July 28, 2017

Pathfinder ‘City’ Welcomes 23,000 Young People in Brazil

Lucas Rocha, South American Division News & Adventist Review

The 7th Pathfinder Camporee of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Brazilian State of São Paulo opened on July 25 with an approximate crowd of 23,000 people, the largest event ever involving Brazilian Pathfinders. To accommodate campers, a ‘city’ was created in Parque do Peão, Barretos, in the northern part of the state.

In addition to setting up a camp ground for more than 6,000 tents, around 600 portable bathrooms, 700 cooking spots, and 1,000 faucets were added to the park’s structure. Construction, which began in April, used almost 8 miles (over 12,000 meters) of wires and 0.6 miles (1,000 meters) of pipes. Temporary residents arrived for the event in 550 buses coming from every region of São Paulo State, the most populous in Brazil, with a population of 45 million.

Parque do Peão ‘City’ has its own dynamics, said organizers. “An exclusive camp radio runs every day from 7 am-11 pm. A convenience store sells basics such as water and food, as well as Pathfinder gear such as pins and T-shirts,” they said. “Laundry services are also available. Washing is not free, but the money collected will be donated to finish the construction of a nearby Family Support Center.” The center, run by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), serves family members of children undergoing treatment at the Barretos Cancer Hospital.

Innovative Opening

The opening program on July 25 included a pre-show hosted by Central Brazilian Union Communication Director Odailson Fonseca, which set the tone for the evening. After these warming-up moments came the official opening, which included an animation on LED screens, supported by a stage inspired by the Bible story of Moses, following the “Called to Be Courageous” event motto. The traditional Bible story usually shared in camporees such as this one was told this time in cinematic language.

At the end of the show, Pastor Tiago Rodrigues delivered a spiritual message. “Before accepting a call to be courageous,” he said, “Pathfinders need to reject the call to be cowardly made by society.” Rodrigues explained that this call to be cowardly comes to young people in various ways—from bullying others at school to even sharing memes and laughing about others’ misfortunes. “God calls us to a higher standard,” he said.

Programs Streamed Online

The 23,000 people present at Parque do Peão Arena on the camporee opening night, however, were just a fraction of the approximately 100,000 Internet users who followed the YouTube streamed program and the official Adventist São Paulo Facebook page. The morning and evening programs are set to be streamed every day at 8 am and 8 pm until the end of the event on July 30.

Pathfinders, which is part of the Youth Department of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and an official program of the denomination, works towards the cultural, social, and religious education of children and teenagers, by providing opportunities for developing their physical, mental, social, and spiritual skills. Pathfinder Club members work to earn ‘honors,’ take part in community outreach and enjoy life in nature, including hiking and camping.