More than 2800 Pathfinders from across Australia started the new year with fun, friends and faith at the Australian Union Conference’s (AUC) fourth camporee.
Kicking off on January 1, the 119 clubs were warmly welcomed at the opening ceremony by AUC director of youth ministries Pastor Jeff Parker, who officially opened the camporee. Other special guests included SPD youth director Dr Nick Kross, AUC president Pastor Jorge Munoz, and Victorian Conference president Pastor Graeme Christian.
The five-day event, held on a property on the Goulburn River in Molesworth (rural Victoria), was split into six subcamps of just under 500 people each, with a chaplain and subcamp leader allocated to each section. The 125-acre property allowed for a wide range of outdoor activities based on the camporee theme “Unstoppable”—the life of Paul, and how he was “unstoppable” for Jesus and spreading the Christian message.
During the evenings, clubs gathered at the 30m “Grand Theatre” to hear California-based keynote speaker Pastor Sam Leonor. The nightly worships also included a highlight video from each day, catchy songs for the Pathfinders to learn and drama presentations. The drama, written by AUC Resource Centre manager Pastor Tony Knight, was based on the AUC’s Hunter Chronicles book series.
The clubs in attendance braved a week of extreme weather conditions. On Friday, temperatures soared to 44 degrees, and a total fire ban—which meant no cooking—was enforced across the campground. But on Friday afternoon, a “southerly buster” that swept through the area meant the evening program was delayed by 90 minutes while people repaired their tents.
But it took more than erratic weather patterns to deter the Pathfinders from attending the worship program, and as a call was made that evening, 577 Pathfinders requested Bible studies, 370 requested baptism, 553 chose to recommit their lives to Jesus and 709 said they wanted to serve in some capacity.
On Sabbath, a combined activity was followed by a baptism, where six Pathfinders chose to dedicate their lives to Christ. A closing ceremony, including an impressive fireworks display, ensured the final day of camporee was a highlight for all in attendance.
“After more than two years of planning—with all of the Australian youth directors involved in key segments of the camporee—it was an absolute honour and privilege to lead them in the running of the ‘Unstoppable’ camporee,” said Pastor Parker. “Our team prayed often, and many people shared that they were praying for us on a regular basis. We saw God at work over and over again during the lead up and running of the Camporee. There is no doubt that memory events like this camporee change lives.”
“Children’s lives are transformed by the power of God in close proximity to nature, friends and scripture,” said AUC president Pastor Jorge Munoz. “I would like to thank all the leaders, volunteers, and parents that see the enormous possibilities for the kingdom of God in the ministry of Pathfinders.”