If reading those words reminds you of a song, it undoubtedly means that you were (or are) a Pathfinder.
As a child growing up in Hawaii and Arizona, some of my fondest memories involve Pathfinders. Granted, my father was a conference youth director, so I grew up at summer camps and camporees, always watching from the sidelines. Eventually, however, I proudly became a Pathfinder myself. Now I had my own uniform, worked hard to earn honors for my sash, and eagerly applied myself to the JMV (Junior Missionary Volunteers eventually became AJY) progressive classwork. We camped and hiked, practiced survival skills, engaged with community service projects, and learned new skills and hobbies. Where else would I have learned leathercraft, lanyards, and “hammered copper craft”? Amidst all the activity, I found myself watching the adult club leaders closely, and found myself deeply influenced by them — to this day. In Pathfinders, leadership was taught, modeled, enabled. And, I found myself tied ever closer to Jesus and the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Since the early 1950s when the Pathfinder organization was birthed, our Church has invested significant time, energy, and resources in this undertaking. Why this emphasis? Wouldn’t a strong Sabbath School program be enough to engage our children? And look at how much we invest in Christian education! Why, then, do we still think a Pathfinder club is so important? From my own experience, several reasons come to mind.
Embraces wholesome action, challenge, and adventure:
Teaches practical life skills:
Builds appreciation for nature and the out-of-doors:
Cultivates intergenerational bonding:
Ties young people to Jesus and the Church:
Thanks for what you are doing to strengthen the Pathfinder club in your local congregation. Next August, Pathfinders from around the world will converge on Oshkosh, Wisconsin, for the Chosen International Pathfinder Camporee, an event held only once every five years. Thanks for helping your club get there.
Pathfinders represents a huge investment in our youth — one that I am convinced will yield eternal benefits.
Southern Union | October 2018