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

         - First MV Day, March 7, 1909, Junior MV Societies organized


1911 - MV Leaflet Series began


1922 - JMV (now AJY) Progressive Classes introduced

         - Friend and Companion

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


1926 - First junior camp held in the USA (Town Line Lake, Michigan) 


1927 - Master Comrade (now Master Guide) officially approved


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


1929 - "Pathfinder" name first used at a summer camp in Southeastern California


1930 - Pre-JMV/AJY classes developed 1931 - First Master Comrade Investiture


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

         - Master Comrade Manual published


1946 - First conference-sponsored Pathfinder Club (Riverside, California)

         - Pathfinder Club emblem designed by John H. Hancock


1947 - First North American Division Youth Congress in San Francisco, California


1948 - Helen Hobbs makes the Pathfinder flag

           - First area Pathfinder coordinators appointed (Central California Conference) 


1949 - Henry Bergh writes Pathfinder song


1950 - General Conference authorizes JMV Pathfinder clubs for world field

         - Pathfinder Staff Training Course and How to Start a Pathfinder Club booklet


1951 - First Pathfinder Fair, September 23, Dinuba, California

         - Master Comrade changed to Master Guide

         - Pathfinder Staff Manual published


1952 - Pathfinder song copyrighted


1954 - First Pathfinder Camporee, May 7-9, Idyllwild, California


1956 - Explorer class added. 


1957 - JMV Pathfinder Day added to the church calendar


1960 - First Union Camporee, April 11-14, Lone Pine, California


1962 - MV Pathfinder Field Guide - Pathfinder Drill Manual Published


1963 - John Hancock elected World Pathfinder Director


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


1966 - Pioneer Class added (later changed to Ranger)

         - First North American MV Camp Directory published


1970 - Pioneer Class name changed to Ranger (8th Grade)


1974 - Pathfinder Staff Manual revised and expanded


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

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

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


1980 - Les Pitton elected NAD Youth Director

         - MV Camp Directory changed to World Adventist Youth Camp Directory 


1981 - Pathfinders Sing Songbook published


1982 - New Pathfinder World replaces MV World

         - Voyager Class added - NAD Pathfinder uniform revised


1985 - Norm Middag appointed NAD Pathfinder Director

         - First NAD Pathfinder Camporee, Camp Hale, Colorado


1987 - Current NAD Pathfinder emblem designed by Norm Middag


1989 - NAD Pathfinder Honors Manual revised, new honors added

         - Friendship Camporee in Pennsylvania, sponsored by the Columbia Union

         - New AY Classwork Curriculum integrated in Pathfinder curriculum

         - Adventurer Program becomes an independent program from Pathfinders


1993 - Restructuring results in Office of Pathfinder Ministries 


1994 - "Dare to Care" International Pathfinder Camporee, August 2-6, Denver, Colorado


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 


1997 - Willie Oliver becomes NAD Director of Pathfinder & Camp Ministries

         - NAD Pathfinder Honors Manual revised, new honors added - NAD Pathfinder Staff Manual updated 


1999 - NAD Pathfinder Web Site established

         - Discover the Power International Camporee held in Oshkosh WI (USA) with an attendance

           of over 20,000. 


2000 - Elder James Black appointed to be NAD Youth Ministries director, overseeing Youth,

           Pathfinder, Adventurer, and Camp Ministries

         - Pathfinder Uniform changed to Black & Tan


2001 - AY Honor Handbook adds 17 new Honors as well as several International Honors. 2003

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

            Adventurers, and Camping Ministries (YPAC). 


2004 - NAD Pathfinder Ministries under the leadership of James Black and Ron Whitehead hosts

            the Faith on Fire International NAD Pathfinder Camporee in Oshkosh, WI (USA)

            with over 32,000 tickets sold, and close to 200 Pathfinders baptized at the event.