Pathfinders The Basics
For some time, the entry policy for a young person to join Pathfinders said that they should be in fifth grade or higher to start. As of 2013 the Pathfinder Advisory has changed that requirement to reflect the changing nature of our society and its needs.
Many have wondered the North America opinion on Master Guide Uniforms is. Here, NAD Pathfinder Ministries Volunteer Coordinator, Glen Milam, illuminates us on several related Pathfinder Master Guide uniform topics. This information does not address issues of Adventurer Master Guides or nonspecific Master Guides.
"According to current NAD Pathfinder uniform policy, if you have earned the Master Guide Class there are several items that you can wear on your dress uniform. I have listed them below:
1) The MG pin on the flap of your left chest pocket where the class level pins go.
2) The MG name stripe over the top of the left chest pocket.
3a) The MG star patch on your left sleeve below the world patch.
3b) The MG star with six class chevrons on your left sleeve below the world patch, if you have also earned all six of the Investiture Achievement levels.
4) The yellow Pathfinder MG scarf with red edging, class level stripe and either the printed MG logo on the back or the embroidered MG logo on the back. (Unlike the chevrons which must be earned, tradition holds that the ribbon does not indicate that the MG has necessarily earned the levels, but instead is authorized to lead/teach them.) A number of people sew the large MG logo patch over the printed logo on the scarf.
5) Optional: A beret with the MG patch "flash" on the front over your left eye.
A number of conferences have other polices, some in addition to the division, some counter to division policy. Since you wear your uniform primarily at local and conference events, its seems logical to match their stated style. In a year or two, at constituent request, the division will be issuing clearer guidelines on uniforms, sanctioned variations and additions, and prohibited changes. (An example of a prohibited change is that the MG Logo belongs to the GC and its divisions. An individual, club, conference or union does not have the legal right to alter that logo. They can come up with a completely different one, but if they alter the current one by changing color or adding stars or making stars into… then they are violating the copyright of the GC.)
Some conferences have shoulder cords for Master Guides. Some have other patches and locations. In general, these should be additions to the NAD policy, not replacements or substitutes.
On a related but slightly different topic, NAD authorizes four different uniforms for Pathfinder Master Guides.
1) Black skirt or pants with tan shirt
2) Black skirt or pants with tan shirt and black uniform jacket (style has not been set, but it should be a uniform jacket, not a suit jacket)
3) Green skirt or pants with tan shirt
4) Green skirt or pants with tan shirt and green uniform jacket. (Much of the world uses a four bottom, long uniform coat, but some areas, including much of Pacific Union and North Pacific Union in NAD use short buttoned or zippered green jackets as well. These are often called "Ike Jackets" and are similar in style to the jackets that national park rangers wear.)
Some conferences set the style, many leave it up to the individual. Most do NOT require a jacket, but encourage it. Cost and sizing can be a real issue for many volunteers. You would need to check with your conference for details."
The Pathfinder Pledge & Law is an important part of Pathfinders. Thousands of Pathfinders each year learn and choose to abide by the requirements of the Pathfinder Pledge and Law for the sole purpose of growing closer to their fellow men and women, and to their Creator.
Pathfinder Pledge and Law:
By the grace of God, I will be pure, and kind, and true. I will keep the Pathfinder Law. I will be a servant of God and a friend to man.
The Law is for me to:
Keep the morning watch
Do my honest part
Care for my body,
Keep a level eye
Be courteous and obedient
Walk softly in the sanctuary,
Keep a song in my heart,
Go on God's errand.
Explanation -- Pathfinder Pledge
Oh, we are the Pathfinders strong,
The servants of God are we.
Faithful as we march along,
In kindness, truth, and purity
A Message to tell to the world,
A truth that will set us free!
King Jesus the Savior's coming back
For you, and me!
Soy Conquistador fuerte y fiel,
Un siervo de Dios you soy;
Fieles marcharemos ya
Por la senda del deber
Mensaje tenemos que dar,
Verdad que libertara,
Jesus muy pronto regresara
Por ti, por mi.
Nous sommes les Explorateurs,
Les serviteurs du Seigneur;
Bons, loyaux et purs,
Marchant Fideles a la verite.
