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The 1993 Rose Parade float. The Seventh-day Adventist church won Witness Through Roses (depicting Enjoying and Caring for Nature).

Photo courtesy of Norman Middag and the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists

History of the Youth Department of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists

By Leo Ranzolin, and Dixie Plata


Leo Ranzolin

Dixie Plata

First Published: November 29, 2020

The General Conference Youth Department has its offices at the General Conference building in Silver Spring, Maryland. It is assisted in its work by the Adventist Youth (AY) Council, which is a quinquennial advisory of all the Church division leaders. Each division has its councils, as well as unions, conferences, and missions. The General Conference Youth Department and the AY council serve AY societies, campus ministries, junior youth ministries, camping, Pathfinder and Adventurer ministries worldwide.

Early History

James White had a deep burden for the youth and in August of 1852 he published the first edition of The Youth’s Instructor. He wrote: “We are happy to send to you the first number of this title paper. For some time we have been impressed that we had more work to do for youth, but have not been able to commence until the present time.”1 He goes on to challenge the youth of those days and how they were exposed to many evils and dangers. It was that vision that started the youth movement.

In 1879 teenagers Luther Warren and Harry Fenner started the first Seventh-day Adventist Youth Society with nine boys meeting in Luther’s upstairs bedroom. They had a burden for unconverted young people in their little church in Hazelton, Michigan. They reconsecrated their lives to the Lord and then went to work as soul winners for their young friends.2

At this first youth society, officers were elected, and an offering was taken to purchase missionary literature for distribution. A temperance pledge was drawn up and signed. As the weeks went by and the success of the new undertaking was evident, it was decided that girls could also be invited. When this step was taken, the meetings moved to the parlors of various church members’ homes and finally to the Hazelton Church.

Two years later, in 1891, young Meade MacGuire, with the encouragement of the local church elder started a youth fellowship in the Antigo, Wisconsin Church, with thirty members. Meade was unaware of what had happened in Michigan earlier, but these first ripples of what was soon to become a wave of action would spread to other areas and Adventist youth would become a mighty force for good in the remnant church.3

Systematic organizing of the young people of the Seventh-day Adventist Church elicited a response from Ellen G. White, written from Australia, December 19, 1892. The bulletin as presented January 29, 1893 at the General Council meeting in part stated: “With such an army of workers as our youth, rightly trained, might furnish, how soon the message of a crucified, risen, and soon-coming Savior might be carried to the world.”4

During the 1890’s young people’s societies sprang up in state after state, in North America, and overseas. In 1892 a society was organized in Adelaide, Australia under the leadership of Arthur G. Daniels.5

In 1893 the Young Peoples Society of Christian Service was organized at College View, Nebraska, at Union College, “to secure the increased spirituality of the young people, their enlistment in all missionary activities through existing channels of work, and their elevation to a higher plane of living and thinking.”6

In 1894 the first Sunshine Bands were organized by Luther Warren in South Dakota. In 1896 Luther held a convention at Bridgewater for several bands in the state.7

The Ohio Conference led in giving formal recognition to young people’s groups. The summer of 1899, at Camp Meeting, a resolution was passed forming an organization of “Christian Volunteers”, who signed a pledge of service which read: “Recognizing the preciousness of God’s gift to me, I volunteer for service for Him anywhere in the wide world that His Spirit may lead, and in any form of service that He may direct.”8

In 1900 Adventist young people of Germany formed a youth organization within the Church, while in 1903 Young People’s Societies began in Germany. In 1901 societies were organized in Iowa.9

Young People’s Department of the General Conference

The General Conference Committee recognized the need of a coordinated leadership and asked Flora Plummer of the Sabbath School Department to take on this challenge in 1901 to promote youth work in local churches.

In 1903 she reported 186 youth societies, with a membership of 3,478. Young People’s Societies were begun in Germany and in 1904 a 32-page Manual of the Young People’s Work10 was published. Young People’s Society report blanks were sent out in 1905 and reports came from England, the Cook Islands, Trinidad, Africa, the French Latin Field, the West Indies, Jamaica, and Canada. In 1906 a 12-page manual on youth work was published by the department.

