UCC Pathfinders Introduce New Honors

Have you ever wondered how Pathfinder honors are created? Upper Columbia Conference club ministries wondered the same thing and began researching and creating their own honors. 

Their guiding question was, “How do we keep introducing our kids to new crafts, activities, career options and ways of serving in ministry?” The answer — Pathfinder honors.

“Over the last several years, coordinators in UCC, led by Luke Torquato, have created an astonishing number of new honors,” shared Richie Brower, outgoing UCC associate director for young adult, youth and club ministries. “This August at the International Camporee in Gillette, Wyoming, UCC will introduce more than 25 brand new conference-developed honors. The focus of these honors ranges from needle felting to agricultural technology, tidepools and health evangelism.”

The team, known as Activity Outpost, began the process of piloting honors because they noticed some holes in the honor options that Pathfinders had. The process is strenuous. The team first needed to get approval from the North American Division honors task force to begin piloting honors. Once they were approved, they realized several problems.

“First, a piloted honor can take years to go through the piloting stage before it is available to purchase at AdventSource,” shared Torquato. “Second, Pathfinders who pilot a new honor may never receive the patch they earned if they don't stay in Pathfinders long enough. Lastly, club directors and instructors are less likely to teach a piloted honor if there are published honors with all the resources available.”

Although they recognized these problems, Activity Outpost felt it was extremely important to continue creating honors.

“It's a way for us to give back to our Pathfinder organization as a whole,” explained Torquato. “I hope that Pathfinders around the world can benefit from the work our team is doing. In addition, the money received from the sale of piloting patches is given to Hope Builders, our conference's service-oriented organization for Pathfinders to serve in our communities.”

Activity Outpost has taught a series of honor pilots at the North Pacific Union Camporee and has large-scale presentations of new regional honor pilots like Palouse, Explorers of the West, Oregon Trail and Pony Express at the 2024 International Camporee.

“These honors are the result of young and energetic team members who invest their creative energies into creating exciting learning opportunities for our kids,” said Brower. “It’s fun to be part of a team that makes space for innovation and the chaos of a creative process.”

Many of these honor pilots created will grow up to become full-fledged NAD honors over the next several years. In Gillette, the UCC team, along with their partners, will introduce thousands of Pathfinders to the new honors, eventually passing them on to the NAD honors task force to refine into official NAD Pathfinder honors.

“The reason I have become involved with writing new honors is because of my own experience with Pathfinders. I believe Pathfinder honors are a great tool, helping Pathfinders learn new skills or knowledge that they use for the rest of their lives,” shared Torquato. 

“Even more importantly, each honor must have a way to connect the Pathfinder spiritually with Christ," Torquato continued. "Without this, earning honors is essentially pointless. I hope that for every activity that Pathfinders choose to do, there is an associated honor that draws them a step closer to Christ.”

If you’re heading to Gillette this summer, you may want to stop by the honors building to take a class on one of the 25 pilot honors created right here in NPUC.

Featured in: July/August 2024