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Pathfinder History



The Seventh-day Adventist Church-affiliated Pathfinders organization was created as the Missionary Volunteer Society in 1907. It was known as MV, JMV, and AJY over the new few years before adopting the name Pathfinders for the first time in 1927. Although it may appear to be focused on camps, its history also has the concept of service and self-achievement as features. 

A History of Pathfinders Video



SDA Pathfinder Historical Timeline


1907 - Missionary Volunteer Societies organized


1908 - Junior Reading Course

 1909 - March 7, First MV Day,  Junior MV Societies organized M.E. Kern Director


1911 - MV Leaflet Series began

1912 - Meade MacGuire was appointed Field Secretary for MV/JMV Societies

1915 - Junior Standard of Attainment was begun - a forerunner to Progressive Classes


1922 - JMV (now AJY) Progressive Classes Friend and Companion were introduced as well as Comrade and                Master Comrade for senior youth

         - A. W. Spalding and Harriet Holt advocate the basic idea of Pathfinder Clubs

1925 - W. J. Gilson led out in the 1st Seventh-day Adventist Junior Camp held in December at Yarra                              Doon near Warburton in the Victorian Conference Australasian Union


1926 - The first North American Junior Camp was held at Town Line Lake, Michigan.  The first camp for girls                was held in Wisconsin on the Campmeeting grounds.


1927 - Plans were laid for the first Conferenced sponsored Pathfinder Club of record.  Directed by John Mckin            and Willa Steen of the Anaheim and Fullerton Seventh-day Adventist Churches.  This club was called a              pathfinder Club the first record of the name being used.  Guy Mann was the Youth Director for                            Southeastern California Conference


1928 - Southern California's first youth camp, San Gabriel Canyon - Vocational honors introduced


1929 - The Junior Manual by C. Lester Bond was printed

         - The Summer Camp property at Odillwild, California, was named JMV Pathfinder Camp (The Property

            was purchased in 1932).


1930 - Second Pathfinder Club of record was begun by Lester and Ione Martin in the home and with the help               of Dr. Theron and Ethel Johnston in Santa Ana, California.

1931 - The General Conference had a special Investiture investing Friends, Companions, Comrades, and                       Master Comrades - it was not a first but a time to encourage others to become involved in Ministry.


1932 - First JMV Pathfinder Camp is purchased in Idyllwild, California 1938

         - Master Comrade Manual published

         - Camp Leaders Handbook was written by C. Lester Bond and Arthur W. Spalding.

1937 - Southern California Conference Youth Director Laurence A. Skinner started a Pathfinder Club in                          Glendale, California third club of record.

1938 - A Pathfinder Club was operating in Loma Linda, California. Southeastern California Conference fourth              club of record.

           - Master Comrade Manual was published.

           - MCC - Medical Cadet Corps, a training organization developed by Everett Dick at Union College,                      Nebraska, USA and conducted by Seventh-day Adventist Church to prepare young people for their                    obligatory military service, became official.

1939 - Advanced Study and Service League were inaugurated to train youth to hold evangelistic meetings.

1945 - Clark Smith authored the MCC Drill Manual to guide Adventist YUoluth in the drill.


1946 - The 5th Pathfinder Club of Record began in Riverside, California - Southeastern California Conference.

         - John Hancock was the Youth Director.

         - Pathfinder Club emblem designed by John H. Hancock.


1947 - First North American Division Youth Congress in San Francisco, California, with 12,000 young people in            attendance; directed by GC Youth Director Eldione Dunbar and his team.


1948 - Henry T. Bergh, Central California Conference Youth Director, started 23 clubs. 

         - First Area Pathfinder Coordinators were appointed in Central California Conference. 

         - The Pathfinder Flag was created when Henry Bergh asked a coordinator to make the flag using the                     Pathfinder Emblem designed by John Hancock.  Since she did not sew, she asked a friend Helen                       Hobbs to make the flag.


1949 - The first Pathfinder Staff Training Camp was held at Camp Wawona by Henry T. Bergh, Youth Director of            the Central California Conference.

         - Henry Bergh writes Pathfinder song.


1950 - General Conference authorizes JMV Pathfinder clubs for the World Field.

         - Laurence A. Skinner became the first World Pathfinder Director.

         - "How to Start a Pathfinder Club," "Pathfinder Staff Training Course," and a "Drill Manual" were                           published by the General Conference.

         -  Following the GC Session in San Francisco, California, a 19-year-old school teacher, Eliezer Melendez,               traveled home and began. a Pathfinder Club in Puerto Rico.  Melendez layer became the IAD Youth                   Director.

         - For political reasons, the name Master Comrade was changed to Master Guide and Comrade to Guide.

