Two attempts at world records at the 2019 Chosen International Pathfinder Camporee held in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, appear to be successful.
Human Cross Shape
More than 13,300 attendees participated in creating the largest human cross shape. Each person wore a blue paper hoodie as they were funneled into the roped-off shape in front of the Chosen stage. Creating the cross shape took more than one hour. Once the shape was closed, and the people counted, the number totaled 13,310.
The number to beat was 13,266, set in March 2011 in the Philippines. Participants stood in formation for five minutes as auditors using RFID (radio frequency identification) mats verified the number and drone images confirmed the shape. Guinness World Records adjudicator Michael Empric verified the cross results. Empric explained that everyone in the shape must have on the same color on their torso and head. “Once that happens, everyone goes into the formation,” he said. “And once everyone is in formation, I’ll check the footage from the drone to make sure it is a large human cross. Then the group must stand in formation for five minutes.”
The auditors confirmed the number of people in the formation, the shape was held for five minutes in the oppressive summer heat, and the results were verified.
Neckerchief and Woggle
The first is the largest scarf and slide (called neckerchief and woggle). Fashioned in the traditional yellow fabric, the master guide scarf measures 300 feet by 150 feet, and weighs about 800 pounds. Pathfinders in Texas created the scarf; the shield for the slide was designed by Arkansas-Louisiana Conference church members, and measures about 10 feet tall and weighs about 500 pounds. On Aug. 16, the scarf and slide were hoisted up on a giant frame near the Chosen stage.
Lindsey Gendke, a writer from the Texas Conference, reported that Marilyn Boismier, Texas Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Pathfinder coordinator; Ruben Albarran, Texas Conference North Dallas-area Pathfinder coordinator; and Lloyd Clapp, retired Arkansas-Louisiana Conference Pathfinder director, worked out the logistics for the enormous undertaking.
“This project appealed to me,” Boismier said in Gendke’s Facebook article, “because I like to make things, and I like math; the design was an exercise in math.” Both the scarf and slide were completed in stages and consisted of separate, smaller projects to put them together.
The process required a group effort, with an average of seven to 10 people per day helping in what Boismier describes as an “assembly line” to pin and sew the 64 pieces of poly-cotton, which amounted to approximately 800 pounds (360 kilograms) of fabric.
The project was started in April 2019 and was finished at Celebration Park in Allen, Texas, on Sunday, July 28, where more than 100 volunteers unrolled the scarf and held it for seamstresses to stitch the final seams. The scarf was transported to the Oshkosh camporee and hung near the Chosen stage. While the neckerchief and woggle are believed to be the largest in the world, plans are underway to have the neckerchief and woggle verified by Guinness World records.kmaran Thu, 08/22/2019 - 21:36
F. Martin Ytreberg, former vice president and CFO of Pacific Press Publishing Association, passed peacefully to his rest after a lengthy illness on Tuesday evening, Aug. 20, 2019, in Boise, Idaho. Ytreberg retired from Pacific Press in 2008; and after coming out of retirement in 2014 to assist Pacific Press as the North American Division and the General Conference reorganized the publishing association, he retired again in 2016.
Ytreberg was born on March 6, 1942, in Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Canada. He was a graduate of Columbia Union College (now Washington Adventist University) in Takoma Park, Maryland, and married Sylvia Long on July 2, 1967, in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada.
Ytreberg's lifetime commitment to the church in the area of finance and treasury assignments began in 1968 in the British Columbia Conference in his native Canada. He served as treasurer of Georgia-Cumberland Academy before taking his first overseas assignment in the Guam-Micronesia Mission in 1973. Martin and Sylvia served in various positions in what was then the Far Eastern Division, including several years when Ytreberg was assistant division treasurer in Singapore. In 1980, Martin became the Southern Asia Division treasurer based in India.
In 1983, Ytreberg returned to North America, taking a short assignment as treasurer for the Alberta Conference before joining Pacific Press. Ytreberg was an instrumental part of the management team that relocated Pacific Press from California to Idaho in 1984. Those were difficult days, financially, for the press, and Ytreberg was able to put into place a number of measures that enabled the publishing house to reach a position of financial strength and stability.
In 1990, he was elected associate treasurer for the General Conference and took on the heavy assignment of under treasurer in 1995. He later joined Adventist Risk Management as its Vice President and CFO. In 2002 Ytreberg returned to Pacific Press where he served as vice president and CFO until his retirement in 2008. He returned in that capacity again in 2014 to assist Pacific Press as the North American Division and the General Conference were reorganizing publishing. He re-retired in 2016.
