Right In Tune Pathfinder Leader Authors New Whistle-making Honor

There's a new Pathfinder honor—Whistles—in the arts, crafts and hobbies category, and Pathfinders in Bonney Lake, Wash., are whistling their congratulations to Barney Shortridge, their co-leader.

Shortridge authored the honor three years ago after taking a Pathfinder leadership class on writing new honors. He remembered how in the 1950s his father taught him how to make willow whistles. "I don't know why," he said, "but every spring since then, I would make willow whistles to keep my skill and memory alive. I discovered there is a skill in making the whistles [as not every one works]."

While friends and family liked to see Shortridge make whistles, they didn't show any interest in making their own, and he knew the skill needed to be preserved.

After experimenting with various types of whistles, Shortridge crafted the Whistle honor with three parts: willow whistles, pan whistles, and flute/recorder-type whistles. "Each [part] requires the student to play a tune on each of his homemade instruments in order to earn the patch," he explained. "Students learn how to create music from common materials that are available just about everywhere."

Before submitting the new honor to the Adventist Youth Honors Committee, Shortridge taught the class to the Bonney Lake Ocelots and at Washington Adventist Camp Meeting.

While the skill is important, the message of being in tune with Jesus is even more important: As students learn to look at the inside and outside, they become aware of how Jesus looks at us in the seasons of life.

"I haven't considered creating another honor," Shortridge said. "Maybe someday I will get another idea." Until then, he'll keep on whistling.

May 01, 2007 / Washington Conference
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Heidi Martella, Washington Conference communication intern