TED Pathfinder Camporee Ends on a High
9th August 2019
It was a Camporee to remember and one that no doubt will be impressed upon the heart of all Pathfinders who attended. An international global village formed on the camp site where 4000 Pathfinders, Counsellors and Directors representing up to 30 countries lived, mingled and socialised, forming new friendships throughout the week. Seven days full of activity saw various honours awarded. There were also enjoyable worship services with a creative speaker and a dynamic praise and worship team.
Held from 30 July to 6 August on one of the largest camp sites in southern England (Ardingly Showground in Sussex) the TED Camporee proved to be a well-planned and organised event that utilised up to 250 volunteers whose tasks ranged from security, preparing food, recycling the rubbish and media coverage.
On the opening day, as the campers arrived at the camp site, the kitchen supervisors, led by BUC Treasurer Earl Ramharacksingh and his committed team, successfully coordinated the evening meal for 4000 people with enough food for everyone. The meal services continued three times each day for the 250 volunteers and staff members for the entire week.
Rain on the first day caused a few challenges as campers were immediately set to task in securing their tents. With dry and warm weather for the remaining period, the Pathfinders followed a daily programme that began with breakfast, followed by Bible study. Mid-morning and afternoon sessions were taken up with activities on a group and club basis as various skills, sports and training events took place. Pathfinders had a unique opportunity to learn new things with an array of choice activities led by Master Guides and Camporee Directors. There were opportunities for various clubs to join with other clubs from different countries to learn about a different culture, language and Pathfinder emphasis.
Life skills that would equip young people for the unexpected or just to gain knowledge on an array of topics such as astronomy, survival fire skills, kite making, drills, knots, bridge building, weaving and kayaking to name a few, were shared, helping to develop the mental, physical, social and spiritual wellbeing of each child.
The evening worships for some became the highlight. Engaging praise and worship led by Joshua and his team got everyone engaged with interactive action songs. However, it was the theme song that became the most widely sung throughout the day. The song entitled 'Exodus', was written by 14-year-old Elijah Evans from Windsor Street Pathfinder club in Birmingham, who had submitted the song as part of a contest run by the TED Pathfinder department and had won. Each evening crowds sung heartily the words which reflected God's guidance of His people from Egypt to Canaan (see interview with Elijah here).
Worship speaker Melissa Myklebust, youth pastor from Norway, had the challenge of sharing relevant messages for the young people. She successfully did this through drama enactments, visual aids and the spoken word which captivated the Pathfinders as they listened to her timely presentations.
Morning devotion speaker was Asher McKenzie, from the SEC, who, by using his gift of speaking as a young person, was able to share insightful messages to his fellow youth.
The Sabbath, which is always a special day at events like this proved to be just that. The drum corp led the Sabbath morning procession as they marched around the camp site perimeter with Pathfinders following behind in as a 'call to worship'. The long-extended line of Pathfinders was a sight to behold as they made their way to the auditorium that had seats for everyone on the camp site. With all the people and extra guests on the Sabbath, the logistics of an organised service would seemingly be a real challenge, but the morning service packed with a full programme of music, worship, sermon, baptism of 12 people and a group photo of all 4000 campers on the large lawn outside the auditorium was all completed before 1pm.
The baptism was special. Ten Pathfinders and one Adventurer sealed their decisions as the pastors from their respective country shared words of affirmation and encouragement before immersing their Pathfinder. The appeal, given by BUC Pathfinder director Dejan Stojkovic, saw several others desiring to prepare for the next baptism. The spiritual element of the camp would have made all parents or guardians who had invested in their child a worthwhile sacrifice.
Other interesting features though the week involved nightly bonfires with bonding sessions; hikes; a market day where various clubs were encouraged to use their creativity to trade, buy and sell products; and an international evening where all countries represented showcased their cultural talents.
When interviewed, many of the Pathfinders expressed their joy and happiness in being there. Jordan Wright, 16, from Croydon said, "This is the best Camporee I have been to, the atmosphere is awesome and there's so much to do, I'm glad I came." Miles Higgins from the NEC said, "It’s been really good, the evening worship services have been particularly inspiring especially the praise and worship, and the messages."
Peter Bo Bohsen, TED Pathfinder director said, "The whole event has been like a dream come true. The entire camp site is set out like a sanctuary during the Exodus, with the campers around the main auditorium, which was where the heart of worship took place, it was a very special week."
BUC Pathfinder director, Dejan Stojkovic, when asked what he would like the Pathfinders to take away with them at the end of camp, said, "Most of all it would be for each Pathfinder to have a closer relationship with Jesus and to take home positive memories of a wonderful spiritual experience."
The next main international event for Pathfinders is the CYE Oshkosh Camporee from 12-17 August in the USA. The world Pathfinder day on 21 September will see BUC Pathfinders heading to the town of Hull for an event hosted by the NEC.
See further news and information on the TED Website
See video below for a summary of the entire week.
[Richard Daly (Pictures Victor Hulbert)]