You'd have to be at a camporee to understand: Northwest Pathfinders and their leaders are a special breed.
More than 2,000 of them were on hand as Astoria, Oregon, skies blazed with sunshine to welcome Pathfinder clubs from all points of the Northwest. They came together there for the 2012 North Pacific Union Conference Pathfinder Camporee, held September 13–16.
The dedication undergirding these organizations was pervasive. Buses, RVs, trailers, tents and local club banners stretched for acres. Adults who nurture the youth took valuable time from work to accompany them to the event. This was by no means a leisurely vacation for them, but they wouldn't have wanted it any other way.
Dignitaries from around the world church came too, but the focus was on the youth, from the evening song services to the special features. On the first full day of the camporee, clubs fanned out to the four winds on individual projects. Some learned the intricacies of knot-tying; others conquered the BMX course. Several clubs took excursions to the beach, hunted for lighthouses or climbed the famous Astoria Column.
Following Sabbath morning services, many headed out to the coast near Fort Stevens for several baptisms in the Pacific Ocean — a veritable highlight for the weekend.
And that is what makes the time, the expense and the long miles worth it for so many of these young people and adults. It's why members from all around the Northwest tend to put an extra shekel or two in the offering plate each week for their local clubs. The investment there gives tangible results, infinitely better and longer lasting than the interest at their local bank.
You can find photos and videos of the 2012 Camporee linked online at npuccamporee2012.com.