Ytreberg is survived by wife Sylvia; two children, Marty Ytreberg, Ph.D., and Michaele Ytreberg Hamilton; and sister-in-law Clarissa Long Tall.
At his request, there will be no memorial service.
“As Christians we are called to serve others,” said Paulo Macena, community service/Compassion projects coordinator for the camporee. “When Pathfinders participate in community service projects, they learn the joy of service, civic responsibilities, and the satisfaction of a job well done.”
About 6,000 Pathfinders and club staff and leaders assisted in 57 local service efforts in Oshkosh and the surrounding communities during the 2019 Chosen International Pathfinder Camporee. Each day except Sabbath, buses rolled out morning and afternoon for several hours as teams helped at food pantries, shelters, the humane society, thrift stores, and a plethora of other nonprofit organizations. Community outreach also included an onsite blood drive and park cleanup.
On August 14 several clubs from Texas and Florida visited the Feeding America distribution center in Appleton, Wisconsin, where they repackaged 400-pound bags of organic Cheerios into small, family-friendly-sized two-pound bags that were send to local food banks, says Dustin Hermann, volunteer coordinator, who estimates that groups repackaged about 10,000 pounds throughout the week.
“We just like want to find a purpose so that when we remember Oshkosh to be able to say, I was part of a project and thought compassion was a good way to help out in the community,” said Cynthia Angeles, director of the Bynum Manahain Pathfinder Club in San Antonio, Texas. “At home we usually visit a nursing home and like to help in a local food bank in San Antonio. . . . I remember when I used to be a Pathfinder, we did community service and that definitely makes an impact in kids’ lives.”
Other clubs learned new skills as they completely removed the old carpet at Father Carr’s Food Pantry and helped fix air conditioners at the facility’s women’s shelter.
Ivana Rojas, a regional Pathfinder director from Paraguay, came to Oshkosh with her twin sister Melissa (the national Pathfinder director) to take home implementable ideas. The young adults made sure to sign up for a Compassion project because “we want to serve. We want to share with other Pathfinders how to serve as Jesus said and did,” said Rojas. “We have to serve and we have to show love—we have to help the community. That is a very good way to share our faith and our hope.”
George Ballesteros, who has attended three previous Oshkosh camporees, believes that partaking in community service teaches an important lesson to the youth, which include his own children. His small club from Plant City, Florida, wanted to help at the Habitat for Humanity Restore shop. The Restore sells used furniture, glassware, lamps, and more at a deeply discounted price to help fund Habitat’s housing projects.
“Helping others gets them to do something they usually may not be involved with—and with another group in a different place,” said Ballesteros. “It’s all about compassion. It’s all about showing how you can help other people. It’s a way to share who we are—and what we do leaves an impact. . . . You lead by example. That’s what this is about.”
Free Dental and Eye Care Clinic
On Thursday, Aug. 15, Lake Union Conference health director Randy Griffin coordinated a health clinic at Oshkosh's Menominee Nation Arena, which offered free dental and eye care to more than 60 people. The team was able to provide dental extractions, eye exams, and prescription glasses.
“This is the first time we’d had the opportunity to bring the dental and vision clinic that we facilitate here in the Lake Union to the camporee,” said Griffin. “Dentists and eye doctors have given their time to help the [Oshkosh] community. . . . We care for them because we know Jesus and we love Jesus — hopefully they see that through what we are doing here.”
One of the more unique endeavors was called Project Chosen. Teams of youth and club leaders traversed the streets of Oshkosh distributing Guidemagazines to residents. Each Pathfinder was given seven magazines; 3,000 copies were handed out during the week.
Josue Feliciano, a Chesapeake Conference pastor who coordinated the Guidedistribution along with Chesapeake Conference’s Youth director Carl Rodriguez, said Project Chosen is a community outreach project “meant to distributeGuidemagazines that have been specially printed up to be an evangelist effort to reach the community, to impact the community.”
Feliciano continued, “We want to do that by knocking on people’s doors and giving them these Guidemagazines that are specially designed to reach their heart and hopefully introduce them to Jesus Christ.”
“The kids all enjoyed passing out the Guides today,” said Sara Watts, Pathfinder director for the Wichita South Lightbearers in Kansas. “It’s important to have the kids do community service and whenever we have the opportunity to do so I want them to participate. It’s a great idea to give them Guide magazine, a little bit of literature. They might not read it now, but maybe they will down the road.”
Ava McCullough, a Lightbearers Pathfinder said, “This was fun because I got to meet cool people and we are teaching people about God. Giving out Guide magazines teaches people about Bible stories and how to love Jesus.”
