It’s become a tradition in the SAIL Pathfinder Club to welcome our newbies with an overnight “camping” trip locked in at the church. Because we take several camping trips a year, we created this first camping trip to be in a friendly environment where there is no need to worry about creepy, crawly, slithery things, bad weather or dark, scary trips to the bathroom. It’s a great way for moms and dads, I mean kids, to face their fear of separation and make the adjustment into Pathfinders.
After an afternoon hike, bedrolls and overnight bags were unloaded from cars and good-byes were said to nervous parents. Then the fun began! It was a full evening of learning- about waterfalls, marching, how to make pizza tacos (the signature meal of the SAIL Pathfinder Club!), and tie dying shirts. As energy started running low, tents were set up in the foyer and youth room. It was now time to learn how to make that bedroll into a comfortable place to sleep, how to fall asleep with no night light, or for some, how to fall asleep at all when one is in a tent full of friends!
As staff, we learned that this year’s new Pathfinders are a little different than those we’ve met over the past few years. We didn’t have to teach them to use a can opener. They weren’t afraid to crack eggs. And, most surprising, we didn’t get served any silver dollar pancakes on Sunday morning!
We look forward to working with these energetic, inquisitive young people in the year ahead.
Welcome aboard new SAIL Pathfinders!
It was a cool, misty morning when the SAIL Pathfinders headed out to Arkansas Bend Park to take part in their sixth year of volunteering in the Lake Travis Clean-up. Rain is a natural part of SAIL Pathfinder outings, so the new members of the club got introduced to what to expect on future outings. It made for a perfect day to hunt for trash! Everyone was eager to get started and see what treasures lay out there waiting to be found. With bags and trash grabbers in hand they set off. What would they find? Half of a flip phone, a plastic salad bowl, a pair of sunglasses, a table, a mask and snorkel. The usual find of boat anchors brought smiles to the faces of those who had a plan to put them to good use. But the super find was a demolished boat house! Using teamwork and tag-teaming the pile of vinyl siding, large pieces of Styrofoam and miscellaneous pieces of rubber and wood was moved from the lake bed up the steep hillside to the waiting trailer to be hauled away. In the end 20 bags of trash, 4 boat anchors, 2 large pieces of Styrofoam and a boathouse were removed from the park. The final assessment of the experience was summed up by one young Pathfinder who said, “I didn’t know work could be fun! I had fun!”
More opportunities await these young people. In October the club will be handing out bags to the community for the purpose of collecting non-perishable food items for the Capitol Area Food Bank. In November a banquet is planned for a group of Senior Citizens. And, in December the plan is to take part for the third year in the reforestation efforts at Bastrop State Park following the 2011 Labor Day fires.
(A Review By Linda)
The long awaited moment finally arrived—we were going to Oshkosh! For some of us it started on Thursday night, Aug. 8, 2014, with our sleeping on the Austin South Church floor. Anticipation was running high and most everyone was awake by 2:30 or 3 and in the van by 4:30 AM Friday. After a long day’s drive we arrived in St. Louis for the weekend. With usual helpfulness the Pathfinders helped prepare the St. Louis Church Sanctuary Sabbath morning by putting things in the pews and opening blinds, then participated as the praise team for church. It was great to see the Olin family again! Sabbath afternoon we went to the free St. Louis Zoo with Pathfinders from the area. Sunday was spent at the historic Cahokia Indian Mounds and at the famous Arch (naturally!).
Monday it was on to Wisconsin! We found our campsite and quickly set up camp just in time to keep our reputation intact—it rained promptly after we arrived! The rain continued on into the next morning and the dirt roads became a muddy mess! Vehicles were getting stuck and mud-stained feet was the fashion statement of the day. In spite of that, everyone was cheerful with spirits undampened. Our club went exploring to see all the different camping areas and where the activities were located. They also discovered the intoxicating appeal of pin trading! Naturally, the international pins were the most sought after, though finding and talking to people from different places was the most fun part!
Every evening all 47,000+ of us gathered on the great grassy field to sing praises together, to pray,and to listen to beautiful music from talented folks from all over the world. There were baptisms every night as well. The highlight, of course, was the drama about the story of Daniel, bringing it to life, showing that those 4 Hebrews were teenagers who were just like teenagers today, kids who faced hard decisions and didn’t have all the answers but chose to follow God no matter what—they were faithful! And God showed that He is “Forever Faithful” as well. There was a short sermon afterward by Pastor Sam Leonor from LaSierra University which was always interesting and to the point.
On Thursday our club went to the Lutheran Rehab & Assisted Living facility for our community service project. We painted some fences, shoveled decorative rock into wheelbarrows and buckets and poured them into prepared flower beds. The day was beautiful, sunny and cool. It was such a joy to work hard in the beautiful outdoors and be helpful to someone else, too! Later in the day we walked over to the Air Museum and spent some time there.
There were so many choices of things to do, one could not get around to everything, of course. There were many honors that could be worked on, music and drum-corps competitions, a Creation booth, 2 life-size Sanctuary models, fun activities like bouncy houses, the German Carousel and rock-climbing towers. There was a petting zoo, and Gunther the Lion (a real male lion who was not in the petting zoo -- you could not pet him!). There were a couple of Christian ventriloquists who did presentations, and a multitude of other things I don’t have space to mention. There were also food tents of many varieties. The Filipino one seemed to be the most popular with long lines, though the Haitian food I sampled was pretty good, too.
Another aspect that really made an impression was that every club was given a shofar, or ram’s horn, brought from the land of Israel, and these were to be blown at 9:00, Noon, and 3:00. Wherever we were at the time we would stop, find a person or several, friend or stranger, and pray together! It was awesome! If the staff forgot, Pathfinders would remind us it was time for prayer.
Sabbath was made special by a number of things, the mass Master Guide Investiture, the mass choir that sang a wonderful rendition of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic”, more beautiful music and inspiring words, then in the afternoon the big parade of the Southern and Southwestern Unions which constituted the biggest such parade that they have ever had. (The other Unions had parades on the previous days). We were happy to be part of such a vast number, though we had several of our club who had to leave the parade because of heat and dehydration (yes, even Wisconsin can get a measure of heat!)
The final meeting was delayed because thunderstorms were moving into the area. We all formed little prayer groups and asked God to protect us and to deflect the storm if it pleased Him, but however it turned out, we were in His hands. The program then proceeded . The rain finally started to fall, but was fairly light at first and there was no lightning. Most people just stayed put even if they didn’t have rain gear because they didn’t want to miss anything. The final drum corps came out and played with water dancing off their drums, and the fireworks were spectacular even in the rain.
Fortunately the rain didn’t last long. Next came two days of driving back home again and drivers trying very hard not to fall asleep while doing it! An overnight stopover at Tulsa was very helpful. We heard about a club from England whose van caught fire and burned along the freeway in Chicago as they were heading out. They lost everything, but no one was hurt. In spite of that they had a wonderful attitude, saying that just like Daniel’s friends had a fiery trial, so they had endured a fiery trial, but no matter what, “God is Forever Faithful”! Evidently other Pathfinder clubs have rallied to their aid and taken them shopping to replace clothes, and their passports have been replaced, so God has indeed been good!
Pray that we all will be faithful to Him as He is “Forever Faithful” to us!