Six years after the Sabbath School Department had organized the work for Adventist youth it became apparent that the need for a youth department with a full-time departmental secretary had come. Thus, from May 10-25, 1907, at a General Council held at the Seventh-day Adventist Sanitarium at Gland, Switzerland, the Young People’s Department of the General Conference was voted. Milton Earl Kern, who had been active in youth leadership in the Midwest, was appointed chairman of the new department (1907-1930) and Matilda Erickson secretary (1907-1922). A seven-member advisory was also appointed.11

Following this action, a young people’s convention was held at Mount Vernon, Ohio, July 10-20, 1907. At this meeting of more than 100 delegates the name “Seventh-day Adventist Young People’s Society of Missionary Volunteers was adopted. The familiar expression “MV” was to live in the hearts of young people for many years. An aim, motto, and pledge were also voted. From the onset, leaders were concerned about the spiritual welfare of young people. As a result of the 1907 Mount Vernon meeting plans were laid to prepare young people to commit their lives to Christ.12

At the General Conference Session of 1909, a resolution was passed with plans for a separate Junior Missionary Volunteer Society (JMV). It was felt that young youth also needed spiritual, physical, and mental activities to strengthen their walk with the Lord. The training of leaders followed this resolution that youth 10-16 years of age would have a program just for them.13

Overview of the Main Events

From 1907-1917 there was a rapid development of the youth program and new materials were prepared to provide leaders and youth with good reading and training.14

   1907    Senior Youth Standard of Attainment Course
Senior Reading Course was begun
Progress reports received from Africa and British Guyana.
1908 Church Calendar listed Young People’s Day January 26th;
Morning Watch Calendar was inaugurated
Junior Reading Course began in October
MV Societies began in Tahiti, Singapore, Norfolk, Fiji, and Portugal
1909 Junior Missionary Volunteers Societies (JMV) organized for ages 10-16
The Scandinavian Union organized Missionary Societies.


Missionary Societies began in Bermuda.
1911 MV Leaflets developed
German and Japanese Reading Course began
Missionary Volunteers Societies organized in Korea
Boys Clubs began in Takoma Park, Maryland and Lincoln, Nebraska.
1912 The Philippine Islands, South America, and Central America organized Missionary Volunteer Societies            Meade MacGuire appointed as Field Secretary for MV/JMV Societies (1912-1925).
1913   Morning Watch and Reading Course were published in Spanish
Missionary Volunteers Societies organized in China and Budapest, Hungary.
1914   Junior Society Lessons were prepared
Morning Watch Calendars developed in Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, and Chinese
Reading Course was printed in Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish languages
Ella Iden-Edwards wrote a Junior Manual
Newly formed Church Officer’s Gazette carried programs for Senior and Junior Youth meetings
First overseas convention for young people’s workers met in Shanghai, China.
1915 Senior Bible Year began
Korean Morning Watch first published
Junior Standard of Attainment was begun
A council dealing with the rapid work of the Young People’s Department convened in Saint Helena, California.

First MV census in the history of Seventh-day Adventist youth was launched
MV Societies were reported in the Bahamas
Union MV Departments were given responsibilities of societies in their regions.

1917 English Junior Bible Year began
English Primary Reading Course was established
French Reading Course begun in Haiti.
1919             Missions Scouts started by Arthur W. Spalding for his sons and their friends in Tennessee. Spalding wrote a pledge and law for the club.