Sofia Infante, a Pathfinder from the Flaming Falcons of the Maranatha Spanish church in Ontario, Canada, shared, “We’ve done this before in Ontario, but it’s cool to do this in another city, with a different group of people,” referring to the Garland Jaguars Pathfinder Club from the Garland Faith Community Seventh-day Adventist Church in Texas.
“It’s nice to spread the Word of God, especially in a community that seems to have a lot of teenagers—there are a lot of rentals, and a university nearby. It’s like teenagers spreading the word to other teenagers,” added Infante.
— Kimberly Luste Maran, with reporting by V. Michelle Bernard and Mylon Medleykmaran Thu, 08/22/2019 - 15:20
On the final day of the 2019 Chosen International Pathfinder Camporee in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Pathfinders with a desire to become a pastor had the opportunity to mingle with Church leaders of the North American Division to learn more about pursuing a career in ministry. The ice cream social served as the launch of “NextGen,” an initiative of the NAD Ministerial Association, which is seeking to address the startling projected number of pastors who will be able to minister throughout the division within the next decade as current pastors retire.
“The average age of a pastor [in the division] is about 55, and the baby boomer generation is cresting for retirement,” said Ivan Williams, director of the NAD Ministerial Association. “We’re recruiting because over the next seven to 10 years, 2,500 out of the division’s 4,300 pastors will be eligible for retirement.”
“We need young people to consider having the torch passed to them,” continued Williams. “God called me when I was 13 and I pursued that journey to be a pastor. People who succeed in life have a sense of calling while they're young. I think it's about being faithful and God will bless the success. We see a litany of people throughout our history who God used at a very young age.”
Donna Jackson, associate director of NAD ministerial, who also organized the social, said the overall goal of the event was to uplift the Pathfinders who have already felt God’s call.
"I’m shocked by how many had it on their minds already," said Jackson. “The last thing we want to do is put pressure on young people because God may not be calling them to do this. God is the one who calls. We're here to support what God is already doing.”
In preparation for the event, Jackson sent out an invitation to all the conferences and unions to ask for representation. The response of the 150 leaders who pledged their support and presence was overwhelmingly positive.
“We wanted the young people to be able to look in the eyes of their leaders and see the personal care that they have. Administrators sit in committee meeting all the time dealing with the hardest problems in the Church. They have joyful experiences, but it isn't easy to have that personal touch,” said Jackson. “We thought it would be good for both, but especially for the young people to know that their leaders are approachable and that they will give them their attention.”
William "Bill" Winston, president of the South Atlantic Conference, has been involved with ministerial recruiting over the years and has witnessed the decline with his own eyes. He remembers times when there were 40-50 graduating theology students emerging from school like Oakwood University. In 2018, however, a survey of incoming freshman studying theology in Adventist schools across the division revealed that the largest class was made up of 15 students.
“I’m here because I need to do my part to help encourage young people,” said Winston. “I'm at the end of my ministerial career and I see the challenges of recruiting and finding people committed to the gospel ministry. We're almost in crisis mode. We need to start much earlier than we do. We need to identify people and get them involved in the church now.”
A Special Feeling
Approximately 1,000 young people attended the social and shared testimonies of why they wanted to become a pastor. Samuel Castro and Belinda Rodriguez, a husband-wife pastoral duo that pastors three churches in the Oregon Conference accompanied their 16-year-old daughter Ashley to the social. She recalled the exact moment she felt God’s calling.
“We were having communion at my church and my mom was leading the service. All of a sudden, I just started crying. I balled,” said Castro. “My mom asked, ‘Are you OK?’ after she came down. And I responded, ‘I just really want to do it. I want to be a pastor.’ It was this funny, little feeling in my chest, I just wanted to help.”
Castro was 15 at the time. She had already demonstrated a passion for service by helping children and leading a music ministry.
“We all just cried together,” said Rodriguez. “I think this is going to be an awesome path for her. For us as parents, it’s the greatest experience to have her to follow us.”
Rodriguez is excited to be able to help her daughter understand her calling at such a young age, an opportunity Rodriguez did not have access to when she accepted the call.
“She’s full of energy. I think she's become more and more convinced of her calling. We are blessed to be able to do ministry together as a family,” continued Rodriguez.
Organizers hope the social inspired their fellow Church leaders to use its model to hold similar events in their territories. Daniel R. Jackson, president of the North American Division, even told attendees during closing remarks that this model should be followed every summer at camp meetings.
Further, the NAD Ministerial Association has organized a committee to help the NextGen momentum going.
