In the middle of the school holidays (October 4-6), a whopping 1200 Adventurers, Pathfinders, club leaders and their families arrived at Tui Ridge Park to participate in two rallies.*
Throughout the weekend, the camp buzzed with activity. For some, like the Auckland Central Samoan Adventurers, it was the excitement of a new sleeping bag and camping for the first time. For others, like Cecilia from Mizpah Pathfinder Club, is was more about reconnecting with Pathfinders from other clubs.
Competing for the Api Memorial Cup was a significant highlight of the weekend. Whatever the size or expertise of the participating Pathfinder club, the marching competition on Saturday night was enthusiastically cheered and clubs were encouraged to do their best by the spectators. Practise clearly pays off as Wellington Samoan club—who had practised nearly every week throughout the year—erupted in euphoric jubilation as they were announced the winners.
"With adults doing life together with the kids, it becomes a cross-generation discipleship journey."
Rosie Boom, an accomplished singer and songwriter, connected the weekend’s theme of “Living Unashamed Love” with stories of faith. Mrs Boom moved between the Adventurer and Pathfinder halls to speak and share her songs. When speaking of suicide with the Pathfinders it was possible to hear a pin drop. Creating a link between Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan with Don Ritchie’s story—known as the Guardian Angel of the Gap, who went on to save more than 600 people from suicide—Mrs Boom challenged the Pathfinders to be good Samaritans by giving a simple smile, a helping hand, a listening ear, a kind word, to those they meet.
Mrs Boom was excited to be with a new group of kids, sharing stories of God. “The kids are simply beautiful,” said Mrs Boom. “It’s been such a blessing to be with them and see how prominently the Lord was featured at the Rally.”
The Otara club particularly enjoyed the Sabbath afternoon walking trip. Bible riddles were scattered all over Tui Ridge Park, with groups identifying and re-enacting the story at each given location, providing photos as evidence for tasks being completed.
The Adventurers enjoyed a mini nature walk on Saturday afternoon where they also used their creativity in re-enacting Bible stories. On Sunday morning, Adventurers were challenged in a variety of obstacle courses and team activities.
On Sunday, all Pathfinders participated in first aid training. With theatrical make-up creating realistic “victims” and testing a variety of skillsets centring the around the Good Samaritan story, the Pathfinders concluded their training by “building a donkey” to transport the wounded back to camp, and building fire to cook a delicious meal. The East Hamilton club cooked pancakes with dried fruit, along with noodle soup and poached eggs.
“Pathfinders and Adventurers are the most amazing discipleship tracks,” said Pastor Dale Hokin, Pathfinder and Adventurer leader for North New Zealand Conference. “These programs are helping kids experience Christ in real life. With adults doing life together with the kids, it becomes a cross-generation discipleship journey.”
Rallies take a lot of volunteers, as Pastor Hokin points out: “It’s a team effort, and it couldn’t be done without the district directors and local club leaders who all are going the extra mile to ensure the kids have a great experience.”
“At the end of the day,” says Pastor Hokin, “we all pull together because we pray that Pathfinders and Adventurers will encounter God through a rally like this, and learn that God is present and faithful in each person’s journey through life.”
* The large number of participants is credited to the fact that the logistics of a rally weekend was less arduous given that it wasn’t held during the school term.
Note: One child in attendance has since been diagnosed with measles. The Seventh-day Adventist Church is working with the Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) to alert parents and carers of camp attendees. We would urge parents and carers to follow the advice of the health authorities in this matter.
Pastor Kirsten Øster Lundqvist, North New Zealand Conference Communications and Media Officer.