Mt. Rushmore was not a quiet memorial that day.
“Left,” march march march, “left,” march march march “lef-righ-lef-righ-left,” march march march
reverberated across the natural amphitheater formed by the granite of the Black Hills.
Tourists stopped in their tracks, phones pointed at the endless throng of Class A uniforms marching past them.
The Sabbath afternoon dedication service at Mt. Rushmore caps the four-day camporee, which occurs every five years for the Mid-America Union Pathfinder clubs. This year, 1,590 Pathfinders representing all the conferences in the Union made the trek out to Custer, South Dakota, and participated in the weekend’s events.
“It was just spectacular,” says Hubert Cisneros, youth director for the Union and one of the key organizers of the event. “We thank God for the outstanding Mid-America Union “Kindred Spirit” Camporee where Pathfinders from throughout our union convened to worship God and celebrate the ministry of Pathfinders.”
Organizers arrived in Custer a week before the event, ensuring that every camper’s and club’s needs would be met. The local High School’s campus would play host to the event.
Logistically, the weekend had very little room for error. Several field trips were planned to various venues and parks throughout the Black Hills, and transporting almost 1,600 Pathfinders and their club directors and staff needed over 30 school buses running a tight schedule.
Rain throughout the days threatened to put a spanner in the works but, thanks to the optimist minds of the Pathfinders and the resilience of the directors all went smoothly.
In fact, after a particularly furious downpour, Pathfinders could be seen wrestling, sliding and diving into and out of puddles and streams that otherwise littered the camp.
All in all, it was a busy, long and beautiful weekend for the Pathfinders in attendance. Worship services were accentuated by uplifting music, and moving speakers included elder Dan Jackson, President of the North American Division, who gave the dedication sermon at Mt. Rushmore.
“We thank the administrators of our union who were present and in support along with Elder Dan Jackson, President of the North American Division, who was the guest speaker at the dedication service at Mount Rushmore,” says Cisneros, grateful to the many helping hands without whom the camporee would not have been such a success. “Other participating dignitaries included: Armando Miranda, Pathfinder Director, NAD; Arnold and Dixie Plata, and Terry Dodge, Pathfinder Museum; Bill Wood, NAD Camping Coordinator and former Dakota Youth Director; Fred Daniel, Arizona Conference Pathfinder Director; Ron Whitehead, Director of the Center for Youth Evangelism; and Ken Roger, Youth Director of the Southern Union. Again we praise God for all of his grace and goodness providing ideal weather at the dedication service and an atmosphere of love and brotherhood – Kindred Spirit.”