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In Florida we have 2 extra levels to keep the Pathfinders going through highschool. Do you think this is a good idea for keeping the teens in the club?
Yes, it's hard to keep the teens as it is. 52%  52%  [ 14 ]
No, some teens may be turned away by the extra work. 15%  15%  [ 4 ]
Sounds like a good idea, but I don't know if I agree w/ it. 33%  33%  [ 9 ]
Total votes : 27
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2006 10:12 am 
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Florida Pathfinders have a conference website that they can check for updates and information. The Pathfinder store is also available online, if you want to purchase jsut about anything pathfinder related. We do things a little differently in Florida, and the website helps explain it all. The web address is http://www.floridapathfinders.com

Iris Hillmon
(Lay) Florida Pathfinder Director


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 6:09 am 
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Iris you are my Hero!

However there are some problems that here at FC we are just learning how to deal with. But i would love to have a topic where we could talk about these types of issues! Can you get the Conference to setup a forum for Florida Conference Directors/staff where we could discuss Varsity issues?

Well Mrs. Director, thank you and Brad for everything both of you are doing for our huge conference.

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Kelvin Santana
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Forest City Spanish Pathfinder Club
http://www.ForestCityPathfinders.com
Altamonte Springs, FL


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 Post subject: Conference Forum
PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 6:50 am 
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Kelvin,
I'm a little ahead of you. I actually e-mailed Cheeko yesterday w/ the suggestion of posting a forum to the website. I don't know how that will work, since the pathfinder department doesn't really have access to make those kinds of changes to the website (another department @ the conference maintains all the websites), but I'd like to see a forum go up.
If you have any questions, concerns, comments about Varsity or eTrackers, I'd love to hear them. I also believe that some changes need to be made, and Brad and I are working everyday to better the program. Any feedback would be gr8ly appreciated. My e-mail address is BluWings7@gmail.com, if you want to e-mail me.

See you @ the honor day!!!!
Iris Hillmon
(Lay) FL Pathfinder Director


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 2:28 pm 
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I have often told people how progressive FLC is and how you have helped influence the development of programs including being one of the early conferences with an organized Junior Counselor program.

I have taught Pioneer and Navigator in Arizona and done them myself. I am not entirely sure that more classes are the best option rather than using Master Guide for teens but there is good arguement for it. I encourage leaders to evaluate these classes for themselves as they may find them very helpful. You will also find Cheeko and his staff to be great and also willing to provide pins patches... unique to Floridia from their store.

God Bless,

Chris Fishell
Xtreme Youth Resources International


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2006 12:17 pm 
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Well, i got off topic but i will say a few things about Varsity.

I think it's a good idea to keep Teens in Pathfinders until they finish High school.

Before Varsity arrived, In our club, the Master Guide program has never been something that the 11th and 12th graders have ever been really excited about.

In fact, it got to a point where they couldn't wait to finish Voyager or Guide so they didn't "have to be a Pathfinder". Too many of them associated being a pathfinder with being "uncool" or being "a little kid".

When the Varsity program started it created a totally different atmosphere. That first year we had two separate conference sponsored events that made the idea of being a pathfinder in 11th and 12th grade "cool" again. Also, the curriculum was designed keeping a teenager's schedule in mind. Alot of them start working, or in our case live at school. Several of our kids attend Forest Lake Academy, where they work, play and go to school. Their time to do their pathfinder classwork is very limited.

We have several Varsity-only events a year that range from large scale community service projects to All-night Bowling lockins in which they are encouraged to invite an unchurched friend. Varsity has become to the Junior Pathfinders what the Pathfinder program is to the Adventurers.

Just last year i remember at the Adv. Investiture overhearing a conversation among the ones that were now moving up to Pathfinders. They were so excited! Some of them were trembling with anticipation. They would mention names of "older Pathfinders" and would say things like; "I hope I can be a good pathfinder like Jaime." Jaime is a Senior this year, the last Level in Varsity.

The adventurers can't wait to be Varsity! This has successfully stretched their expectations on how long their pathfinder career will be. No longer do the majority of our kids think about quiting pathfinders they want to be around to the very end of their Highschool years and more!

The Etracker (Friends to Rangers) program is very successfull as well. They have their own special events and they have our best staff working with them. But they look up to the Varsity just as the adventurers look up to them.

Now throw into the mix the TLT program and you have some very formidable tools to keep your Teens busy. We currently have 15 Tlt's from the over 40 that applied this year. (Our club has over 100 pathfinders) Since this is our first year using the TLT program We have faced alot of new challenges. But it's been a good experience overall.

