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 Post subject: Uniform uniformity ???
PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2005 2:32 pm 
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Hi everyone !

God bless all of you servants of God who have embraced this ministry !

I have one concern regarding uniforms. I was under the impression that this word "uniform" meant likeness, equality, order, concistency, etc. Well, I might be wrong for all I know for I've seen anything and everything in and on the pathfinder "uniform". I'm just wondering can something be really and definitely done about it?

I've seen public servants in uniform (police, firefighters) I have also seen people from the military and as far as I've been able to notice, they have and I'd like to stress the importance of this word Have to wear exactly the same; not only in fabric, but, also in accessories.

Any comments please? Thx.

In Christ,


A Fellow Pathfinder Leader


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 7:33 am 
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According to the manual, all club uniforms must be the same, with the exception of the director who wears a cord, and any tlt's who also wear their cords. The Master Guides also have their own distinctive uniforms. In the TLT manual, it stipulates that the uniforms for the TLT's can be slightly different from the rest of the club in that thay may wear pins to signify their year in the program and what department they are in (from my understanding, if this is done, it has to be a conference approved modification).

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 7:57 am 
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Uniformity should be a goal. Our Conference has published a guide for the location of all insignia in an effort to get uniformity.
Also, if a club is going to wear a hat, the entire club should wear the same hat.

It would be difficult for a Pathfinder Club to have the same material in all their uniforms.
Advent Source switches suppliers often enough that we have gotten somewhat different shirts from them from one order to the next order.
We also do not furnish the pants and skirts to the members of our club so there is some variation here.
A small club can not afford furnishing the entire uniform.
Our club owns the shirts and belts and rents them to our club members.
Unlike the green unifrom, the black can be worn for other occations and is not a burden for the club member to own.

Mr. Mike

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 1:28 pm 
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Location: Phoenix, Arizona (USA): NAD
No doubt that uniformity is the itended point of the term. The uniform colors should be standard for a group. Pathfinders Tan/Kahki and Black. Some groups use a different TLT Shirt and Master Guides are still Green and Kahki.

There are some variences. Conferences do not normally express authority in these areas because the SDA church is not set up that way. Although some policy structure and enforcement is to exist the General Conference is where authority lies. Each division is a division of the General Conference and as a result has authority, this allows them to adopt policy that is appropriate for their location. I do wish that Conference Directors and Their staff would require more standard appearences but there are some touchy feely points in that area and I do not wish to light a fuse here, the curch is organized well overall and I am happy to be SDA.

A group will behave better and perform better in uniform. Uniforms are meant to be neat, clean and reflect personal respect for your purpose. This means personal hygiene too. Within a club head wear (hats, cover...) should be uniform in style. This may vary for MG persons or TLT's but then should be the same accross the board. If a line of people in one unit wear just two different covers it looks sloppy. Your Drill Team may wear something different but only when assembled as a team away from the club. In formation uniformity matters. NO non-Pathfinder pins should be on the uniform shirt. This includes pre-ajy classes, and even the small Pathfinder Triangle has no actual place on the shirt, it is now being called a membership pin and some where it on the left side of the left pocket; of course the right sleeve is wear that emblem is and belongs. ALL such pins belong on the sash and if at all possible your club should adopt a uniform appearance for sashes.

Even though it is not as particular as I would like it the Staff Manual has the patch spacing and pin layout for Pathfinder shirts on pages 79-80. And Mark may have it on the site again. No official varience from this exists. If your club does not provide the pants and skirts that is okay BUT a brand and style should be chosen by the club as well as skirt length. If you vary from the style that NAD provides for pants and skirts such as using pleated styles or skirts more than 2" above the knee it would be entirely appropriate for your club to be losing points in a conference inspection even if everyone is uniform. How this is dealt with varies from conference to conference. Money is an issue, especially for small clubs or churches and many inner-city churches so AdventSource can be expensive to them.

Some club uniqueness may appear in the field uniform, a club may choose their own color(s) and logo to appear on it, again seperation by category is used at times. Staff in Polo style shirts with Pf's in t-shirts is one common usage. If you have ever had a staff lady about 4-9 or 5' flat you will understand the need for such a distinction in style and sometimes color. Some conferences are not even requiring clubs to have dress uniforms any more for camporees, inspections, and the like - this has to do with new clubs losing points for not having them and a little with cost being too high for some. Unfortunate really, I would rather see the conference help raise money for clubs that can not afford dress uniforms since they are the most visible distinction of the club when doing community service and outreach.

