More than 3000 Pathfinders and staff from across Australia gathered for the Australian Union Conference (AUC) “Treasured” camporee from January 3 to 8.
Clubs were welcomed at the opening ceremony by AUC youth ministries director Pastor Jeff Parker, who officially opened the camporee. Other special guests included South Pacific Division (SPD) ministry and strategy associate director Dr Nick Kross, AUC president Pastor Terry Johnson and Pastor Ron Whitehead, who is children’s, youth and young adult ministries director at Lake Union Conference in Michigan, US.
The five-day event, held on a property 15km east of Tumbarumba in rural NSW, was split into six subcamps, with two chaplains and a subcamp leader allocated to each section. Pathfinders participated in a wide range of outdoor activities based on the camporee theme “Treasured”—focused on Mary Magdalene, and how she found her worth in Jesus.
Clubs gathered during the evenings to hear Sydney-based speaker Pastor Raul Moran. The nightly worships also included a highlight video from each day, special items from the Pathfinders and drama presentations.
Severe weather warnings were issued throughout the week, with storms predicted on several days. However, none of the predicted storms reached the campsite. Pastor Johnson explained, “We witnessed one weather-related miracle after another each day which was inspiring, and we thank God for that.”
AUC resource development and children’s ministry director Pastor Tony Knight and resource development coordinator Amanda Bews launched the newest edition of The Hunter Chronicles book series during the morning worship program on Sabbath.
Pastor Knight said, “It was a real treat for Amanda and I to launch the newest Hunter Chronicles book, Hunter and the High Country Heist, at the Treasured camporee. Even more exciting is that almost 1000 people went home with copies of the new book.
“From the huge number of kids and leaders that stopped by to chat with us, it’s obvious that there is a huge need for more home-grown spiritual adventure stories for Aussie kids.”
Ms Bews said she appreciated receiving the children’s feedback about the books. “Lots of Pathfinders visited our display over the weekend, sharing with us which stories they liked best. It was fantastic to have the opportunity to talk with them about the series and hear the impact the books are making in their lives.”
On Sabbath, clubs participated in a combined activity followed by the baptism of five Pathfinders who chose to dedicate their lives to God. “[We thank] the Holy Spirit for inspiring more than 700 decisions for baptism, making this the best evangelism campaign in Australia!” Pastor Johnson said.
“Pathfinder camporees are significant memory events that impact the lives of the Pathfinders,” Pastor Parker said. “They become anchor points in their Christian development. Many Pathfinders make lifelong decisions to follow Jesus at camporees. Many hundreds of our Pathfinders chose to have Bible studies and be baptised in the future.
“Pathfinders is the best mentoring program that we offer as a Church. The intergenerational connections that are created impact the life of the Pathfinder. This informal mentoring cannot be underestimated; it is truly life-changing.”