The strains of a drum-corps setting the march tempo for the song "We Are the Pathfinders Strong" is still resonating after the first post-pandemic gathering of Washington Conference Pathfinders.
Just ask the Puyallup Pioneer Pathfinders, one of the largest clubs in the conference. It grew to 50 club members this year.
I loved being able to meet other people who came from other places and how we were able to connect with each other, reflected Sara Hoehn, a three-year pathfinder.
Pathfinders in western Washington weren’t able to gather collectively for a conferencewide camporee last fall, so this year David Salazar, Pathfinder director, and his team of area coordinators planned a weekend Pathfinder Fair Camporee at Sunset Lake Camp. The fair has traditionally been a one-day gathering at Auburn Adventist Academy.
“This was my first time going to a fair camporee, even though I’ve been a Pathfinder for two years,” said Rylee Johnson, who enjoyed watching and participating in all the activities.
Activities included tug-of-war, canoeing, Norwegian wobble races, board walking, team rug mat races, a triathlon and a water balloon toss. The Pathfinder Fair Camporee also included a good measure of time for friends to just be together and talk.
“We found that with Pathfinder Teen Retreat in March, kids just wanted time to talk and catch up after not seeing each other for two years,” Salazar said. “So we gave them the gift of time and teamwork.”
Worship times with Keegan Fossmeyer, North Cascade Church youth pastor, and the singing especially were a highlight for Madison Hanson, a three-year Pathfinder. "Pathfinders also raised $1,583 for Ukrainian humanitarian aid," said Emma Mattson, a multi-year Pathfinder.
The Pathfinder Fair Camporee felt normal for Jeremiah Miran, a five-year Pathfinder with the Mabuhay Warriors club. He said, “the events and games were in the style of a Pathfinder Fair.” His club led the drum-corps and placed first in fancy drill.
"This was my first camporee ever, and I can’t wait to experience it again," said Alise Gendreau, a first-year pathfinder. "I loved being able to interact with other clubs, marching on the fancy drill team, and all the other competitive events."
Basic and fancy drill teams, with joint-step marching maneuvers, provided the ultimate example of teamwork.
“I’ve been in marching every year and it is just so much fun to look around and see everyone on the same step working together,” said Samanatha Teal, a five-year Pathfinder.
“We did a lot of activities that measured our life skills as well as our Christian and social skills,” said Isaac Corral, a five-year Pathfinder. “This was one of my best Pathfinder fair experiences.”
Ultimately, Salazar said, “We want Pathfinders to understand, as they ‘Press On’ in life, that their friends, their church, their community and the world needs them to uphold biblical values of what it means to follow Jesus.”