

What is a Dry Bag? How does my Camper use it?
Your Camper will use Pathfinder trip packs for his canoe trips, and his personal clothes and sleeping bag will stuff into his waterproof Dry Bag for use inside those packs. Get a 30-litre SEALINE bag. You can buy it at an outdoor store, or get it at cost from Pathfinder.

How can we help him to keep track of his stuff?
LABEL EVERYTHING! Campers tend to leave their stuff around. A rain jacket or sweatshirt gets forgotten at one activity area if the weather improves. Dirty trip socks get left in the TP and end up in the lost and found. Even though the Staff try hard, it’s likely things will get left behind or get into someone else’s trunk, unless you label, label, label. Mark his ball cap, his rain jacket and pants, his life vest, his SmartWool socks, his pillow, his fishing rod, as well as his clothes and towel.

Will you do my Camper’s laundry?
Yup! Once a week he can put his laundry bag on the boat, and have it back next morning washed and folded. Send a labeled drawstring laundry bag, and he will put his dirty stuff in it day to day. Most Campers do just 1 or 2 laundry runs during their camp stay. Laundry costs are billed to the Camper’s tuck account, and they tend to run about $8-11 per laundry service.

Does my Camper need sheets and blankets, or just a sleeping bag?
This is purely preference, but many boys like having sheets and blankets on their camp bed, then the sleeping bag is available as a comforter, and for trips. He doesn’t have to live in the bag all summer, he can air out a trip bag on return from the trail, and nothing feels better than clean cotton sheets after a trip. Our camp beds are twin sized camp mattresses on steel bed frames.

Does my Camper need expensive, specialized clothing and gear?
Not at all. Send play clothes and old sneaks that can get dirty. Make sure to include some long sleeves and warmer layers. Choose good basic trip boots, sleeping bag, basic headlamp, raingear and life vest. These are the most important investments, along with SmartWool socks and the best quality flashlight batteries!

You can always ask Pathfinder for advice and help, and we can obtain some key items at cost for you. Life jacket, dry bag, sleeping bag. This is only a convenience for you, and not a money-maker for Pathfinder.

We have more details. Be sure to read the clothing/equipment page on the web site:
Clothing/Gear at Pathfinder ...

Does my Camper need a full physical exam for Pathfinder?
No. The Health Form includes spaces for the doctor’s office to provide info, and a doctor’s signature. This is optional.Please note: an immunization record is required and must be attached by parent or physician.

Medications – What should I do?
DO send your Camper’s meds to us in the original containers and specific instructions written on his health form. If you send over-the-counter meds as well, be sure to give us specific instructions. DO NOT pack these things in his trunk. Have them in a Ziploc bag with his name on it, and hand it right to the counselor in charge, or the Camp Nurse. DO NOT tell your Camper to self-administer OTCs like Advil, Tums, cough /cold or allergy remedies, etc. However, Campers with an albuterol rescue inhaler or prescribed Epi-Pen may keep it with them. The Nurse will phone you personally if any questions.

We’re not sure if our Camper is allergic to nuts or bees. What should I do?
If there is no specific diagnosis, relax. Pathfinder Staff are specially trained to handle severe allergy or asthma episodes and carry benadryl/epi-pens on all outings.

What if my Camper gets sick?
Please do not send your son to camp if he is sick on departure day. He will just infect a bunch of other boys. Wait a day or so until he’s not contagious and we’ll arrange a way to get him up to camp. You will be doing a favor to all of us Parents, Campers and Staff.

We have excellent facilities and doctors in Huntsville, and outstanding Medical Directors and RNs at Pathfinder. In addition, all our senior counsellors are highly-qualified first responders. If your son feels ill while at camp, he will be cared for by the Camp Nurse. The Camp Doctor will consult. Either your Camper will stay in his own lodge, or move into the Infirmary for some special TLC! Lots of rest, fluids, and monitoring. If necessary we will take him for an appointment with a doctor in town. Either you have universal coverage as Canadian citizens, or Camp pays the bill and charges you if you live outside Canada. You submit the bill to your HMO for reimbursement. If an X-ray is needed, or a throat culture, or a prescription, it is all taken care of. The Nurse and Director will phone you to check in all through the process.

