With most schools in the UK starting their vacation this week, some parents will take a respite as approximately a thousand Pathfinders from across the British Union Conference (BUC) travels to Sopron in Hungary on 25 July for a whole week of summer camporee.
The Trans-European Division (TED) Youth Department organises the five-yearly camporee. They will welcome around three thousand Pathfinders from 22 countries within the Division. Teams from the BUC will comprise the bulk of attendees from the two Conferences of South England and North England, the Irish, Scottish and Welsh Missions.
I caught up with the BUC Youth and Pathfinder Director, Pastor Kevin Johns, on Thursday 20 July, as they packed equipment for shipping to the campsite in Sopron. Johns said this year's theme for the TED camporee is 'Count me in', and it's about counting our young people in as God's own. He added that this whole week will be a life experience of being 'counted in' as one of God's people. The experience will equip them to look at themselves, about their life, and learn to ask themselves if a particular lifestyle aligns with what God desires them to be.
Johns said the Pathfinders are excited as they prepare for the trip to Sopron. They will learn practical skills and interact with other Pathfinders during the camporee. He adds, "We have been preparing for this trip by working with our local counsellors and leaders to prepare our young people adequately for this life-enhancing adventure."
Campouts are popular with children, allowing them to learn and develop skills such as map and compass work, camp craft, stars, pioneering, rope work, campfires and outdoor cooking, nature studies, health and fitness and serving the local community.
When asked about the spiritual commitments envisaged at the camporee, Johns said many young people would commit to Christ through baptism and the affirmation of their faith. However, he cannot speculate on baptismal numbers at the camporee; however, he can confidently say that, on 16 September at the BUC grounds of Stanborough Park, at least 75 Pathfinders will be giving their lives to Christ through baptism.
On Thursday, a number of local Pathfinder counsellors and leaders spent time at the Stanborough Park grounds in Watford to load two large trucks with camping items: tents, sleeping bags and mats, cooking items and other equipment for the long trip to Hungary.
We solicit your prayers for all the Pathfinders, their counsellors, and helpers as they travel on Tuesday, 25 July, to Sopron, Hungary, for their summer spiritual retreat.
The BUC Communications department will endeavour to bring you updates from Sopron during the camporee.