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 Post subject: Organizing your new club
PostPosted: Fri Feb 11, 2005 3:19 pm 
Master Guide
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Joined: Tue Dec 07, 2004 5:26 pm
Posts: 859
Location: Phoenix, Arizona (USA): NAD
There is even a book on this topic and many leaders over time have written papers and brief remarks on the matter to help new Directors; I am no exception. I believe new directors will find this place in time and seek advice so I wanted to share this piece of writing to get a discussion on organization started.

There are three kinds of Pathfinder Clubs:

1. Small - one or two staff members a few kids. With the basic training and manuals you should have a great experience with out a full time effort by the directors.

2. Medium to Large - I know some of you think a big club is 20-25 kids. I have seen clubs field (have been the Exec. for two of them) 40-120 Pathfinders. Those are big clubs. A medium club is 15-30 Pathfinders a big club is anything more. You will certianly need more help and time.

3. Unified - This is a club where the church has placed not only Junior and Teen Pathifnders together but also Adventurers and Eager Beavers. There are many ways that this works well, none of them work without an experienced Administrative Director having been elected over all of the clubs with directors for the clubs. The Adventurer program today in many places, and by standard, has distanced itself greatly from the old Pre-Pathfinder programs of my day, the orientation allows only limited shared activity with Pathfinders and usually it is best if kept highly seperated on an operational level. I am however; a proponet of a Unified Youth Program throughout the church. The subject of a different paper

I once heard the question posed by a new Director do I need a staff? The simple answer is of course YES!
For many reasons, you will need a staff. In many places including the entire NAD the liability requires at least one staff member of eighteen (18) years or older for each six (6) Pathfinders I recommend you try for three (3). Not all of them are counselors at the three (3) count, they will be assistants, associate and deputy directors, and instructors. How much time do you have to dedicate and how many Pathfinders do you intend to have within your club?

Not only is a staff needed but equally important is the need to pick a group of individuals who can come together as a team and work toward the common goals of the Pathfinder club. The process starts with the nominating committee choosing a Master Guide of at least eighteen (18) and for liability twenty five (25) may be required as the Director or if this Director is to manage an Adventurer club as well as the Pathfinders and TLT's and Administrative Director. (Some exceptions to the age limit have been made, I recommend appointing an Administrative Director that is of legal age and the minor child as the Director of Operations). Below an administrative Director you need a TLT Director (Coordinator) a Pathfinder Director and an Adventurer Director all selected by the church. It is wise to counsel with your selected administrative Director to select the lower Director as the need for a solid team that can work under the Director is a necessity. I normally advise that the Administrative Director be allowed to appoint these individuals with the majority vote of the Church Board for conformation.

Below that point it is wise to allow this council of Directors to choose their own deputies, administrative staffs and lower staff members. Each of these people will be primarily chosen from within the church or the Adventist community. Anyone who is desired by the Directors who is not Adventist must be interviewed by the Church Board and Pastor with final selection by the church general congregation. It is best not to use Adventists in general because pf possible conflict in belief. This is not however; my exclusive recommendation. My mother who is not a baptized Seventh-day Adventist directed the pre-Pathfinder and early days of the new Adventurer club at my church for thirteen years with great success and respect for the Adventist belief. More respect than some Adventist members gave to the beliefs of the denomination.

To direct a club is not an issue of prestige or for benefit of the church but rather the benefit of the children and the leadership who will be touched by the program. The program is not exclusively for SDA children and families so leadership must be well trained in dealing with real world issues that exist within and outside of the church.
Selection of all youth leadership should be final by the end of May each year with new officers seated on June first. This allows the new leadership to start training, inventory and resource evaluation, as well as developing programs and staff cohesion during a time that fewer children will be in town regularly and that most of the groups are on break.

A staff must be taught not just the rules and standards but the expectation of a Director, not all who wish to serve are right for the program or may be best where they wish to help. Because ego is not important, rather the future of the children and the church, Directors must be capable of recruiting and assigning staff where their talents are best applied. Not everyone makes a good counselor and even fewer are good Directors. This is why it is important to allow a Director the freedom to select and train his staff; so they will build a program and goals that will not flounder about or tear the program down. I have often said it is about the program nothing else. This is because the program is what will keep the kids coming back week after week.

In general certain jobs must be filled without fail. Others are a luxury if you have the people with the talent or a large enough club to need them. The following jobs are imperative

This is a dynamic and charismatic position that leads from the front and must do so at all times in this program. Lax leadership or lack of motivation and decision making, will under mind the club and it will fail. A Director must at times make unilateral decisions and must always have the good of the kids and club in mind. The Director must select a staff and have a gift for placing people where their talents will best serve the group.

Executive Deputy Director
A literal replacement for the Director often responsible for discipline and punishment as well, all staff will answer through the deputy except the Director and his aide. Safety and security will also fall to the deputy for all club activities. The Deputy Director is in effect the operations manager of the Pathfinder club.

A trust worthy hard working person who will be honest and can keep an accurate record of money flow is needed to fulfill these duties. In most churches there will not be a separate account for Pathfinders and so the Treasurer need not be appointed by the church but must be able to fulfill the duties assigned. Constant contact with the Church Treasurer is required and weekly or bi-weekly transfer of all “cash” funds to the Church Treasurer is also required.

This person will take charge of all other record keeping and the distribution and collection of uniform materials this is a very important responsibility often shared with the responsibilities of Treasure.

You must have a minimum of one counselor for each 6 Pathfinders of a single gender. 3-5 is recommended and with an associate counselor under 18 (TLT) the number can be pushed to 8 but no one is to be left under the general supervision of a TLT as they can not accept legal responsibility for other minors.

You will need to recruit special instructors for certain honors and activities as well. Some activities require the instructor to have some recognized certification from an accredited or governing body. Always follow this rule as liability for injury can be beyond explanation for some things.

Medical Officer (nurse)
It is best that all staff be CPR certified and first aid certified. If at all possible a registered nurse, EMT, paramedic, or doctor should be your Medical Officer to coordinate all medical trained personnel in your club and be present at larger gatherings (any time 2 or more units are grouped together).

These are the minimum staff requirements for your club. Some positions can be combined into single individuals but to have a successful program in a larger club (30 or more Pathfinders) it is best to have more staff and have them be specialized in their responsibilities and authority so activities can be more thoroughly planned and executed without creating undo burden on the responsible parties. Try and remember most of us have families and jobs to attend to and certainly are not paid to Pathfinder. It will still be a full time job for administrators in the club if they do it right.

Don’t over load your staff: Always remember to “Have fun Playing Pathfinders.”

Chris Fishell

- Have Fun quote from my childhood Director Sid Ramos.

I hope this proves useful to someone.

God Bless,

Chris Fishell
Xtreme Youth Resources International

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