by Kathy Marson
COLLEGE PLACE, Wash., July 22, 2015 - Ask any Pathfinder, and he or she will tell you that Pathfinder Fairs in Upper Columbia Conference (UCC) are always special. But this year several amazing things occurred.
The first Certified Pathfinder Adventurer Director Award was given to Steve Meharry. Following the bestowing of the award by Wayne Hicks, UCC Pathfinder Director, Meharry pinned Hicks and June Cross with the same awards as they, along with “Frosty” Cross, were originators of the program. In 2007 the UCC Pathfinder department instituted a program called the Certified Pathfinder Adventurer Counselor program (CPAC). Soon after, the program began to also certify directors (CPAD).
Baptisms are always special, but this year something out of the ordinary occurred. In the afternoon, Wayne Hicks and Gerald Haeger, UCC ministerial director, jointly baptized Carly Haeger, Gerald's granddaughter and Wayne's niece. The last Pathfinder baptized was the son of the first Pathfinder baptized by Wayne Hicks in UCC.
Following the Saturday evening program by Dick Stenbakken, commitment cards were given to the Pathfinders. These cards allow Pathfinders to indicate they want to study the Bible, give their heart to Jesus or indicate they have accepted Jesus. Usually five to 10 of them request baptism. Get ready to praise the Lord! because this year there were 45 Pathfinders requesting baptism!
Many Bible characters were portrayed by Dick Stenbakken, the guest speaker. The lives of Moses, Jonah, Nehemiah and Enoch became tangible patriarchs to the Pathfinders. The theme of these Bible characters resonated with their desire to go to heaven soon and was appropriately titled, “I Want to Go Home.”
Another highlight Sabbath afternoon was the recitation of Chapter 7 of The Desire of Ages by Karissa Sharley, Pastor Harry Sharley's daughter.
This fair was the last Pathfinder Fair with Hicks as “official” UCC Pathfinder director. Due to illness, Hicks was there as a guest, and John Wenger, head Pathfinder coordinator, led out. Hicks and his wife, Jeri, were able to enjoy the event from a different perspective with their sons' families including their granddaughters, Zoey and Daisy
On Sunday, following drilling and marching and Pathfinder awards, the sound of six trumpets heralded the beginning of a special “goodbye.” Music was specially written for the Hicks's by Jerry Bobbitt of the Walla Walla University Torchbearers Pathfinder Club.
A color guard presented the Pathfinder flag with signatures of Pathfinders, coordinators and club directors and an Adventurer flag with signatures of the UCC Adventurer Club Directors and the UCC Adventurer Club Coordinators. The Hicks's were seated in large chairs. They received a framed commemorative Pathfinder patch created specifically for this Pathfinder Fair and two large scrapbooks full of photos taken through the years at various club and conference events.
Letters were read from James Black, North American Division Pathfinder director; Alphonso McCarthy, North Pacific Union Pathfinder director; and Leo Ranzolin, former world Pathfinder director. Then a brief video presentation, created by Shaina Hicks, daughter-in-law, recounted the Hicks's years of service in pictures.
Needless to say, both Jeri and Wayne rained tears of joy and sadness at the occasion. “All I asked my secretary to do was to have ice cream for the Pathfinders," says Wayne. "Let’s all have some huckleberry ice cream!”
Thirty-eight years as UCC Pathfinder director is an amazing legacy of Godly leadership that has been replicated, in turn, in the lives of Pathfinders and staff in UCC and all over the world. But Wayne says, "Our retirement is a celebration of coordinators, staff and phenomenal secretary(s) united in one goal. It really isn't about Wayne and Jeri." So thanks to all who work with Pathfinders, making Jesus real.