JAMAICA will, for the first time in April, host the Inter-American Division (IAD) of Seventh-day Adventists fifth ‘Pathfinder Camporee’ which will see approximately 15,000 people participating in a what is expected to be a life-changing experience at the Trelawny Multipurpose Stadium.
The five-day gathering, which will take place from April 4 to 8, 2023, will see Pathfinder delegates and youth leaders ages 10 to 15 from 24 countries across areas such as North America, Europe, and Africa, engaging in a host of activities geared towards physical, social, mental, and spiritual development.
Some of the activities include social graces, first-aid, community beautification projects, knot-tying, and camping. Additionally, international participants will be treated to an excursion to visit famous tourist attractions including Dunn’s River Falls, the Green Grotto Caves and Mystic Mountain.
Speaking at a Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Jamaica Pastor Everett Brown said the Camporee will be a historic event for the country.
“Because of the vast stretch of the IAD and the fact that there are perhaps only two of the 24 units that comprise the IAD — the Caribbean area, Jamaica, Bahamas — you find that most of the territories are Spanish-speaking and hence they usually try to have the camporee in an area where majority of the persons are, which is the Spanish region, which would get the four past camporees. We felt that when we were approached that we would not be able to send a large delegation,” he said.
“We felt that we should grasp the opportunity so that a wide cross section of our young people could benefit from the experience. It is an experience that our young people will be able to rub shoulders with others, not only from the 42 countries. It is an opportunity for our young people to travel the world by meeting these people right here,” said Brown.
Youth ministries director for the Jamaica Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Pastor Dane Fletcher added, “It will be a multipurpose, multilingual experience since the IAD speaks many different languages. The three main languages are English, Spanish and French, and there is a relatively large cohort that speaks Dutch and other languages.”
Under the theme ‘Pathfinders in Mission’ the Camporee will focus on Bible lessons from the book of Judges, specifically about Gideon and his call to motivate Pathfinders and improve their faith in Christ and the fulfilment of his mission.
Pointing to the inclusivity of the event, East Jamaica Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Youth Ministries Director Pastor Joel Jump noted that the camporee will be open to non-Adventist youth and those who have exceeded the required age limit.
“Pathfinders are led by master guides. Of the delegation, we are hoping to have at least 20 per cent being master guides because people need guidance. As we do that, we are also allowing other youth who may be a little bit outside of the age group to come and observe because they too might be inspired to be a part of the leadership cohort. We are catering not just for Pathfinders but the master guides,” said Jump.
Previous IAD Pathfinder Camporees were held in 2017 in the Dominican Republic; 2011 in Mexico City; 1989 in Puerto Rico; and 1983 in Oaxtepec, Mexico.