Here I am at Pathfinder International Oshkosh Camporee 2014, a five day mega-campout for Adventist youth. This special Camporee happens only every five years, and is always greatly anticipated by many Pathfinders. The entire airfield in Oshkosh, Wisconsin is brimming with more than 45,000 Pathfinders and leaders earning honors, doing activities, and meeting new people.
One of the most popular activities in the camp is pin trading. Some people trade for the social aspect and try to trade with as many new people as possible, while others trade to collect rare pins, international pins or "sets" of matching pins. I especially like the "spinner" pins, but they can be moderately difficult to trade for.
There are dozens of honors here that are available for Pathfinders to earn. From the sand honor to basket weaving, from tie dye to pioneering, Pathfinders have been busy working on the requirements at stations all over the area. Also, numerous activities were available for campers, including hatchet-throwing and a German carousel. I was even able to craft my own wooden mallet at an "Oregon Trail Experience" area! There are also some amazing drilling and marching and drum corp performances and competitions happening throughout the week. The best part about all of this is that you always make your own schedule, so you can be as busy or as relaxed as you or your fellow Pathfinders want.
Every night from Tuesday through Saturday, the organizers of the Camporee put on a fantastic evening program. This year, the theme was "Forever Faithful," and was centered around the Bible story of Daniel. Each program consisted of a Pathfinder talent showcase, welcome and prayer, day-in-review videos, song service, puppeteer entertainment, a drama presentation of Daniel, and a pastoral message. You can really see all of the time and hard work put into each evening program. Everything each night from the cast to the costuming to the audio and visuals is brilliant.
Honestly, the atmosphere here is amazing and powerful. It's incredible to have so many Adventist youth gathered together to worship God together. Throughout the week, hundreds of Pathfinders who decided to give their lives to Jesus were baptized, and on Sabbath morning all of the newly baptized Pathfinders were recognized and welcomed as new children of God.
Oshkosh is an amazing week full of fun and excitement, and I'm sad that this year's Camporee is ending. I've been to the past two campouts in Oshkosh, and both have been equally incredible experiences. Although all of the camping and walking can be hard on those used to more comfort, there are still smiles everywhere I go. I can't wait until the next Oshkosh International Camporee in five years!