Held in Brazil, the effort includes two consecutive events with about 50,000 people at each one.
The South American Division (SAD) region of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is kicking off the first of two parts of a regional Pathfinder Camporee in Barretos, São Paulo State, Brazil. The first group of almost 50,000 young people, their leaders, and accompanying staff have already pitched their tents in the massive Parque do Peão, which will host both events, the first on January 8-13 and the second January 15-20.
The main arena of Parque do Peão in Barretos, São Paulo State, Brazil, in 2014, when 35,000 Pathfinders attended the fourth South American Division Pathfinder Camporee. This year, the fifth division-wide camporee will welcome two consecutive groups of about 43,000 Pathfinders each and around 10,000 leaders and support volunteers. The first section runs January 8-13, 2019, and the second, January 15-20. [Photo: South American Division News]
Jaqueline, a Pathfinder from Peru, holds the flag of her country as she and her fellow Pathfinders pitch their tents, a day before the beginning of the fifth South American Division Pathfinder Camporee in Barretos, São Paulo State, Brazil, on January 7, 2019. [Photo: Deyler Vasquéz, South American Division News]
The 2019 effort is the fifth time the South American Division has held its prime event for Pathfinders, which takes place every five years with Adventist young people from the eight countries included in SAD’s territory — Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay. The program and main activities will be offered in Portuguese and Spanish, the two main languages across the region.
“The first part, named ‘Alfa,’ is welcoming 43,500 Pathfinders from 1,661 clubs across the region,” organizers shared. “The second one, named ‘Omega,’ will include 1,671 clubs and 42,600 Pathfinders.” Another estimated 10,000 people will be part of support teams, responsible for the program, logistics, communication, health, safety, food, and cleaning.
Besides attending morning and evening programs, leaders said, campers will spend their camporee days taking part in various instructional and fun activities. “Clubs will participate in games and physical challenges, as well as in treasure hunts,” they said.
Putting together an event this big is a significant challenge, one leader added, as the infrastructure for the event is massive. Besides the “tent city” — thousands of tents pitched on the camp grounds — special places erected for the camporee include a Pathfinder Square, a place with activities such as zip-lining, a climbing wall, and augmented reality experiences, among others. A special “green” section will include exhibitions and interactive activities focused on sustainability and environmental awareness. Four museums will open on the camp grounds, including one devoted to creationism.
It is also expected that Pathfinders will take part in outreach activities across the city of Barretos, organizers said. “During the event, six fairs in strategic places in the city will feature healthcare-provider volunteers, who will offer free health care to residents,” they shared. “Groups of teenagers will also be there to show how to take better care of trees, among other activities.”
Pathfinders is a program of the Seventh-day Adventist Church targeted at 10- to 15-year-old young people. As they meet every week, they learn about nature, health, citizenship, and the Bible. They also develop their talents and skills in various areas and support outreach activities in their communities. According to some Adventist Church statistics, it is estimated there are more than 1.5 million participants and more than 90,000 Pathfinder clubs in 160 countries around the world.
The original version of this story was posted on the South American Division news page.