For anyone that doesn’t know what Pathfinders actually is, it is similar to the Scouts teen and youth programs. There is a lot of information available at Pathfinders Online. Basically though, if you come across someone who is a Pathfinder, they are part of a worldwide organisation of people that are sponsored by the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. Of course you don’t have to be religious to join, or of the SDA denomination.
As I said, it is similar to the Scouts organisation and includes activities like camping and survival skills, leadership training, community outreach programs, various training programs in more fields than you can poke a stick at, including recreational, artistic, nature based, conservation, vocational, and outreach area’s. These training programs all have various levels and awards (or honours) for their completion, many of which are recognised in Australia towards formal qualifications.
Pathfinders are all led, not only by adults, but by their peers. Each level of Pathfinders gains more responsibility and as their rank suggests, Guides and Master Guides, the highest ranking Pathfinders before the leaders and councilors, are guides and role models for the younger Pathfinders. They assist the younger Pathfinders in succeeding in their completion of honours and attaining their next rank.
Pathfinder activities include regular camp outs as well as hall meetings, the yearly expedition where Pathfinders from each division go on exactly that, a hiking expedition with each other and their leaders. Of course, you can’t mention Pathfinder activities without mentioning the Camporee’s. Camporee’s have various sizes from the more common division Camporee’s where Pathfinders from every club in a division all effectively go on a giant camp out, similar to a Scout Jamboree, then of course there are the bigger state-wide, national, and world-wide Camporee’s that are less common.
I find I am quite often explaining to people what Pathfinder’s are because they simply have never heard of them, so it may come as a surprise to many people just how large and wide-spread the Pathfinder clubs are. Clubs can range in size from very few people, even as small as 10, up to clubs in excess of 100 Pathfinders, and that’s just in North NSW. The last national camporee that was held in Australia at Yarrahappini had over 5,000 Pathfinders in attendance from all over Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and other Pacific Islands. That’s just the Pathfinders that could attend as well. There were many that were unable to make the trip. World-wide Camporee’s are, as you can imagine, significantly larger.