Development of New Programs and Youth Organizations

1920   Harriet Holt became Junior Secretary (Director) of the General Conference Youth Department. Harriet Holt and Arthur W. Spalding worked together planning a club ministry using the Pledge and Law that Spalding had earlier authored. In 1921 it became the Junior Missionary Volunteer Pledge and Law, which after many years is still an important part of Pathfinder ministry.
1922   The junior work was developing so quickly that U.V. Wilcox was added as a field secretary.
JMV classes: Friend, Companion, and Comrade & MV Class Master Comrade were developed.
1924    Harriet Holt wrote a Junior Manual to give spiritual and physical ideas to help leaders train youth to be involved in their churches and communities.
1925  W. J. Gilson led out in the first Seventh-day Adventist summer camp held in December at Yarra Doon, near Warburton, in the Victorian Conference, Australasian Union.
1926 Grover Fattic, East Michigan Conference, lead out in the North America summer camp at Townline Lake, Michigan. The first camp for girls was held in Wisconsin, led by Harriet Holt. These small beginnings of the summer camp program have grown to be year-round ministries worldwide.
1927   Harriet Holt and Arthur Spalding, with the help of specialists in various fields, wrote the first 16 MV merits.
1927 In response to the message given by M. E. Kern, Pathfinders had their beginning. Guy Mann, Youth Director of the Southeast California Conference encouraged John McKim to start the first Pathfinder club on record, in Anaheim, California. McKim, a Scoutmaster, wanted to provide Christian activities for Adventist youth. He asked Willa Steen from the neighboring Fullerton Seventh-day Adventist Church to be the first girl’s director. Their spouses Bertha McKim and Claude Steen supported this club ministry as did the two churches and the Conference. The club started small, but quickly outgrew the McKim’s home and meetings were moved to the Lincoln School gym where they continued into the 1940’s.
1928 C. Lester Bond published the requirements for the Vocational Honors (name changed from the Scouting term Merits) in the 1928 Junior Handbook that he wrote to give guidance to the growing work.
Historic first youth congress in Europe at Chemnitz, Germany, directed by Steen Rasmussen.
1929 The Junior Handbook, updated by C. Lester Bond, included 19 additional vocational honors
The summer camp property, at Idyllwild, California, was named the JMV Pathfinder Camp.
1930 Second club on record begun by Lester and Ione Martin in the home of and co-directed by Dr. Theron and Ethel Johnston in Santa Ana, California.
The Pre-JMV classes Busy Bee, Sunbeam, Builder, and Helping Hand were developed for grades 1-4
Arthur Spalding wrote Camping with JMV’s.
1931 A program was presented at the General Conference to honor MV & JMV work with an Investiture Service, which included Investing Friends, Companions, Comrades, and 31 Master Comrades.
1932 Camp Leaders Handbook was written by C. Lester Bond and Arthur W. Spalding.
Missionary Volunteer Week, which later became Week of Prayer, was initiated through the world field.
1937   A Pathfinder club was organized in Glendale in the Southern California Conference.
1938 A Pathfinder club began operating in Loma Linda, California, Southeastern California Conference
Master Comrade Manual was published
MCC - Medical Cadet Corps, a training organization developed by Everett Dick at Union College, Nebraska and conducted by the Seventh-day Adventist Church to prepare young people for their obligatory military service, became official.
1939 Advanced Study and Service League were inaugurated to prepare MV’s to conduct cottage and evangelistic meetings.
Youth congress was held at Avondale College, Australia in December.
1942 Henry T. Bergh wrote a Trailblazer program in the North Pacific Union to train youth for Christian service. Laurence Skinner later used this program when he served in the North Pacific Union.
1945 Even during the war years the Youth Department was highly active; fifteen new honors were developed.
Clark Smith authored the MCC Drill Manualto guide Adventist youth in drill.
1946 Youth Director John H. Hancock helped to start the fifth Pathfinder club on record at the Riverside Church in the Southeastern California Conference.
John Hancock designed the Pathfinder triangle emblem for the MV uniform.
1947 The sixth Pathfinder club on record was reorganized and lead by Lawrence Paulson in Glendale, California in the Southern California Conference.
The first youth congress was held for the entire North American Division at San Francisco, California with 12,000 young people in attendance, directed by Eldine Dunbar and team.
1948 Henry T. Bergh, Central California Youth Director, started 23 clubs.
The Pathfinder flag was created when Henry Bergh asked a coordinator to make a flag using John Hancock’s triangle emblem. The coordinator, who did not sew, asked her friend Helen Hobbs to create it.

