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!
The SAIL Pathfinders held their Spring campout this past weekend at Pedernales Falls State Park. After so many unusual freezing nights here in Central Texas, the weather turned out perfect for the weekend, giving us a chance to truly appreciate the joys of nature, to fellowship together, and to encounter God in the great outdoors.
The two units camped separately, the Senior Unit backpacking the 2.5 miles to the primitive camping area and the Junior unit setting up at base camp. Over the weekend, the activities varied. Both units spent time hiking, watching birds and visiting the falls. The Junior Unit also took a night hike, and practiced setting up and following trail markers, while the Senior Unit practiced camp cooking and basic land navigation with a compass.
On Sabbath morning, the Senior Unit hiked down out of their hilltop campsite to meet the Junior Unit on the gravel bar in the river for our morning service. The focus, as it has been all year, was water - looking at Peter and his actions in the story of the miraculous catch (John 21) and Jesus washing the disciples’ feet (John 13). Through this we discussed forgiveness, cleansing and the spirit of servitude. As part of this lesson, we washed one another’s feet right there in the river. It is not a glamorous thing to do, particularly with feet dirty from hiking, but it is a very concrete reminder of our need to be servant leaders, to fulfill the Pathfinder Pledge by being servants of God and friends to man.
The SAIL Pathfinders held our weekend overnight out at the ranch, and once again it rained. It always rains when we camp at the ranch, though this time we only had half an hour of rain, the storm skirting south of us, with only a small spur skimming over out site. Overall the weather was beautiful, a perfect environment for fellowship together in God’s natural world.
We had quite a full agenda this weekend, learning about camp sanitation (and digging cat holes and slit trenches), evaporative camp refrigerators (we built a test model, and the temperature inside was nearly 20 degrees cooler than the temperature of the control), lashing, fire building, practicing various camp cooking methods (reflector ovens, dutch ovens and the traditional way - on sticks), and testing out our search and rescue and first aid techniques.
We are now gearing up for our annual October food drive to help stock the Austin South Food Pantry, and preparing for the November Central Texas Camporee.