         - The first Pathfinder Club Fair of record was held at the Northern California Conference at Sanitarium                  Hall, St Helena, California, with several hundred in attendance.


1951 - Pathfinder Staff Manual published.


1952 - Pathfinder song by Henry  T. Bergh was copyrighted.


1953 - First Pathfinder Camporee of record was held at Camp Winnekeag, South Ashburnham, Massachusetts,            and directed by J. Burns in October.

         - The first issue of Junior Guide Magazine a published on October 7.

         - The songbook Singing Youth was published.

1954 - Southern California Conference held their first Pathfinder Camporee May 7-9 at Idyllwild.

         - The Leadership training course MV Leadercraft was developed.

1955 - Theodore  E. Lucas became the General Conference Youth Director until 1963.


1956 - Explorer class was added for 7th graders.


1957 - JMV Pathfinder Day was added to the church calendar.

         - 50th Anniversary of MV was celebrated at Mount Vernon, Ohio, where a monument for 50 years of                      service was unveiled.  All the former General Conference Youth Directors were present:  Milton E. Kern,            Henty T. Elliot, Arthur W. Peterson, Eldine W. Dunbar, and Theodore E. Lucas. As well as World                            Pathfinder Director Laurence A. Skinner.

1959 - Advanced Classes Frontier Friend, Campfire Companion, Range Explorer, and Trail Finder Guide were              launched First Union Camporee was held at Snoqualmie National Forrest in Washington State for                      the North Pacific Union 1000 in attendance - the charge to attend was 50 cents which included a                        pennant.


1960 - The Second Union Camporee of record was held in the Pacific Union on  April 11-14 at Lone Pine,                       California.

          - A Pathfinder Camporee was held at Lake la Nauhe, Chile.

1961 - Southern European Division held their 1st Division Camporee


1962 - Norm Middag, Associate Youth Director of the Nothern California Conference, developed the                             Pathfinder Teen Ministry.

         - Batghanielk Krun wrote the MV Story.

         - Pathfinder Drill Manual Published.

         - MV Pathfinder Field Guide Published


1963 - John H. Hancock was elected as World Pathfinder Director.


1965 - JMV Handbook combined with Master Guide Manual to be MV Handbook.


1966 - Pioneer Class for 8th graders is added (later changed to the NAD Ranger)

         - First North American MV Camp Directory published.

1967 - Florida Conference Youth Director Norman Middag started at Camp Kulaqua, High Springs, Florida the            first Adventist camp for the visually impaired in connection with Christian Record Services.

1969 - The first World Youth Congress was held in Zurich, Switzerland, with 12,000 young people present,                     including youth from Communist countries.  The General Conference team directed.


1970 - Pioneer Class was renamed  Ranger in the North American Division.

1971 - Trans - European Division held a Camporee in Vasterang, Sweden.

1972 - July 19 - 29 Euro-Afrida Division held a camporee at Villach, Austria.

         - Pathfinders began in Italy under the name Esploratori.


1974 - 75 - The 25th Anniversary of Pathfinder Ministry was celebrated worldwide. 

          - NAD Pathfinder Staff Manual was revised and expanded.

1976.- 1st Brazilian Camporee was held in Rio Grande do Sul, November 15-16.

1977 - Euro Africa Division held a Camporee in Malcesine, Italy, July 11-19, at Kallioneimen, Finland, Michael              Stevenson-directed.


1978 - Southern Asia Division held a Camporee, on November 4-8, 1978, in Bangalore, India, Justi.


1979 - MV changed to AY (Missionary Volunteer to Adventist Youth)

         - JMV changed to AJY (Junior Missionary Volunteer to Adventist Junior Youth)

         - Pre-AJY changed to Adventurers (4 yrs. - 4th grade) 


1980 - Les Pitton was elected as the first North American Division (NAD) Youth Director - always before the                  NAD had been part of the GC.

          - MV Camp Directory was enlarged/renamed the World Adventist Youth Camp Directory 

          - John H. Hancock designed a new Adventist Youth Leader logo.


1981 - The songbook Pathfinders Sing was published.

         - Euro-African Division held a Camporee in Monoblet, France. Nino Bulzis - directed


1982 - NAD Pathfinder Uniform revised to everything below the waist to be black.

          - New Pathfinder World patch replaces MV World patch.

          - Voyager Class added for 9th graders

1983 - Inter-American Division held its 1st Pathfinder Camporee in Oaxtepec, Mexico, March 24-29, Israel                    Leito - directed.

          - Beginning February 24, a Bi-Union Brisbane Camporee was held in Australia, Malcolm Allen - directed.

          - South American Division held its 1st Camporee, December 28-January 2, 1984, at Fiz di Ugyacym                       Brazil. Claudio Belz - directed.

