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 Post subject: Very Small Club
PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2005 9:14 am 
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Superlative Voyager

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Location: Wisconsin
I'm looking for suggestions and ideas to opperate a very small club. At the currant time we have 3 Pathfinders, My son, 15, and my 2 daughters, 13 & 11. We are doing alot of the requirements at home but don't have meetings, because it is just a family thing and the kids arn't thrilled about it. It also makes it hard to prepare for the Fair or even to make a camping trip very fun. We had in the past met with another club twice a month, as they had the same issue, however, their son is no longer interested in Pathfinders and they have moved on to other things, their is no other club close than an hour or more away, and distance is really hard with 3 kids in differant schools, plus the toddlers at home, and my husbands very early hours. My husband and I have really missed having an active club this year, so any and all suggestions welcome.

Chelly


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2005 10:18 am 
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Astute Guide
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Location: Shreveport, LA (USA)
Interactions with other clubs would be my suggestion.
We have always invited the smaller clubs around us (not that we are that big) to join whenever we are doing something out of the ordinary.

I am trying currently to do more things on a district level to help the new/small club.

You could also try to sponsor an activity of your choice to get others to come to you.
One of the smallest clubs in our Conference hosts a cardboard boat race each year.
They have clubs from all over come to the event. Makes their little club special.

Mr. Mike

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2005 2:46 pm 
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Location: Phoenix, Arizona (USA): NAD
If you are in a very remote area it will be hard for you to opperate a Pathfinder Club because you have only your own children. I would say if the kids like doing honors and want to do the classwork and there just are no other kids in the area who want to be in your club or there just are no other kids then you might want to reform the concept of your effort to be an AJY Society.

AJYS: if you are an AJYS you will do virtually all of the things a Pathfinder Club does. Pathfinders is built out of the AJY (formerly JMV) foundation and not totally distinct. The less formal method of AJYS is easier for those with very small groups, more like a scout or bible club meeting this will be a sitting and activity event vs. a standing and drilling event - less rigid is what I am saying. It is hard to be a parent and the Pathifnder Counselor, rarely even in big clubs are the parents of Pathfinders the Unit Counselor for their own child(ren); this is to make a specific non-favorite non-scrutinized environment, thus you may always have trouble with being a Family Pathfinder Club.

No matter what you choose you should make effort to have "meetings." Choose a time, always the same time and have meetings with formal opening and closing. Essentially remove yourselves from the family unit and become a Pathfinder Club or AJYS during this time, keeping a schedule, and fulfilling the planned activities. These meetings can be at home. This format might make it easier.

If you are too far to meet with other clubs regularly (or to join one) then I strongly recommend following Mr. Mike's advice - become a host. Have events like a regional pinewood derby or something else, you will need to plan it out in advance and give the conference and clubs notice so they can choose to attend and plan it into their schedules. Once you provide a more social environment for your Pathfinders they will be reaping the benefits of Pathfinders. If there are others in your area and you do have a charter as a Conference Pathfinder Club and your local church sponsoring you then you might host a Day Fair inviting the area families to join you as well as other clubs. You can raise support, and funds during this event as well as recruit some of the other local kids SDA or not. Maybe schoolmates are potential Pathfinders also and of course as your need for staff or supervision grows there are their parents too.

If none of this appeals to you think about shifting heavily to a community service focus. I am sure that your county and nearby counties have people or areas in need, link up with the conference ACS and learn how to help, maybe even become part of the YES Corp program and be available during emergencies and disasters. As your kids and you get out and do these things you will be recognized and as that happens you will find your kids more interested in what is going on and more eager to get in gear, you will also be benefiting the Pathfinder Ministry as your reputation grows more people will want to be Pathfinders and more will seek to be beneficiaries of the Pathfinder Ministry.

God Bless,

Chris Fishell
Xtreme Youth Resources International


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2005 1:58 pm 
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Astute Guide
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Location: Shreveport, LA (USA)
What is wrong with operating a small even remote Pathfinder Club?
The Hope Arkansas Club had one to two members for years, but operated as a Pathfinder Club.
They were at EVERY Camporee and Fair.
They were even at the Bible Bowl with just one member on the team.

What is the advantage of the AJY Society over a Pathfinder Club?
I would think you have the opportunity to interact much more as a Pathfinder Club doing Conference sponsored events.

