Youth Ministries

 

The central focus of the Arizona Conference Youth Ministries Department is to help our young people understand that God needs them and wants them to be a part of His work. Therefore every event, feature and program for our youth encourages them to become actively involved in the various programs of the Seventh-day Adventist church. They learn that they are an integral part of a global family of believers who look forward to the coming of Jesus. Mission programs, witnessing events, evangelistic meetings, social programs—all work to make each individual young person feel that he or she is a valued part of God’s family. Our goal is to give every one of our youth an opportunity to accept Jesus as their personal Savior. Then we help them find their unique niche in His work.

LEADERSHIP CONVENTION
In August of each year Pathfinder and Adventurer Club leaders are invited to a special Leadership Convention held at Camp Yavapines in Prescott, Arizona. Classes are offered in both English and Spanish for those attending, and include Basic Adventurer and Pathfinder Leadership, Adventurer Leadership Growth, and Adventist Heritage. Focus is placed on motivating our leaders to revitalize their local programs. An advanced “Pathfinder Leadership Award” is presented to those who excel in the courses offered. Last year’s program was entitled “Youth Alive” and featured guest lecturers from the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists as the keynote speakers.

ADVENTURER CLUBS
Adventurer Clubs are family-oriented clubs for children in first through fourth grades.
The North American Division is continually developing new curriculums based on the components of a child’s world: my God, me, my family and my world. Parents and children work together at these club meetings.

Each autumn we host Adventurer Fun Day. Adventurers and their parents from around the Arizona Conference gather to enjoy a variety of activities.

At our Adventurer Family Retreat, held at Camp Yavapines, many of the activities are planned around a central theme or focus. Children are involved in their own learning activities while parents attend meetings designed to help them develop their parenting skills.

Today, we have 269 Adventurers attending 18 actively reporting clubs.

PATHFINDERS
Pathfinders enjoy a wide range of activities including camping, mastering survival skills, and leadership training. Interactive training is given in a variety of recreational, artistic, nature, conservation, vocational and outreach areas with special awards or honors given when a module is completed successfully.

The Pathfinder Fair is an annual event held on the grounds of Thunderbird Adventist Academy in Scottsdale, Arizona. There young people march in formation, demonstrate their skills, and participate in various events as spectators cheer them on.

Camporees are held throughout the state, and Arizona Pathfinders are always in attendance at the International Camporee hosted by the NAD at Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

Our Pathfinders have done well in the annual NAD-sponsored Bible Bowl competitions. Many of our clubs have traveled to Andrews University for the final competitions and have scored favorably. Currently we have 522 Pathfinders attending 29 actively reporting clubs.

Our youth are the future of the church and it is imperative that we teach them how to assume leadership roles. Teens Leadership Training provides leadership experiences for our youth by giving them responsibilities within the Pathfinder Club. Carefully planned events including canoe trips, back packing, and ski weekends are held throughout the Conference during various seasons of the year. Arizona TLTs take part in the annual Arizona Winter Youth Retreat in northern Arizona and the NAD Winter Fest in Colorado.

SUMMER CAMPS
Summer camp programs at Camp Yavapines attract youth from throughout the state and beyond. This year’s theme, “Treasure Seekers,” taught campers from ages 7 to 16 to seek the treasures found only through a close walk with the Savior. Many young people who might not choose to attend church have an opportunity to meet Jesus while at camp.

Additions at Camp Yavapines have been extensive and plans are to introduce one new feature activity each year. The newly renovated amphitheater offers a place for meetings, singing and drama. This year’s new feature attraction for youth of all ages was our go-carts; a special go-cart track is being constructed on the old ball field. Another unique feature this summer was a Bible Exploration Activity in which young people were shown creative ways to study the Bible using practical lessons in nature. This activity grew in popularity, with youth rededicating their lives to God as a result of their experiences.

Our camp staff is hand-picked from Adventist college and academy applicants. Maturity and strong Christian values are requirements for our counselors/directors who work with each camper on an individual basis to make sure his/her experience is positive and rewarding.
At the end of the season campers often say they would like to stay for another week or two.

By the end of the 2007 camp season, many had chosen to give their hearts to Jesus for the first time, and there were many rededications. Fifty-two young people indicated their desire for baptism, while others are requesting studies with their pastors in preparation for baptism.

SENIOR YOUTH
Special events are planned throughout the year for the senior youth of the Conference such as retreats, training seminars, mission trips and local evangelistic meetings. Many of our young people have traveled internationally to preach their own evangelistic meetings and build churches through ShareHim and Maranatha. In addition, homeland campaigns have been held in Arizona featuring youth evangelists.

     Erik VanDenburgh, Director