It is words like recommend and should that cause problems in many areas. We do not want to seem militant or authoritative at times, mostly in an attempt not to offend anyone. Some people, as I have learned won't like you and will be offended no matter what. So it is beast to be right and clear than politcially correct, use tact when we can certianly.

Best for most of us to make sure our own club is uniform, to offer our opinions and experiences when asked, effect shange when you have the opportunity. I say that because some directors are much more the AJYS Leader than the Pathfinder type, and that is great, but their clubs even if participating as a Pathfinder Club will seem MUCH less uniform and disciplined than others, when they ask why their kids don't like the fair, or accuse other leaders of being too "military" smile and remind them gently that an ay society is structured differently than a Pathfinder Club and uniformity and discipline are more a part of this program. They will either get it or they won't and that is not your problem.

God Bless,

Chris Fishell
Xtreme Youth Resources International


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 3:02 pm 
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Yes, the guidelines from the Staff Manual for the Pathfinder Uniform are again on the website. :lol:

http://www.pathfindersonline.org/html/u ... index.html

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 3:07 pm 
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Location: Phoenix, Arizona (USA): NAD
Thank you. We all appreciate the ministry you provide through this site.

God Bless,

Chris Fsihell
XYRI


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2005 8:50 am 
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:) I discovered something interesting.... The pants that I have for my uniform are US Navy JROTC uniform pants. I was able to kep them after completing the program (normally this is not allowed, but I asked permission of the instructors, and told them why ;)). I also was able to keep the women's necktab for the same uniform. I must say that the US Navy womens necktab presents a much neater appearance than the necktab available through adventsource. What surprises me is this: my conference is becoming very strict on uniforms, due to some issues with girls wearing pants that are too tight, or a lot of kids wearing shoes that are not 'regulation' black. My own uniforms includes the aforementioned pants and necktab, and also, some US Navy-issue black oxford shoes. These items are not the same as the rest of my club's, but so far, I have not been taken to task for it.....I wonder what will happen at the Spring Camporee????? :)

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2005 9:46 am 
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Location: Phoenix, Arizona (USA): NAD
I have found that if you look sharp then you do not normally get called out. Your collar tab will look crisper and cleaner but that will be noticed as a better pressing most likely. The problems your conference faces are common and need to be addressed.

Boys and girls often wear pants that are too tight, girls in skirts that are too short, women in skirts that are too short and shirts that are too tight. It goes beyond a question of modesty to a simpler one: It looks bad, uniforms are supposed to reflect ones personal hygiene and a bad uniform looks bad. Shoes are a thing, most kids wear fabric shoes these days and conferences need to be more specific than "polishable black" shoes. They need to spec. wether they should be smooth or rough finish and plain or clarino (high polish) to accomplsih more uniformity.

There is a cost factor in shoes (and even uniform pants/skirts), somekids (families) just can not afford more expensive cleaner neater shoes. So how does a club or conference that intends to put forth tougher regs plan to mediate that issue? I am a believer in that if you are going to make something absolutely uniform then you need to help pay for it. the church would not be wasting money in helping those less fortunate in buying nice dress shoes.

Clubs should also take the time to teach each new crop of kids how to care for their uniforms; this includes polishing shoes and washing and ironing the clothing. When the class completes that effort they will also have earned an honor. Yes there is an honor for caring for your uniform properly, Laundering.

Chris Fishell
Xtremeyouthresources.org


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2005 11:45 am 
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Hmmm, they want to get tougher on uniforms, but how are they to accomplish this when a club gets uniform pants from a place other than adventsouce due to cost....????? I don't know, I'll have to ask my conference director *is a little confused...*

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 25, 2005 10:29 pm 
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In a day of increased club and personal independence I wish any coference director "Good luck" in enforcing an extremely detailed uniform uniformity code.

That's not to say uniforms are bad. . . They're not. In fact, they're something each of us as Pathfinders should wear with pride.

I'm just aware that the thriftiness and independence of most of our mindsets probably will NOT lead to a completely uniform uniform.

I'm not stating the "official view" of the NAD, just my own personal take as an Area Coordinator and recent local staff.

Mark O'Ffill

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2005 7:38 am 
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We do a club inspection at our Conference Camporees. Uniform insignia is checked. I have had Pathfinders move pins during the inspection. The inspection is for points and is treated like the other Camporee events. Ribbons are awarded during the awards presentation at the end of the Camporee for inspection just like for the knot tying relay.

