The following video report and article was originally published by WCJB TV-20, the ABC affiliate in Gainesville, Florida.
HIGH SPRINGS – Rodeo, go carts, and rock climbing are some of the activities planned for this five-day camp. But beyond the fun and games, the camp hopes to show kids and young teenagers the importance of fellowship and the community.
Eleven-year-old camper Sean Monroe said pin trading is what he is looking forward to most at the Southern Union Pathfinder Camporee.
It’s a camping event created by the Pathfinder Club, a worldwide program that targets the development of youth. Pathfinders is sponsored by the Seventh-day Adventist Church and their goal is to mentor young people in the Christian faith.
Wednesday afternoon, RVs with families made their way to this 200-acre camp from all over the southeast. There are 12,000 Pathfinders in the south eastern region and about 5,500 of them are here in High Springs at Camp Kulaqua.
Yeseny Morales is one of those campers. She and her family took a road trip from North Carolina for their very first camping event.
“I am excited about the experience, especially spending time with my family,” Morales said.
Others, like Monroe, say it’s also a way to deepen friendships.
Camp director Allan Williamson says the activities the camp has created teaches kids new things without them even noticing it, like the Tower of Faith which he calls a trust exercise in disguise.
“You get in a harness and then all of the sudden it lets loose but then it catches you,” Williamson said.
He says the activities at the camp are not only fun but they teach skills that are relevant to everyday living.
“When they go back, we hope that they will make a difference in their home, their community, their church and also their school,” he said.