No matter how big our club is, it is my personal belief that we should not divide our club into two separate clubs. We have several activites that allow mixing between the Etrackers and Varsity weekly. Sometimes we have them compete against each other which is alot of fun. The Varsity Pathfinders get along well and respect the Etrackers.

Like i've said there are several challenges. But with each passing year we learn more how to overcome those challenges. The Varsity program has greatly blessed our church.

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Kelvin Santana
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Forest City Spanish Pathfinder Club
http://www.ForestCityPathfinders.com
Altamonte Springs, FL


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2006 9:05 pm 
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:) Interesting... what about the Teen Leadership Training (TLT) program?

Thru the TLT program they learn all about the different facets of pathfindering and become knowledgeble on how the club works. I think when you get the teens in there to teach the younger kids they can have some fun also.

I'm not sure if I'm nessisarilly agianst extra classwork groups. Does it motivate the kids more? Is this something that they earn before they get there Master Guide? I got my master guide when I was 16.

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 Post subject: TLT & extra levels
PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 9:53 am 
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You're probably wondering how you can add extra levels and still incorporate the TLT program and the Master Guide program. Well, in Florida we noticed that the clubs were having a hard time retaining their highschool-aged pathfinders. It wasn't cool to be in Pathfinders @ that age, and the teens weren't very interested in the responsibility of working on or being a Master guide. The maturity was missing or so it seemed. We decided to add the two extra levels to extend the teen pathfinder curriculum all the way through high school, then, if they wanted to, they could start working on their master guide. The first four years were very touch and go because that would be how long it took to see the success of the extra levels. What we found was that the teens really took to it. They like being in Pathfinders, and now, the older teens aren't influencing the younger ones to leave because they are still in the club, also. The extra 2 levels have definitely motivated the older teens to stay in the Pathfinder club.

We also noticed that by the time most teens graduated from highschool, they felt they were ready to start working on the master guide program. Whereas, before, they looked at the MG program for adults, when they graduated highschool they felt like adults. Running the Pathfinder program like this has worked out very well for us. In Florida, we have been able to retain a lot more of our teen pathfinder and thus, clubs are able to use them as staff (staffing issues is another problem I'm sure everyone has). We won't refuse to let a teen pathfinder start on the master guide program if he/she really wants to, but most of them prefer to wait until after highschool (which is what they were doing before the extra 2 levels were incorporated, and we were loosing most of them because they never came back. They'd lost the momentum and desire.)

The TLT program hasn't officially been endorsed at the conference level just yet (passed issues have prevented it thus far), but the TLT program fall in line very nicely w/ the extra two levels. TLT runs for 4 years, which is all through highschool. Club will be able to easily incorporate the TLT pathfinders into the regular curriculum for teen pathfinders.

I hope this has helped answer some questions. If you have any other questions or comments, please respond. I'm always happy to hear the perspective of other people. It always helps to faciliate learning.

God Bless,
Iris Hillmon

(Lay) Florida eTracker/Varsity Pathfinder Director


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2006 6:13 pm 
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I am new to the FL Conf., but have been working with Pathfinders for almost 5 years and was myself a Pathfinder in Southeastern Conf. (the other conference in FL). I’ve read the requirements for the Pioneers and Navigators and just thought that it was overkill, and it what about when they are at a union or division level event. While all the other Guides are in the 10th grade ours are in the 12th. That’s a BIG difference. I can’t understand why all the other conferences have made the regular program work for them and FL Conf. can’t. Different isn’t always better.

One of the reasons I think that the kids aren't interested in the MG program because it is not as structured as the other classes and is not considered a cool thing to do or be apart of. If we pushed MGIT the same way we push Varsity and/or TLT, the Pathfinders would find it more appealing. Both of the additional classes (Pioneers and Navigator) and the TLT program are made to be apart of the Pathfinder program whether it is during class time at a regular club meeting or at staff meetings. With the MG program, the kids are pretty much on their own, and that's not what they come to Pathfinders for. They come to hang out with their friends, and therefore they should be working on the MG together with their friends during the same class time that the other Pathfinders would be working on their classes. If we just hand them a list of requirements and tell them to work on it, they won’t want to. In our conference (from what I can see so far) it is hard to complete your MG because not only have they added more requirements than the NAD, but you are on your own and there is not much help at the conference level to help with the seminars and other required honors outside of the MG weekend, which from what I can tell from the calendar only happens once a year. In my district of the Southeastern Conf. there has not been a MG class, which is taught at the district level and is mandatory for MGITs, that has been completed from Induction to Investiture since my Pathfinder leaders did it. This is no benefit to our kids who, unless highly motivated, are easily discouraged and/or tempted spend their time doing other things.

