“This is the most normal thing we have done all year!” This was a statement by a Pathfinder club leader that was shared with me this last weekend at Pathfinder Leadershop at Camp Wakonda. While I can share the statement with you, I cannot share the emotion that came with it or show you the tears in this individuals eyes as they stood in front of me. This year is almost over, but the anxiety of an uncertain future I fear will not be. For our club leaders it is an uphill battle. Pathfinders is a program that is designed to lead young people to Jesus and bring them together for a central cause, connection! Connection with one another, connection with nature, and connection with Jesus! So how do you bring people together in a time that we are not supposed to come together? At Leadershop we were blessed to be able to have a group of less than 50 people spread out all over camp! The Lord has provided us with place large enough that we can still come together and practice personal distancing, and good hygiene. Who knew that each addition to the camp would someday benefit us for just this time!
The weekend was filled with meetings and activities that are designed to empower, encourage, and enlighten our leaders to do ministry for our young people. Our Guest speaker was Pastor Craig Harris of the Michigan conference. He led us in zoom presentations on connecting with our young people in the simplest and most practical of ways. We were also blessed to be able to honor Elder Mike Edge and his wife Juanita Edge for their 32 years of Pathfinder service! They have been a great team here and we as Pathfinders will miss their friendship and love for our young people! The weekend was also made special as I was invested as a Master Guide in Pathfinders! It has been a real honor and privilege to work towards being a good leader and I am honored to share in the leadership of young people. The day was also made special as we were able to celebrate the achievements of our clubs in their Pathfinder year with video submission awards, Bible Achievements, and 200 club! The Sabbath ended with more presentations by Pastor Craig and then group games led out by Javier Arce (Milwaukee Church Member). Javier brought a great group of games that we could do with social distance in mind yet encouraged teamwork. Our Leaders have done a great job even through a pandemic and lack of ability to bring our young people together.
Wowsers!! That was all just on Sabbath! Sunday was met again with presentations on leading young people, except this time a young person shared their perspective on being led by older people. Ricardo Colindres of Sheboygan shared with the leaders on some great leadership principles he has noticed by other club leaders. He shared three points to remember, 1: Lead with joy, 2: Lead even if it is not your first choice, and 3: Lead by empowering young people to lead. It was great perspective to gain from the very individual we are trying to reach!
When we first explored the idea of having an actual in person event, we were met with fear, anxiety, and wondering if we were making the right choice. However, after the weekend ended we realized that the Lord was with us. Each leader left feeling refreshed, encouraged, and like they just drank from a firehose of information. We were able to spread out and never feel crowded. We were able to enjoy good food while being sanitary. We were able to encourage each other in ministry, which is the entire purpose of what we do! If you see your Pathfinder leaders in church, give them a fist bump, elbow bump, or whatever you are comfortable with to say thanks for serving our young people! We are very proud of them and we hope you are too!
Pastor Eric Chavez, Youth and Pathfinder Ministries Director