Mr. Mike

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Shreveport Pathfinders
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2005 3:07 pm 
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On the surface I do not see any reason given perfect circumstances and leadership why a small club will not succeed. I am certain from exposure to her comments that Chelly is an experienced and competent leader, I am aslo infering from her statements (in the initial post of this thread) that her situation is less than ideal. I would make no call to begin disbanding clubs as a result of size or for any normal reason. I do know that the important - only - purpose of having a youth ministry is to minister to the youth and if Pathfinders is not working for a particular group then change is appropriate.

As a youth minister and trainer it is my stance that the organization of any youth group must fulfill the needs of its constiuants. It must do this without comprising moral purpose and so the format is what has to be adjusted. Chelly like other leaders is facing difficulty in managing her club, I have only the information she provided to base my response. When considering change for greater success you will do better to consider all of your options and think them out to their logical end. AJYS is one option, it is similar in nature to Pathfindering as the older organization but less "rigid." More like a Bible and recreation group, the AJYS relies less on adult staff and more on division of responsibility to the members of the society. This is highlighted in the Church Manual pp. 105-106 and the AJYS&AYS are discussed repeatedly throughout the manual.

Because many conferences have abandonded the AJYS and AYS programs you are right, there is more opportunity to participate as a Pathfinder Club with other youth of the conference. In fact though, I have not known of any conference that would disallow an AJYS from attending and participating in conference sponsored Pathfinder events.

Chelly has made these statements clearly that lead me to point her specifically to AJYS for consideration: her club is made up of only her own children, they are loosing interest, they do not use set "meetings." All of these indicate the decline of her organization, she has no other staff, her an her husband have a household to manage and she has no other kids in the club. The number of kids and whoes they are, are only perioheral parts of the equation but part never the less.

My advice was not to abandon having a Pathfinder Club. AJYS was a significant part of my response because so few leaders today remember what AJYS or AYS are, the result; explanation is necessary for them. It is unlikely I need to explain to an experienced leader in as great detail hosting events, recruiting neighbors, and community service so those were simple parts of the response. YES Corp is not my expertise and I would defer to others, if asked I have them on tap.

Beyond all of those things; some kids do not like Pathfinders, neither do some leaders. They do not like to learn marching, they do not like structure, hierarchy, and uniforms; they feel it to be too military or geeky or something else. They do NOT like camping, infact I have had Pathfinders cry over the idea, of course I'm in the big city and we do have city folk here. The advantage for those not interested in Pathfinders is only present if they will become interested in the more "intamate" environment of AJYS. That is AJYS is usually a sponsor no other staff, they meet at the church or the sponsors house is as likely, leadership is developed in all more quickly as the youth are the officers of the group including treasurer... and they plan and manage the meetings. Pathfinder Clubs are managed by the staff, few Junior or even Teen Pathfinders recieve much leadership experience. TLT's are introduced to leadership but often are left to be assistants that are VERY carefully managed rather than guided. They are different organizations with different environments and experiences, there is not special advantage of one vs. the other, there is only what is best for a particular group in need.

Just to mention it, I was in both growing up. My SDA grade school had Master Guides as teachers and every classroom was an AJYS or pre-AJYS; we did classwork in school and our outings were often related to those classes. In 5th and 6th grades we had "Outdoor School" at the conference camp grounds allowing us to learn campskills (before the name sake honors came out) without camping as we stayed in the cabins. With the Pathfinder Club we did Drilling and Marching, structure, and camping amongst other things and in S.S. we did the Biblical memorization required for AY classes and church heritage. When I was a child we had a truly unified youth ministry on our grounds, I see no advantage in one or the other ministry only in the need for appropriate application of them.

God Bless,

Chris Fishell
Xtreme Youth Resources International


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 05, 2005 7:30 am 
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Chris, your insite is wonderful. Thanks for the additional explaination.
Having never been around an AJY program, I needed your wisdom in this area.
I do know that if an AJY group wanted to participate in one of our Camporees, they would be welcome as long as their paperwork was inorder.


