What sort of things do Pathfinders do?
Pathfinders do lots of fun things like camping, hiking, caving, abseiling, canoeing, exploring, orienteering, swimming, bike riding, rafting, marching, knot learning, cooking, and doing various honours and crafts. There is also involvement with community service.
How often does our club meet?
The Pathfinders meet for a club night at the Central Coast Adventist School once a month. There are also 5-6 camps during the year with the investiture held in November. See our calendar for dates.
What is the history of Pathfinders?
The earliest Pathfinder clubs started around 1911. Pathfinders has been part of the official program of the Seventh-day Adventist Church since 1950. It has grown globally and now has more than 2 million members and 90,000 clubs.
Do the different clubs get together?
The North NSW conference of Seventh-day Adventist churches organises an expedition for the clubs in this area every year on the long weekend in June.
Pathfinder clubs get together at fairs and ralees where they mix, compete and show the skills they have learned. Larger camporees which may bring together Pathfinders from across Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands are held every few years.
What qualifications do our leaders have?
Our leaders are volunteers, however many of them obtain qualifications so they can lead activities such as bushwalking, kayaking, abseiling and caving. On occasions when we don’t have a volunteer leader with the relevant qualification, we may hire a qualified guide to lead a specified activity.
How do we keep children safe?
Activities are led by qualified guides or leaders who are trained in safety procedures.
Central Coast Pathfinders adheres to the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s Code of Conduct on child safety. All volunteer leaders and parent helpers must have completed a Working with Children Check, and we ensure that at least one male and female adult attends each camp.
Children are required to share a tent with at least one other unit member, and parents are the only adults who can share a tent with their child.
If at any time you have concerns about your child’s safety, please speak to your Unit Leader or the Club Director.
I’m a parent or carer. Can I be involved?
We love having parent helpers! Parents can help with transport and group activities. To ensure safety, we do require every volunteer to apply for a Working with Children Check and provide their number to the club.
We prefer that if parents attend camps, only one parent from each family stays, unless it is a designated ‘family camp’. This helps the children develop independence and maturity. However, it is always a challenge getting everyone to camping trips, so any transport you can help with is always appreciated!
What are Pathfinder units?
Every Pathfinder club has six units or groups, led by one or two unit leaders who are usually parents of a child or children in the unit. The units are:
- Friends – age 10-11 (school Year 5)
- Companions – age 11-12 (school Year 6)
- Explorers – age 12-13 (school Year 7)
- Rangers – age 13-14 (school Year 8)
- Voyagers – age 14-15 (school Year 9)
- Guides – age 15-16 (school Year 10)
- Master Guides – a young leaders training program, usually for teens aged 16-17 (school Year 11)
Does my child have to complete every unit?
No, your child can join at any point in the Pathfinder program and will be placed in the unit which matches their age and peer group.
Does my child have to do every activity?
No, most activities aren’t compulsory. However, to receive a pin showing they have completed a unit, they need to attend 75% of unit activities, complete at least two honours and learn 10 Bible verses. Pathfinders wear their pins and badges with pride, so please help your child to meet this requirement.
What is investiture?
Investiture is the end-of-year graduation program where children graduate from their units, receiving pins and badges in recognition of their coursework.
Where are camps held?
The camps are generally between Barrington Tops in the north to Bungonia caves in the south to Lithgow or Murrurundi in the west to Myall Lakes in the east. Typically travel times are 2-4 hours. We usually leave early on Friday afternoon to enable us to setup camp before dark. Unit leaders and parent volunteers usually drive the children to camps.
We encourage all Pathfinders to learn to be self sufficient and independent. Children will carry and cook (if required) most of their own food during camps, as well as learn to pitch tents which they will share with another member of their unit. Some camps may require children to hike with a pack.
What equipment will I need?
You can build up your camping equipment over time, as we encourage children to share tents between two or three children. To get started, you will need the basics of a sleeping mat and sleeping bag.
For a full list of suggested equipment, see our Resources page.
Fees and uniforms
How much does Pathfinders cost?
Visit our registration page to see the fees. In cases of financial hardship, the situation should be discussed with your unit leader.
Does the club have a uniform?
The club has two uniforms:
- Field uniform – a polo shirt which is worn with shorts or jeans to most activities. You will need to buy the polo shirt from the club.
- Dress uniform – which is worn on special occasions such as investiture and camporee parades. The uniform deposit which is part of your registration fee covers the cost of the uniform – as this uniform is only worn occasionally, you will be able to exchange some uniform items at no cost as your child grows.
For more information about uniforms, see our Resources page.