Is help nearby in case of emergency?
Yes. Pathfinder is served by the local EMS system, including ambulance and air ambulance response. Our Camp Nurse and Staff First Responders are always at hand, and our trip guides are all certified in wilderness emergency care and evacuation procedures.

Will my Camper bathe, brush his teeth and otherwise maintain his hygiene?
Definitely! Teeth are brushed after breakfast and before bed each day. The young guys are supervised. Boys age 13+ are reminded and nagged, just like home! We are very fussy about everyone washing hands during the day. Soap Bath is required of a Camper on return from any trip and on Sundays. Or, any time he's dirty! Swim Staff will have a Camper bathe if he needs it any time. All the boys have to pass the Swim Staff clean inspection! This is an important Pathfinder tradition. Staff automatically report any cut, scrape, bruise, sunburn, bites or rash to the Camp Nurse as well.

Will he be able to eat the food? What are meals like at camp? On trip?
Even picky eaters love Pathfinder food. It’s home style cooking, there’s plenty of it, and the kids are hungry from all the outdoors activity. A boy can always have a PB/J sandwich and some fruit if he does not care for a given meal in camp. Campers sit at tables with staff supervision, and everyone is encouraged to try foods, to eat and drink healthy amounts, and even to maintain good table manners. It helps! If your Camper has a food allergy/intolerance, or is a vegetarian, please be sure we know so the Chef can make arrangements. There are so many delicious trip meals at Pathfinder. In fact, the first five days of a trip use all fresh and staple ingredients before we ever delve into freeze-dried trip meals!
Sample some Pathfinder meals at:

What will the weather and the water be like?

July and August are gorgeous months in Algonquin Park. The lakes warm up in early June and swimming is terrific all summer. Summer days alternate between hot and humid just like home, to cool and breezy if a cold front is coming through from the northwest. The occasional thunderstorm rumbles through in July. Afternoons tend to be windier than mornings. Nights are balmy in July and gradually become cooler in August. With no light pollution, the night sky at Pathfinder is indescribable. Think of weather as similar to summer weather in the northeast US, but since we’re all living 24/7 in the outdoors it’s smart to pack some warm layers, even a hat for the rare chill mornings. Think about your Camper’s sun exposure. Hats and long sleeves for early morning and later afternoon are good choices. Non-aerosol sunscreen is a must.

Will the bugs be a problem? What will happen if my Camper gets bug bites?
Algonquin is buggy in late May and early June. Except in the rarest of years, by early July, the black flies are gone, and mosquitoes are a hassle only at dawn and dusk, and on certain parts of portage trails. The Island is breezy, which keeps bugs away. The counselors will use a small piece of Pic, a bug-repellent incense, in tents and lodges for a half-hour at night to drive them all away. Choose a bug repellent lotion for your Camper, and avoid high concentrations of DEET. Remember no aerosol sprays allowed.

Expect some bites, but the key is to relax about bugs and avoid scratching. We will have the Nurse help a boy who may scratch in his sleep, since scratched bites, especially on the legs, can become infected or even leave temporary scars. We have some after-bite and stop-itch creams. Coach your Camper to wear long sleeves early and late in the day. Please know that there are no mosquitoes in Algonquin that carry the West Nile virus.

My young Camper still has a stuffed animal and blanket. He might still wet the bed.
Very common with younger Campers and not a big deal. Absolutely, bring that favorite animal or blanket! For those who are concerned about possible bed-wetting, send pull up pants and a basic mattress pad. Have the Camper use sheets/blankets rather than sleeping bag in camp. Our counselors are very wise about helping these boys without any fuss or upset. Bedtime routine: no drinks after 7:30pm, use the washroom right before bed, put on the nighttime pants; if something happens, the counselor will handle it discreetly. The best thing you can say to your Camper is to trust his counselor and to be up front with him about this topic.

What if there’s an accident and my Camper’s sleeping bag or sheets are soiled?
Camp will loan him a fresh sleeping bag, and have the soiled bedding completely laundered.