The Pathfinder Song was written by Henry T. Bergh and copyrighted in 1952.
The Pathfinder coordinator program was developed in the Central California Conference by H. T. Bergh.
A Pathfinder staff training camp was held by Henry T. Bergh, Central California Conference Youth Director at Camp Wawona.
A second youth congress was held for the Australian Division.
As club ministry began to prosper, Laurence A. Skinner, Associate Youth Director of the General Conference, felt that it was time to launch the Pathfinder ministry worldwide.
His colleagues Eldine W. Dunbar and Theodore E. Lucas agreed.
Clark Smith and Henry T. Bergh wrote the Pathfinder Drill Manual.

1950 A historic event took place when the Pathfinder club ministry, developed in the Pacific Union, was adopted during the General Conference Session in San Francisco, California.
Laurence Skinner became the first World Pathfinder Director.
Several publications were printed to help the world field start clubs: How to start a Pathfinder ClubPathfinder Staff Training Courseand Drill Manual.
Eliezer Melendez, a 19-year-old schoolteacher, traveled home from the General Conference Session and began a Pathfinder club in Puerto Rico. Melendez later became the Inter-American Division Youth Director.
For political reasons, Master Comrade was changed to Master Guide and Comrade to Guide.”
The first Pathfinder fair on record was held at Saint Helena, California in Sanitarium Hall, Northern California Conference, with several hundred in attendance.

MV Kit, a quarterly magazine, was introduced to guide MV societies.
Trinidad and Tobago held their first Pathfinder fair.
German Pathfinders held the first Pathfinder fair in Hamburg.
The Pathfinder Staff Manual was published.
July 24-29: 5,000 young people attended the Paris Youth Congress, under the leadership of J.J. Aitken, MV Secretary of the Southern European Division and Eldine W. Dunbar, General Conference of SDAs.
Idea of collecting food for the needy, on Halloween, was begun as Dorcas Scouts in Minnesota under the direction of Mrs. Julius.
Peru began their first Pathfinder club with Nercieda de Ruiz as director.

