It was a brisk thirty-something degrees when ten brave Collegedale Church Light Bearers Adventurers and their families walked about a block to the front walkway of Rita Vital, a long-time member of the Collegedale Church family in Tenn., Sunday morning, Feb. 7, 2021. Under the leadership of Carole Verrill, pastor for children’s ministry, the Light Bearers cited the Adventurer Pledge and Law, and sang the Adventurer theme song. They then stood very respectfully for the remainder of the program to honor Vital.
The children’s participation was the surprise part of an informal tribute for Vital who is recognized as one of the early pioneers for the Adventurer program in the North American Division. (NAD). The program was led by Bill Woods, NAD Camp Ministries coordinator, along with Fernando Verduzco, Children’s/Jr. Youth Ministries director; Ken Rogers, youth director for the Southern Union; and Stephen Bauer, professor of religion at Southern Adventist University and also an original member of Vital’s early Junior Adventurer Club.
Children’s ministry began in the late 1800s, and the first Sunbeam class was recognized in 1924. Programs and curriculum continue to be developed over several decades. Various names were used internationally, and the term Adventurers became more loosely used during the 1960s, which was a very active decade in formalizing the Adventurer program throughout the world.
Vital is recognized in Adventurer history as an early pioneer, with the 1966 formation of her Junior Adventurer Club in Wearhouse Point, Hartford, Conn. It was a follow-up for a two-week Vacation Bible School (VBS) children attended at the American Legion Hall. The children were so excited about VBS they wanted more. The early Adventurer meetings were held in Vital’s home, where they offered pre-Pathfinder classes, crafts, puzzles, Bible stories, nature study, and merit badges. They also had educational outings, striving to encourage attendees to develop a solid relationship with Jesus.
In 1989, the General Conference voted to approve organizing Adventurer Clubs as part of the Junior Youth program.
The Adventurer Club was created to give children an opportunity to belong to an organized peer group. The Adventurer Club involves children in grades 1-4 and their parents. The program aims to strengthen the parent/child relationship and to further the child’s development in spiritual, physical, mental, and social areas.
The Collegedale Church Light Bearers Adventurer Club has about 25 children attending, and those involved are thankful for this opportunity where their children can learn more about serving others and Jesus.
Georgia-Cumberland | April 2021