Mr. Mike

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Shreveport Pathfinders
Founded in 1954


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2005 11:12 am 
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Superlative Voyager

Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2004 7:11 am
Posts: 284
Location: Wisconsin
Just an update. Two of the Toddlers staying with us have gone home as of yesterday. We did attend Pathfinder Fair over the weekend with all the kids. With fewer chyiildren in the house, I have made arrangements to join with one of the clubs about 75 min from here and we will try to make 2 meetings a month, and fill in at home, unless of course we have another child locally join us. It was very revitalizing to be at the fair, and our fair was conducted in such a way as to encourage interaction between clubs. We stayed in the lodges at our summer camp and had food service, so no tents or cooking, and the kids were able to interact alot, and felt a part of the group. ( Of course, are in a small conferance and only had about 115 Pathfinders at the Fair)

I really appreciate everyone comments here, they have jumpstarted my brain into getting creative again.

Chelly


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2005 12:09 pm 
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Glad to hear your fair went well and you got to interact with others.
This is always a good thing to know you are part of something bigger.

We have two Pathfinders club members that live an hour south of our clubhouse and attend a small little church near their home.
One of our staff has family in the small church and regularly attends there. He holds a "branch" Pathfinder Club meeting on Sabbath afternoons.
These two members then join the main group for Camporees, Fairs and other club events.
This is the only way these two boys would see anything of Pathfindering.
It has worked so far.

115 would be a large turn out for the Louisiana part of the fair we hold each year.
To cut down on travel, the Louisiana Pathfinders and the Arkansas Pathfinders have separate fairs/honors festivals each year.
Our Camporees are combined.

Mr. Mike

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Shreveport Pathfinders
Founded in 1954


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 Post subject: I'm so excited!!
PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2005 2:09 pm 
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Superlative Voyager

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Location: Wisconsin
I just wanted to post an update to our small club challenge.

During our church service today, (which was held at a park due to a wedding being held in the church that we rent) we had a testimony time instead of a sermon. One of the ladies (who just recently moved her membership to our church) started telling something about having been involved in Pathfinders. I rather missed what exactly she said, cause the wheels in my brain started turning. After our picnic lunch, I went over to her and her husband and told them that we were looking for some help with our small Pathfinder Club. Their responce was, "How can we help?" We will be glad to do what we can. This couple have years of Pathfindering experience, both with large clubs and small clubs. I believe God intended us to get together, they sure are excited about helping.
Another member, listening in to the conversation stated that he would like to be involved as well, he was the drill master for a reinactment group.

This will help to bring some of the formality of regular meetings back for us. We have already set up a staff meeting to get ready for summer and next year. Why waste any time? we might as well get started.

Very excited,
Chelly


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2005 2:12 pm 
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Master Guide
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Location: Phoenix, Arizona (USA): NAD
Awesome.

That's great Chelly, keep up the hard work and faith. God things keep happening.

Chris


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2005 5:58 am 
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Location: Shreveport, LA (USA)
Neat :!: :!:

I love it when the answers to problems "just appear".

Mr. Mike

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Shreveport Pathfinders
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 Post subject: This is my need as well
PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2005 10:57 am 
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Location: Clovis, CA
I posted in another category about wanting to start a group and I was given the link to this discussion. I have 5 kids and a friend of mine has 3. We have wanted to do a pathfinder group on our own at our homes. The group we were both with is about a half hour drive away which isn't all that far but with the price of gas...anway they began having some leadership issues that were a real concern to us, we also had no communication from the directors. The times for club meetings would change without notice, all of a sudden there would be a meeting when one had not been schduled, or an event would be going on and I'd get a phone call asking where my children were when no one ever told us about the event. Apparently things were being mentioned duing church time but since this is in another town we didn't attend church there. My husband and I are both MG's and could just as easily teach our children at home and with another family to interact with the kids will have fun. I guess my main question now is the first or second requirment on the class work is to be a member of a pathfinder club. If we are a home group having regular meetings, holding induction and investiture programs are we considered a club to qualify for completion of this requirement ro do we have to have some kind of recognition through the conference? I havn't finished reading all the links you sent me yet Chris so maybe the answer is out there somewhere still. I was just excited to see someone else asking about a home pathfinder group and had to post! :)
Kim Daggs


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2005 1:49 pm 
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I believe if you read all of the nearly 4000 posts in the forum you will find the answers but that will take a lot of time. I hope instead Chelly will be able to offer you some insight on your situation, you may also want to look through the issues Mederpf has been having.