1952 Wisconsin Conference took the Halloween idea, naming it Can Collecting.
The First Brazilian Youth Congress was held at Brazil College with 3,000 in attendance, with Laurence Skinner as speaker. An oratorical contest was held. Leo Ranzolin, a 19-year-old theology sophomore took first place. At age 36, at the General Conference Session in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Ranzolin became the third World Pathfinder Director.
1953 Pan American Youth Congress, held in San Francisco, California, themed “Christ Above All.” Eldine Dunbar and team directed, June 16-20
MV Legion of Honor, a volunteer code of right living with high standards for senior youth, began
First Pathfinder camporee on record was held at Camp Winnekeag, Massachusetts, Atlantic Union, October 9-11 directed by W.E. Burns
The first issue of Junior Guide Magazinewas published October 7
The songbook Singing Youth was published.
1954 Voice of Youth evangelistic program was adopted
The leadership training course, MV Leadercraft, was developed
1956 E. L. Minchin was speaker for the first South American Youth Congress, held in the State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Jairo Araujo - directed
The Explorer Class was added for 7th graders.
1957 50th Anniversary of MV was celebrated at Mount Vernon, Ohio, July 12-13; Art Patzer directed, working closely with the General Conference Youth Department. Participants included Milton E. Kern, Henry T. Elliott, Arthur W. Peterson, Eldine W. Dunbar, Theodore E. Lucas, Laurence A. Skinner, and Edwin L. Minchin. A monument for 50 years of service was unveiled. This monument is now part of the Pathfinder Museum collection.
1958 Advanced JMV Classes, Frontier Friend, Campfire Companion, Range Explorer, and Trail Finder Guide were launched.
1959 June 4-6 the first Union Camporee on record was held at Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington State with 1,000 North Pacific Union Pathfinders attending
December 20, Singapore held their first Pathfinder fair
The Pathfinder Drill Manual was revised by Clark Smith and Harry Garlick
Sweden organized their first Pathfinder club.
1960 Second NAD Youth Congress was held in Atlantic City, New Jersey - themed Festival of the Holy Scriptures. H.M.S Richards made an appeal. About 100 young people committed their lives for ministry, including Les Pitton, who became the first NAD Youth Director in 1980
Pathfinders begin in Austria
A Pathfinder camporee was held at Lake La Nauhe, Chile.
1961 Southern European Division held its first Division camporee, Steiner directed.
1962 Pathfinder Field Guide was published
Pathfinder Teen Ministry was developed by Norm Middag, Associate Youth Director of the Northern California Conference, to encouraged teenagers to stay involved in youth ministry
The MV Story was written by Nathaniel Krum.
1963 Pastor Ademar Quint, started the Spring Baptism of Youth in Brazil, which later became part of the South American and the World calendar.
1966 Pioneer Class level was developed for 8th graders
1967 Florida Youth Director Norman Middag started, at Camp Kulaqua, High Springs, Florida, the first Adventist camp for the visually impaired in connection with Christian Record Services
Youth Congress was held in Vienna, Austria.
1969 July 22-26 the first World Youth Congress was held in Zurich, Switzerland with 12,000 young people present, including youth from communist countries. The General Conference team directed.
1970 Second South American Division Youth Congress was held in Curitiba, State of Parana, Brazil, January 20-24, under the leadership F.N. Siqueira, South American Division Youth Director and Leo Ranzolin South Brazil Union Youth Director
Pioneer Class level was renamed Ranger in the North American Division.
1971 Trans-European Division held a Camporee in Vasterang, Sweden, Sundqvist directed.
1972 July 19-29 Euro-Africa Division Camporee held at Villach, Austria - Nino Bulzis directed
Pathfinders began in Italy under the name of Esploratori.
1974-1975 The 25th anniversary of Pathfinder ministry was celebrated worldwide.
1976 MV Department, initiated by Leo Ranzolin, prepared for the Bi-Centennial of America program entitled 4-C’s for Century Three: Camping, Community, Church and Campus Beautification, which was adopted by the Church
First Brazilian Camporee held in Rio Grande do Sul, November 14-16
Youth World Advisory led by John Hancock was held in Tacoma Park, Maryland.
