By Kent Price, ATCU Youth Ministries |Henry R. Moncur III, ACTU Communication
Over 398 Pathfinders, Master Guides, counsellors, and directors of the Atlantic Caribbean Union (ATCU) joined with thousands of other Seventh-day Adventist Pathfinders during April 4-8, 2023, for the Inter-American Division (IAD) territory-wide Pathfinder camporee in Trelawny, Jamaica. Under the theme “Pathfinders in Mission,” the excited contingent of Pathfinders gathered to create new friendships, learn new skills, display their talents, and engage in mission activities.
The main goal of the camporee was for Pathfinders to experience a closer relationship with Jesus. Spiritual lessons were drawn from the life of Gideon as portrayed in the book of Judges. Handpicked by God to deliver Israel, Gideon learned to trust God in order to carry out his mission. “The life of Gideon left an indelible impression on many of our Pathfinders who left the camporee changed. It was important that our young people understand that they can trust God to carry them through their experiences and enable them to serve their communities just as Gideon did,” said Dr. Kent Price, Youth Ministries director for ATCU.
The camporee was the first for many Pathfinders. Their experiences and testimonies are being shared among family members, their peers who could not attend, and at church. Lives have been changed and many Pathfinders of ATCU are now “Pathfinders in Mission.” “This camporee was planned and structured for the salvation of our young people,” said Price. “As God came through for Gideon, truly He has come through for us. I am proud of all our Pathfinders who represented ATCU with dignity,” he said.
Azariah Jackson-Morgan from the Cayman Islands Conference was happy about her first big camping experience. “It was a joy to see so many young people like me accept Jesus. The interaction with campers from other countries was awesome! I left realizing that I can be an architect and an athlete for God.”
A camporee is the gathering of Pathfinder clubs for a period of camping, Pathfinder club interaction, and other activities. This event that occurs every five years generated excitement, passion, enthusiasm, and new energy from the campers as they pitched their tents alongside each other. Unity and teamwork were the words throughout the camporee as they engaged in sport events and skill competitions, attended honours classes, exchanged pins, and participated in the worship services and community-impact projects.
Camping abroad for the first time, Amelia Daniel from the Turks and Caicos Islands spoke about the positive impact of the camporee. “It was an incredible experience! I met new friends, got closer to my old friends and especially closer to God. Out of all the fun-filled activities and programs, the highlight for me was Richard Aguilera and Sunny, the toucan puppet. They really brought out interesting facts and topics that I’ve been wondering about. Today, I find myself spending more quality time with God and striving to continue to be a Pathfinder in mission, finishing the work of the gospel in all the world.”
During the camporee, three long-serving Pathfinder leaders were recognized for their outstanding work in their local fields: Carla Sue McLaughlin (Cayman Islands Conference), Almartha Thomas (Turks and Caicos Islands Conference), and Melvin C. Lewis (South Bahamas Conference).
The camporee culminated with an investiture service coordinated by ATCU. Pathfinders from ATCU left the camporee with a determination to stive to be a Pathfinder in Mission, and are now looking forward to the International Camporee to be held in Wyoming in 2024.
With a membership of 28,182, ATCU, which is headquartered in Nassau, New Providence, The Bahamas, comprises four fields, namely, the Cayman Islands Conference, the North Bahamas Conference, the South Bahamas Conference, and the Turks and Caicos Islands Conference. In addition, Northern Caribbean University, which is in Mandeville, Jamaica, is jointly owned and operated by ATCU and the Jamaica Union.