Every year, Southern California Conference (SCC) Pathfinders look forward to the Pathfinder Camporee—a weekend of fellowship and activities geared toward youth as they grow in their walk with God. Last fall’s camporee and 70th Pathfinder anniversary aimed to fulfill that purpose in a virtual setting.

The camporee had already been scheduled for the fall when in-person gatherings were first halted in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A Pathfinder advisory team of 15 lay members, chaired by Bob Wong, recently retired SCC youth ministries director, soon started meeting weekly to plan for a virtual camporee. According to Wong, “planning took several prayerful months.”

“My challenge to the team was to focus everything on Christ and building a relationship with Him,” said Wong, “while making the sessions interesting enough to hold the kids’ interest.” With this goal in mind, the theme “Knowing Jesus” was chosen.

Each advisory member was responsible for coordinating different parts of the program. Steven Clement, Pathfinder area coordinator and member of Eagle Rock church, was in charge of the technology team. The team’s initial unfamiliarity with livestreaming production did not deter their efforts to create a memorable camporee for the kids.

“We struck out in faith, not knowing whether something like this could be pulled off—not knowing if we could get it to flow smoothly,” Clement said. “Our passion is bringing youth to the Lord, and our goal was to connect the kids to the Lord in a fun way.”

The virtual Pathfinder camporee was livestreamed on both YouTube and Facebook, where about 1,600 viewers tuned in for the weekend event. Friday night’s Bible challenge tasked Pathfinders with finding words in the Bible spelling the word Pathfinder. On Sabbath morning, Pathfinders heard a special message from 90-year-old Norm Middag, retired North American Division youth ministries director, who started his ministry at Eagle Rock church. Sabbath afternoon, Pathfinders could choose to take one of 11 honor classes, including a brand-new biosafety honor geared toward pandemic knowledge and safety. The night concluded with an international pageant, in which 13 clubs showcased food, clothing, and the anthem from the nationality each club represented. The weekend closed with a devotional from Temple City church Pathfinder Joseph Hernandez, a scavenger hunt, and arts and crafts projects.

“This was not a one-person program,” said Wong. “It was a success because of the advisory team, Pathfinder leaders, lay individuals, and most of all, the Holy Spirit.”