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Pathfindering is a worldwide program that offers a wide range of learning experiences for young people 10 to 15 years of age and is operated by the local Seventh-day Adventist Church under the direction and control of the Youth Director of the Conference.
The Pathfinder club provides a church-centred spiritual-recreational program designed for junior and teens which appeals to this age group because its program features activities that meet their needs and interests. It is filled with action, adventure, challenge and group activities while providing opportunities for the development of new attitudes and skills that produce personal growth, team spirit and a sense of loyalty and respect for God, His creation and His church.
While the Pathfinder club exists primarily for juniors and teens, one of its basic purposes is to also bring together parents and church members through active involvement with the club and its members. Here, the so-called generation gap disappears as young and old worship, work and play together in a bond of common experience. Meaningful relationships are forged as leaders and counsellors join with Pathfinders in sharing, building confidence and working together.
The whole philosophy of Pathfindering is built on the premise that children learn best by example rather than commands. As they see leader and parents model spiritual and social values, they too will aspire to develop high moral principles, loving and caring attitudes, and determination to excel in all their various pursuits.
Foremost, the ideals and objectives of the Seventh-day Adventist Church are taught through an active learning program which appeals to this age group and their learning style.
This philosophy is an integral part of the club. The Pathfinder Club curriculum of six classes and nearly 350 Honors lies at the heart of the program. The following objectives can be achieved as the club leaders seek to fulfill these.
- Help the young people to understand that God and His church love them, care for them, and appreciate them. As Pathfinders are accepted and affirmed they will begin to appreciate the love of God revealed through the church and its ministry, and feel a need to be more committed to and involved with its program.
- Encourage Pathfinders to discover their own God-given potential and to use their gifts and abilities to fulfill God's expectations for them and the part they can play in the great plan of salvation.
- Inspire young people to give personal expression of their love for God by uniting them together in various outreach activities.
- Make the number one priority of your club program the personal salvation of every Pathfinder. The Pathfinder age is a time when many decisions are being made that will affect the youth's future relationships and his or her own personal development. The peak time for discovering and making a relationship with God seems to be around 12 years of age.
- Build into a Pathfinder's life a healthy appreciation and love for God's creation by enjoying outdoor activity (campouts, nature walks, nature honors, etc.). Pathfinders will experience a sense of wonder and worship as they observe and explore the beauty, the majesty, and the creative power in nature. Fellowship with God will become more meaningful.
- Teach Pathfinders specific skills and hobbies that will make their lives more meaningful and will occupy their time with profitable accomplishments. Young people experience satisfaction and delight as they use their hands to fashion useful articles from wood, plastic, steel, clay, felt and yarn and as they discover how things work and operate.
- Encourage the Pathfinder to keep physically fit. This is one important way to safeguard against idleness and boredom. Teach children to care for their body and establish habits that will provide for their future happiness and usefulness (cf. 2T 536, 537; Educ. 195).
- Give opportunity for the development of leadership by encouraging club members to work together and share in leadership responsibility. This will teach them to learn the lessons of obedience, discipline, resourcefulness, patriotism and the processes of group dynamics.
- Seek to foster the harmonious development of the physical, social, intellectual, and spiritual life of the Pathfinder. The invigoration of mind and body, the fostering of an unselfish spirit, the attention to recreational and cultural activities, will provide stimulus for personal growth and act as an outlet for that restless energy, which is so often a destructive source of danger to the young person.