Adventist Journal Online | Pathfinder leadership training seeks to keep youth engaged


The South American division’s new program aims for continued involvement, executives said.

“Once a Pathfinder, always a Pathfinder! ”

New Desbrava + The South America Division (SAD) program (“Pathfinders +”) aims to give meaning to this common slogan.

Traditionally, Pathfinder club activities are aimed at 10-15 year olds. After 15 years, club members can choose to stay and qualify to become club officers. However, most of these teens end up walking away from the program.

Church leaders have noticed that some of the youth who leave their Pathfinder clubs are influenced by secular activities and ideas. Some even end up disconnecting from their Adventist congregations.

To combat this trend, leaders of the SAD church launched the Desbrava + program. This initiative encourages Pathfinder club members who are 16 years old to stay engaged in their club’s activities at the local level. Adventist members may choose to join a leadership training course, take group classes as part of the regular program, or take on leadership support roles in their local club. Club members who are not yet baptized can still train to take on assistant roles and supervised missions. As they receive additional training, each club member is encouraged to serve in various ministries in the church.

According to SAD Pathfinder director Udolcy Zukowski, “Staying active in the club and the church is essential to keeping each member’s faith alive. At this age, they want to experience a sense of belonging. They want to feel useful.

Zukowski explained that sometimes young people think they don’t have the skills or abilities to take on leadership roles or that they are too shy. “The Desbrava + is there to give them a little boost so they can develop their skills and continue to be part of the club they love so much. As they do, they can continue to be influenced by a Christian environment, ”Zukowski explained.

He noted that Desbrava + is not a new class in the traditional cycle, nor a parallel club with different activities, but a specific personal development program for 16-17 year olds. “This is an initiative in which they are challenged to ‘get their hands dirty’ to serve and make a contribution,” Zukowski said. He added that this is a program exclusively for those who have previously been a member of a Pathfinder club, as this experience is essential to carrying out the activities suggested by the program.

Adolescents who register Desbrava + will have special identification on their uniform and, at the end of the year, will receive a pin that can be used for various specialty honors. Developed with the help of church leaders in the region, the program will launch its pilot version in 2022. First, it will be presented to department heads and SAD secretaries in early December 2021. At the end of January 2022, church leaders said they plan to launch a pilot training phase in selected clubs. After performance reviews and adjustments, the program is expected to be implemented at all SAD Pathfinder clubs in 2023, they said.

The original version of this story was published on the South American Portuguese Language Division news site.

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