1984 - December 28-January 2, the 2nd Pan-American Youth Congress was held in Mexico City, Mexico, with              12,000 in attendance, the GC team directed.  A highlight was the presence of Cuban youth.

          - 1st East Japan Camporee was held in Phuket, Thailand.


1985 - Norm Middag became the  2nd NAD Pathfinder and Camping Director (1985-1996).

         - First NAD Pathfinder Camporee, Camp Hale, Colorado.

1986 - Malcolm Allen, of Australia, was elected World Pathfinder Director (1986-1996).


1987 - Current NAD Pathfinder emblem designed by Norm Middag


1989 - NAD Pathfinder Honors Manual revised, new honors added.

         - Ron Stetter, Columbia Union Youth Director, held the Friendship Camporee in Pennsylvania, with 18,000            in attendance.

         - New AY Classwork Curriculum integrated into Pathfinder curriculum.

         - Adventurer Program becomes an independent program from Pathfinders.

1990-91 - Norm Midag was instrumental in developing the Pathfinder Instructor and Pathfinder Leadership                   Awards for continuing education.

          - A highlight of Norm's career was the Witness through Roses project 1991-1993, which involved                           Pathfinders decorating Ros Parade Floats for the Church.  Millions saw the award willing floats and SDA             sign during the famous January 1st Rose Parade in Pasadena, California.

          - Arnold and Dixie Plata, who work closely with the General Conference Youth Department, were voted               Historians for the North American Division.


1993 - Restructuring results in Office of Pathfinder Ministries 


1994 - "Dare to Care" International Pathfinder Camporee was held at Mission,  Colorado, August 2-6, led by                 Ron Whitehead.

          - South American Division held its 2nd Camporee, January 10-16, at Ponta Grissam Oaranam, Brazil,                      Jose maria de Silva directed.

          - Trans-European Division. Held its 6th Division Camporee in Sweden, directed.

          -  Romania began its 1st Pathfinder Club.


1995 - Teen Leadership Training (TLT) Program established for training High school students (grades 9-12)

         - First Pathfinder Web Site established

         - First Pathfinder Club web page, Fort Worth Eagles, Fort Worth, Texas


1996 - Basic Staff Training, Pathfinder Leadership Award (PLA), & Pathfinder Instructor

         - Award (PIA) curriculum developed 

         -  Willie Oliver was appointed NAD Pathfinddeer, Camping and Family Life Director (1996-1999).


1997 - Robert Holbrook was elected Pathfinder Director (1997-2005).

         - NAD Pathfinder Honors Manual revised, new honors added.

         - NAD Pathfinder Staff Manual updated.

         - Bi-Division Pathfinder Camporee in Indonesia.


1998 - 2nd Inter-American Division Camporee was held August 4-8 in Puerto Rico; Alfredo Garcia Marenko -                directed. 

         - Latvia started its 1st Pathfinder Club.

         - 1st South American Master Guide Convention was held in Pucon, Chile, January 13-17.

         - 1st NAD Master Guide Convention was held February 11-19 in Los Angeles, CA.


1999 - NAD Pathfinder Web Site established

         - "Discover the Power" International Camporee was held at Oshkosh, WI, with an attendance

           of over 20,000. Ron Whitehead directed. As part of the Camporee, Desmond T. Doss, who received the              Congressional Medal of Honor for saving the lives of 75 of his comrades while serving as a medic in the            army, was highlighted.


2000 - Baraka Muganda was reelected as GC Youth Director at Toronto, Camada. Associates: Robert Holbrook             and Alfredo Garcia Marenko, assistants.

          - James Black was elected Youth, Pathfinder, Adventurer, and Camping Director for the Noth American               Division.

         - Pathfinder Uniform changed to Black & Tan.


2001 - Baraka Muganda and Robert Holbrook held a World Advisory and International Youth Leadership on                August 9-13 in Aguas de Lindoia, State of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

         - AY Honor Handbook adds 17 new Honors and several International Honors.

         - NAD Youth Ministries develops a Website Community ministering to Youth, Pathfinders,

            Adventurers and Camping Ministries (YPAC). 


2004 - August 10-14 Faith o. Fire International Camporee was held in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, with 32000                          attended. Ron Whitehead- director.

         - West African Division Camporee at Kine, Togo, August 22-28.

         - Europe Youth Congress in Poland, August  4-7.

         - Euro-Asia Youth Congress in Moscow.

2005 - South American Division held its 3rd Camporee in the State of Parana, Brazil, with 28000 in attendance.

           The theme was Fountain of Hope ErtonKohler - directed.

         - Baraka Muganda, reelected Youth Director at GC held in St. Lous, Missouri, June 29-July 9, associate -               Pathfinder Word Director  - Jonatan Tejel, from Spain.


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