Pathfinder and Adventurer Clubs

History of Pathfinders

The Work Begins

In 1907, Missionary Volunteer Societies were created based on a concept of the General Conference Sabbath School and Youth Department leaders at that time (Trim, 2014). At the General Conference session in 1909, a resolution was passed that had plans for separate Junior Missionary Volunteer Societies in the churches, and for the training of leaders. This was the beginning of the work devoted especially to young people ages ten to sixteen. In 1930, the Master Comrade class (now Master Guide) was introduced. In 1950, the General Conference officially endorsed the Pathfinder Clubs, which had been conducted under various names throughout the country since the early 1920s (Encyclopedia, 1976). The core concepts of learning crafts, wholesome outdoor activities, and spiritual development have remained in place through the years (Trim, 2014).

JMV Societies Begin in Louisiana

First edition to be called the Junior Missionary Volunteer Manual 1919

At the Louisiana conference session held in 1910 at Pineville, Louisiana, it was recommended that the churches of the Louisiana conference better acquaint themselves with the plans and purposes of the young people’s work as outlined by the Young People’s Department of the General Conference. Since a Reading Course had been provided especially for the young people, and feeling that the young people needed encouragement in reading “uplifting literature,” the leaders requested that older members do all in their power to encourage the young people to take the Reading Course (Saxby, 1910). In Louisiana, as early as the 1910-1911 school year, the New Orleans church school had a Junior Missionary Volunteer (JMV) Society (Worker, 1911). In 1914 the school in Shreveport organized their JMV society, (Worker, 1914). There were five JMV societies with a membership of seventy-one in 1914, and in 1915, there were four societies with a membership of sixty-nine (Sanders, 1916). In 1916, a JMV society was organized in the Hobart (now Gonzales) church school with six members (Worker, 1916).

JMV Societies Begin in Arkansas

1933 JMV Handbook

At the Arkansas Conference session in 1913, it was recommended that (a) A Junior Missionary Volunteer Society be organized in every church school, and a leader be elected to hold office during vacation; (b) That the church school teacher have the general oversight of the work of the society in the school, but that special effort be put forth to encourage the children to take the lead in this work; (c) That where a church exists and no church school, that a Junior Missionary Volunteer Society be organized, the leader being elected the same as a Missionary Volunteer leader, and the leader elected select the assistant leader and secretary from the Junior Society as far as possible; (d) That the leader and others connected with the society put forth special efforts to encourage the members to do personal work for children not members of our faith (Record, 1913). For the 1914-1915 school year, the Arkansas conference had seven church schools and each school in the conference operated a (JMV) Society (Baxter, 1914). These seven schools with JMV Societies were Little Rock, Lucky (later Bonnerdale), Hardy, Gentry, Fort Smith, Fayetteville, and Searcy (Yearbook, 1915). In 1924, there were thirteen Societies with 199 members (Richards, 1924). By December 31, 1942, there were at least 683 young people with a membership in one of the Missionary Volunteer societies in our conference (Record, 1943).

The first 16 honors introduced in 1928 (Pathfinder, n. d.)

Pathfinder Clubs Begin

In 1929, the name Pathfinder was first used at a junior camp in California, and the first conference-sponsored Pathfinder Club was organized in Riverside, California, in 1946. That same year the first Pathfinder Club emblem was designed by John H. Hancock. In 1948, Helen Hobbs designed and made the first Pathfinder flag, and in 1949, Henry Bergh wrote the Pathfinder song, “Oh, We are the Pathfinders Strong.” In 1950, the General Conference authorized JMV Pathfinder clubs for the world field, produced a Pathfinder Staff Training Course, and published the “How to Start a Pathfinder Club” booklet (Pathfinder, n.d.).

