Faith Adventure - Walking with Paul. 

Faith Adventure - Walking with Paul. 

Bassano Romano, Rome. August 1-8, 2011. For about a week, the Baden Powell Park, located in the countryside near Rome, hosted the Adventist Church’s eleventh International Pathfinders Camporee of the Euro-Africa Region. About 2400 Pathfinders, aged 11-16

August 18, 2011 | CD-EUD - Photos V. Annunziata

Bassano Romano, Rome. August 1-8, 2011. For about a week, the Baden Powell Park, located in the countryside near Rome, hosted the Adventist Church’s eleventh International Pathfinders Camporee of the Euro-Africa Region. About 2400 Pathfinders, aged 11-16 years old, came together for this event, which takes place every five years. As with any Camporee, the young people took home many memorable experiences. Among these, the dust was surely one of them. Thin, clay dust that rose from the ground to envelop whoever was in its wake. A typical summer under the hot Italian sun. But, the event was introduced by the "customary" storm that has accompanied us without fail over the last Camporees. This experience impacted a large part of the delegations that had decided to come for a fun, pre-camporee week. More than half a meter of water drowned suitcases, sleeping bags, tents and anything else in its way.

This unscheduled event, however, did not impede the delegations’ activities as they visited Rome, swam in the lake, the sea, and did other fun things, helping to ease the stress that had arisen as a result of the storm. They were also immediately invited to spend the nights in the gymnasiums of nearby cities. The only trace of the storm was a layer of mud in the cafeteria and around the many kitchens. But at least, the food was saved from the dust… And to think that it was told that in Italy, it never rains during the summer!

The Arena. Finally, the opening day. The arena was packed, and more than 2400 Pathfinders had taken their place on the bleachers, shouting out their joy to be together. The amphitheater was surrounded by a striking image of the Coliseum, the undisputed symbol of Ro

me. Inspired by songs, music, theater and messages, the onstage program captured our Pathfinders’ attention, thanks to all who collaborated to manage the various elements: Romina and Ruben, the moderators; Gaël, author of the theme song and leader of the music group; Alvaro Garcia Mohedano, Spanish Adventist artistic director and a group of professional actors playing the life of Paul; Jonatan Tejel, worldwide Pathfinder director; Vincenzo Annunziata, video and media director; and Corrado and Stephan, presenting the morning meditations.
Responding with enthusiasm, the young people started their Faith Adventure following the example of Paul. A real adventure of faith even for us, because this was the first program of its kind.

The program. The program of a Camporee is full of activities which provide the opportunity to learn while having fun. Every

morning more than 80 workshops are offered in seven different places presenting Nature, Pathfinder activities, Special skills, Games, Sports, Arts & crafts, and many more to help develop personal talents and skills. In the afternoon, the Pathfinders could participate in scouting games, survival activities, Bible rallies, etc. In short, it was impossible to get bored! "It has been wonderful to participate in this workshop" said a girl as she was finishing an Arts & crafts activity, "We not only had fun, but we also learned something useful that we can take with us." This is just one of many similar comments that we have received… Target achieved!

Baptism. The highlight of the entire Camporee was the baptism. How exciting! After the program in the arena, the young people were accompanied by volunteers along a path lit with torches to a place where the baptismal font was built in the shape of a cross. It’s hard to describe the emotions of the eleven pathfinders, from different countries, as they slowly went down into the cross together to be baptized.

Many other pathfinders were inspired by their example to accept Jesus as their Savior. This aspect makes each Camporee a real evangelization event, and many young people expressed their interest in baptism.

The Village. Created specifically to reproduce activities related to community life, the Village included a post office, hospital, store, media center and information point, among other structures. The most popular of these was a street side café, where an impressive quantity of Italian gelato was enjoyed. The Oasis, better known as the house of prayer, was also well frequented by many young people, "searching for silence, meditation and prayer," said Rui Bastos, Portuguese Youth Director, and Oasis coordinator.

International meeting. For the first time a large part of the Camporee participants came from countries outside of our European context, including delegations from Brazil, Canada, Russia, Thailand, and others. Almost all who came from Thailand were Buddhists, and this was their firs

t contact with our Christian context. "Our youth had a great Camporee," said their coordinator. "Some of them had already been looking for insights on Christianity and one has already been baptized. This Camporee has encouraged them to reflect on their life and now they have so many questions."
A large delegation of more than 350 Pathfinders came from England, and they, together with all the other countries represented, greatly enriched our scouting event.

Volunteers. Finally, a word about our volunteers. Without them no Camporee can take place. Much of the preparatory work was done by about sixty young people from various parts of Italy and about a dozen from the rest of Europe. Great people, committed and willing to serve. With long days of hard work, putting endurance to the test, many chose to stick with us through to the end.

With the closing ceremony on Sunday evening, full of visual imagery, songs and final messages, this 2011 edition of the Euro-Africa region (EUD) Camporee has entered into history. An emotional farewell was given to Therese Dürennmatt Sanchez - retiring secretary of the EUD and youth department for over thirty years; and to Corrado Cozzi, former EUD youth director - who with this Camporee officially ended 28 years of passionate and enthusiastic service with young people. “I started my ministry with youth by organizing an international Camporee in Poppi, Italy in 1991” said Corrado, “and now it is completed by organizing this 2011 Camporee, once again in Italy. This period has empowered my passion for the Church.”

Reflecting on the events of the last week, Stephan Sigg, the current EUD youth director said “The Camporee was a relevant church experience for the young people since it presented challenging activities, learning opportunities and created a unique spiritual community of peers and adults from different countries and cultures. Together with more than 2400 pathfinders we have been on an extraordinary faith adventure inspired by the life of Paul."
Stephan Sigg officially announced that the Camporee of 2015 will be held in the beautiful country of Switzerland.

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