Nous voulons annoncer a tous
Un message liberateur,
Bientot des cieux revient le Sauveur
Pour moi, pour vous.
The uniform makes the organization real and visible. It represents an ideal and a standard. One of the ways to set up a standard and bring the members of an organization up to that standard is through the uniform. It should stimulate loyalty toward that standard by building morale and binding members into closer fellowship. It also appeals to those not already members to join. The uniform strengthens club spirit. The uniform should always be clean and neat. Wearing one that fits properly will go a long way to make it look sharp. The uniform should be worn with “humble pride.”
We should remember that it acts as a visual announcement of Pathfinder ministry, and should draw questions from observers concerning the meaning of each patch and symbol.
Not from the North American Division? You should see General Conference Pathfinder Uniform Specifications
NAD Pathfinder Uniform (PDF) -- Official placement of Pathfinder insignia, apparel, and accessories. This PDF is the official voted uniform guidelines and supersedes all prior guides, including those in the 2007 Pathfinder Staff Manual.
Pathfinders are Christians and as such, wish to declare their support of the symbols and substance of their faith. Often, at Pathfinder Sabbaths, Inductions, and Investitures, a portion of the program is dedicated to declaring their allegience to God through the reciting aloud of the Pledge to the Christian Flag and to the Bible.
Pledge to the Christian Flag:
I pledge Allegiance to the Christian Flag and to the Savior for whose kingdom it stands, one brotherhood uniting all mankind in service and love.
Pledge to the Bible:
I pledge to the Bible God's Holy word, and will take it as a lamp unto my feet, a light unto my path, and hide its words in my heart that I may not sin against God.
Aim: The Advent Message to All the World in My Generation
Explanation: My relationship to Jesus Christ is of such a nature that it compels me to share with any who will receive it, the gospel—the good news of His soon return.
Motto: The Love of Christ Compels Me
Explanation: I am drawn to Him by His exemplary life, the symbolic act of His crucifixion, His conquering resurrection, and His promise of an earth made new in the pattern of the original creation. The closer I find myself to Him, the closer I find myself identifying with the needs of my fellow human beings.
Early history of the uniform is still being researched. Additional information will be added in later editions.
In the early years, neckerchief colors related to the class level you had achieved. So in the illustration to the left, the young lady has completed her Companion class and the young man has completed his Explorer class.
Also during those years the female teens and staff wore white blouses rather than green.
During the 1990’s, a number of conferences had made requests to the division for permission to have additional styles of lower uniform. Many were requesting slacks for ladies. Others, primarily in southern climates, wanted Bermuda shorts. Still, others felt that modesty issues for female Pathfinders on campouts could be addressed by adopting skorts or culottes. In addition to these style requests, there were concerns about the cost of the uniform. Cheaper uniform pants and skirts could be found at school uniform suppliers, but it was almost impossible to find them in the proper hue of dark green. Extremes on size, either small or large, were also difficult to address.
After several years of study and discussion, the vote was taken to switch from dark green to black. Clubs were given four years to make the switch, with the entire division to be on board at the 2004 Faith on Fire Camporee in Oshkosh.
All involved in the action recognized that it would be impractical and cost prohibitive for AdventSource to carry all the possible styles that conferences might choose to adopt, but the feeling was that most conferences would use slacks for males and either slacks or a-line skirts for females, and that AdventSource should carry those standard styles. Time has shown this to be correct.
While AdventSource would carry slacks for males and slacks and skirts for females, this action would also make it possible for many individuals, clubs, and conferences to purchases slacks and skirts from local uniform suppliers as well as adopt other styles appropriate for and approved by their conference. Many Pathfinders already had black slacks or skirts as part of school uniforms.
Pathfinders who know more than one language have noticed that the words to the Pathfinder Song are translated in different ways in different languages; as some put it "there is no kindness in other translations!"
Why the differences?
The phrase “Faithful as we march along, in kindness, truth and purity” does not make grammatical sense in English and therefore doesn’t lend well to translation. So whoever translated the song into Spanish and French (probably different individuals did), translated the “spirit or intent” of the phrase.
Spanish: Fieles marcharemos ya, por la senda del deber – We will faithfully march down the path of duty
French: Bons, loyaux et purs, marchant fideles a la verite – Good, loyal, and pure, walking faithfully towards the truth.