Oregon Pathfinders Show Passion and Energy at Fair

By Al Reimche

Where in Oregon would you find the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge (or at least a scale model), the artistry of hand-crafted kites, or a live collection of camouflaged insects beside a working display of the plumbing found in the average home bathroom? And then discover how to do origami along with learning gift wrapping techniques, as well as an ocean scene beside a campfire in the woods next to a dog that didn’t bark the whole time (it was stuffed). I can think of only one place where all these scenes and activities could be found in one place. It would have to be the Oregon State Fairgrounds and the Oregon Conference Pathfinder Fair. By the way, those descriptions cover less than a third of the displays, demonstrations, and activities that were presented by 32 of the 35 pathfinder clubs in our conference.

It was so exciting to see each of the clubs as they marched past the platform, and then to see the whole group as they sat on the fairground floor following the parade. Well over 400 of our 474 pathfinders were present, plus parents and leaders and volunteers. Clubs traveled from as far away as Klamath Falls and Medford to be part of this day.

There were a number of contrasts that I noticed this past Sunday morning. One was a little boy probably three or four years old, standing at attention with his dad when the Pathfinder Pledge was recited. He was dressed in the same khaki shirt and black pants that the rest of the Pathfinders wore. In contrast, Betty Kites was honored for over 53 years of volunteer service for Pathfinders. I am sure that there is not a craft or honor that she has not had a hand in either teaching or supporting.

Another contrast that stood out was the diversity of clubs throughout our conference. Some, like Pleasant Valley and Meadow Glade are large clubs, while others such as Sisters and Lents consist of just a couple of youth. What was so inspiring was that even the small clubs had a strong team of mentoring volunteers surrounding each club member. One that stood out to me was the club that had five students and four adult volunteers. It was exciting to see a number of our pastors along with so many volunteers in uniform supporting their clubs. Thank you to each of you for making your mission God’s children in your church and community.

One highlight of each fair I attend is the opportunity to call up to the stage all of the Pathfinders who have been baptized during the previous year. This year was no exception as well over 25 Pathfinders came up and affirmed that they had made this significant decision to follow Jesus for the rest of their lives. We are so blessed to have these youth as full-fledged members of our congregations, and I know that each of them is already a part of our team of Members in Ministry.

Once again, I came away blessed by the energy, passion, and vision of our many volunteers who give not only a Sunday once a year for the fair, but who commit countless hours each week to mentor God’s youth in small and large churches throughout Oregon.

But perhaps a greater blessing was the energy, creativity, and sparkle I witnessed in the youth we are privileged to call Oregon Conference Pathfinders.