Each pathfinder must meet or agree to the following standards
- Ten to fifteen years is the official age for Pathfinder membership globally. The first class (Friend), is designed for the average ten-year-old and is structured for their particular physical, emotional and intellectual abilities. All future classes are similarly aligned with the developmental stages of adolescence.
- An application form is to be lodged with the club director or secretary on joining. (Forms need to have compulsory sections such as medical and emergency contact details).
- All Pathfinders are expected to pay a membership fee as required by the club.
- Each Pathfinder should own and regularly wear the complete Pathfinder dress uniform and club field uniform when applicable and are encouraged to come to meetings and club-sponsored events in the uniform as advised by the club director. Members are required to be faithful in attendance and punctuality. Minimum attendance required is 75%.
- Pathfinders will learn and support the Pledge and Law.
- Pathfinders will participate and cooperate in club activities that may include crafts, outings, regular club meetings and class work, fund raising, camps, community service, Honours and other activities. The Pathfinder must agree before joining the club, to participate and cooperate in these activities.
- The Pathfinder’s parents/guardian must be willing to cooperate with the regulations and activities of the club. At times they may be asked to supply money and time to support their child’s membership.
- Modifications may be made to the Pathfinder requirements to enable Pathfinders with special needs to be integrated into the club. Contact the district director or conference Youth Director for assistance. For further details on Pathfinders with special needs see here.
- Pathfinder passports are available on request from your local conference. See here for further information about passports.
Pathfinders with special needs
Young people with special needs may feel they are unable to actively participate in the Pathfinder program. However, when some modifications are made clubs are quite able to integrate people with special needs into the club structure. This is not only beneficial for the Pathfinder, but also a good opportunity for the other Pathfinders to share fun times with them in learning about God and creation. Many Pathfinders with special needs have been an inspiration to their club.
Local clubs should be aware of the nature of the special needs of a young person and modify their program accordingly. A conference representative may be able to offer suggestions on how to adapt the program to suit the special needs of the Pathfinder in your club. Always maintain constant communication with parents as details of the Pathfinder’s needs may change.
Pathfinder clubs should also ensure that all individuals including staff feel welcome regardless of their backgrounds. This does not mean clubs need to change the core curriculum to suit different values. Contact your District Director for support if needed.
It is essential for a good pathfinder club to report regularly. There are many important stakeholders in a Pathfinder club and all need to be kept informed as to what is happening on a regular basis. Below is a list of groups that a club must report to.
Report to church board
This is the group that funds your Pathfinder club. The Pathfinder director is a member of the church board and would be expected to report to that board each month or quarter. The board loves to know what your club is doing and needs to be kept up to date with any calendar changes for insurance purposes. Pathfinders is also evangelistic in nature and it is important to share how the pathfinders are growing in this area. Keeping your church in the loop is of vital importance for a healthy strong club.
Report to conference youth department.
Each conference has a slightly different method of how they would like to receive reports. Reporting to the conference is very important as this allows you to operate as a club and enables the conference to plan its events and cater for the needs of the local clubs and for the conference award system. Some examples: annual report, monthly or quarterly report, Adventist Outdoors notification, RMS forms, Incident forms, Intention to operate form etc.
Report to parents or caregivers.
It is vital to keep parents and caregiver’s monthly updates of what the club is doing. We recommend that a pathfinder club have a web-site to keep the parents informed of upcoming events.
If a Pathfinder club is to provide the right kind of training for Juniors and Teens of the church, it must have equipment, supplies and club facilities that will make the program attractive.
Naturally, there is a great deal of expense involved in operating a successful Pathfinder club. A club cannot survive without careful management of funds and adequate planning for the year. A budget should be carefully prepared, with staff assistance, and submitted to the Pathfinder Executive Committee and church board for approval. Competent fundraising and regular church promotion are essential to maintaining financial support and enthusiasm. Particular care should be given to the distribution and handling of funds.