What should my Camper NOT bring to camp?

  • No junk food.
  • No electronics … no iPods, cell phones, game machines. Actually, these are okay on the bus or plane ride, but they’ll be locked in the camp safe on arrival.
  • No using a cell phone as a camera or timepiece.
  • No highly valuable items to Camp, things like expensive watches or heirloom pocket knives, fishing rods, or expensive clothes, wristwatches or sunglasses.
  • No flip-flops or open-toed sandals can be worn around Camp or on trips.
  • No canoes, kayaks, climbing gear, bikes, etc. We supply all necessary equipment.
  • No inappropriate knives. Choose a small folding or sheath knife. We supervise.
  • Don’t let your Camper bring aerosol cans, lighters, matches, open flame lanterns.
  • Don’t let your Camper bring food and beverages to Camp. There’s plenty of food here!
  • No clothing with alcohol advertising, adult literature, or offensive graphics.

What kinds of things are OK to bring to Camp?
Camera … binoculars … lacrosse stick / ball glove … musical instrument … books … canoe paddle  … sunglasses … fishing rod …

How will you take care of my Camper's important documents and electronics?
Everything in this category is labeled and locked in the camp safe or safeguarded by the Camp Nurse. Passports, birth certificates, airline tickets and other documents should be given to the bus or airport counselors along with any medications, or if you drop your son at camp personally give them to the counselor or a director. We do not have the Campers keep their documents or medications during the camp session.

How will my new Camper get involved in Pathfinder canoe trips?
All our boys, new and veteran, do trip training activities together during the first few days of a session. This is when boys learn paddling, canoe safety and rescues, swim skills, and how to pack, portage, camp and maintain low impact on the environment. At the same time, the boys are making new friends and are helped to form their own trip groups. This is specifically a time for new boys to be brought into the family!

Should my Camper ride the bus or should I drop him off?
The bus trip is a good value, its cost is shared between all families who choose it. The more who use it, the cheaper it is. It is also a great way to help your Camper meet friends right away! About half our families drop their sons off in person. This is a chance to tour the Island, meet the Staff, and chat with Sladds or the Nurse.

Can parents drop off or pick up their Campers?
Sure! This is the perfect time to see Pathfinder in action.

How do we get to Source Lake? How do we get to the Island?
Getting to Algonquin Park is easy, find directions to Camp on our web page, at:

Call from your cell when you are close to our camp road. A boat will pick you up at the car park/boat landing. A 5-minute boat trip will bring you to Pathfinder Island.

Are there parent visiting days?
In short, No.
Drop off and pick-up days are our parent days at Pathfinder. This is a wise tradition for many reasons. There is a Pathfinder Family Camp in 2018, Aug. 2-5!

Can my Camper call home?
No camper calls out.

Can I call my Camper?
Absolutely, Yes.
Be mindful that a Camper’s independent spirit can be undercut by calls from home. Of course you may call him if you wish.

A suggestion: you can call the Director for a quick update and know that he’s o.k., then send an email for printing to his mail call.

What about letters?
Send him letters often, and start early; it takes 7+ days to reach the Island from the US. Send a fun, encouraging letter even before he leaves for Camp! As for your Camper, he should be writing you a letter each Sunday or on return from his canoe trip. You can send him with paper and envelopes, but don’t put stamps on if you are in the US, they won’t work from Canada. We supply all these items, and we help younger Campers write and read their letters.

Can I get a letter to my Camper quickly?
You may fax or email your letter to camp and we’ll include it in the lunchtime mail call. Camper letters come to you by snail mail.

Can I send care packages?
Food and candy care packages are not permitted and will be discarded if sent. Magazines, comics, letters, a small toy, and a small treat etc. are great. In recent years, we’ve seen a surge in large junk food packages. Please do not do this. Food attracts unwanted wild animals and unwanted social competition. Campers don’t eat or hydrate properly when they’re munching junk all day. It’s completely against the Pathfinder culture and inevitably causes upsets between boys. Your Camper has plenty of access to treats via the Pathfinder Candy Store and our dessert menu! No food care packages.

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