What is Pathfinders?
Pathfinders is a fun, social and hands-on way to learn new skills and discover the world God created for us. Children aged 10 to 15 years can attend camping trips where experienced, qualified volunteers will teach them survival skills, camping craft and help them discover the exciting wonders of the outdoors.
Engaging lessons give the children an opportunity to learn about crafts and hobbies, as well as offering them a taste of future professions the children may one day like to pursue. Pathfinders has a focus on service with many clubs involved with Clean Up Australia days as well as assisting with local food distribution organisations and shelters. On completion of the years activity children will receive an achievement award along with honour badges as a reminder of all the activities they have participated in and learned about during the year.
Most Seventh-day Adventist churches have a Pathfinder Club your child can join. Clubs usually meet for monthly meetings on a Saturday and/or Sunday. Pathfinders is a place where your child can learn about God and make life-long friendships, learn practical skills and develop the confidence that comes with the success of achieving new things.
Origins of Pathfinders
Pathfinders originated from the desire of parents who wanted the best opportunities for their children to grow in all aspects of life. They wanted them to have opportunities to mature in their spiritual life while gaining outdoor skills from how to build a fire and orienteering in the bush.
Influenced by the Scouts and Girl Guides, it was decided that Pathfinders would have a strong spiritual emphasis. Pathfinders became a reality in 1946 when the first Pathfinder Club was formed at Riverside Seventh-day Adventist Church in California (USA).
Over the next four years the basic Pathfinder traditions were developed such as choosing the name Pathfinders, shield, flag, original song and original pledge and law. The stories behind each of these traditions can be found here.
The General Conference approved the organisation in 1950 and it was subsequently introduced to the world. The first Pathfinder Club in Australia was formed at Wahroonga with Mrs E G White as the director in 1952. In the same year another club was formed in Greater Sydney Conference at Stanmore with Miss Walshe as the director.
Philosophy of Pathfinders
- Pathfinders is a family friendly programme dedicated in supporting the young people, aged 10 – 15 years, from families within the local church and the community.
- Pathfinders is part of the mission of the local church. It is a place where the young people have an opportunity to identify with their church as well as having their spiritual gifts nurtured. The programme is designed to mentor character and lifestyle development in the children’s mental, social, spiritual, physical and creative aspects.
- Pathfinders promotes an active-based learning opportunity where ‘doing’ and ‘showing’ are more important than listening. Pathfinders harnesses opportunities through a wide range of practical skills development through camping, nature awareness, developing bushwalking skills and a wide range of outdoor memory events.
- Pathfinders is a place where spiritual development is promoted and encouraged. The programme is designed so that every child has a personal spiritual journey personal and to chooses baptism as part of that journey.
- Pathfinders promotes service to the community where the service to the needs of the community are more important than the action.
- Local Club – This is formed and operated by the local church or a group of local churches. The staff are volunteers who accept the government and church regulations regarding their role.
- Conference Youth Department – Promotes Pathfinders within their region. They provide opportunities for networking, promote training of leadership and the maintain Pathfinder standards. The Pathfinder Advisory Board members are made up of the district directors who act as the conference representatives in supporting the Pathfinder ministry in the local church.
- Union – Oversees and coordinates the conference’s Pathfinder procedures. Responsible for the development of current resources, responding to trends and the Union Camporee.
- Division – Coordinates with the Unions regarding major Pathfinder issues. It represents the General Conference in the South Pacific Division. Organises the Division Camporee involving Pathfinders from each of the countries in the region.
- General Conference – This is the international centre of Pathfinders. It maintains the ‘spirit of Pathfindering’ and responds to world trends that effect this organisation.