Clubs should elect a Treasurer. The Treasurer should remit any funds the club receives over to the Church Treasurer. The money will be receipted and an entry made in the church books. The treasury books are audited and provide protection to the officers of the club. If a club chooses to have its own account it needs to be audited on a yearly basis and should have a minimum of 2 signatories.
In areas where several churches form a single Pathfinder Club, they elect a Treasurer to serve the large club. This elected Treasurer holds all club funds. The Treasurer of the contributing churches forward all Pathfinder funds to the club Treasurer. The club books are then audited once a year and thus protection is offered to the club officers.
There are many methods of accounting available including different computer programs. Whichever method is followed the Club Treasurer needs to;
- Be consistent.
- Be honest.
- Keep up to date journals or records.
- Keep all of the receipts to verify amounts spent.
- Prepare current financial reports for each Pathfinder staff meeting.
- Give monies received to the Church Treasurer.
Club Sources of Income
- Annual Membership Fees. Every member should be expected to pay a moderate amount per Pathfinder year as part of the membership obligation. This fee should not be excessive. It should not cause any prospective member to forgo the privilege of membership, but each member must realise that everything worthwhile costs something. This fee can be paid annually, half-yearly, quarterly, or at each meeting and should cover potential costs. The annual fee can either cover the complete or part of club costs.
- Church Subsidy – Stewardship. Churches should grant the Pathfinder Club an allocation of the local church stewardship budget. Churches that recognise the value of Pathfinder ministry will be willing to contribute a regular amount toward the club’s expenses. Club leaders should establish that this financial allocation is part of the annual Church Budget. If the Club is shared between more than one Church, then the Club financial requirements need to be shared between churches. This could be organised on a pro-rata basis.
- Sponsorship by Church Members. This is a valid way to finance special projects and to raise general funds. Church members can be encouraged to sponsor the Club or some of the activities and needs of the Club. Many members have helped the cause of Pathfinders, especially if they have children in the Club.
- Special Projects. Much time can be spent each year on special fund-raising projects such as purchasing new equipment, a new meeting place or for outreach, such as ADRA or travel to a camporee etc. This may capture the enthusiasm and imagination of every church member.
- Fund-Raising Campaigns. Club leaders must abide by guidelines; the following instructions may be helpful:
- All fund-raising projects must have the approval of the Church Board.
- It is beneficial to conduct fund-raising initiatives that brings Pathfinders in contact with non-Adventists. This gives an opportunity for the wider community to appreciate the values, discipline and fun that Pathfinders experience as they witness for Christ in their own unique way.
- It is good to provide some incentive for the Pathfinders in the form of small prizes, awards etc.
- Set up goals and work toward them. Set attainable goals so that the Pathfinders will have the satisfaction of reaching or going beyond their goal.
- New ideas need to be introduced to keep the Pathfinders interested. Stop before the interest begins to wear off. Do not wear out any one plan. Pathfinders should not be overburdened with fundraising for their club.
Risk management is what we do to make sure that our kids are safe. Put simply it is about managing risk. Pathfinders by nature will do things that are risky. For example, a simple thing like moving pathfinders from the church carpark to the weekend campsite has a certain amount of risk. While it is a low risk we still have to manage it. There is a greater risk with certain events that pathfinders do. If we are abseiling off a cliff there are more significant risks then camping in a field. The local club must be registered with the conference and have all activities approved by the church board.
So how do we manage risks?
- Risk analysis. Many people think that this is hard – but in reality, there are many samples available to use which you must check and modify prior to the activity. A risk analysis makes us aware of the potential risks and it also looks at ways of minimising the risk.
- Monitor and Review. The risk analysis must be monitored and reviewed before, during and after an activity.
- Communication. Staff have a duty of care with all pathfinders. Communication between staff makes everyone aware of risk and what we should do to care for the pathfinders in our care.
Our church has an insurance company called RMS (Risk Management Service) for clubs to access. There are many insurance policies that your club to access.