“The committee has youth pastors, laity, Pathfinders, and Church leaders at all different levels,” said Williams. “We’re going to roll out more details during next year’s ‘CALLED’ convention for ministers.
In addition, the Ministerial team collected contact information for all of the attendees who expressed interest in becoming a pastor.
“We want to stay in touch with them through the years,” said Williams.mylonmedley Thu, 08/22/2019 - 14:13
Swamped at Oshkosh!The dawn broke on a vast empty space. An 18-wheeler roared somewhere out on a forgotten freeway. A small group of men and women sat, heads bowed, drawn together by a dream and the electricity of nervous anticipation.
NAD Adventist Education had never attempted anything quite like what was about to happen at Oshkosh. The planning team led by Ruth Horton (Lake Union Conference) had pulled together and rented a massive aircraft hangar at the Oshkosh Pathfinder Camporee. Forty-two schools, colleges, and educational service providers came on board to pack the hanger full of everything from programable robots to an escape room, from virtual reality displays to a full-sized aircraft.
As they prayed together, the hanger sat thick with questions marks. Would kids come? If they did, would they stay? Was there anything in here that really would grab them, engage them, and most importantly, inspire them? No one would know until 12 noon when the hanger would go live.
From time to time, team members wandered outside only to be greeted by the vast emptiness of a full-sized airstrip with nothing but the occasional exhibitor golf cart puttering by.
As the minutes ticket by, the tension grew thick.
At 12 noon sharp, the massive hanger doors went up. And there, waiting patiently in the summer heat were hundreds of people. Good. But not great. Hundreds wouldn’t fill this massive hanger. Thirty minutes ticked slowly by, and then, as if on cue, the craziness began. Soon lines to get in where 50 deep, and that was just the beginning. By the end of the week, roughly 30,000 people had been through the Adventist Education hanger each day. If you want to know what that looks like, imagine the Tokyo Subway at rush hour, and then multiply it by 8 hours a day for five days!
They came, they came back, and then they came back again.
The response was overwhelmingly positive. One parent commented, “This event has been life changing for our family!” A pathfinder leader was overheard calling his club on his cell phone saying “You have to get all the pathfinders over here now! This hangar is amazing — full of all the things our kids love!” And as for inspiring people to action? People liked what they saw, and signed up thick and fast.
Collegedale Academy has many pages of names of families expressing interest in attending and many academies have students attending school this year after coming to their booth and finding out about the tremendous opportunities available. For example, Great Lakes Academy was getting back to campus the Sunday after Oshkosh so they could register a new student to start school Monday, after the student decided to attend the academy on Thursday after learning about all the Academy has to offer. Similarly, the treasurer from Indiana Academy had two phone calls on Friday from students who are enrolling after staff talked to them about the school. Indiana Academy profiled their foreign mission trips program and extensive community service. The academy credits their monthly mission projects, inspired from Isaiah 58 including baking and delivering bread, making quilts for babies, prison ministries, meals for the homeless shelter, assisting in the local library as part of the appeal for potential students at camporee.
Arne Nielsen, North American Division vice president for Education, commented, “We are so thankful to God, and the outstanding team of educational leaders who pulled this off. It greatly exceeded our expectations. We learned three things. First, there’s a God in Heaven who answers sincere, humble prayers. Second, when the pressure is on, we’re a team who pull together, put in the long hours, and support each other. Finally, when people hear about the amazing schools across our division, they want to attend them. God gave this church a unique vision for education. It is great to see that vision catching on among Pathfinders, their parents and their leaders.”
— Leisa Morton-Standish, Ph.D., is director of Elementary Education for the North American Division.
More than 55,000 people from 100 different countries recently made their way to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, for the 2019 Chosen International Pathfinder Camporee. AdventHealth president/CEO Terry Shaw, and many AdventHealth board members, leaders, and employees were also present to experience the massive youth event.
“I had a great time visiting the camp, and interacting with the kids,” said Shaw. “AdventHealth is committed to investing in the next generation and that’s why we participate in sponsorship opportunities such as this that encourage whole, healthful living.”
Taking place every five years, the International Pathfinder Camporee is the largest Pathfinder-related event of its kind, featuring activities, competitions, exhibitions, worship programs, and more. AdventHealth, one of the largest faith-based health systems in the U.S., signed on as a major sponsor for the 2019 camporee.
“AdventHealth is such a unique organization focused on doing good in the community,” said Ron Whitehead, camporee executive director and youth ministry director for the Lake Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. “That’s what Pathfinders want to do, too. It’s such a beautiful match and we’re just honored to have AdventHealth as the primary sponsor of the International Pathfinder Camporee.”