1977 Euro Africa Division held a camporee in Malcesine, Italy, July 11-19, Nino Bulzis- directed
Northern Europe/West Africa Division held a camporee July 19-25, at Kallioneimen, Finland, Michael Stevenson directed.
1978 Southern Asia Division held a camporee, November 4-8, 1978 in Bangalore, India, Justin Singh directed.
1979 A historic event occurred when MV, used since 1907 was changed to AY - Adventist Youth and JMV to AJY – Adventist Junior Youth.
1980 Michael H. Stevenson of South Africa became the World Pathfinder Director
A program called Seven Modules, Organization, Leadership, Commitment, Worship, Discipleship, Fellowship and Witness of unending opportunity for youth was adopted for the world field
The Youth Leaders Handbook was revised/renamed Adventist Youth Honors
A new Adventist youth leader logo was designed by John H. Hancock
The 1980 MV Camp Directory was enlarged/renamed the World Adventist Youth Camp Directory.
1981 Euro-African Division held a camporee in Monoblet, France, Nino Bulzis directed
The songbook Pathfinder Sing was published.
1982  Voyager Class was added for 9th graders
1983 Inter-American Division held its first Pathfinder camporee in Oaxtepec, Mexico, March 24-29, Israel Leito directed
Beginning Feb. 24, the Bi-Union Brisbane Camporee was held in Australia, Malcolm Allen directed
South American Division held its first camporee, Dec. 28-Jan. 2, 1984 at Foz do Iguacu, Brazil, Claudio Belz directed.
1984 Dec. 28-Jan. 2, the second Pan-American Youth Congress was held in Mexico City, Mexico with 12,000 in attendance, GC team directed. A highlight was the presence of Cuban youth
First East Japan Camporee was held in Phuket, Thailand, Donato directed
Second European Congress was held in Exeter, England, James Huzzey directed
Pan-African Division Congress was held in Nairobi.
1985 First North American Division Camporee was held at Camp Hale, Colorado, Les Pitton and team directed
The Youth Department was incorporated into the Church Ministries Department.
1986 Malcolm Allen of Australia becomes World Pathfinder Director.
1987 Norm Middag designed an NAD Pathfinder emblem, which is currently used worldwide.
1989 Ron Streeter, Columbia Union Youth Director, held the NAD Friendship Camporee in Pennsylvania with 18,000 in attendance
Pathfinder Leadership (PLA) and Pathfinder Instructor (PLA) Awards for continuing education for Master Guides were introduced.
1990-1991 Norm Middag was instrumental in developing the Pathfinder Instructor and Pathfinder Leadership Awards for continuing education.
A highlight of Norm’s career was the Witness through Roses project 1991-1993 which involved Pathfinders decorating Rose Parade Floats. Millions saw the award-winning floats and Seventh-day Adventist sign during the famous January 1st Rose Parade in Pasadena, California
Arnold and Dixie Plata, who worked closely with the General Conference Youth Department, were voted historians for the North American Division. The Plata’s also traveled to South and Inter-America to display youth history and encourage others to share youth ministry in their divisions, unions, and conferences.
1992 John Hancock Youth Centers were established at La Sierra University in California and at Andrews University in Michigan.
1994 South American Division held its second camporee, Jan. 10-16 at Ponta Grossa, Parana, Brazil, Jose Maria de Silva directed.
Trans-European Division held its sixth division camporee in Sweden, Kendal directed
Romania began its first Pathfinder club
Dare to Care International Camporee was held at Morrison, Colorado, Aug. 2-6, Ron Whitehead directed.
1997 Bi-Division Pathfinder Camporee in Indonesia, Missah and Wong directed.
1998 Second Inter-American Division Camporee was held Aug. 4-8 in Puerto Rico, Alfredo Garcia Marenko directed
Latvia started their first Pathfinder club
First South American Master Guide Convention held in Pucon, Chile, Jan. 13-17
First NAD Master Guide Convention held Feb. 11-19 in Los Angeles, California.
1999 Discover the Power” International Camporee was held at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Ron Whitehead directed. As part of the camporee, Desmond T. Doss, who received the Congressional Medal of Honor for saving the lives of 75 of his comrades while serving as a medic in the army, was highlighted.
2001 Baraka Muganda and Robert Holbrook held a World Advisory and International Youth Leadership Convention on August 9-13 in Aguas de Lindoia, State of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
