Thursday, January 20, 2011

A sunny afternoon in Toowoomba

Photos this afternoon from a field of memories—with the sun shining and the grass growing back.
Anyone missing their shoes?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Survived camporee, get the T-shirt

Springwood Pathfinders (Qld) have come up with a great fundraising idea, a fun way to celebrate the memories of camporee and a creative way to help others. Announcing the "Camporee Survivor" T-shirt.

Springwood Pathfinders are donating 50% of the profits of these shirts to help the families affected by the Queensland floods.

You can individually or as a club place an order by sending a request for an order form to

See the Springwood Pathfinder Club's website for more details.

Orders must be in before February 17.

Some corrections and a report

Some of the newsletter files were not working properly but hopefully these have now been fixed.
This week this blog passed 20,000 pages views in the past few weeks. So thanks to everyone who has dropped by, contributed and used it as a way of sharing some of the stories of camporee.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Lilydale home and cleaning up

In scenes likely to have been repeated in church yards around Australia at some stage last week, members of the Lilydale Pathfinder club (Vic) were cleaning their muddy camping gear when it arrived back on Wednesday.

After most of the Pathfinder club flew home from Brisbane, the camping equipment travelled home by trailer, with Rob picking his way through the flooding in south-east Queensland and northern New South Wales. Eventually, he made it home and the wash-down began.

“There is now a bit of Toowoomba on the Lilydale church lawn,” says Rob. “We have no dry tents yet but with time that will come.”

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Media clippings added

A number of people at camporee requested copies of media reports—especially those that featured people from their club. These have now been added under the "Media coverage" tab above.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The complete Camporee newsletters

After a few requests, we have now got to posting the full set of the newsletters from camporee. Some of the stories have also appeared on this blog but this is an opportunity to get the full set.
Click on the "Camporee newsletters" tab above to access these files.
Thanks to everyone who contributed photos and stories.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Camporee clean up continues after Toowoomba disaster

Camporee director Tony Knight and a small group of camporee staff were still working on demolition and cleaning up after camporee when Toowoomba was hit by the wild storms and floods that caused so much damage and loss of life on Monday. However, he has assured that those still working on the camporee site are safe and well, warm and dry. And with all roads out of Toowoomba closed at the moment, they might be there for a little while yet.

"There is no doubt in my mind that the Lord indeed blessed us in allowing all of our Pathfinders and leaders, and most of our event staff to get out of the disaster zone before the real troubles began," says Pastor Knight. "We also offer our prayers on behalf of those in the City of Toowoomba who have tragiclly lost loved ones at this time. Please also pray for the people who so graciously hosted us last week, and now need our support."

If you would like to donate funds to assist with flood relief, you can call the following ADRA Hotline number 1800 242 372 or you can visit the ADRA website for details of the Queensland Flood Appeal at

And flooding further afield has hampered the return journeys of a number of Pathfinder clubs, who have been stranded on their way home.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Pathfinders say, "Thank you, Toowoomba"

As the Australian Pathfinder Camporee came to an end on Sunday, camporee director Tony Knight thanked Toowoomba for hosting the national event and for the community’s support, particularly when heavy rainfall disrupted the camporee on Thursday.

Amid other stories of local support, at least one laundromat stayed open until 1:30am on Thursday night to allow club leaders to dry bedding and clothes for their young people. On hearing of the needs of the displaced Pathfinders, one local woman turned up with bags of dry towels

“We really appreciate the support of the local community in this way,” says Mr Knight. “Right from the beginning, the Toowoomba community and council have been very welcoming of this event—and they really showed that welcome in practice, when we really needed it.

“For more than 2500 young people from around Australia, Toowoomba will be remembered—and, despite the challenges posed by the weather, most of those memories will be very positive.”

Leaving the mud

The pictures tell the story.
For some it was an early breakfast and worship before heading out.

Others worked together to pack up camp amid the mud.
Chaplains continued to circulate in their sub-camps, praying with each club before they began the journey home.

Flooded Pathfinders give to flood victims

Campers at the Australian Pathfinder Camporee in Toowomba gave more than $4000 to support Queensland flood survivors on January 8. Having experienced some of the extreme weather for themselves during the camporee, many of the young people wanted to make a contribution to those for whom the continuing rainfall is not just an adventure of a few days.

“Most of us can simply go home with some muddy clothes and mostly good memories,” says camporee director, Tony Knight, “but for thousands of Queenslanders, this is an ongoing crisis.