For your conference please select below
Positive Pathfinder Behaviour
How do we respond to issues that arrive in a Pathfinder club? The word discipline is one that has been used in the past and has different meanings for different people. It can simply refer to punishment in response to some kind of misdemeanour or it can bring memories of a place where rules were enforced in such a way that the place was devoid of the joy of life. Or it could bring to mind the picture of a Pathfinder Club marching in a community parade where the club members were proudly walking in step, in full uniform. It could refer to a group of Pathfinders with their backpacks, hiking up a long steep hill and encouraging each other to reach the top, whatever the cost.
Discipline comes in many different ways. However, in Pathfindering, discipline needs to be seen as a positive contributor to the development the Pathfinder’s character. Pathfinders need to experience a place outside of the home where they can be exposed to the importance of personal and group discipline and where discipline is seen as a positive attribute that they carry with them through life. The word discipline comes from the Latin disciplina which means ‘training’. It is closely associated the Latin word derived. The two root words lead us to understand that a disciple is a learner who is in training. The Bible teaches that the process of discipline (discipling) or learning and training is most effective when it is carried out in a caring, supporting and loving environment.
“If you refuse to discipline your children, it proves you don’t love them, if you love your children, you will be prompt to discipline them”. Proverbs 13:24.
Here are some guidelines for positive pathfinder behaviour.
- Rules need to be kept to a minimum. The more rules there are, the harder it is for leaders and Pathfinders to keep track of them. Rules are generally based on prohibitions; however, the focus needs to be on the positive. Rules should be prepared by the club directors and the Pathfinder Staff Committee.
- Pathfinders need the freedom to be honest. Pathfinders need to know their leaders are approachable. When they feel that something is wrong or unfair, allow them the freedom to talk to the staff member. Leaders should listen to what they have to say, particularly when it comes to situations that might involve discipline.
- Leaders should be prepared to admit they are wrong. Everyone makes mistakes. When mistakes are made, leaders should be honest enough to admit it. A leader’s willingness to admit they are wrong will gain them respect in the eyes of the Pathfinder and credibility in the disciplining process.
- Be consistent. The ability to be consistent is both important and difficult, especially if a leader is dealing with a persistent child, “say what you mean and mean what you say”. Apply the same principle with Pathfinders. Treat everyone equally.
- Seek to solve the underlying problem. A pattern of lateness to meetings or constant disruption can be the symptom of a deeper, underlying problem. Resist the temptation to constantly react to the behaviour. Paul might have had this in mind when he said, “And now a word to you fathers. Don’t make your children frustrated by the way that you When a leader notices that a pattern is developing, they should ask the Lord for wisdom to identify the underlying problem and address it.
- Allow the Pathfinder to help evaluate their behaviour. Talk the whole problem through with the Pathfinder. Let them cross-examine themselves and come up with a solution. Remember, the goal is to help the Pathfinder discipline themselves. If they are teachable, the more they are involved in the process, the better the chance for constructive results.
- Never accuse a child; always ask. Often the eyes and the ears deceive. This is why it is best to ask. If the Pathfinder lies, pray that the Lord will help them face up to their lie. It is better to have a Pathfinder know that they can be trusted, even when that trust may be misplaced than to falsely accuse them and so communicate a lack of trust. Pathfinders need to be taught that ultimately God knows and understands the heart.
- Leaders and staff need to present a ‘unified front’. The Pathfinder may play one leader against another; if they succeed, their insecurity increases. Leaders and staff represent collective authority. When they are at cross-purposes with one another, the Pathfinder experiences uncertainty.If there is disagreement amongst staff, the decision ought to be deferred until a resolution can be found.
- Never ridicule or belittle a child. For most people, self-worth is fragile. As Pathfinders are discipled, leaders need to build self-worth, not damage it. When Pathfinders are belittled, rejection (not correction) is communicated. Correction is for the purpose of restoration. Ridicule defeats this purpose.
- Any correction cannot be physical in nature.