2002 Third South American Division Youth Congress held in Chile, January 7-12
GYC Generation of Youth for Christ was organized by youth to meet the spiritual needs of youth.
2004 August 10-14 Faith on Fire International Camporee was held in Oshkosh, Wisconsin with 32,000 in attendance, Ron Whitehead director
West African Division Camporee at Lome, Togo, August 22-28, Mulumba directed; Fransch Europe Youth Congress in Poland, August 4-7
Euro-Asia Youth Congress in Moscow.
2005 South American Division held its third camporee in the State of Parana, Brazil, with 28,000 in attendance. The theme was Fountain of Hope,” Erton Kohler directed.
2006 South Pacific Division held a youth congress in Fiji, January 1-5
The World Youth Ministry Advisory was held at Mount Etna Youth Camp in Maryland, March 16-April 2, Baraka Muganda and team directed.
2007 Division Youth Congress was held in Mukono, Uganda, April 1-9
Trans-European Division held its first Master Guide Camporee in Holland, May 24-27
Inter-American Division held a Youth Congress in Medellin, Colombia; theme: “Reclaiming our Youth.”
Euro-Africa Division held a Pathfinder camporee, theme: Turn on the Lightat Fountainblue, Paris, France, July 31-August 5.
Adventist Youth Ministries Museum was officially organized under the Pathfinder Museum Inc., President Terry Dodge. The goal was to build a building to preserve youth ministry history.
2008 Inter-Union Master Guide Camporee was held at Zalostoc, State of Morelos, Mexico, March 18-22; theme: “Ëscaladores al encuentro…Listos Senor.”
Inter-American Division Youth Congress in Paynters, Antigua, May 8-12; theme: “Angels of Fire.”
2009 On August 11-15, 2009, The Courage To Stand International Pathfinder Camporee was held in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, U.S.A. The evening Bible Stories production portrayed the life of Esther. Ron Whitehead directed.
2010 Trans-European Division held a Pathfinder camporee at Ominen, Netherlands, July 29-August 5.
2011 Third Inter-American Division Camporee was held in Mexico City, Mexico, 20,000 attended, Benjamin Carballo director
Euro-African Division held a camporee in Rome, Italy August 1-6, C. Cozzi and S. Sigg directed
First Division Camporee for Northern Asia-Pacific held in South Korea, August 7-12, Haky Hyung Kim directed.
2013 Global Youth Day, organized by Gilbert Cangy, to motivate young people worldwide to be involved in their communities.
2014 Fourth South American Division Camporee held in Barretos, Sao Paulo, Brazil, directed by Udolcy Zukowski with 35,000 in attendance
Trans-European Division held a camporee July 29-August 5 at Ommen, Netherlands, Paul Tompkins directed
Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division held a camporee at Livingstone, Zambia, April 13-19, B. Khumalo director
Fourth International Camporee, Forever Faithful, held in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, August 12-16, with 45,000 in attendance, Ron Whitehead director
North American Division held the Youth Prayer Conference at Miami, Florida, Feb. 19-22, led by James Black
Southern Asia Division held a youth congress in Pune, India, April 30-May 4; theme; “Ïnspire,” Mohan Bhatti directed.
2015 South Pacific Division held a Pathfinder camporee, theme: Ï trust,” Jan. 6-11 at Toowoomba, QLD, Australia with 8,500 in attendance, Nick Kross directed
Inter-European Division held a Pathfinder camporee in Switzerland, Aug. 3-9, Stephan Sigg directed.
2017 Gilbert Cangy returned to the South Pacific
Jonatan Tejel returned to the Euro-Africa Division as youth director
Tracy Wood and Armando Miranda of the NAD developed the Historian Ministry
Historians Arnold and Dixie Plata were appointed coordinators for this ministry to encourage development of historian displays for each division, union, and conference to preserve youth ministry history.
2019 South American Division held historic Pathfinder events, two division camporees, the Alpha, January 8-13, and the Omega, January 15-20. These were held back to back in the same location to accommodate 100,000 Pathfinders and staff in the city of Barretos, State of Sao Paulo, Brazil, Udolcy Zukowski directed
Inter-America Division held a special Youth Directors Meeting - May 22-29, directed by Al Powell
August 12-17, 55,000 Pathfinders and staff plus volunteers attended the “Chosen” International Camporee at Oshkosh, Wisconsin; Ron Whitehead directed.


