"The Pathfinder Club provides a church-centered outlet for the spirit of adventure and exploration, in the context of spiritual development and soul-winning, for ages 10 to 15. Activities are carefully tailored to include outdoor living, nature exploration, crafts, hobbies, or vocations."
- Paraphrased from the Seventh-day Adventist Church Manual, 19th Edition, pg. 107
Who started Pathfinders? The short answer is that no one person did, but rather that a diverse group of youth-focused, God-loving, ministry-minded individuals in various location created "Pathfinder-like" clubs in various locations that eventually grew into the ministry we now know as Pathfinders. The first Pathfinder Club of record was in Anaheim, California directed by John McKim and Willa Steen. This club began in the late 1920's and ran through the 1930's. In 1944 McKim died and the Steens had moved. In 1930 Lester and Ione Martin with co-directors Theron & Ethel Johnston began a club in Santa Ana, California. Both of these first clubs were in the Southeastern California Conference and encouraged by Youth Director Elder Guy Mann and his associate Laurance A. Skinner. For several years there were no clubs of record.
In 1946 John H. Hancock, then the youth director for Southeastern California Conference got a club going in Riverside, California. John designed the Pathfinder triangle emblem and got a ministerial student, Francis Hunt to direct the club. Both John and his wife Helen Hancock taught honors. By 1947-48 Southern California Conference began having Pathfinder clubs - the first at Glendale, with Lawrence Paulson as director. About that same time, the Central California Conference, under the direction of Youth Director Henry T. Bergh, began their Pathfinder program -- starting 23 clubs that first year. Beginning with the God-directed program, called Pathfinder Clubs, in California, the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist church adopted the program. It thus, in 1950, became an official worldwide organization of the Adventist church, and grew rapidly. Pathfinders is now a global ministry affecting thousands (if not millions) of young people worldwide.
~Article Contributed by Dixie Plata, Pathfinder historian. Pathfinder Museum Article Adventist Review
- Taken from the Northeastern Conference of SDA website:
PATHFINDER PLEDGE AND LAW
The Pathfinder Pledge & Law is an important part of Pathfinders. Thousands of Pathfinders each year learn and choose to abide by the requirements of the Pathfinder Pledge and Law for the sole purpose of growing closer to their fellow men and women, and to their Creator.
Pathfinder Pledge and Law:
By the grace of God, I will be pure, and kind, and true. I will keep the Pathfinder Law. I will be a servant of God and a friend to man.
The Law is for me to:
Keep the morning watch
Do my honest part
Care for my body,
Keep a level eye
Be courteous and obedient
Walk softly in the sanctuary,
Keep a song in my heart,
Go on God's errand.
Explanation -- Pathfinder Pledge
By the grace of God
Only as we rely on God to help us can we do His will.
I will be pure
I will fill my mind with everything that is right and true and spend my time in activities that will build a strong, clean character.
I will be kind
I will be considerate and kind, not only to my fellow man, but also to all of God's creation.
I will be true.
I will be honest and upright in study, work and play and can always be counted upon to do my very best.
I will keep the Pathfinder Law.
I will seek to understand the meaning of the Law and will strive to live up to it's spirit, realizing that obedience to law is essential in any organization
I will be a servant to God
I will pledge myself to serve God first, last, and best in everything I am called upon to be or do.
I will be a friend to man.
I will live to bless others and do unto them as I would have them do unto me.
Explanation -- Pathfinder Law
Keep the Morning Watch.
I will have prayer and personal bible study each day.
Do my honest part.
By the power of God I will help others, and do my duty and my honest share, wherever I may be.
Care for my body
I will be temperate in all things and strive to reach a higher standard of physical fitness.
Keep a level eye.
I will not lie, cheat or deceive, and will despise dirty talk or evil thinking.
Be courteous and obedient.
I will be kind and thoughtful of others, reflecting the love of Jesus in all my association with others.
Walk softly in the sanctuary.
In any devotional exercise I will be quiet, careful and reverent.
Keep a song in my heart
I will be cheerful and happy and let the influence of my life be as sunshine to others.
Go on God's errands.
I will always be ready to share my faith and go about doing good as Jesus did.