“While we don’t presume that we have been affected to any degree like that of many Queenslanders, I think many of our young people were given a glimpse of what it might be like to have to leave your home due to rising floodwaters,” he says. “We received a number of requests that we do something as a group for these communities.”

The funds raised will be given to the Adventist Development and Relief Agency’s Queensland Flood Appeal. ADRA is working in a number of Queensland communities to support families coping with the flood crisis.

To donate to ADRA's flood appeal, visit or call 1800 242 372.

Camporee officially closed

The Australian Pathfinder Camporee in Toowoomba reached a spectacular conclusion on Saturday night.
The camporee-long drama production climaxed with the return of the Ark of the Covenant to the temple under the leadership of the boy king Josiah.
In the Bible story, this was followed by the celebration of the Passover and Rabbi Hirsch presnted the significance of the elements of the Passover celebration.
After the conclusion of the dramatic story, the program transformed into a closing ceremony and the camporee flag was lowered.
Pastor Tony Knight paid tribute to the camporee staff and the resilience of the camporee participants.
And the camporee concluded with a fireworks display over the Toowoomba showgrounds, accompanied by the "Hallelujah Chorus."

Pathfinders "give that strength to God"

“I have seen your strength this week,” Pastor James Black told the Pathfinders from around Australia. “You have shown strength that doesn’t run away from mud but endures it. You have show strength that doesn’t run away from rain but plays and sings in it. Now give that strength to God.”

And more than 1200 camporee participants said yes—making or renewing a commitment to Jesus—with 446 of them requesting baptism.

“These numbers represent the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of young people and the power of God working through the lives of hundreds of Pathfinder leaders, volunteers, pastors and youth directors,” says Pastor Steve Kane, who has led the chaplaincy team at camporee. “For all those involved in the ‘Under Oath’ Camporee, it’s a special honour and privilege to see God at work and to watch from close up.”

Photo highlights from Sabbath worship

Young leaders see results

The baptism of Madison Barron and Connor Pugh, both from Springwood club, as part of the Sabbath morning program at camporee was another highlight of an event they describe as the pinnacle of the past Pathfinder year. Director Warren Barron says it began with a prayer meeting with the clubs young leaders in late 2009.

This past year the clubs 21 young leaders—aged between 16 and 23—have played a major role in the club and, in particular, two leaders Marty and Katrina conducted Bible studies with the two young people who were baptised at camporee.

“Our young leaders interact better than some older people and gives the younger Pathfinders a vision of what they can be,” says Mr Barron. “And these young leaders are fearless—they are more willing to give it a go.

“My role now as an older person is to support and encourage our young people. But with such enthusiastic leaders, it has been a great year for our club.”

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The big picture

About 2500 people gathered for worship this morning at the Australian Pathfinder Camporee. There were many muddy feet but the sun was shining outside and the Pathfinders were resplendent in their colourful club shirts.

Hundreds stand like Josiah

Hundreds of young people stood to "give their 'stuff' to God" at the climax of the Friday evening worship program at the Australian Pathfinder Camporee. Speaker Pastor James Black challenged young people to take the stand as Josiah did—the boy-king of the Old Testament story, who chose to put things right in his own life and to lead his people to do that as well.

Three camporees in three weeks

Pastor Nick Kross, youth director for the South Pacific region, is now a veteran of three camporees in three weeks.

His journey began in Vanuatu on December 19, where more than 2000 Pathfinders camped at the Blue Water Resort, Port Vila. Clubs from around the Pacific came together, with the biggest representations from Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands. The smallest country represented was one Pathfinder and their Youth leader from Kiribati and 25 from Tuvalu. As the camporee was held by the ocean, most of the activities were water and swimming based.

During the camporee, the Pathfinders had the opportunity to live out the theme, “Courage to Tell” by marching through the town, and also cleaning up the entire town zone. On the Sabbath afternoon, 142 Pathfinders and older young people were baptised.

The Cook Islands hosted the next camporee with 900 Pathfinders at the Papaaroa Adventist Primary School from December 28 to January 2. The Cook Islands prime minister attended the opening ceremony, where he recited the pledge and law he had learned as a Pathfinder.

Then . . . —well, you know what happened next in “sunny” Toowoomba with 2600 Pathfinders from across Australia.

“It has been fantastic to get an overview of Pathfinder ministry across the South Pacific,” says Pastor Kross. “Three places in three weeks has been frantic but we’ve learnt some great things we’d like to apply to the next camporee.”

