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.