Bike for Life Pedals to Oshkosh from North Carolina.
By Tamara Wolcott Fisher
People travel in a variety of ways to reach the Forever Faithful International Pathfinder Camporee held in Oshkosh, Wis., August 11-16, 2014. Many spend hours and arrive by bus, Pathfinders from other countries travel via airplane, but 11 Carolina Conference Pathfinders rode their bikes.
Ranging in age from 13 to 67, the Bike for Life group from the Carolinas pedaled 830 miles to attend the international event. The group left Asheville on July 27 and arrived in Oshkosh on August 12 around 12:30 pm. According to rider Brian Aalborg from Charlotte, the bike riders average 60 miles per day, with 110 miles on a long day and 40 on a short day. The group stayed in Adventist churches and schools or other faith community locations along the way and even took time to stop in Battle Creek, Mich., to tour Adventist Village. They also took Sabbath off from riding.
“When I started the ride I had not been on a bike for six weeks,” said Kathy New, who attends The Gate church in Canton, N.C., and sits on the Pathfinder Council for the conference. “The kids realized I could not keep up and the boys would ride in front on me and break the wind. The girls would say, ‘Come on Ms. Kathy. You can make it.’ It really encouraged me.” When people would find out one rider was 67 and that New was 64 they were surprised.
New said the first ride took place in 1999. The group was so impressed with the changes for both Pathfinders and adults that they decided to make the Bike for Life an annual event and they have done so every year, except one. The Pathfinder group rides for one week each summer to locations in the Carolinas and beyond.
Jordan Zinke and her dad, David, from the Greeneville Northstars Pathfinder Club in N.C. is age 13 and trained two months for the ride. She said the challenge for her was the headwinds because she is so light. “God blessed me because He made my will power stronger. I asked God to give me strength.”
David Zinke led the pack with a radio in one ear and directions in the other. “God blessed me. He allowed me to experience this with new people and a new sport,” said Zinke. “It is amazing when you get a bunch of people together that close doing something that is rigorous, there is a lot of opportunity for people’s temperaments to come out. I think we really came through as a group and I think that our Christian experience came through.”
A challenge for Zinke along the trip was securing his cell phone to his bike. He tried three different devices and finally created his own with a belt clip. He is a mechanical engineer by trade.
The group also gave away Forever Faithful Tour brochures that share health information and websites directing people to Bible studies and health sites.
Quote of the Day:
"Every night you feel like you get closer to God," said Josh Sanchez from the Chattanooga Hispanic club in the Georgia-Cumberland Conference in the Southern Union.
A young Pathfinder from the Lake Union gets baptized at the 2014 Forever Faithful International Pathfinder Camporee. Photo Credit: Rich Herard
Charles Hollington swings the quads during a fancy step during the Berean Challengers Drum Corps practice session for the drum corps competition at the Forever Faithful International Camporee in Oshkosh, Wis. The drill team is from the Berean Church in Atlanta, Ga. Photo Credit: R. Steven Norman
James Black, North American Division Youth Director, and Ted NC Wilson, General Conference President, review the Pathfinders from the Mid-American Union, North Pacific Union and Pacific Union. Photo Credit: Brent Hardinge
Dan Weber, Communication director for the North American Division, films over the 2014 Forever Faithful International Camporee in OshKosh Wis. Photo Credit: Brent Hardinge
Seventh-day Adventist youth directors from around the world pose for a selfie while standing on the main stage during the opening ceremonies at the Forever Faithful Camporee 2014 in Oshkosh, Wis. Photo Credit: James Bokovoy
Pathfinders out for a quick morning run pose for a photo as they run the 5K for Life. Photo Credit: Bryant Taylor
Yulianna Girarte is all decked out in her traditional Mexican outfit Charra. She is from the Doulos Pathfinder at Montemorelos University in Montemorelos, Mexico. Photo by Terrence Bowen
Joshua Walker, an undergraduate at Andrews University and a staff member at Camp Akita in Illinois Conference in the Lake Union, plays out his role as palace guard, keeping watch over the entry gates in the Forever Faithful play. He has been working at the camporee grounds since August 3, and he has enjoyed being a part of the drama team. Photo by JeNean Johnson
Pathfinders from around the Southwestern Union Conference and international clubs perform the flag raising ceremony on Wednesday morning. Photo Credit: James Bokovoy
Actors portraying the story of Daniel during the opening of Forever Faithfull International Pathfinder Camporee 2014 in Oshkosh, Wis. Photo credit: James Bokovoy
Loma Linda, Ca. Indonesian Pathfinder Club marches in day three of the Pathfinder parade in Oshkosh. Photo by Terrence Bowen
Sara Mann of Port Townsend, Wash., holds the corner of the flag for Wednesday's parade. Photo Credit: Brent Hardinge