Pin Trading Brings Conversation, Fun, and Memories

August 14, 2014 | 2014ffic | Tammy Fisher

Pathfinders at the “Forever Faithful” International Pathfinder Camporee in Oshkosh, Wis., cannot go anywhere without someone approaching and asking if they want to trade pins. The exact number of pins traded is unknown but the passion for trading is very visible.

Steve Durant, with the Timberwolves Pathfinder Club from Westminster, Md., says, “Pin trading allows you to meet new people that you don’t really know even if the relationship only lasts for a few seconds.” Durant came to camporee with 20 pins but has traded for many more.

“Esther” Jung Kyue Young, from Korea, is the director of the Oseo Pathfinder club. She makes friends by trading pins and even gave out 100 fortune bags to new friends. She plans to go home and give the pins to her club.

“The pin trading secret is to make sure the other person walks away happy with the trade,” said Don Adams, Pathfinder Director of the Edmond, Oklahoma club.

Some of the most sought after pins to trade at camporee include: the Pacific Union Conference pin that opens with a panoramic view; a trio set of badges from Potomac Conference; and the Beltsville, Md. Bronco white horse pin. 

Pathfinders not only trade pins but they can also purchase them from The Pin King booth in hangar A. Pins cost from $6-$10, and they sell about 60 different pins, many as sets. Mark Miosi, who owns an audio/visual business, owns the booth and loves to design and sell pins. In 1999, Miosi attended camporee and fell in love with pin trading. In 2004, he opened The Pin King booth and has been back every camporee. Miosi advises which pins have more value: pins from this year’s camporee; a basic pin that has extras dangles, spinner and/or blinkies; and limited edition, staff only pins.

Pathfinders can also earn a Pin Trading Honor sponsored by the Georgia-Cumberland Conference. There is a list of 14 requirements including: what pins can be worn on your Pathfinder uniform or sash, what are the three “F”s of pin trading, and make trade pins with 10 different people, eight of which must new friends.

For Igor Tsvetkov, staff member with the Patterson Redeemers Pathfinders from Richmond, Va., pins are sentimental. “If you want to meet a lot of other people and spend time with people from other countries, you have got to do pin trading. It’s easy to talk to people when you have pins to trade.”

Jennifer Robles, counselor for Pleasant Grove Mensajeros from the Dallas, Texas, says, “Whenever you walk by, from camp to camp, you just hear these different languages mixing in. The commons words are pin trading or pins. It is a blessing to meet all these new friends, we are all connected by our love for God and it is fun.”

Luis Alvarez and Elvin Armenta, with the Kansas City, Mo., Alpha Omega Pathfinder Club, are first time pin traders who really enjoy meeting others. Alvarez said, “I traded the first day for a big New York pin, the guy was leaving and did not want to trade, but I walked with him and he traded it to me.”

Armenta said, “I think it will be really cool to have all those pins on my Pathfinder uniform.  It will be cool to show that I went to Oshkosh and traded pins.”

Eric Serpas, Northshore Stars, in Ill., traded his rare guitars for a rarer still fourth pin to the Potomac Conference badges. “My advice on pin trading, it is not about getting a collection because everyone wants it. If there is something that you like, just get that. Don’t go with the crowd.”