Nearly 8,000 youth and other stakeholders expected to be in attendance
The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Jamaica is using the staging of its fifth Inter-American Division Pathfinders Camporee to grow its clubs and overall church membership, which currently stands at more than 340,000.
Through the camporee slated for next month, Adventists in Jamaica are seeking to counteract the impacts COVID-19 had on its clubs and inspire more young people to become members. The camporee, which is held once every five years, is slated to be held for the first time in Jamaica at the Trelawny Multi-Purpose Stadium in Trelawny from April 4 to April 8.
Organisers are expecting nearly 8,000 youth and other stakeholders from dozens of countries comprising the Inter-American Division to participate in this multi-cultural, multilingual event across the region.
Pastor Dane Fletcher, Youth Ministries director for the Jamaica Union, admits that the COVID-19 pandemic has had adverse effects on the vibrancy and growth of the movement.
Pandemic led to club dormancy
According to him, “before COVID, we would have been upwards of 15,000 [Pathfinders] in Jamaica, but we might be about 50 per cent now because some of the clubs that were very vibrant are now dormant”.
He noted that youth leaders hope the upcoming camporee will motivate not just old members but also new people to become members.
“The Pathfinder programme isn’t just for Seventh-day Adventists; it is for young people from our communities,” Fletcher said.
“Once their parents agree with allowing them to be a part of the experience, we are more than happy to welcome them.”
He said the programme involves a strong relation between the leadership of the Pathfinder club and the parents.
Fletcher advised: “There is space for just about everybody in the Pathfinder ministry. It doesn’t matter your profession.”
He noted that part of the Pathfinder programme is mentorship so the youth can be guided into various avenues where they can explore to realise the greatest of their potential.
For her part, Chantell Guthrie, master guide and youth leader, said: “Persons who are currently not part of a Pathfinder club at their church can also attend the camporee because one of the aims is to also motivate so that they can leave Camporee energised to start or revive a Pathfinder club at their local church.”