Overview of Pathfinder History

Pathfinder Beginnings

Who started Pathfinders?  The short answer is that no one person did, but rather that a diverse group of youth-focused, God-loving, ministry-minded individuals in various location created "Pathfinder-like" clubs in various locations that eventually grew into the ministry we now know as Pathfinders.

The first Pathfinder Club of record was in Anaheim, California directed by John McKim and Willa Steen.  This club began in the late 1920's and ran through the 1930's.   In 1944 McKim died and the Steens had moved.  In 1930 Lester and Ione Martin with co-directors Theron & Ethel Johnston began a club in Santa Ana, California.

Read more: Pathfinder Beginnings

History of Pathfinder Song

In the spring of 1949, Henry T. Bergh, John H. Hancock, Clark Smith and Miller Brocket met for the MV Director’s Council. Among other items that were worked on, John Hancock suggested to Henry Bergh that he write a Pathfinder song. Henry replied, “I’m no song writer. I’ve never written a song and I am not a musician.”

Read more: History of Pathfinder Song



  • 1907
    • Missionary Volunteer Society was founded
  • 1908
    • Junior Reading Course
    • First Missionary Volunteer Day January 26, 1908
  • 1909
    • Junior Missionary Volunteer Societies organized  (JMV)
  • 1911
    • MV Leaflet Series began
  • 1913
    • First Spanish Reading Course Books
  • 1914
    • Junior Manual by Ella Iden-Edwards published
  • 1917
    • Junior Bible Year begun
  • 1920
    • Harriet Maxson Holt becomes the 1st Junior Secretary (1920-1928)
  • 1922
    • JMV (now AJY) Progressive Classes introduced Friend and Companion classes, MV classes (now AY Classes) Comrade and Master Comrade (now Guide and Master Guide -- 1951)
    • A. W. Spalding and Harriet Hold advocate basic idea of Pathfinder Clubs
  • 1924