What happens at camp?
You and your helper will be members of a team and at Pathfinders, we call these teams ‘Patrols’. People come to camp from all over the country (and occasionally from overseas!) and your Patrol will include a wide range of individuals. The camp has many regulars who come back year after year; however, there are always new people too. So, while some people know each other very well, others are initially faced with a camp full of strangers. For this reason we try to create Patrols with a mix of new and returning campers and helpers. Some activities (like your outing day) are organised on a Patrol basis which will give you the chance to get to know others in your Patrol team. Pathfinders also has a team of experienced volunteers who are on the “Crew” team – they plan and run activities, manage the kitchen, swimming pool, and medical areas, and ensure that camp runs smoothly and that everyone can have a wonderful week. They are always on hand to guide and assist.
Involvement is the key to a happy and successful camp. That means getting involved with everything you can, sharing the fun activities and the chores alike. Working together with your helper and your Patrol will be the biggest and one of the most enjoyable parts of the week. Camp is aimed to be fantastic experience for both campers and helpers (that’s what keeps so many coming back for more!), and that doesn’t happen sitting on the sidelines but in doing things together, getting creative, and living camp life to the full.
We know that many of the programmed activities will be totally new to some of this year’s campers – and that goes for helpers as well! Coming to Pathfinders can be a huge step for some helpers, a very different experience to anything they have done before. While you might use a wheelchair, be moved by hoist, or use a communication book every day some helpers will never have met people who use these aids or have needs like yours before and this can be daunting at first – lots of helpers worry about how to help, whether to help, about not helping enough or helping too much! Joining in activities together is the best way to build a relationship and get to know what each of you needs, so try and join in everything that you can! You will be sure to find something at camp which challenges you and pushes your limits – whether that’s the wheelchair swing, aerial runway, swimming in an outdoor pool or a craft that you’ve never tried before. Don’t forget to challenge yourself with all activities including the chores… for some folk, helping to cook breakfast can be the highlight of a week at camp!
At Pathfinders we hope you will feel confident that your care needs are being met with sensitivity, dignity, and of course to a high standard. As the personal care is provided by peer volunteers, this may at first be quite a learning curve on both sides! Woodlarks Campsite is equipped with hoists, a variety of accessible toilets and bathrooms, wet rooms and shower beds, floored tents with electric plugs for overnight feeds, inside beds for those who need them, and sheltered charging stations for powered wheelchairs. You can discuss your care needs before camp with the Crew team through your application form or by email – each camper is carefully paired with a helper who can meet their needs and the more information you can give the better informed that pairing decision will be. If you find it difficult to communicate your care needs yourself, you may wish to bring a care plan to share between your camp helper and your normal carers when you arrive, this can also be a useful tool to help you explain as needs arise during the week.
As a new camper, you will attend a meeting on the Saturday night with other new campers. Your helper will have attended a similar meeting, explaining elements of manual handling techniques and the use of equipment such as hoists. Should you need to use any equipment, there will always be someone on hand to instruct and assist until you and your helper are confident. In all cases, you will be the expert in your personal care and the more you can be clear about what you need (and don’t need!) help doing and how you would like to be helped, the easier you will find building a care routine at camp.
You can find out more on our Personal Care page.