List of Leaders

      Years       General Conference
          World Directors
            Associate Youth
1907-1930 Milton Earl Kern  Anna Matilda Erickson
Meade McGuire
Henry T. Elliott
C.A Russell (Field Secretary)
1930-1934 Henry T. Elliott D. A. Ochs 1931-1943
1934-1946 Alfred W. Peterson Denton E. Rebo
Eldine W. Dunbar
1946-1955  Eldine W. Dunbar Theodore E. Lucas 1946-1955
1955-1970 Theodore E. Lucas Edwin L. Minchin
Clark Smith
Joseph R. Nelson
Lawrence M. Nelson
Charles D. Martin
Paul DeBooy
1970-1980  John H. Hancock Michael H. Stevenson Sr.
Desmond B. Hills
Richard E. Barron
1980-1985 Leo Ranzolin James Harris
Les Pitton
Norm Middag
Charles Martin
Clark Smith
Michael Stevenson Sr
1980 -1985
1985-1995 Church Ministries
"Super Department"
Israel Leito
Michael H. Stevenson, Sr.
Richard E. Barron
David Wong
1995-2010 Baraka Muganda Alfredo Garcia Marenko 1998-2005
2010-2016  Gilbert Cangy Pako Mokgwane
Giwan S. Moon
2017 Gary Blanchard                        




       Years               World Junior Youth/
          Pathfinder Directors         
                         Assistants                       Years  
1920-1928 Harriet M. H Arthur W. Spalding 1920 – 1941
1928-1946 C. Lester Bond    
1946-1963 Laurence A. Skinner Rodney Finney
Kenneth J. Holland
Mildred Lee Johnson
Donald Yost
Lowell Litten
1963- 1970 John H. Hancock James Joiner 1961-1972
1970-1980 Leo S. Ranzolin Jan Doward
Donald John
James Joiner
1980-1986 Michael H. Stevenson Sr. Norm Middag  1980-1985
1986-1996 Malcolm A. Allen    
1997-2005 Robert W. Holbrook    
2005-2017 Jonatan Tejel    
2017 Andres Peralta    


Boucher, Sharon. Luther Warren. Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1959.

Erickson, Matilda. Missionary Volunteers and Their Work. Washington D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1946.

White, Ellen G. Counsels to Teachers, Parents and Students. Review and Herald Publishing.

Other Sources

General Conference Youth Department Records:

  • Bond C. Lester. Junior Manual–1929, 1931,1933,1935,1936, 1938, 1944, 1945, & 1946. Review & Herald Publishing.

  • Junior Missionary Volunteer Handbook – GC Youth Department 1957, 1963, 1968, 1970, 1957, 1963, 1968, 1970 Review & Herald Publishing.

  • Master Comrade Manual – GC Youth Department – Review & Herald Publishing Association, 1938, 1945, 1947.

  • MV Handbook – GC Youth Department, Review and Herald Publishing Association 1951, 1965, 1968, 1970.

Holbrook, Robert, editor. The AY Story. AdventSource, 2005.

Holbrook, Robert, editor. The Pathfinder Story. AdventSource, 2005.

Krum, Nathaniel. The MV Story. Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1963.

MV Advisory Council and regular MV Department Minutes, 1906-1976. General Conference Archives.

Spalding, Arthur W. Camping with JMV’s. Pacific Press Publishing Association,1930.


  1. The Youth’s Instructor, August 1852, Sabbath Review & Herald Publishing.

  2. Sharon Boucher, Luther Warren (Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1959).

  3. Matilda Ericson Missionary Volunteers and Their Work (Washington, D.C.: Review & Herald Publishing, 1946), 12.

  4. Ellen G. White, Counsels to Teachers, Parents and Students (Review & Herald Publishing), 355.

  5. Matilda Erickson, Missionary Volunteers and Their Work (Review & Herald Publishing), 13.

  6. Ibid.

  7. Ibid., 14.

  8. Ibid., 15.

  9. Ibid., 23.

  10. Ibid., 20.

  11. Ibid., 24.

  12. Ibid., 26.

  13. Ibid., 30.

  14. Ibid., 34-42.


Ranzolin, Leo, Dixie Plata. "History of the Youth Department of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. November 29, 2020. Accessed June 18, 2024.

Ranzolin, Leo, Dixie Plata. "History of the Youth Department of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. November 29, 2020. Date of access June 18, 2024,

Ranzolin, Leo, Dixie Plata (2020, November 29). History of the Youth Department of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved June 18, 2024,