Pathfinder Camporees

In the mid-50’s the Pathfinder Camporee was introduced. A Pathfinder Camporee is a camping experience of three or four days, sponsored by the local conference or union and entered into by Pathfinder Clubs which are equipped and trained to camp in primitive areas. Meals are prepared by units, tents are usually used for housing, and Pathfinders display their skills in campcraft and other skills. The first Arkansas-Louisiana Conference Pathfinder camporee was held in the yard of the Shreveport clubhouse in 1956 (Salzman, 2004).

Adventurer Clubs Begin

In 1989, the Adventurer Club became an independent program from Pathfinders (NAD, 2019). Adventurers Clubs are for children six to nine years of age, looking toward membership in the Pathfinder Club when they reach age ten.

(Pathfinder, n. d.)

Pathfinder and Adventurer Council

Callie Grant, a fifth generation member of the Marthaville church, joined the Shreveport Tornados Pathfinder Club in 2012. Photo courtesy of the Southwestern Union Record.

Currently the Pathfinder and Adventurer ministry in the Arkansas-Louisiana Conference is governed by the Pathfinder and Adventurer Council (PAC). Membership is made up of the conference Pathfinder director, coordinators from the four areas of the conference, and representatives from each area. At the fall council in 2018, it was unanimously voted to add four new positions to the council. These positions are for one teenage leader from each of the four areas. These membership positions are one-year terms and are application based. The decision to add these teen positions was founded on the idea of taking action to train up our youth in leadership positions in the Pathfinder and Adventurer ministry now and in the future (Kohltfarber, 2018). 

Arkansas-Louisiana Conference Pathfinder and Adventurer Clubs

Like churches and schools, Pathfinder and Adventurer clubs are active as long as there are members and leaders, but close when one of these factors is missing. Although a few clubs had started in the 1950s and 1960s, in 1975 there were only three pathfinder clubs in the conference. By 1979, however, we had twenty-two clubs.

Pathfinder and Adventurer Clubs/Missionary Volunteer SOCIETIES

Pathfinder and Adventurer clubs change sometimes change their name so club names below may not be the same as the original club.