Mr. Mike

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 2005 5:05 pm 
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When we were in AZ, my wife, then the director of the Bisbee Pathfinder Club was on a committee made up of Area Coordinators and some of the most active Directors form around the state. They set up the policies for uniforms and the uniforms were inspected at Club Inspections, Camporees and the Pathfinder Fair. Problem areas were skirt lenght, pins on the pockets and items on the sashs. Having the whole state on the "same sheet of music" helped. If you want information on the committee, thier functions and how to set one up, contact the office at Thunderbird in Scottsdale and talk to Carol or Fred.

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 Post subject: Youth and Uniforms
PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2005 4:02 pm 
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Location: Phoenix, Arizona (USA): NAD
A year or two ago I ran into a Girl Scout Troop outside a local supermarket. It was a teen troop and I did not notice at first that they were Girl Scouts at all. As I was leaving I realized who they were so I spoke briefly to there Troop Mother, she said that she was happy to have them participate wether they would eear a uniform or not.

Maybe demerits do not work, toothless acts never do. Barking dogs only deter those who fear dogs, those who do not will not waiver. Points systems surface and sink in these discussions on occasion. Let me tell anyone who might hear they are important, the participation of a Pathfinder in the total program including the uniform is a promise they make by signing their application. Pathfinders is a privilage as are all things truly. You do not have an inherent right to join, and bother, any group you choose ;if you do not wish to commit then you do not belong. Sometimes for Pathfinders to learn this they have to miss out on something.

The points system is only useful if it means something. You must maintain a certian percentage of points to stay in the club, more to participate in outings, more to participate in the Year End Event. Fall below the line; miss out. You would not hesitate to suspend or expel a Pathfinder who hits a staff member in anger (I hope); this is equal, all standards exist to be the standard.

If you want them to wear their uniform then say so, if they show up without it, send them home to change or miss out. When their friends are talking about all the things they did as a group they will reach a point that they want to be there and then they will participate. If your program is weak and not worth attending then they won't. I am sorry, it is what it is, the program is about the kids and kids need to be active.

For some churches and clubs, especially those who have not had strong programs in some time and child/family discipline is bad, then it will be a greater battle. For these places more than just a club is needed, the constant interaction and interplanning of all of Youth/Junior Youth Ministry (including the school) is needed. Your church should have Youth Pastor or an Elder who is the Youth Director this person should be excited about the youth and do something with it. Fun nights sponsored by the church for all of the family, ones that are not baby sitting services but for the whole family will help bring them in, once they start liking being around church events it will get easier, because some rules for behavior and modesty are uniform throughout the church as a matter of doctrine.

As they come around more, more of them will join the small groups like Pathfinders, Adventurers, and AY. The standards of activity and participation are higher still, but if your program is worth attending they will get on board and you will not have long term problems with most of them. In 17years as a Deputy Director or Asst. Coordinator I have had involvement with only one club that had to expel a member and that was well deserved. I know off hand of only one other specific instance and that was well deserved.

If they truly do not want to be there then it is not the ministry for them, maybe an AJY Society (less formal) or church intermural sports league is better for that child (yes, this can be a ministry). If this is the case then it is better to help them find a place they want to be, they will be far more receptive to the learning that gows with the activity. If your church does not have another option then a long chat with the church board and a reminder to the parents that they promised to help when called upon (by signing their Pathfinder's application) might get something going. Somethings could meet as little as one or two times per month.

God Bless,

Chris Fishell
Xtreme Youth Resources International


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 12, 2005 1:57 pm 
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On the questions regarading the wearing of the uniform. First of all it something we should be very proud of. We earn all that is on the uniform, and most of it is for better self development. The uniform is also more than just uniformity. There is a certain amount of disciplien involved in preparing and wearing the uniform properly. Each conference sould have a standard and adhere to it. No the material doesn't all have to be alike. But the skirt lenght and type should be clearly outlined so that you don't end up with a ankle lenght skirt with splits up to the mid-thigh. As the young people, counselors and staff learn to do it right from the start, when they go to the large camporee's they will notice that it now looks like a LARGE ARMY FOR GOD


