The first official action concerning the work for junior youth was taken in 1907 at a convention in Mount Vernon, Ohio.
As early as 1911 clubs for boys were organised in Takoma Park, Maryland. These were the Takoma Indians, Missions Scouts, Woodland Clan and Pals.
After the first World War, Adventist youth leaders began developing a new concept of training junior youth. Storytelling, hikes, games, arts, crafts and campfires were used in the new approach to youth needs.
In 1919 A W Spalding, undoubtedly the foremost proponent of the new approach to junior youth work, started a Mission Scouts organisation at Madison, Tennessee, for his own boys and their friends. Handicrafts, woodcraft, trailing and camping were stressed. A law, pledge and aim were adopted, which formed the basis of the Pledge and Law eventually adopted for Junior Missionary Volunteers.
In 1922 the first JMV Progressive Classes (later JMV Classes, then AJY Classes and now Pathfinder Classes) were formed to help in the physical, mental, spiritual & social development of the denominations young people. Skill of hand and mind were developed on three levels of efficiency - Friend, Companion and Comrade (now Guide).
Pre-JMV's was developed in 1930 and its name was changed to pre AJY's and then Adventurers.
The term "Pathfinder" was first used in The JMV program by two laymen in the Santa Ana, California, church in the early 1930's. They formed a club for boys in the basement of their home and camped on a similar program to what we have today. The name Pathfinder was one which was continued in Southeastern California and when a camp was purchased in Idyllwild, California, it was called the JMV Pathfinder Summer Camp.
In the early 1940's a number of conferences throughout North America experimented with a program similar to the present Pathfinder idea. In the Pacific Northwest, where L A Skinner was youth director for the union, the club was known as Trailblazers.
As youth director of the Southeastern California Conference in 1946, J H Hancock decided to launch such a program in Southeastern. Since the name of their camp was Pathfinder Camp, it seemed logical that they would call this the JMV Pathfinder Club.
The first conference-sponsored Pathfinder Club was held in Riverside, California, with a young man by the name of Francis Hunt as director.
The idea quickly spread to other local conferences and in 1947 the General Conference Youth Department asked the Pacific Union to develop the Pathfinder Club program on an experimental basis. This union, under the leadership of J R Nelson, developed the Pathfinder idea from a few scattered experiments to a unified plan.
In 1950, the General Conference officially authorised the establishment of JMV Pathfinder Clubs for the world field. Some interesting historical dates are:
1908 Junior Reading Course
1922 Progressive Classes implemented
1926 First Junior Camp
1927 Master Comrade (Master Guide) officially approved
1928 Honours introduced
1946 Elder J H Hancock designed the Pathfinder Club emblem and revised it in 1981
1948 The Pathfinder flag was designed by Henry Bergh and first used in the Pacific Union Conference
1948 First District Directors
1951 First Pathfinder Fair
1952 Elder Bergh, who was the youth director of the Central California Conference, also wrote the Pathfinder song, "Pathfinders"
1954 First Pathfinder Camporee
1957 Pathfinder Day added to church calendar
1972 50th Anniversary of JMV Classes
1976 50th Anniversary of junior camps
1979 JMV was changed to AJY
1982 The AJY Classes and Pathfinders were combined under the one program and name called Pathfinders
1990 40th Anniversary of Pathfinders