The Education and Culture Committee of Brazil’s Senate voted Bill 3936/19 on July 11, naming every September 20 as National Pathfinders Day in the country’s official calendar. The next and last step in the long process for the bill to become law will be its signing by Brazil’s president, church leaders in South America recently reported.
Leaders said that the vote acknowledges the relevance of the care, instruction, and training of young people through the Pathfinders program throughout Brazil. In his presentation, Senator Hamilton Mourão, the rapporteur of the project, emphasized the contribution of the program since the 1950s. “Pathfinder clubs emphasize the importance of education, health, and community service. They foster the wholistic growth of young people, preparing them to be responsible citizens and committed to the well-being of all people.”
“I want to congratulate the initiative,” said Senator Dorinha Seabra, vice president of the Education and Culture Committee of Brazil’s Senate.
The bill was voted on unanimously.
In the room where the session took place, Pathfinder members and their leaders witnessed the proceedings. One of them was Udolcy Zukowski, Pathfinder director for the South American Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. He had been following the process since it was first presented in 2018 and passed by the Constitution and Justice Committee of Brazil’s House of Representatives in 2021.
“As a good Pathfinder, as someone who loves Pathfinder Clubs, I was thrilled,” Zukowski said. “As I was witnessing the proceedings, I thought of every club director, every counselor, every club member’s parent, every Pathfinder who struggles to be acknowledged and valued. Now we will have a very special day of commemoration. And it is the first country in the world to have a National Pathfinders Day.”
Currently, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay have 13,809 active Pathfinders clubs and 369,613 members. In Brazil alone, there are 288,353 participants. Manaus, with 413 clubs, is considered the world capital of Pathfinders. Next to it is the city of São Paulo, with 362 clubs, and Salvador, with 187. Thanks to the vote to have a special yearly day to remember and focus on the work of Pathfinders, more clubs are expected to be born across Brazil.
During the session, Senator Zequinha Marinho asked for the floor to detail some of the contributions of Pathfinders to society. “In my state, Pará, thank God there is a very big work, divided into four church regions of the Adventist Church,” Marinho said. “There are 1,028 clubs across the state of Pará, with more than 28,400 boys and girls enrolled. I want to commend the initiative.”
At just 12, Alícia is one of the representatives of the thousands of Pathfinders who will now have a day in the official calendar of Brazil. She is a member of the Coral Club, in São Sebastião, São Paulo, and says she feels honored by this recognition. “Such a special day is an opportunity for more people to be interested in a program that can make a significant difference in their lives,” Alícia said. “In the last two years I have made many friends and experienced changes in my life and relationship with God.”
“The fact has been proven that the program is forming good citizens. The good mix of adventure, friendship, and lessons on overcoming challenges help our teenagers to focus on what is useful, good, and pleasant,” he said.