On Sept. 22, 2022, the North Pacific Union Pathfinder Camporee began in Kalispell, Montana. Pathfinders from all six conferences represented by the NPUC came to explore, serve and share.
Day one started out sunny and warm — wait, no. It was rainy and cold! That didn’t phase any of the Pathfinders, Adventurers or staff, who roll whatever weather is thrown their way.
Fortunately, the hardest rain seemed to fall in the morning, when the activities were designed to be indoors. The Adventurers learned fire safety with Smokey Bear, made their own bear paw print makers out of flip-flops, crafted ornaments from clay and learned about bears.
Several were busy filling Adventist Community Services Disaster Clean Up buckets. Gabriele Laub, Montana Conference Adventist Community Services coordinator, said they hoped to fill 120 buckets to replenish their supply. Recently, they distributed more than 150 buckets to people in eastern Montana who were affected by flooding. She said that having laundry detergent, dish detergent, gloves, brushes, wipes and clothesline with clothespins gave them an initial boost to help them get back on their feet. Adventurers did awesome work!
Pathfinders entering the honors building were greeted by two larger-than-life Pathfinders wearing full Class A uniforms. Pathfinders had 25 choices of honors to work on including Sand, Mosaic Tiles, Basic Rescue and Hot Air Balloon. Several new honors were being piloted: Dams and Hydroelectricity, Wildfire Preparation and Prevention, Land Surveying, Search & Rescue and Glaciers. The room was filled with the sound of pounding nails from those working towards their String Art honor, while other Pathfinders concentrated on learning the various details needed for each honor. By 10 a.m., one club was working on their third honor!
For many clubs, the fun began even before they arrived at the fairground. Several had many hours of driving, some starting their journey on Tuesday. One club visited a hot spring and then did a service project in Salmon, Idaho, at the Sacajawea Visitors Center. Callie, from Newman Lake, Washington, simply said that she had fun playing with her sister on the trip. Josie from Yelm, Washington enjoyed moose moss ice cream on the journey — it was actually mint chocolate chip!
Luke from Apple Valley Pathfinder Club was looking forward to the Gold Panning honor. He said that he got a little wet in the tent Wednesday night because he was right on the edge of the tent, but his things are dry now.
Addie from Golden Eagle Pathfinder Club said her favorite thing about the camporee is the people. Julisa from Meadow Glade Pathfinder Club said the best thing so far is “seeing people and doing the honors!” Alynna, also from Meadow Glade Pathfinder Club, said her favorite thing about Pathfinders is that she gets to go places she probably never would have gone.
It’s not just kids who enjoy Pathfinders. Imogene, member of Upper Columbia Conference, is currently the event coordinator. She has been in Pathfinders for 56 years — ever since she was a Pathfinder herself. Imogene only missed one camporee — the Friendship Camporee in 1989.
The afternoon brought a little less rain, which was good because there were many activities outside. The Mountain Man Village introduced Pathfinders to a trapper, an Indian arrowhead maker and a leather worker and gave them a chance to throw a tomahawk at a tree stump. Pathfinders also learned that the men who brought supplies to the forts would charge 1,000% markup. The journey was long and arduous, often taking up to three months, and yet the fur traders generally made more money.
There were additional activities outside, including an air-filled maze race, a volleyball toss into barrels, ladder ball and a blow-up hatchet throwing game.
Inside, Danielle Oyler from the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks department taught Pathfinders the differences between black bears and grizzly bears. She also shared how to stay safe around bears of any kind. One fact they learned turned into a safety lesson: bears can run up to 35 mph, so don't try to run from them! Oyler also advised the Pathfinders to keep their food and supplies in bear safes or hanging appropriately in trees over 100 yards from where they sleep.
Stan Hudson, NPUC creation ministries director, shared the reasoning for creation in his show. He provided facts, including that dinosaurs were real. He believes that God created dinosaurs and that mankind bred some to be aggressive, to use as hunters or warriors.
Another inside activity was archery. First, Pathfinders had to discover if they were left-eyed or right-eyed. Even if they were left-handed, they could be right-eyed. That determined which bow they used and how they stood.
The Pathfinder Museum is open in the expo building at the south end of the fairground. Dixie Plata has been running the museum for over 40 years. Her husband, Arnold Plata, used to make all the display cases. Dixie was excited because a young Pathfinder gave her a Montana pin for this year’s camporee exhibit.
Overall, Pathfinders and Adventurers had a great day despite the rain. The consensus, however, is they are looking forward to warm and dry weather tomorrow. It seems providential that the nightly programs were moved indoors.
The nightly program had music, a story by a mountain man, prayer and a talk by Ron Whitehead. Sierra and Anniston from Puyallup Pioneers Pathfinders Club both enjoyed the music from the meeting. It was lively and the songs were ones they were familiar with. They also thought the Mountain Man was hilarious! However, they were concerned about what happened to the bear in his story. They didn’t want it to get hurt.
Whitehead talked about Abraham’s friendship and journey with God. Did you know that God has friends? James 2:23 says that Abraham was a friend of God. Did you know that it’s OK to struggle with your friendship with God? He won’t give up on you just because you might be embarrassed to talk about Him.
Whitehead shared a personal story of when he began attending boarding school. His parents, particularly his mom, taught him that Jesus was his best friend. He had a picture of Jesus at the foot of his bed. Every morning and every night he saw Jesus. His mom sent the picture with him. Suddenly, he began to question whether he wanted everyone to know that Jesus was his best friend. He said it’s OK to struggle and to question. God’s not going to give up on you. He’ll work it out with you.
Daily Recap Videos
Watch this collection of recap videos from Thursday at the camporee.