At any given time during the recent Iowa-Missouri Pathfinder Spring Camporee, dozens of teenagers donning red shirts could be seen, each with a positive attitude and explosive energy.

These kids are part of a select group of Pathfinders who are of a certain age and behavioral standard (and proud of it). They love being Pathfinders, helping Pathfinders, and leading Pathfinders. They are Teen Leaders in Training.

Missouri Welcomes New TLT Director

Last November, Iowa-Missouri Pathfinders welcomed Nathaniel Brundidge as the new TLT director. On Sabbath morning at Spring Camporee, Nathaniel was invested as a Master Guide—the top award granted to leaders in Pathfinder ministry.

Alongside him, twelve TLTs were invested, each of them having completed an interview with Nathaniel and a Pathfinder Area Coordinator at some point during Camporee. These interviews are only part of the new director’s responsibilities. The TLTs help Pathfinder leadership as often as possible, so Nathaniel organizes TLT volunteers to help with Bible Experience—the official North American Division Bible study program—as well as Spring Camporee, area camporees, and any other event where they are needed or requested. One of Nathaniel’s most fun activities is planning and implementing the annual TLT Retreat in the fall. This event is solely for Teen Leaders in Training, and they look forward to it each year.

TLT Retreat at Camp Heritage

This year’s Iowa-Missouri TLT Retreat is August 10-13 at Camp Heritage. Pastor Rob Alfalah from the St. Louis Central and Mid-Rivers churches will be our speaker for the weekend, and it will be a great time for the teens to relax, get to know one another, and plan for the coming Pathfinder year.

During the retreat we’ll have a picnic, hike, participate in fun activities at Ha Ha Tonka State Park, work on leadership skills, bond over game night, and more. Iowa-Missouri teens who are already a TLT or are interested in becoming one may come and enjoy this retreat as long as they have completed the 8th grade and are going into 9th grade for the 2017-18 academic year.

To register for TLT Retreat, ask your Pathfinder leader for information.

Iowa-Missouri TLTs 37-Strong

Including those accepted into the program this year, there are 37 young people involved Iowa-Missouri’s Teen Leadership Training program. These teens not only play a large role in leadership at conference events, but also in their local churches. TLTs can teach honors, plan events, lead out in Pathfinder services, and any other responsibilities their Pathfinder director gives them. They are also encouraged to be active in their churches and communities, volunteering as junior deacons/deaconesses, telling children’s stories, singing special music, leading in praise songs or whatever they’re comfortable with.

Though the program doesn’t require specific academic performance or involvement, Nathaniel would love to see the program reach the schools and communities where the teens spend most of their time. Leadership is a transferrable trait that affects individuals throughout life. Skills the teens glean from the TLT program help them become stronger students; family, church and community members; as well as role models for younger Pathfinders and students.

Nathaniel hopes to see the Iowa-Missouri TLT program continue to grow and would love to see more teens stick with the program through their senior year of high school. He feels the leadership skills practiced, the relationships made, and the community created with the TLT program is lasting. He’d like to see more TLTs benefit throughout high school, and take those skills and relationships into adulthood and beyond. Nathaniel views the TLT program as not only a way to train young leaders, but young Christians—hoping the TLTs will have a more lasting relationship with Christ and a foundation in the church. Iowa-Missouri is fortunate to have Nathaniel leading this thriving Teen Leadership Training program, the success of which he credits to Kathy Rowe, Conference Area Coordinator and long-time Pathfinder leader. This program is one example of how generations working together can lead in a powerful way: conference directors, area coordinators, club directors, staff, and TLTs make Pathfinders possible.

If you are a Pathfinder youth who has completed 8th grade, and is going into 9th grade this fall, and would like to become a TLT, don’t forget to ask your Pathfinder director for information about TLT Retreat registration. The deadline is July 20.