Stewardship formed the cornerstone of the first South England Conference (SEC) face-to-face camporee for Adventurers and Pathfinders since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom in 2019 which was recently held at Phasels Wood Activity Centre in Hertfordshire, from 22 to 31 July 2022. We praise God that during the lockdown years when no outdoor events were possible our young people were able to use the online platforms to hold virtual camporees. This was an inclusive camporee, not only limited to SEC clubs, with the attendance of a strong 51-man contingent from the Scottish Mission and seven Doncaster Doves Pathfinders, from the North England Conference.
The theme for this year's camporee 'God's World, Our World' emphasised that our loving God created this world for us to live in it and care for it and ultimately appreciate His love. The Holy Spirit guided the SEC Pathfinder Department in their planning for this camporee, judging from the choice of the main speakers, the theme, activities and honours carefully chosen to reflect aspects of creation.
The main speakers for both camporees gave inspiring messages pointing the campers to Jesus, the ultimate Pathfinder. The first to arrive at the campsite were Adventurers for their camporee, held over the weekend, starting on Friday 22 to Monday 25 July 2022. The main speakers anchoring the programme for the Adventurers were Judy Clements OBE, SEC Children's Ministries Director and Craige Young, Director of BrixKidz. Judy's passion to lead children to a life-long commitment to Jesus Christ was evident in her messages to the Adventurers. Both Judy and Craige worked together to deliver inspiring messages to the Adventurers, the latter using real-life examples from the world of science to deliver spiritual object lessons.
As soon as the Adventurers had left the campsite, Pathfinders arrived the following day. Guest speaker, Pastor Eugene Carolus, from Cape Town, South Africa added an international flavour to the camporee. In his first message, Pastor Eugene pointed out that our Creator God wants to restore the intimate relationship fully enjoyed by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. God created man in His own image and breathed the breath of life into Adam's nostrils, thus getting intimately into Adam's personal space. Eve, whom God created out of a rib taken out of Adam while he was in deep sleep, first saw God before being taken to Adam. Our first parents' first sight was of their Creator God before everything else. He challenged the young people to make God first in their lives.
In his official address to Adventurers and Pathfinders, SEC Pathfinder Director, Pastor Clifford Herman welcomed the campers to the first SEC camporee after 5 years, encouraging them to make new friends, build lasting memories and strengthen their relationship with our Best Friend, Jesus. He added "This is God's world, created for us to appreciate and love Him. It is also our world, given to us as stewards to live in it, care for His creation and build long-lasting friendships."
This year's camporee also showed what our young people missed over the last few years, as the appetite for outdoor group activities was quenched by the array of activities on offer. Clubs were requested to book each attendee's activities online prior to camp, emphasising the 'green' nature of this camporee. The Adventurers were also treated to a special new award called Earth Keepers award. This new award was created by Vernon Noel, one of the SEC Pathfinder Co-ordinators. Adventurers went out on a nature walk to appreciate all of God's nature and help them identify God's creation. Using cut out plastic bottles, they built a one-storey hotel using strings and cut out pieces of bamboo sticks admixed with collections of wood, leaves and grass. On the nature walk, the Adventurers participated in a pollination count, naming flowers, and observing insects that landed on the flowers for a period of 10 to 15 minutes.
This year's camporee allowed each club to showcase the diversity of its members in terms of their nationalities, with clubs participating in a colourful parade in national dress and national flags. The parade added value to the message that all are welcome in Christ. The Doncaster Doves appreciate the generosity and hospitality of the SEC in allowing other clubs from outside the SEC to come to camp with them this year.