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
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
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).
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.).
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 and Adventurer Council
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 NAME||YEAR ORGANIZED|
|Amity Pathfinder Club|
|Batesville Rainbow Pathfinder Club||1983|
|Baton Rouge Junior Missionary Volunteer Society||1944 (or earlier)|
|Baton Rouge Red Twigs Adventurer Club|
|Baton Rouge Red Sticks Pathfinder Club|
|Benton Miners Pathfinder Club||1983|
|Benton Jesus Warriors Pathfinder Club||2010|
|Benton Little Warriors Adventurer Club||2010|
|Bentonville Little Beavers Adventurer Club||1988|
|Bentonville Beavers Pathfinder Club|
|Berryville Grizzly Bear Cub Pathfinder Club||2003|
|Berryville Spanish Soldaditos Adventurer Club|
|Berryville Spanish Guerreros Pathfinder Club|
|Lucky (later Bonnerdale) Junior Missionary Volunteer Society||1914|
|Bonnerdale Little Braves Adventurer Club|
|Bonnerdale Braves Pathfinder Club|
|Conway Challengers Pathfinder Club|
|De Queen Pathfinder Club||1967|
|De Queen Buccaneers Adventurer Club||1995|
|De Queen Spanish Adventurer & Pathfinder Club|
|Fayetteville Junior Missionary Volunteer Society||1907|
|Forrest City Messengers Pathfinder Club||2013|
|Fort Smith Junior Missionary Volunteer Society||1914|
|Fort Smith Sunshiners Adventurer Club|
|Fort Smith Cougars Pathfinder Club||1968|
|Fort Smith Alfa y Omega Adventurer Club|
|Fort Smith Ebenezer Pathfinder Club|
|Gentry Junior Missionary Volunteer Society||1903|
|Gentry Pathfinders Pathfinder Club|
|Gentry Compass Fellowship Pathfinder Club|
|Gentry Spanish Adventurer Club|
|Gentry Spanish Mensajeros Pathfinder Club|
|Hobart (Gonzales) Junior Missionary Volunteer Society||1916|
|Hot Springs Blue Jays Adventurer Club|
|Hot Springs Hawks Pathfinder Club||1999 Reorganized|
|Hot Springs Spanish Adventurer Club|
|Hot Springs Spanish Pathfinder Club|
|Houma Pathfinder Club|
|Huntsville Warriors 4 Christ Pathfinder Club|
|Huntsville Pequenos Mensajeros Adventurer Club|
|Huntsville Gedeones Pathfinder Club|
|Lafayette Acadian Gators Pathfinder Club||1997|
|Lafayette Alligators Adventurer Club||1995|
|Little Rock Junior Missionary Volunteer Society||1914|
|Little Rock Adventurer Club|
|Little Rock Messengers Pathfinder Club||1956|
|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 Club||1955|
|Mena Missionary Volunteer Society||1907|
|Monticello Cubs Pathfinder Club||1982|
|Mt. Home Lil’ Eagles Adventurer Club|
|Mt. Home Eagle Pathfinder Club|
|Mt. View Adventurer Club|
|Mt. View Pathfinder Club|
|New Orleans Junior Missionary Volunteer Society||1910|
|New Orleans Pathfinder Club||1955|
|New Orleans Metairie Adventurer Club|
|New Orleans Metairie Eagles Pathfinder Club|
|New Orleans Spanish Pathfinder Club|
|Pineville Immanuel Pathfinder Club||2006|
|Rogers Spanish Adventurer Club|
|Rogers Spanish Pathfinder Club|
|Rogers Spanish Master Guides|
|Searcy Junior Missionary Volunteer Society||1914|
|Searcy Pathfinder Club||2009|
|Sherwood Kittyhawk Adventurer Club|
|Sherwood Kittyhawks Pathfinder Club|
|Shreveport Junior Missionary Volunteer Society||1914|
|Shreveport Whirlwinds Adventurer Club|
|Shreveport Tornadoes Pathfinder Club||1954|
|Shreveport Spanish Adventurer Club|
|Shreveport Spanish Pathfinder Club|
|Slidell Adventurer Club and Pathfinder Club|
|Springdale Fellowship Pathfinder Club||1972|
|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 Club||1997|
|Yellville Pathfinder Club|
(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.