The joy of hosting

The Taupo club (pronounced Toe-paw) is among our three international visitors at the Australian Camporee. The eight young people and five adults from across the ditch were hosted by the Mackay Central Club. Director Rochelle Rielly would recommend the experience. Mackay provided tents and food for their guests, even organising some of the touring activities before camporee, including a trip to Australia Zoo.

“Mackay were hosted by another club at OshKosh, USA. They decided to pay the favour forward and host us!” says Mrs Rielly. “I think we will definitely be hosting a club in the future. It is so beneficial for the kids and everyone.”

Taupo fundraised for 18 months to get here, selling everything they could find, holding bake sales and selling kiwi fruit. So was it worth the work and the trip? “The integration with the other kids has been great. They’ve made many good friends, especially with the Mackay club,” says Mrs Rielly. They say they definitely will be back.

Clubs keep spirits up

The Wantirna club (Vic) made their own fun amid the rain on Thursday, with a two-hour arm-wrestling competition and sing-alongs that included new, creative verses to the “Pathfinder Song.” They even claim to have invented a new honour in “mud rugby” and created their own river, known—appropriately enough—as the “Wantirna River.”

Meanwhile, Park Ridge Pathfinders (Qld) have been noticed for their helping hands. While many clubs struggled in the heavy rain, Park Ridge’s tents stayed fairly dry so they looked for how they could help other camps and began helping to feed other clubs in their sub-camp. “That’s what Pathfindering’s about,” says club director, Gwen Ward. “Maybe that’s why we had the rain. God has got us all pulling together.”

The Park Ridge kids have been making friends in the process. “In 20 years, we’ll all look back and remember Toowoomba,” says Ms Ward.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Congratulations, Mackay Central

On Friday afternoon, the Mackay Central Pathfinder club (Qld) performed as a tight unit and took out the marching and drill competition, while Logan City Samoan club (Qld) performed an entertaining freestyle drill.

According to camporee parade marshall Paul Creswell, “the winning club was obviously well rehearsed and the standard was very high.”

Friday afternoon festival

Friday afternoon at the Australian Pathfinder Camporee brought sunshine—and a festival atmosphere to the Toowoomba showgrounds, albeit on a smaller scale than planned. Still more rain fell in the morning but glimpses of blue sky and a little sun lifted spirits.

Behind the scenes

According to the people behind the nightly drama program, the story that is unfolding night-by-night is the result of more than a year of planning. Casting and stage planning began early last year and the script—written by camporee director, Tony Knight—gave direction to actors, costumer designers and set planners from October last year.

However, despite the long preparation time, the team only assembled last week to pull the pieces together. “The drama team and crew have been excellent to work with,” says director, Tania Calais. “And since we have arrived here as a team we have drawn in some additional cast members with just a few days notice and they are doing wonderfully.”

The drama re-tells the Bible story of Josiah, the boy king who chose to stand for God and turned his nation around, with a modern-sub-story of a couple of young people involved in an archaeological expedition exploring the story for themselves.

Stefan Lares, from Perth (WA), plays the character Ashley. “Everyone has been really good to work with,” he says. “We were praying as we were back stage on the first night and I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would be.”

He’s says Tania’s a “brilliant director” and Tony did a great job at writing the script. “We hope that everyone at camporee will focus on the message that is coming through,” he adds. “This is my first camporee and being a member of the staff has been tiring but heaps of fun.”

Camporee by the stats

After registration was completed on Tuesday, the administrative staff have been working to finalise the statistical dimensions of the 2011 Australian Pathfinder Camporee:

Total Pathfinders and club staff registered: 2598

Total clubs registered: 109

First club to check in: Woollahra (NSW)

Last to check in: Casey (Vic)

Most from a conference: South Queensland, 621

Smallest conference group: Tasmania, 47

From overseas: 72 (Vanuatu 46, Taupo 13, Te Kopuru 13)

Largest club: Central Coast (NSW), 96 members

Smallest club: Illawarra (NSW), 5

A good news story

The local newspaper—the Toowoomba Chronicle—shared the good story of how Pathfinder are coping with the wet weather and difficult conditions at camporee.

Resume scheduled programming

The sun shone briefly on the camporee this morning, raising spirits and improving conditions underfoot just a little on the camporee site. Normal activities are taking place this morning, even as light showers are persisting.
Despite muddy condition, worship took place this morning in sub-camp groups.

A marching and drill competition is planned for this afternoon and this group from the Central Tablelands Pathfinder Club (NSW) were practising their steps.