Another downfall to making them wait to complete the MG is that once they graduate from high school and enter college or any other level of post secondary education, they will not have time for it. I graduated high school in 2000 and am still working on my MG today. I've been in college since the summer after graduation and am now working on my Masters. I already have a bunch of textbooks to read in order to pass class and really don't have the time to read Education or the Pathfinder Story. I also am a wife and mother and have a job, which doesn’t give me much free time either. If we want our kids to complete the MG and Pathfinder program we have to make it enticing and simple, and we have to give them the opportunity to get it done before they have more responsibilities on their plate.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2006 11:11 am 
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I am impressed with the Florida Conferance approach to keeping kids in Pathfinders, and in fact keeping them kids for just a little while longer. I worked hard to complete Master Guide before my 17th birthday because it was important to me. There was no one in my church encouraging me, no one in my conferance. I had my card and I would call the youth director if I had questions.

Today our conferance has a hard time keeping any kids in Pathfinders. We can't get them to join in the first place, we don't really have t worry about keeping the teens. Where 20 years ago we had 20 or more active clubs in the state (yes I said the whole state) now in any given year we may have 10-12 active clubs, most of those with an average membership of 5 Pathfinders.

We have a few nicely thriving clubs, however, I would love for at a conferance level for the importance of Pathfinders to be promoted and cared for ( and maybe there are things going on in the back ground that I don't know about) I was the only one from my conferance to attend the union sponsered leadership meetings in the fall.

I guess that's why I love what Florida is doing for their young people. I think Master Guide is an adult course, and it is ok to keep our children future leaders in training for a bit longer, instead of pushing them to be leaders in training now. and because the MG course currantly has options for the area of youth ministry your working with, it makes sense to me to wait until you know what area you want to work in.

(heres to hoping this post isn't too jumbled)


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 Post subject: Thanks for the feedback
PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2006 12:45 pm 
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I understood your post just fine. I can tell by the tone of your writing that you have a passion for pathfinders, and I was glad to hear that also. I agree that it is hard to get kids to join the club. We all try our hardest, but in the end, it's going to be the Holy Spirit and a desire that will keep them in the clubs. We just here to be the tools.

I know that the extra 2 levels are not for everyone. But it has been helping a lot here in Florida. I was/am part of the generation where all the teens left the clubs. It was after this mass exodus that the 2 extra levels were added, and we've notice that the current generation has stayed. If you like, you are more than welcomed to use the two levels--Pioneer & Navigator--in your area/club. We have all the corresponding uniform insignia to go w/ it, so that it's a legitimate level (i.e.-pocket tab, pin, chevron, etc.) in which pathfinders can be invested. You'll see it on the Florida Conference Pathfinder website: http://www.floridapathfinders.com

Hope this helps. Keep praying & working hard for this blessed ministry.
_____________

Iris Hillmon
(Lay) Florida eTracker/Varsity Pathfinder Director


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 Post subject: Varsity explanations
PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2006 10:37 pm 
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Iris, its good to have you active on the forum explaining some of the "different" things happening in Florida.

Thanks for the thorough replies to the questions in this thread and others.

Mark O'Ffill

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2006 6:59 am 
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The oldest kids in our club are working on Voyager this year (and they're almost finished). We're trying to decide whether we're going to offer them the Pioneer/Navigator/Guide, or Guide/MG starting next year. Right now we're leaning towards P/N/G. Here's how I see it:

P/N/G pros:
The kids like this idea better.
It looks like a better program
We're more likely to retain them
They're not quite ready to serve as staff

P/N/G cons:
We'll to be pioneering Pioneering in our Conference.
Not sure what kind of support we'll be getting from the conference.
Departure from the beaten track is a little scary.
If they drop out before they get to Guide, they will not have achieved the last "standard" class.

