The History of Pathfinders
The Silver Tip Pathfinder Club History
Even today, the Pathfinder Club in the Kelowna area of British Columbia remembers Dr. A. Druitt. It was in September 1955 in Rutland that he concluded his sermon by giving an invitation to reorganize the Pathfinder Club. You see, two years earlier a young leader named Henry had started a club here but there was not the support nor the will of the people and so it folded.
But in 1955 due to the energetic interest and vision of Dr. Druitt, a dozen novice Pathfinder leaders responded to his appeal and the Rutland Pathfinder Club began. They started with 2 Master Guides (Dr. Druitt and Betty Bunting) and the group of volunteers were given a pamphlet called “How to Start a Pathfinder Club”. He told them he even had ideas of building their own clubhouse!
They decided to meet Sunday evenings beginning at 6:00 pm so the leaders could learn how to march and drill and run a program. The kids were to come at 6:30 pm and that first night they had 50 boys and girls eager to become Pathfinders.
That first program began with with Mrs. Andrews playing the piano and everyone singing “O Canada” , saluting the flag, and singing the Pathfinder song. Opening prayer was following by learning the Pathfinder Pledge and the Law. They followed this format every meeting.
They divided the club into units and organized them by age with 5 women counselors for the girls and 5 men counselors for the boys. Girl’s units chose names of birds for themselves and boy’s units chose animal names. (Later on they made pennants mounted on poles for each unit which were used at meetings, campouts, fairs, rallies, and parades.)
There was plenty of activity at every meeting with crafts, games and races and lively marching. They concluded their meeting when the whistle blew, the flag lowered, and the singing “God Save the Queen” followed by their theme song: “If I have wounded any soul today, If I have caused one foot to go astray, If I have walked in my own willful way, Dear Lord, forgive.”
The book Live Wires is an adventure packed book of the first beginnings of the Rutland Pathfinder Club. It goes into interesting detail of the experiences and exploits of this group of Leaders and their young Pathfinders. They were known for their taxidermy skills and developed an honour for other Pathfinders to earn in Taxidermy! Betty records that the animals they collected and preserved weathered many parades over the years and finally found a home in their own Pathfinder Clubhouse.
On August 26, 1968, sadness enveloped the community when news came that after a full day of seeing patients and attending to their needs, Dr. Druitt had set out to mow the lawns on his property overlooking Rutland. Somehow, his tractor went over the side of a hill and overturned killing the beloved doctor.
Betty Bunting writes, “Only eternity will reveal the good accomplished by his life of consistent service.” The Pathfinders were filled with sorrow but content at least that he “had lived to see the organization of a good youth club for boys and girls, complete with a fine piece of property and an excellent clubhouse! Trained leaders would take up the work where he left off, pressing ever onward and upward.” Live Wires, p. 111
Bob Kyte, Ken Hathaway, and Betty Bunting began to take up the leadership for the continuation of the Pathfinder Club. One of the ideas that emerged was to establish a new club name. Pathfinders came from the surrounding area not just Rutland and so a contest was held offering a prize for the one who submitted the best name. The group voted on the three top names and the favourite was Silver Tips. A crest was designed with “the powerful, aggressive grizzly bear…moving steadily forward, just minding its own business and taking life as it comes. ” They determined that the four paws represented the four phases of Christian development that Pathfinders promotes – mental, physical, social, and spiritual.
There is a great need to continue the story of Silver Tip Pathfinders and pick up where Betty Bunting left off in 1970. Much has happened over the intervening years and it is useful to reflect back on our roots.
The present club began in September 2014 led by Wayne and helpers with a purpose of preparing to take a group of Pathfinders from Kelowna to the next IPC in Oshkosh. Kelly Philips and helpers carried on for the next 3 years and then Cindee Gregg, Todd and April Davis and myself readied our Silver Tip Pathfinders for Oshkosh. It was amazing!
This year, 2019, we were privileged to go to the International Pathfinder Camporee (IPC) in Oshkosh, WI, USA and celebrate with 50, 000 Pathfinders for 5 days in August. It was a huge experience designed to draw us closer to God and to one another through learning, listening, playing, experimenting, and sharing.
When our family moved to Kelowna in the summer of 1987, our children had never been in Pathfinders although they had completed donors and progressive classes at their school in Comob, BC. Our youngest became involved in a vibrant Adventurer program at Orchard City Church. Our sons joined up with Pathfinders the next year when she turned 10. John and I were involved with being Counselors under the leadership of Fritz Wirtz, SR. and Colleen Mackie and enjoyed the activities, campouts, and BC Camporees in the early 1990’s.
Fritz Wirtz, JR. and Diane took a group of Silver Tip Pathfinders to the Oshkosh International Camporee in 1994. Derrick Carlson was involved in leading Pathfinders as well but we are not sure exactly when that was. We have not had a complete story of this Club since 1970 although we know people in the community that were involved. I believe it is time to record the details of the past 50 years. We have many snapshots but lack the stories! THIS HISTORY OF THE OKANAGAN PATHFINDER CLUB IS TO BE CONTINUED…