Oregon Conference Pathfinder Leaders Convention

September 25, 2016 | Christina Cannon

Pathfinders in the Teen Leadership Training (TLT) program and their club leaders traveled from the edges of the Oregon Conference to the Gladstone Park Conference Center on Friday, Aug. 12, for a leaders’ convention. Some nearby clubs had just a short drive, while other clubs from the southern part of the state ended up with a memorable two-hour traffic delay on top of an already lengthy traverse.

TLTs attended a series of seminars corresponding to the division of the program, or “track,” they were working on and learned about subjects such as club administration, activity planning and community outreach. Their leaders took classes on mentoring, medical certification and Master Guide training (one of the highest level achievements in Pathfinders). “I think it was a great success and I enjoyed learning more about being a mentor to our Pathfinders. I also enjoyed seeing our TLT girls enjoying themselves and learning a lot,” commented Lanee Kivett, director of the Valley View Pathfinder Club in Medford.

Pathfinders from different clubs participated in a panel discussion on Sabbath in front of their peers and leaders. Discussion topics included what Pathfinders meant to them and ideas for future club growth. These discussions gave insight to the leaders about finding paths from the Pathfinders’ point of view and encouraged the other youth in the room to communicate with their leaders about strong points in the program and points that they, as leaders-in-training, could strengthen.

On Saturday night, the TLTs were tasked with an immensely challenging, enjoyable activity. One Pathfinder, with the help of a partner, would duct tape both of their arms to wooden sticks, preventing their elbows from bending as they ate dinner. The real difficulty was eating a supper of veggie burgers without the use of elbows.

Everyone either learned to ask their partner for help or learned to use creativity to eat by taping several forks together end to end and other solutions. The rest of the Pathfinders learned not to take their elbows for granted. The evening ended with an intense game of elbow tag and a German boot dancing game, with many Pathfinders experiencing a mix of confusion and laughter.

“The best thing I liked about [the leaders’ convention] was that they treated us like adults but made it fun,” commented Heather Stewart, a Valley View TLT, after the weekend.

The teens enjoyed the challenges of the weekend and appreciated the standards their leaders and mentors held them to. “I think it’s wonderful for interested and enthusiastic teenagers to be in this leadership program to teach them how to reach people and bring them to Jesus … and be leaders in their communities and churches,” says Stewart's mother, Tamara Stewart.

Sorry to leave, but eager to begin their work and assignments at home, the estimated 200 Pathfinders and leaders attending the convention left Gladstone on Sunday after a weekend full of enjoyable leadership workshops and activities.