From this, it looks like P/N/G is the obvious choice.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2008 2:12 pm 
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We have a club in Southwest Virginia and we have been using the Florida Pathfinder Class Levels for several years now. I will be teaching the Pioneer Level next year. I like the new levels and we need to do everything we can to keep our young people involved.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2008 4:22 am 
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I had a somewhat difficult time with my classes during high school. I might not have been able to take the extra levels and might even have dropped out of pathfinders had I had two more class levels to complete. As it was, our club was having a rough time with the TLT program while I was going through it. I have found that most of out teens aren't interested in classwork in general by the time they are finished with Voyager or Guide.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 10:09 am 
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I appreciate your honesty. I like hearing both sides of the arguement. I agree that some kids would feel the same way you did about extra classes. They might look at them more as a burden and not even want to be in Pathfinders. However, I do have to say that in Florida, we've found the opposite to be true. We've found that most 10th graders were overwhelmed with thinking that they would have to start on the Master Guide program the next year. They viewed the MG program as an "adult" program and would drop out of Pathfinders after Guide to avoid going directly into the MG program. I do agree with you, however, that not every teen may want to do the two additional classes.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 10:52 am 
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We're halfway through our second year of using Pioneer and Navigator. One of our teens completed her MG work last year while working on Pioneer, so if a person is driven, Pioneer and MG are not mutually exclusive.

Next year our Navigator class will work on Guide. We have a couple of Voyagers this year who will be given the option next year of working on Guide with the (slightly) older teens, or working on Pioneer.

These classes have worked well for us, and we could not be more pleased.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 1:00 pm 
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I've been the director of the same club in the FL Conf. and have had to turn down two PFs who asked to be in the MG program instead of their level. I told them that they could work on it in addition to their level work because the extra curricular activities require them to be "actively working on their level". Neither one of them stayed in the club, and I personally feel that they were discouraged. One of my PFs came from the Virgin Islands and was about to be a Guide when he moved here and found out that he would be kind of demoted to a Pioneer, and despite trying to put him in a leadership role, he just lost interest.

At our church, despite having the two add'l levels we still have a problem with retaining our high schoolers in PFs because of school and their newly acquired jobs. They don't care about honors or being invested at that age. They just want to hang out. I really think that the MG program facillitates that. I invision it as almost llike Sabbath School (which the kids love at my church) with group discussions on communication and leadership skills and on the books that we've read. This is just at my church, though. If there are active Pioneers and Navigators in your club, great. I just don't know what to do about the lack of desire for them in my club when we are apart of the conference that sort of mandates it.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2008 10:00 am 
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To be totally honest... i think that it sounds good... but at what point do those teens that needed the extra time to mature learn responsibility or take leadership? That to me is the real downfall, because without leadership training(used in both MG and TLT), they are simply thrusted into leadership without any knowledge... thats just my opinion for what its worth. So good, but slightly bad, idea

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 5:33 pm 
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I'm super excited about possibly trying out the Pioneer and Navigator levels with our teens this or next year!
As someone who went through the entire program myself (Friend-Master Guide) and who now has returned to that club as staff for the past 2+ years, I feel I have a unique perspective from "both" sides.
By the time I was in 10th grade, there was only one other classmate in our club; the following 2 years it was just me. While I don't know if more would have stayed if we had had these extra levels then, I do think (and remember!) that the MG requirements can feel rather overwhelming and I would have appreciated a chance to "ease into" it a bit more. I really hope these levels catch on!

Can anyone help me find the "Florida Voyager Reading Requirements" and "Bible Reading Requirements for the Florida Voyager level" (and the same for Guide level)? I have not been able to find those online anywhere. :(

Thanks!!


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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2015 9:24 am 
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As I read through this particular thread, I find much information that is outdated (of course, it's been years since most of these postings). Just to provide some updates on those still interested, the Florida Pathfinders website is now found here: http://www.floridaconference.com/iym/pathfinders/.

The two extra levels from Florida and their requirements are provided there. There has been much talk within the leadership in this conference of getting rid of these two extra levels so that the conference can be in line with the Division, especially since much new material has been added and updated since 2011 with Investiture Achievement (instead of AY curriculum).

As it stands now, clubs have the option to either include or exclude these levels. It is not obligatory to have them. We will see what happens in the near future.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2016 8:33 am 
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The Florida Conference just revamped their website, so the URL again changed. This is the correct link to their Pathfinder section: https://floridaconference.com/pathfinders

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2016 11:27 am 
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The link is not working for me.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2016 9:56 pm 
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I just tried it now and the link seems to be working fine. If it still doesn't work for some reason, you can always just type in the URL "floridaconference.com" and head to the Youth Ministries link, in the Departments drop-down menu. There you will find their Pathfinder section, and they also include sections for Adventurers, youth, young adult, and campus ministries.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2016 4:17 pm 
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It's fine now. I'm enjoying my venture through the updated site.

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