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 Post subject: Uniformity
PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2005 11:46 pm 
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the word Uniform implies that all are the same, no one is an individual in that respect but part something bigger, together. I am a firm believer in stricker uniform policies. As it is conferences have too much power to just circumvent the NAD staff manual and do their own thing. I think this is not good. While I agree with Mark in that there will never be a uniform standard across the division that everyone will be forced to follow. I do think that we need to make the uniform policy that we have more clear. For instances, in most every conference the director is allowed to wear a shoulder braid to signify that they are a director, such as TLT's are allowed to wear their braid. But from conference to conference you get different colors and styles for directors. The purpose of the things that you wear on your uniform is not to look pretty or outstanding, but they serve a higher purpose. To show what you have earned and accomplished and for others to be able to reognize distinct characteristics, such as all directors having the same color braids. TLT's all have to wear the same braids across the division, why not directors. If conferences are going to mandate such things, it needs to be managed at Pathfinder executive committe. I have talked with Elder Black about this a couple times, but we have not really gotten to in depth about it, but I would like to see pathfinders and staff thinking more practically about the uniform and why they wear it. I wear mine with much pride and honor for what I have earned. I will not put anything on my uniform I have not earned. But so many people do not think like me, they just order things to put on their uniform just so it will look better, not because they earned it, its just for looks, at least that is what I have seen, and those I do believe are in the few. I think it would tighten things up alot if we all had one standard to follow, then if the conferences wanted to do things above that, ok, but not circumventing or changing what has already been mandated at the GC. I heard a member of the NAD youth department say that The North-American Division Staff Manual is more like a suggestion than a mandate, it is left to the conferences to legislate what they want and don't want to use or do. I thought this is very sad, if that is the case, why have the NAD at all, why have a regimented type system, why wear stars on our epulets, if their is no one respecting people who have more stars. Last time I checked Conference youth directors had three, Elder Black has 5. If your gonna be regimented or have a semi-regimented structure than the chain of command must be respected, otherwise it serves no purpose. As you can tell I am kind of passoniate about this topic of uniforms. Please give me your feed back, and Mark toss in your two cents too, I would like to hear your comments, thanks.

Director Moore


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2005 7:58 am 
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It would be great for every uniform in a division to be alike, but in a volunteer organization, it is not going to happen.

One of the problems with all the uniforms being exactly alike is the expense.
There are members of clubs that just can not afford to buy a special pair of pants or a skirt to be worn as part of the Pathfinder uniform.
Back in the days of the dark green pants, each time I ordered a pair from Advent Source, they were slightly different.

I know several clubs that buy the shirts and rent them out for a small fee and ask the club members to furnish their own pants or skirt. This is the only way they can be in uniform. Yes, this will lead to differences in the lower part of the uniform, but at least the overall effect is a uniform.

I have no problem with identifying a Boy Scout in uniform. Shirt and his own blue jeans. I do think the Pathfinders need to be a cut above blue jeans as we wear our uniform to church.


Mr. Mike

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2005 12:23 pm 
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I agree that the NAD approved uniform diagrams provided in the manual are incomplete and leave a bit of room for interpretation. A lot of this stems from the "committee process" that carries a wide variety of opinions from its members that represent an increasing diverse population of Pathfinders. Therefore the guidance is rather broad (some would say vague), in an attempt to encompass standards appropriate to a wide variety of ethnic, social, and regional interests.

You mentioned Director designation. Officially, local directors have ONE STAR on their shoulder lapel, Area Coordinators TWO STARS, Conference Youth Directors THREE STARS, Union Youth Directors FOUR STARS, and Division Directors, FIVE STARS. Other additions such as braids are simply that -- additions, sometimes approved only by a local club, at other times approved and encouraged at a conference level.

We have an interesting 21st century dilemma that also exists in Pathfindering. There is a mentality of confrence level individuality that exists in Pathfindering. It basically states (though officially unstated) that each conference KNOWS what is best for their constituency, and that the NAD is out of touch and cannot find a uniform stance to reach each constiuent part or group. As a result, we have many conferences that have adapted or added to the official Master Guide and NAD Pathfinder uniforms.

In my opinion (and this is NOT official NAD), it all stems from a societal phenomenon that encourages RABID INDIVIDUALITY. We somehow feel that if we look JUST LIKE other people from other places that we are not special or unique (this same phenomenon brings about the weird hairstyles, tatoos, etc. in the youth population at large). Therefore, I believe that at least in many cases, the additions to the uniform are an attempt to stand out, be different, feel important, etc.

There are on the other hand conferences who have wrestled with GAPS such as sash layout (which is very unclear on the NAD uniform-- it simply says "AY Honors, etc.") or Pin placement (if you notice, there is not a space for both the Service star and Baptismal pin, nor does the diagram show you what you should do with your Friend thru Guide pins once you've achieved Master Guide. Of course, the diagram also shows only THREE Class Level achievement pins, whereas there are six + Master Guide available.

I know that there are probably members on this forum that are from conferences who make major additions, and they may differ dramatically in their opinion. I'd love to hear from them in particular.

