Image Credit: Daniel Ortega

Teen Pathfinders Gather for Annual Convention

At Twin Rocks Friends Camp in Rockaway Beach, Oregon, late January brought a rare weekend of sunshine — a fitting welcome for the bright smiles of around 40 Oregon Pathfinder teens and their adult ministry partners. The group gathered on the coast to welcome a new cohort of young leaders and to continue the decades-long tradition of mentoring in ministry through the Teen Leadership Training program.

The 2023 Oregon Pathfinder TLT Convention was held with about 75 teens and staff present. A dozen Master TLTs, as the program graduates are called, attended the convention and shared stories and encouragement with the new initiates. TLTs typically gather twice a year, but due to pandemic disruptions, this was the first solo convention since January 2020.

The TLT program focuses on mentoring high-school-age Pathfinders through the transition from club participation to leadership in Pathfinders. By the time they graduate from the four-year program, young people are fully prepared to lead clubs of their own.

The weekend began with a Friday evening meeting, as Rachel Scribner, program coordinator, shared inspiration for TLTs and staff alike.

Scribner encouraged TLTs to get to know their conference leadership, especially Oregon Conference Pathfinder director Daniel Ortega, explaining that one of the program’s main goals is connecting teens with established leaders.

The program graduates urged teens to pay close attention to each area of leadership they would experience in the program, and to watch for things they felt passionate about. “The reason I plan these weekends is because TLT helped me,” Scribner said. “The job I have now, I got because I discovered my passion when I was in the TLT program.”

During the remainder of the weekend, TLTs attended workshops on various areas of leadership, as staff members attended special mentor training classes. Then, on Sabbath afternoon, the Master TLTs welcomed the newest leaders to the program with a special induction ceremony. Current TLTs saluted as the inductees marched in to receive their bi-colored shoulder cords.

As the weekend concluded, TLTs and staff alike shared hopes and dreams for the future, including more frequent gatherings, mission trips and social events, better online connection between clubs and expanded opportunities during training weekends. As the TLTs headed home, sunlight illuminated a generation of young leaders and their dedicated mentors.

Featured in: May/June 2023

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