Any AY organization counts toward the "member of" requirement. It is normal that that any AJY Society, Pathfinder Club, or other group have church sponsorship. This is a liabililty issue as much as an issue of association. If the church sponsors your group and the conference charters it then you will be covered by the appropriate insurance and under the eye of the church so it is known that your teaching and activitiy meet the standards of the church. This means that no one has the privilage or right to opporate such an organization without the approval of the conference be it directly from them or via a local church.

Is there a church closer to home? Would they be willing to help you out?

Chris Fishell
Xtreme Youth Resources International


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 Post subject: other clubs
PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2005 2:10 pm 
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From what I'm told there is one other club here locally that I can check out that might be a possibility. The other groups are, I'm sure, not soley based on race but the are run by the Spanish, and Asian churches and again we would not be attending those churches so I afraid of missing information. We don't have a group in our church because of the other groups around here. One church, that is not possible for my kids to go to is right down the street however I'm told they are charging $200 for their sign up fee (uniform included) but with 5 kids that is entirely not possible. They also don't have an Adventurer group nor are they willing to incoporate one and 3 of my kids fall into that category. The only viable church, mentioned above, also does not have Adventurers but I don't know about their willingness to start one. I just thought it would be easiest for our families to get together and work at it on our own. The conference office is right down the street and I've walked in and bought honor patches and class workbooks and other pathfinder items on my own with no tie to a particular group so I wasn't sure it mattered. Anyway I'm rambling. :roll: Sorry...
Kim Daggs


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2005 2:58 pm 
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Location: Phoenix, Arizona (USA): NAD
My suggestion would be to walk in and have a meeting with the Conference Youth and Pathfinder Directors (make an appointment first). They can surely help you solve your problem, it may be a matter of semantics for them such as will you be a Pathfinder Club or a AJY Society. They may also be able to help you get your church up and running in the manner as well, the books all remind us that where there is any one child of the junior youth age we have to work to offer that child the proper involvement in the ministry no matter how remote.

God Bless,

Chris Fishell
Xtreme Youth Resources International


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2005 12:22 pm 
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Superlative Voyager

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Location: Wisconsin
I'm going to chime in with the advice that has been given, you really do need the sponcorship of a loccal church, the one you attend would be the ideal.

There are several reasons for this, and I'll list as many as I can, but not in any particular order.

1. Because with out the sponcorship, you arn't actually a pathfinder club

2. There are many times and reasons that the kids need to be involved with the church, including the church service, as well as outreach, inreach, and growth of the club.

3. Pathfinders is an area of ministry, and when sponsored by a church you are opening the way for additional instructors

4. when doing outreach you can share the church affiliation and that church will recognize your involvement in the community. (it would be a bit weird to meet someone while doing an outreach project, and when they visit the local church and talk about you, the church doesn't know you exist)

5. One of the purposes of pathfinders is to teach our young people leadership skills for furthering the work of the church (requiring a ty to a church)

It sounds like you could possible operate as a satelite of the club you already belong to, or you said their was a closer church that didn't have a club as there were several other clubs in the area. I don't think there can be too many clubs in an area, I think every church should have a club. So this church may be a good one to approach. Keep in mind that the Pathfinder Director is a church board appointed office and is a member of the church board, so you would need to have your membership in the sponsoring church. The conferance youth director is the best place to start for information, and because he may be familiar with the churches involved.


As un update to our small club, 3 pathfinders, all my own children, and 2 of them are TLT's. WE are having our TLT's staff the Adventurer club, which has 8 kids, and we have made contact with the club in Hinsdale Il, to do some TLT activities with them. (they have 65 pathfinders and a growing TLT program. I attended the Lake Union Area Coordinator/Directors leadership meetings at Andrews University last weekend, and came home full of new ideas and renewed energy. We are so blessed to have wonderful leadership at the Union level, and I'm hoping to attend the NAD training mettings in Jacksonville in Feb. We have also started our Bible Achievement study as part of our family worships every evening.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2006 2:10 pm 
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Superlative Voyager

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Location: Wisconsin
Our club is sponsored by our church.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2006 2:32 pm 
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Superlative Voyager

Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2004 7:11 am
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Location: Wisconsin
We have just this last week, made some changes to our mode of operation. One of our challenges is that the kids are getting ready to age out, and without other Kids it makes it hard to be TLT"S with no other kids. We have changed meeting times to Sundays and are focusing on Community Service and fun educational field trips. We hope to invite other kids, families, friends, ect to increase the enjoyment of the activities.


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