United in Him: Reflections from Pathfinder Camporee 2023

Published on October 12, 2023

This year, the Gulf States Conference Youth Department has centered the focus of all of its ministries, including Pathfinders, around the theme of “United in Him.”

From interacting with the Pathfinders in attendance at the 2023 Pathfinder Camporee, this message came through clearly, making the hard work and behind-the-scenes preparation from organizers, volunteers and attendees worthwhile.

For Jessica Nazarenus, Pathfinder director from Panama City Sonseekers Pathfinder Club, Pathfinder Camporee 2023 was an insightful experience!

“It was so rewarding to watch the drilling and our club made us proud! Inspection was terrifying but showed us that we can accomplish the task at hand! The games were challenging but we were united! We bonded as a club and as Pathfinders. Our super power is working together!”

Just like the Sonseekers from Panama City, during the weekend of October 12-15, 2023, 20 additional clubs gathered, focusing on the theme of “United in Him.”

Donna Campbell from Phenix City Falcons Pathfinder Club shared that “staying ‘United in Him’ requires vigilance, focus and perseverance, and our Pathfinders were able to conceptualize this during the activities, which required teamwork and coordination between them.

It was a teaching and learning moment for my team of Pathfinders who left Camporee understanding and learning to integrate oneness and togetherness in achieving the mission at hand.”

This message of being united also came through the main speakers of the event, Pastor Ron Whitehead, executive director, Center for Youth Evangelism (CYE) and Pastor Smith Castillo, associate superintendent at Texas Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

To further encourage the group, Pastor Ron Whitehead had a challenge for one Pathfinder to win a free ticket to International Camporee. The challenge was accepted and Jocelyn from Montgomery Hispanic Pathfinder Club won the free ticket to attend the Camporee in 2024.

Other Pathfinders also had standout experiences, like McKensie from the Blue Angels Pathfinder Club, who shared, “I loved listening to Ron Whitehead and watching Zoey lead out in song service; the tent inspection was fun too.”

In addition to the engaging worship service, Pathfinders had the opportunity to share their talents during the Saturday night talent show by presenting dramas from the stories of Moses and Joseph as well as musical selections.

The weekend was also filled with moments of fun and adventure. Caleb and Meredith from the Blue Angels Pathfinder Club loved the fun activities, especially the rope relay. One special experience for Caleb was learning to tie the knots.

But most of all, what stood out for Tristan was for his club, the Blue Angels Pathfinder Club, to be recognized as he described it as “so satisfying."

Another group who also deserves recognition for the weekend is the countless volunteers and the Pathfinder Council who worked hard for quite some time to ensure the Pathfinder Camporee would be a memorable experience for the attendees. From Shelly Ward and Ranger Todd, who always make haystacks the best meal of Camporee to Pr Michel Rodriguez who made a memorable Pathfinder Camporee with fireworks for the closing program.

The organization and care that went into the event were noted by those in attendance and created a key memory event that will have a lasting impact for both the leaders and the campers.