CLUB NAMEYEAR ORGANIZED
Amity Pathfinder Club
Batesville Rainbow Pathfinder Club1983
Baton Rouge Junior Missionary Volunteer Society1944 (or earlier)
Baton Rouge Red Twigs Adventurer Club
Baton Rouge Red Sticks Pathfiner Club
Benton Miners Pathfinder Club1983
Benton Jesus Warriors Pathfinder Club2010
Benton Little Warriors Adventurer Club2010
Bentonville Little Beavers Adventurer Club1988
Bentonville Beavers Pathfinder Club
Berryville Grizzly Bear Cub Pathfinder Club2003
Berryville Spanish Soldaditos Adventurer Club
Berryville Spanish Guerreros Pathfinder Club
Lucky (later Bonnerdale) Junior Missionary Volunteer Society1914
Bonnerdale Little Braves Adventurer Club
Bonnerdale Braves Pathfinder Club
Conway Challengers Pathfinder Club
De Queen Pathfinder Club1967
De Queen Buccaneers Adventurer Club1995
De Queen Spanish Adventurer & Pathfinder Club
Fayetteville Junior Missionary Volunteer Society1907
Forrest City Messengers Pathfinder Club2013
Fort Smith Junior Missionary Volunteer Society1914
Fort Smith Sunshiners Adventurer Club
Fort Smith Cougars Pathfinder Club1968
Fort Smith Alfa y Omega Adventurer Club
Fort Smith Ebenezer Pathfinder Club
Gentry Junior Missionary Volunteer Society1903
Gentry Pathfinders Pathfinder Club
Gentry Compass Fellowship Pathfinder Club
Gentry Spanish Adventurer Club
Gentry Spanish Mensajeros Pathfinder Club
Hobart (Gonzales) Junior Missionary Volunteer Society1916
Hot Springs Blue Jays Adventurer Club
Hot Springs Hawks Pathfinder Club1999 Reorganized
Hot Springs Spanish Adventurer Club
Hot Springs Spanish Pathfinder Club
Huntsville Warriors 4 Christ Pathfinder Club
Huntsville Pequenos Mensajeros Adventurer Club
Huntsville Gedeones Pathfinder Club
Lafayette Acadian Gators Pathfinder Club1997
Lafayette Alligators Adventurer Club1997
Little Rock Junior Missionary Volunteer Society1914
Little Rock Adventurer Club
Little Rock Messengers Pathfinder Club1956
Little Rock Central Spanish Adventurer Club
Little Rock Central Spanish Pathfinder Club
Little Rock North Spanish Adventurer Club
Little Rock North Spanish Pathfinder Club
Little Rock (Baseline) South Spanish Adventurer Club
Little Rock (Baseline) South Spanish Pathfinder Club
Malvern Pathfinder Club1955
Mena Missionary Volunteer Society1907
Monticello Cubs Pathfinder Club1982
Mt. Home Lil’ Eagles Adventurer Club
Mt. Home Eagle Pathfinder Club
Mt. View Adventurer Club
Mt. View Pathfinder Club
New Orleans Junior Missionary Volunteer Society1910
New Orleans Pathfinder Club1955
New Orleans Metairie Adventurer Club
New Orleans Metairie Eagles Pathfinder Club
New Orleans Spanish Pathfinder Club
Pineville Immanuel Pathfinder Club2006
Rogers Spanish Adventurer Club
Rogers Spanish Pathfinder Club
Rogers Spanish Master Guides
Searcy Junior Missionary Volunteer Society1914
Searcy Pathfinder Club2009
Sherwood Kittyhawk Adventurer Club
Sherwood Kittyhawks Pathfinder Club
Shreveport Junior Missionary Volunteer Society1914
Shreveport Whirlwinds Adventurer Club
Shreveport Tornadoes Pathfinder Club1954
Shreveport Spanish Adventurer Club
Shreveport Spanish Pathfinder Club
Springdale Fellowship Pathfinder Club1972
Springdale First Spanish Adventurer Club
Springdale First Spanish Pathfinder Club
Springtown Stars Adventurer Club
Springtown Spurs Pathfinder Club
Texarkana Ponies Adventurer Club
Texarkana Mustangs Pathfinder Club
Van Buren Central Spanish Adventurer Club
Van Buren Central Spanish Pathfinder Club
Van Buren North Spanish Adventurer Club
Van Buren North Spanish Pathfinder Club
West Helena Flyers Pathfinder Club1997
Yellville Pathfinder Club

Citations

(1907, Aug. 27). Southwestern Union Record, p. 2.

(1911, Jun 22). Southern Union Worker, p. 200.

(1914, Nov. 26). Ibid., p. 381.

(1915) Yearbook of the Seventh-day Adventist Denomination. Washington, D. C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association.

(1916, Nov. 16). Southern Union Worker, p. 374.

(1923 Sep. 23). Southwestern Union Record, p. 2.

(1976). Youth Department of Missionary Volunteers. Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia. Washington D. C.: Review and Herald, pp. 1627, 1628.

(No date). The Pathfinder Story. Retrieved from centralja.org.

Baxter, W. E. (1914, Apr. 14). Southwestern Union Record, p. 2.

Kohltfarber, Audra. (2018, May 31). Pathfinders & Adventurers. Retrieved from swurecord. org.

NAD Youth and Young Adult Ministries. (2019). Pathfinders Online Timeline. Retrieved from pathfindersonline.org.

Richards, H. M. J. (1924, Mar. 18). Southwestern Union Record, p. 6.

Salzman, Michael G. (2004, Oct. 1). Ibid., p. 12.

Sanders, C. N. (1916, May 4). Southern Union Worker, p. 147.

Saxby, Mrs. C. A. (1910, Aug. 11). Ibid., p. 200.

Trim, David. (2014, Aug. 15). A History of Pathfinders. Retrieved from youtube.com.