And not only were they present at the camporee, AdventHealth attendees also participated in various activities during their time at the event, including the following three key highlights.
An event that brings people together from all over the world also brings a variety of international foods together. The camporee’s food stands, run by Pathfinder clubs and church ministries, feature menu items ranging from quick snacks to full meals, including Salvadoran pupusas, Native American fry bread, Caribbean roti, Indian naan, and Italian pizza. Trying out the different cuisines is an enriching experience in and of itself, and a testament to the global reach of the Pathfinder ministry.
“The International Pathfinder Camporee is one of the most significant events of the Adventist Church,” said Ronald Smith, member of the AdventHealth Board and president of the Southern Union Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. “It’s a smorgasbord — from a collection of young people from across North America and around the world.”
And of course, at a large-scale Adventist event such as this, you can’t leave out the haystacks.
AdventHealth team members attending the camporee also had the opportunity to participate in pin trading, a tradition dating back to the 1990s. For the 2019 camporee, designs came from around 100 different entities and ministries, including AdventHealth, which designed four pins for the event: an “I care for your like my Friend” heart; a female doctor with an AdventHealth logo; an AdventHealth helicopter; and an AdventHealth #40 NASCAR racecar.
“Pins are the number one commodity at camporee!” said Juleun Johnson, director of mission and ministry for AdventHealth Celebration. “You can sell stuff here, but to trade pins is better. I have a lot of pins, but I definitely have to represent AdventHealth with the #40 racecar pin.”
For Johnson, Shaw and many others, camporee pins serve as nice souvenirs to bring back home.
The highlight of every evening at camporee is the program on the main stage. All 55,000 attendees gather in a large outdoor arena to witness Pathfinder talent, participate in praise and worship, watch the Bible story of David and Goliath come to life in a live reenactment, and listen to a message from the featured speaker.
Camping and worshipping with thousands of other people, the AdventHealth attendees witnessed firsthand the importance of events such as the International Pathfinder Camporee.
“The experience is difficult to describe unless you see it,” said Obed Cruz, chief nursing officer for AMITA Health Adventist Medical Center Bolingbrook, Illinois, part of a joint operating company formed by AdventHealth and Ascension. “The camporee organizers do not hold back at all when it comes to the nightly presentations. Not only is the music great, but the acting is great and the story is amazing. It’s probably one of the most important events that we could send our kids to.”
— Ingrid Hernández is senior communications specialist for AdventHealth.kmaran Wed, 08/21/2019 - 10:37
Can I have that pin? Where can I get that pin? Can I trade for it? All of these and more are questions asked by campers interested in the Southern Tidings trading pin at the 2019 Chosen International Pathfinder Camporee. Campers from all over have been trying to get their hands on the limited-edition Southern Tidings trading pin. The pin has even gained the attention of counselors, staff, pastors, and church administrators who have also been trying their best to get one. Although many want the pin, the Southern Union Conference is only giving the pin to Pathfinders from the Southern Union — who earn it.
The pin is creating a wider awareness of the union paper among youth. Tiezza Saint-Hailaire said, "Before this pin I hadn't heard of Southern Tidings."
To earn a pin campers must meet a few requirements. Campers ages 10-18 are asked to write a story (100+ words) about their experience at the Chosen International Pathfinder Camporee 2019. When they complete the story and submit a photo they receive the pin. Their story is then posted on the SouthernTidings.com website. The best stories posted there will be considered for publication in the Chosen Souvenir edition of the Southern Tidings coming out in October.
Each day campers have come in to the Southern Union Headquarters Tent to tell their Chosen Pathfinder Camporee experience. Stories about how God helped with broken down buses to finding a key to an ancient padlock all reminding us of God’s faithfulness have been written. When a camper receives their pin they go and tell their friends about the experience and recruit others to participate.
“The idea to create a Southern Tidings pin was born while the Southern Union Communication Department was on a staff field trip to the Coca-Cola museum,” said Pastor Steven Norman, III, Southern Union Communication director and Southern Tidings editor. “The purpose of the trip was to learn how Coca-Cola created such a successful multi-generational marketing strategy. After the museum tour we sat down and a ‘brain tornado.’”
“The pin was produced to serve two purposes. The first was “to connect young readers to the Southern Union,” explained Norman. “The second and the most important was to inspire the next generation to become journalists for the cause of Christ.”
Did you write your story? Come by and pick up your pin before they are all gone.
— Joseph Hyde is a student at Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, Tennessee.
kmaran Fri, 08/16/2019 - 16:53