By Ray Tetz, with Faith Hoyt and Connie Vandeman Jeffery

The 2019 International Pathfinder Camporee brought more than 56, 000 Pathfinders and leaders from 92 countries to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, during the week of August 12-17— including more than 7, 000 from the Pacific Union.

Representing the Pacific Union were over 230 clubs from each of the seven conferences. Each day of the Camporee included a host of different activities and events. This year’s list of honors and activities proved especially innovative and unique, and young people earned honors for endangered species, stars, tornados, lighthouses, stewardship, spaceflight exploration, braille, and refugee assistance.

Pathfindering is now a global youth movement—and it was nurtured and developed right here in the Pacific Union. Our history with Pathfinders goes back some 90 years, including foundational work done in the 1940s and 50s. Pathfinders was first adopted by a camp in Southern California and then a club in Anaheim. The first conference-sponsored Pathfinder clubs were in Southeastern California, and many of the most familiar aspects of Pathfindering—the triangular emblem used worldwide, Pathfinder Fairs, Camporees, the Pathfinder Song—all got their start here in the Pacific Southwest.

Our Pathfinder roots go deep and they continue to deepen. Each night on the main stage, Pastor Damian Chandler, lead pastor of the Sacramento Capitol City church in the Northern California Conference, and keynote speaker at Oshkosh, shared messages about God as our refuge—that He sees us, and that He has chosen us to do great things for Him.

At its core, the Camporee is designed to inspire young people to lift up Jesus in their lives. At this year’s camporee, 1, 309 young people were baptized—including some 200 from the Pacific Union. Thursday evening of Oshkosh was a special time for our Pacific Union clubs, as large crowds gathered on the left side of the main stage to participate as witnesses in the baptisms of dozens of young people from our conferences.

The 2024 Camporee theme was announced on the final day of the Camporee. The next Camporee theme is “Believe the Promise.” The dates for the 2024 International Pathfinder Camporee are August 12-17, 2024.

 

Damian Chandler, senior pastor of the Capitol City church in Sacramento, Calif., served as this year’s keynote speaker at the international camporee in Oshkosh, Wis. (Photo: NAD Flickr) 

 

The Oakland Spanish Robles de la Fe Pathfinder club were among many participating in pin trading, enjoying cool treats, and visiting the petting zoo while at Oshkosh. (Photo: Elvira Hernandez)

 

Luis Ruiz, a TLT and member of the Tucson Thunder Pathfinder club in Arizona, has been involved in Pathfindering since 2011. “The most valuable experience I’ve had so far has been interacting with other cultures and hearing people talk in different languages,” he says. “It’s been really fun.” This is his first time attending an international camporee, and he’s excited to make lasting memories—and lasting friendships. (Photo: Faith Hoyt)

 

Hundreds of Pathfinders participated in the Drill and Drum Corps Competition, including the Kansas Ave. church Pathfinder club from Riverside, California. Before competing early Friday afternoon, some of their team posed for a photo with Sandra Roberts, president of the Southeastern California Conference. Kansas Ave. Pathfinders took home the 2nd place International Drum Corp competition award later that day. (Photo: Faith Hoyt)

 

On Thursday evening at Oshkosh, a group of six Pathfinders from the Aiea Ali’i Pathfinders in the Hawaii Conference performed a hula dance inspired by the camporee’s theme and the story of David. The song, “In the Palm of My Hand,” and the hula illustrated how we are held by God. The group began practicing the hula dance in May—and were excited to bring a piece of their Hawaiian culture to Oshkosh. Hula dancers: Danielle Roberts, Allie Clapp, Kimberlee Guadiz, Bethia Taylor, Danssyne Roberts, and Cailyn Castaño. (Photo: North American Division)

 

Thousands gathered on Wednesday afternoon of Oshkosh for a parade of Pathfinder clubs from several unions across the North American Division. Marching down Celebration Way with the Pacific Union clubs were some of the Union’s administrative team, who joined in support. (Photo: Faith Hoyt)

 

The Arizona Conference brought a particularly special surprise for Pathfinders at Oshkosh—a Reformation expo complete with a replica of the 95 Theses. The display was designed and built entirely by Arizona pastors. The roof and fencing were built at Thunderbird Adventist Academy, and the whole display took five days to assemble at Oshkosh. Included in this expo are portraits and stories of major reformers such as John Wycliffe, William Tyndale, and Martin Luther, as well as pages of the Gutenberg Bible printed in 1455. Each day, hundreds of Oshkosh attendees made their way through this piece of living history and took away their own copy of the 95 Theses. (Photo: Faith Hoyt)

 

The Ukiah Timberwolves—a group of 19 Pathfinders from Ukiah, Calif.—spent their first full day at Oshkosh earning honors such as the Tornado honor and the Star honor. For some of the group, the trip to Oshkosh took 38 hours to get to the camporee. From left: Samantha Ahumada Garcia, Tori Corbett, and Gabriella Deleon hold up their club pin. (Photo: Faith Hoyt)

 

Top of page: Nikko Bedoya, a member of the Inland Empire Filipino Pathfinder Club, participated in Wednesday’s parade by holding his club’s banner. Bedoya was most excited about participating in some of the many events hosted at the International Pathfinder Camporee. (Photo: Faith Hoyt)