Pathfinders Brings Kids Closer to Christ

"Stop! Stop! I can’t find my glasses!” cried the young man. The last bit of daylight was fading and with it any reasonable chance of finding the glasses before they might be crushed by the searchers. They had been playing a friendly game of catch before peace gave way to panic at a white sandy beach near Salmon River, Idaho.

He and his family had joined the Waiilatpu Pathfinder Club on the weekend’s whitewater rafting trip at the invitation of the director because there was room for a few more participants. They had gladly accepted. Now, they wondered if the trip would exact a price they could not have anticipated.

As dusk gave way to darkness Pathfinder director Steve Meharry suggested that they pray for God’s help. They finished praying, and they all began to stand up. The boy who lost his glasses reached for the ground to support himself as he stood, but when his hand should have hit the surface it instead fell right on his glasses.

Everyone was happy that the glasses were found, but for Steve there was an additional joy in another real-life example of how God hears and answers our prayers. “The main goal of Pathfinders is to get kids closer to Christ through nature and other activities,” Steve says. That’s why his personal objective is to see every Adventist young person in a Pathfinder club.

Although the 12 years that Steve has served as leader of his Pathfinder club have been fulfilling, his desire to participate as a leader in the ministry grew out of many years of involvement as a Pathfinder himself.

“I couldn’t wait to become a Pathfinder when I was a child," he says. As soon as Steve turned 10 years old, he joined the Stateline Pathfinder Club where his parents also served; his dad was a counselor and his mom was deputy director. The involvement of his parents and his friends, as well as the outings and Sabbath activities, all made it an irresistible attraction for him.

The Waiilatpu (which means “where the rag grass grows”) Club not only consists of members of the College Place Church, but also draws kids from other churches and schools in the valley. They are a community service-oriented club that participates in activities such as leaf raking, can collecting, and giving Christmas baskets to families in need through the local YWCA.

One family brings 10 kids to Pathfinders and Adventurers each week in their large van—including extended family and friends—attesting to the value that adults place on this activity for their children. Approximately 80 percent of his Pathfinders come from Adventist families. Each year the club has baptismal classes. Steve’s own sons were among the many through the years that have chosen to be baptized because of the classes.

Upper Columbia Conference Pathfinder director Wayne Hicks is proud to have a roster of excellent club leaders. He counts Steve Meharry as one of the best.

March 01, 2007 / Feature