South Pacific Pathfinders Gather for Division’s First Camporee
By Melody Tan, public relations officer for the South Pacific Division
More than 6,000 Pathfinders throughout the South Pacific gathered in Australia to attend the first-ever South Pacific Division (SPD) Pathfinder Camporee in early January. An initiative of the division’s Adventist Youth Ministries, the camporee took place at the Seventh-day Adventist Convention Centre in Stuarts Point, New South Wales, Australia.
“This is the first time we have organized something on such a grand scale for our Pathfinders,” says Gilbert R. Cangy, director of SPD’s Adventist Youth Ministries. “And it [was] an unforgettable experience that will remain in the memories of all the campers for a long ;time to ;come.”
Themed “The Twelfth Gate,” camporee activities were based on heaven. Pathfinders entered “heaven” when they first crossed the gates into the campground, and a group of “angels” welcomed them. They were divided into 10 separate sub-camps identified by gems found in heaven, and campground streets took on names such as Redemption’s Walk and Love Street.
Pathfinders participated in a variety of activities on the beach, in the lake, and in bush areas. These included obstacle courses and games constructed largely on site by volunteers and youth workers during a grueling two weeks.
My favourite activity was The Lost Gate because it allowed me to work with other people,” said Pathfinder Michael Tunai from Samoa.
The Lost Gate, an obstacle course, was the biggest construction project completed for the camporee. It consisted of six circuits and 80 different elements.
The centerpiece of the camporee was the evening program, during which actors treated Pathfinders to a drama titled Threshold. Based on an original script written by Australian Union Conference Youth Ministries director Anthony W. Knight, the six-act drama was performed on a split-level stage 16 meters (52 feet) high and 30 meters (98 feet) wide. Threshold focused on both the heavenly and earthly realms, depicting five children who met an angel sent to minister to them at a playground.
During the drama’s finale on Sabbath evening, 6,000 Pathfinders crossed the threshold on stage through The Twelfth Gate, and were greeted by angels and “Jesus Himself.”
During the closing ceremony, keynote speaker José V. Rojas, director of Adventist Volunteer Ministries in North America, urged Pathfinders to “testify to everyone what you have learned and seen at this camporee.”
“My favorite part of the camporee was attending the worship at night,” said Fern Napwatt of the Portoroki Pathfinder Club in Vanuatu. “Pastor Rojas was funny and spoke straight to the point. I have learned about Jesus more and gotten closer to Him at this camporee.”
Fourteen countries throughout the South Pacific were represented at the camporee, including Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Vanuatu, and the Solomon Islands.
To read more about the South Pacific Camporee click here.