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Continuing a Legacy

Updated: May 29

This article is part 2 of a two-part series about Wisconsin Pathfinder Area Coordinators

Important Announcements Included for Pathfinder Leadership!

Many people will celebrate that the first official "Pathfinder Club" started in the 1920s in California--and indeed that club, led by John McKim and Willa Steen, was the first club to use the name "Pathfinder." But Youth Societies (which eventually were re-named Pathfinders Clubs) started much earlier. Actually, the most basic roots of Pathfinders began in the Midwest, right here in Michigan and Wisconsin. The very first society was started in 1879 by Luther Warren and Harry Fenner in Hazelton, Michigan. Two years later, unaware of what was happening in Michigan, Meade MacGuire began a second society in Antigo, Wisconsin. It wasn't long after that the world church officially recognized MV (Missionary Volunteers, later Master Guide) and JMV (Junior Missionary Volunteers, later Pathfinders) and pushed forward so that these Youth Societies could be enjoyed in more and more communities.

According to the General Conference Youth Ministries page, there are now over two million Pathfinders across the globe--60,000 of whom will be gathering in Gillette, Wyoming this August. It's fascinating to look back from the huge movement today and recognize that part of the humble beginnings of Pathfinders took place right here in our state. If God can grow one club in the Wisconsin Northwoods and another in Central Michigan and grow it into a two million member, worldwide movement: imagine what He will continue to do from here, with our current 24 Pathfinder Clubs (not to mention Adventurers and Master Guide) across the Wisconsin Conference.

Last week we celebrated a legacy of strong, local lay leadership in our Wisconsin Conference Pathfinders Ministry. And while we're sad to see some of our longtime leaders stepping down, we are hopeful for what God has in store for our Pathfinders in years to come. This past Wednesday, our Wisconsin Conference Executive Committee voted on a new team of Area Coordinators that will continue the Pathfinder work into the future. Along with a new team comes a reconfiguration of the areas of service, which we will be discussing more in the future, but by this fall's LeaderShop event, we will have clarity on which clubs report to which coordinator(s) and who exactly is in charge of helping your club find success in the coming season.

Now, I'd like to present our new team and the general area they will be covering.

Starting in the Southeastern Area, Elias and Viviana Gardana will be coordinating. Elias and Viviana have been directing the Pathfinder and Adventurer Clubs for the West Milwaukee Church (Serafines [Seraphim] and Querubines [Cherubim], respectfully) and will be a huge asset to both our English- and Spanish-speaking clubs in the Southeast.

Moving up to the Northeastern Area, James IV and AnaYancy Hopkins will be coordinating. James has been directing the Green Bay Pioneers Club for several years, and his wife recently joined him. Together, they have a lot of experience in Club Ministries, and as a team they will also be a huge bilingual support for Pathfinder Clubs.

Next: to the North Central Area. Jody and Charlyn Marsh have been Area Coordinators in their area since 2011 and will continue to be a part of our Conference Pathfinders team. As long-time teachers, they have a lot of experience working with groups of kids both in the clubs and classrooms settings. They will continue to be a huge resource to new clubs and coordinators.

Finally, in the Northwestern Area, Jonathan Garrett has stepped up as coordinator. Jonathan has been director of the Chippewa Valley Lightning club in the Eau Claire area for several years and brings a wealth of experience with him into this new position. He looks forward to being a coach to the various clubs in the vast Northwest region of the state, which has seen the most new clubs pop up in the last three years.

Of course, Glen Morrow will continue as the Conference Coordinator for Pathfinders across the state, and we look forward to many more fun events, silly songs, and quality activities from him. Glen has been involved at the Wisconsin Conference level as a Coordinator since 2017, and before that was involved in Indiana Conference Pathfinders, since 2007.

For my part, I have been blessed by the team I inherited upon taking up the Youth Ministries mantle in Wisconsin. For the past three years, they have coached Ally and I as we've learned the ropes of Pathfinders and Club Ministries here in Wisconsin. However, I am excited to work with this new team and see how God will lead and bless in the future.

Pray for our Pathfinders clubs as they prepare for the International Camporee in Gillette, Wyoming. Pray for our new team of coordinators as they prepare for this upcoming year of Pathfinders Ministry in Wisconsin. And pray that our Wisconsin Conference is able to continue making disciples of our young people through the awesome experience of Club Ministries. From the little mustard seed of one club in Antigo in the late 1800s, God has grown a large group of Wisconsin Conference Pathfinders, and worldwide Pathfinders family tree to boot! We can't wait for more young people to be blessed by this ministry and to one day see all of our world family, with our Lord Jesus, in heaven.

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