Training

PATHFINDERS – LEADERS IN THE MAKING
By Gloria Allen, OCPC Asst. Executive Coordinator

On the week end of March 16/17, 2019, more than 50 pathfinder leaders along with Master Guide Trainees (MGTs)  from Pathfinder clubs across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA)  and as far away as Kitchener-Waterloo, convened at Crawford Adventist Academy to complete the 8-hour Basic Staff Training.  The Basic Staff Training (BST) is a requirement for pathfinders who have completed the Guide class, and wish to further equip themselves to be of greater service in the Pathfinder Ministry.  The BST is also the spring board for pathfinder leaders who need a refresher, with the intention to take their current leadership to a higher level;  or for Master Guides from outside of Ontario who wish to serve in the Ontario Conference.   Pathfinders typically move through the curriculum from Friend to Companion,  Explorer, Ranger, Voyager and finally, Guide.  The hope and expectation is that all pathfinders who finish the Guide class will transition seamlessly into the Master Guide Club en-route to becoming full-fledged Master Guides – the expected pool of resources that will propel the Pathfinder ministry to higher heights.  For a while, it appeared that transition was not unfolding as expected.  However, over the last couple of years,  there have been a resurgence in the number of individuals from the Guide class moving into the Master Guide Trainee (MGT) program.  As well, there has been an increase in the number of inactive and current leaders desiring to upgrade their skills, with a view to providing greater service to the ministry.  March’s BST session was actually the third cohort in one year with a total of more than 200 participants.

The BST is a 8-hour certification workshop covering relevant information necessary for the successful operation of a pathfinder club.  Topics covered includes:  The history and purpose of the Pathfinder club, club organization and planning, outreach, adolescent development, basic drilling, Risk Management and Child Safety Issues.  It was encouraging to see the commitment and enthusiasm of young people joining forces with more experienced leaders, determined to make a difference in the lives of young people within their clubs and the community at large.  There was a compliment of young people who recognize and appreciate the benefits of being a Pathfinder, and are now ready to give back; to make sure that upcoming Pathfinders get the opportunity to experience some of what they experienced.  In the words of Norah Valcourt from the Chatham Club: “The training has made me feel empowered; I feel better equipped to lead, teach, learn, plan and organize an effective Pathfinder program.”   She left with the determination to go back to her club to “ensure the Pathfinders feel loved and appreciated.”  In the words of William Gentles from the Kitchener Waterloo club: “It has strengthened my resolve and encourages me to lead on, even in the face of discouragement…….. I also find value in this training that will be useful in not just church but also in my everyday life. “  This is of significance,  as the general theme throughout the presentation was that the experience of our Pathfinders is influenced greatly by what leaders bring to the ministry.  As leaders, it is imperative that we demonstrate the very character traits we are hoping to instill in our pathfinders. In order to help them develop a personal relationship with Christ, we need to have a positive relationship with them.  This was summed up succinctly by Ingrid Delisser from the College Park club:  “One of the key things I will take away to improve my ministry is the way I interact with the kids.  The relationship I build with the pathfinders can be a major factor in whether or not they like coming each week.

It is the hope of the Ontario Conference Pathfinder Council (OCPC) to continue with these training sessions and to work with the Master Guide Council to facilitate the training of new leaders for the betterment of the Pathfinder and Master Guide ministries.  These training sessions are not only for the benefit of the clubs already in existence, but are also an evangelistic tool to start new clubs and influence new individuals for the cause of Christ.  In the words of Daniel Doyle, from the new beginnings clubs, appropriately names since they are a brand new club joining the Pathfinder ministry:  “My eyes have been opened to many things……Our clubs hold the key to effective evangelism ….thank God for the pathfinder club where young minds can be changed. ….the shake up of my club as begun!”. In the words of Verlinda Abbott, director of the New Beginnings club: “the training has motivated and empowered me to become more involved in youth ministry”.

May we each be motivated and encouraged to shake up our churches and influence young people to develop a personal and meaningful relationship with Christ.  The next BST session will be held on the week end of September 13 – 15, 2019.  Get ready to be one of the SHAKERS who will finish the work of the gospel in this generation!

Pathfinder Basic Staff Training Schedule for 2019:

Venue: Crawford Adventist Academy, 531 Finch Ave. West, North York, ON

Download:

PBST Registration Form

PBST Poster

Guidelines in Writing a Reflection Paper (Required to complete the Pathfinder BST certification)