Idaho, Montana Pathfinders Hold Joint Camporee

November 02, 2016 | Dan Gilbert

The morning started off clear and cold for the middle of summer. The Idaho and Montana Conference Pathfinder staff began getting ready for the Pathfinders to arrive for the first Idaho and Montana Joint Pathfinder Camporee, which was held at Steel Creek Campground just outside of Dubois, Idaho. By Thursday evening 127 Pathfinders and staff were encamped in the small valley along Steel Creek.

The theme for the Camporee was “If Paul Had Twitter.” It was based on the Pathfinder Bible Experience books for the 2016–2017 school year. Barry Curtis, chaplain of Mount Ellis Academy in Bozeman, Mont., was the featured speaker. Kids and adults alike enjoyed his talks. 

On Friday all the Pathfinders attending this camporee spent the day at Yellowstone National Park working on the newest Idaho honor, Geysers. They took lots of pictures and had lots of stories about what they saw and did when they returned that night.

Because the area is in prime bear habitat, all campers were encouraged to eat in the main eating area of the campground. This also allowed everyone from both conferences to get to know each other. No bears were sighted, at least outside of Yellowstone, though moose and deer were seen. 

Sabbath morning brought club inspections and worship with more stories and “tweets” Paul might have tweeted. Sabbath afternoon was spent exploring nature.

Some of the Pathfinders worked on the Geocaching honor taught by Josh Holloway, director of the Kalispell, Mont., Pathfinder club. The caches were a challenge to find. If the Pathfinders were not out geocaching, they were learning how to read maps and plot courses for the Orienteering honor taught by Ken Christensen, Idaho Conference teen event coordinator. 

Pathfinders were all over the Steel Creek valley, plotting and hunting caches. Everyone returned to camp tired but satisfied with their efforts.

The evening vespers included stories about Paul as told by Rick Nosik, co-director of the Caldwell, Idaho, Pathfinder club. After vespers, as the sun set and night fell, the fire was built up.

An honor guard, formed of TLT (Teen Leadership Training) members from Idaho and teens from both conferences, was led by Bill Legg, Boise, Idaho, Pathfinder director. A flag being retired by the honor guard originally served its time by flying over an Idaho law enforcement facility before flying over the campsite for the camporee. Any veterans, active-duty military, current or retired law enforcement, and firefighters were given places of honor as the honor guard escorted the flag-bearer, Mike Gilbert, Idaho’s Master TLT, as he carried the folded flag to the fire.

The flag was displayed one last time as the Pathfinders and staff were led by Legg in the Pledge of Allegiance. Darrin James, Montana associate Pathfinder director, and Dan Gilbert, Idaho Pathfinder director prepared the flag to be cremated, as per the Flag Code. The event ended with the singing of the national anthem and “America the Beautiful."

On Sunday campsites were packed up, and the clubs started their return trips. Many said they wanted to do it again.

The adults enjoyed  that there was absolutely no cell service anywhere close by, so kids were not buried in their electronic devices and spent more time socializing with each other — and not via Twitter. The Lord truly blessed the Pathfinders with good weather, and no Pathfinders or staff were injured. Everyone made it back home safe, even with trailer tire blowouts.