By RMCNews – Gillette, Wyoming … For one week in August 2024, the population of Gillette, Wyoming, will more than double in size. The 2024 International Pathfinder Camporee organizers are hoping to welcome more than 50-thousand Adventist youth and young adults gathering for one of the largest convocations in the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

The International Camporee Executive Advisory Committee voted on Tuesday, January 26, 2021 to move from Oshkosh, Wisconsin, to Gillette, Wyoming. The decision will allow for more outdoor activities and space to gather.

The news was welcomed with excitement and eagerness by the small Gillette church of 30 members.

“I think the best way to describe their reaction is similar to the way I reacted–both surprised and shocked. Yet this gives us an excellent opportunity to reach the community around us,” Lester Bentley, pastor for the Northeastern Wyoming District said. “This gives us a genuinely unique opportunity to bring together our outstanding Adventist youth from around the world to impact our community in and around Gillette positively. Some of the comments I heard were, “This is great; we won’t have to travel this time.” Others said, “Why Gillette?” My favorite reaction was, “Wow!”

The RMC youth department echoed the Gillette church’s sentiment.

“Looks like we’re going to more than double the population of Gillette in 2024! It will be a fun time for so many Pathfinders to see a part of our conference and have the opportunity to travel through beautiful places on their way to the International Pathfinder Camporee,” commented Jessyka Dooley, RMC assistant youth director.

Kiefer Dooley, RMC youth director, was surprised at the announcement. “Honestly, I was a bit shocked to hear that the International Pathfinder Camporee was moving locations! Having the gathering in Oshkosh had become so expected that it seems like most everyone had been referring to the event itself as “Oshkosh.” I guess “Gillette” can come to have the same ring to it in the future!”

“We’ll look forward to being generous and supportive hosts to what will be the third largest population center in Wyoming over the course of the Camporee week. Our hope is that those gathered will enjoy their time and not only draw closer to Jesus, but be respectful, beneficial, and a blessing to the people of Gillette,” Kiefer added.

Still a few years to go before they welcome the Pathfinders, the Gillette church is making plans to reach out to the community prior to 2024.

“We have an outreach planned this summer with a youth pastor from North Carolina who will present a one-week revival series designed for people from late teens to early ’30s. Several from the community around Gillette have had the opportunity to hear him speak at the winter retreat held each year at Mills Spring Ranch in Casper. We are anxious to have him come and spend a week with us this coming June,” Bentley said.

Kiefer added, “Having the Camporee come to our territory is exciting, but it doesn’t change the mission and the work we have set before us. We anticipate that we’ll work closely with the Camporee boards and planning committees, help to coordinate RMC club participation as needed, adjust summer camp dates if necessary, and work with the Camporee organizers to utilize Summer Camp staff as Camporee staff. I’m sure that there will be a lot more to do as the dates draw nearer. Until then, we’ll continue to put our best efforts into supporting our youth ministry initiatives conference wide so that when 2024 comes, our Pathfinder organization is robust, thriving, and able to bring our youth closer to Jesus through the Camporee experience.”

The “Believe the Promise” camporee will be held at the Cam-Plex complex August 4 – 11, 2024.

–RMCNews; photo supplied