Then of course, there are the unanswered questions: What should be the denotation for bars/braids/etc. for drill team members? If there is a standard, what is the placement?

Then of course, the standards have changed over the years. Does a 40+ year Pathfinder vet have to resew their unform/sash placement style every time the NAD changes the specifics? If not, then what is considered "uniform" for inspection?

I personally, as an Area Coordinator, look for neatness, modesty, correct sizing, and patch placement on the shirt (this is easy to make match standards), correct color shoes (I don't worry about fabric style too much), Pathfinder belt. If a long time staff member still has a green sash, or the sash placement is from on earlier iteration of policy, I have no problem with it. However, if their uniform (and I'm especially hard on staff) is unkempt or disorganized, that is a problem because it sets a poor example of leadership.

I hope I haven't simply muddied the waters still more. :oops:

Mark O'Ffill

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2005 6:54 pm 
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I believe at this point in time and history that churches need to be more centric. This church and all churches. That is not to totally disregard those unique cultures that make up the ecclesiaticus (as Paul warned not to argue over little things). Rather to remeber that there is one morality set forth in the Bible and the whole Bible is the Word and the Word is Christ and the Word is God. Local churches may understand better a regional culture but that does not make all things good. This may seem lofty for this discussion but keep in mind that the decay of a society and culture is slow, satan works often by desensitizing us to the lighter things so the darker ones do not seem so bad. The most basic truth is that there is really no grey area even though we see it. If they have no managerial discression then hiring Local Conference Presidents and department directors serves no good purpose. If the Division will not exercise their authority as division of the General Conference then what good purpose do the serve? In recent years the Catholic Church and its members have been as some odds as some members feel the church has failed to "modernize" to meet the current culture. It is not now nor is it ever the place of the church to self modernize, God's people (Israel) and those chosen frome the many nations (the Ecclessiaticus/Gentile and Jewish Christians) are called to be set apart from the world.

I do not believe Pathfinder Uniform Guidelines should be so rigid as not to flex. IF Pathfinders were ruled soley top down many of the programs we have now would not exist as Florida and California would not have been allowed to be progressive. It should though, be closely monitored to be sure it does not go astray and local church clubs should not be allowed to be "rogue to the system" as it were. Some guidleines should be enforced and deviation should be approved carefully. Should the uniform color be the same in every division? I doubt that is even legal as the laws of some countries would see this as a militant endeavor or an impersonation of their military. Should the scarves all be the same, that seems reasonable to me. Where to draw the line is always the hard part; to much local church freedom in a variety of areas leads though not to God but most often to secularism and humanism. And on occasion Branch Dividiens (I actually had a non-adventist mother probe us carefully once to be sure we were not enlisting her son into a cult).

This is an important discussion and should not end here as our identity as Christians, Adventists, and Pathfinders is an important issue to discuss.

God Bless,

Chris Fishell
Xtreme Youth Resources International


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2006 9:17 am 
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Has the NAD ever considered having Adventsource sell shoes so that a club can be uniform throughout? It sure would help.

With regards clubs with Pathfinders who can't afford the cost of the uniform, have you asked the member to sponsor a uniform? If so how did it work? I am a stickler on uniformity as well and am about to become director. I do plan on having all of our club uniform in their uniforms but haven't quite worked out how to make it happen without having their parents pay for it.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2006 9:16 am 
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To my knowledge, Adventsource has never carried shoes, but yes, I do agree that it would be a big help :)

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 Post subject: Uniform
PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2006 8:08 pm 
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Location: St. David's Bermuda
Blessing to all
I have been a Pathfinder since the late 70's. Every year when I got invested i put my earnings on my uniform. IE: buttons on the pocket and shevrons on my left sleeve under the world. Now I see in the NAD uniform code I see that you now take the shevrons and class buttons on the sache...why....the sache is for the honors and camporee patches you earn or trade. To this day I keep the class shevrons on my left arm sleeve under the word and the class buttons on the left pocket flap and I encourage my pathfinders to follow. The masterguide has the full sheveron patch on the sleeve and I believe that each class earned the shevrons add it under the world and leave your buttons on your left pocket. Also if you leave them there you wont loose them. Most likely you might loose them if you have them on your sache.
Just an Idea. Also If NAD changed the uniform to Black pants from forest green pants/skirts...etc...back in 2000...the masterguide should change too. Keep it constant and in uniform. It looks tacky to have masterguides not in sinque with their club members. I will be a masterguide soon....and I will get a black tunic with the gold colour pathfinder buttons. It looks really sharp! lol. Plus where can you get Forest Green suits now days??? My opinion.

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John
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