Trans-European Division (TED) Pathfinders raised almost £16,000 for two mission projects in Albania and the Dominican Republic during their international camporee in Ardingly, England, 30 July – 6 August 2019
While talent was clearly in evidence during the week via the music and special presentations in worships, the almost 70 activities on offer each day, and during the music, skits and laughter of Sunday’s International concert, it was the talent and ingenuity climaxing in Monday’s fund-raising Market day that will be a lasting memory for many.
Despite a dismal forecast and rain in the morning, Pathfinders were able to set up stalls across a sun-drenched market field for the afternoon of fun and camaraderie. Crowds descended on the field to buy or to sell crafts and produce generated from 26 countries, to cook waffles or a variety of special foods, to engage in the traditional throwing a water-filled sponge at camp leaders, to relax with a massage, or even to generate their own smoothie drink by fast peddling on a specially adapted bicycle that powered a liquidiser. It was also the chance to buy scarves and Pathfinder memorabilia from other national groups.
“Considering that many of these Pathfinders had already worked hard to raise funds just to come to Camporee, I am simply astonished at their generosity in supporting these two projects,” stated TED Treasurer, Nenad Jepuranović. The money raised will be supporting the development of an ADRA-run kindergarten in Tirana, Albania and a British Union Youth Ministries project in assisting in rebuilding houses in the Dominican Republic.
Audrey Andersson, TED Executive Secretary, had worked hard alongside a team of TED and British Union leaders, cooking and serving food for the 250 volunteers as well as helping across the site. She rewarded herself with no less than three massages.
With Sabbath being such a high day at Camporee, you might think it hard to maintain the momentum for two more days. However, the excitement levels appeared to continue to rise as the singing grew more vibrant with every morning or evening worship, activity groups grew larger, and Sunday evening’s international concert both entertained and informed an appreciative audience.
The concert included inspiration from Israel; a hilarious ‘fake news’ broadcast from Norway; Danish humour as they poked fun at their neighbouring countries; stunning music from myriad groups; and Cyprus, the smallest group to attend Camporee, offering to help British Pathfinders post-Brexit by offering each of the 2,500 UK Pathfinders a 1-cent coin – hand-carried from Nicosia.
Worships kept up their momentum as well. Asher McKenzie, who had been leading morning worship for the British Group, highlighted the need for high expectations in his final message, climaxing that with an opportunity for Pathfinders to come forward and be prayed with by a line of pastors and elders that stretched out across the front of the stage.
In her final address, the evening devotional speaker, Melissa Myklebust, emphasised that the Exodus theme of the Camporee still continued as Pathfinder Clubs travelled home because, “just as Israel left Egypt for the Promised Land, today we have the promise of the soon return of Jesus, and our promised exodus to heaven.”
A final and highly enthusiastic rendition of the Exodus theme song then led into the closing ceremony. That included the traditional pomp and ceremony related to the lowering of the Pathfinder flag followed by the symbolic handing over of the flag from current hosts, Britain, to the hosts of the next camporee in 2023, Latvia.
A small Baltic nation in Northern Europe, it seems Latvia will not disappoint as they then put on a high quality production of music, history, and inspiration, telling their story of their 100-year-old nation, their liberation from slavery as the Bible came to their country, their struggle through the communist era, and their joy to serve as hosts in 2023, finally bursting into song with as Disneyesque production welcoming Pathfinders to their country. If the event there is as good as their promotion, organisers may need to look for a site that can host double the number of those who came to Ardingly, and are now returning home with positive memories, new friendships, heightened Pathfinding skills and a deeper faith in their Lord and Saviour.
Taleee, commenting on the TED YouTube channel perhaps but sums up the reaction of many campers, “This camp was surely the best experience and I am glad I didn’t miss it. I learnt new things, made new friends, learnt new languages. It was a blessing to spend a week with the Trans-European Pathfinders!” Similar comments can be found across social media reports.
Such memories are best summed up in the final ‘video of the day’ watched with high expectation and applause before Pathfinders headed to their final bonfire, the task of packing up camp, and their return home.