The idea was as simple as it was practical: at the Inter-European Division (EUD) Pathfinder Camporee in Sesimbra, Portugal, young people were challenged to participate in thematic workshops. In the workshops, besides learning something new, the attendees were challenged to earn some small “pearls,” called talents, and a highly esteemed Joshua Card (valued at 50 talents each). Later, participants could choose whether to spend those in City Life (a special program where Pathfinders could buy food or other items) or in Special Activities (fun, memory-creating events).
There was, however, another destiny for which they could hand in their talents and cards, organizers said.
“Participants were informed about the ADRA project to help 30 children in São Tomé and Príncipe, meaning that their donations would help those children to receive food and schooling for a whole year,” event leaders said. “The only thing they had to do was to give away their talents and cards, and donors would then cover their generosity with real money.”
Camporee participants were moved by a report on the project and decided to intervene by winning talents and cards, organizers said. They acknowledged the sad reality that around the world, 262 million children and teens are not attending school.
“Above all, they had a role to play,” leaders said.
Pathfinders set the goal of gathering 10,000 talents or 200 cards in donations. It meant they would have to let go of some of their talents and cards and donate them, instead of using them to eat or play games in City Life or taking part in Special Activities.
The last morning of the camporee, EUD youth director Jonatán Tejel announced that Pathfinders had raised 76,951 talents, or almost eight times the original goal. Most Pathfinders chose to help needy children in a faraway country over having more personal fun at the camporee.
“There is hope for the future," said ADRA Europe executive director João Martins. “When we see the altruistic behavior of these Pathfinders, we can be sure that being sensitive to the needs of others is part of their character.”
The project was a high point during the Portugal event. The Pathfinders’ interest and giving spirit inspired organizers and beneficiaries to commit to social responsibility programs even more. Specifically, the São Tomé and Príncipe project has been integrated into the ADRA Global Advocacy Campaign Every Child. Everywhere. In School, where signatures are being collected to influence world leaders so they can help to provide all children with access to education. During the camporee, hundreds of teens at least 14 years old signed up as advocates of this campaign.
Pathfinders also had the opportunity to attend a workshop on some of the challenging situations refugees face when arriving in different countries, organizers said. By participating in some games, teens were able to experience the need to purify water, carry belongings under challenging situations, and adapt to new food and languages.
“The activity was a funny way to understand the difficulties refugees face, and to increase a sense of solidarity with their plight,” leaders said.