ccounting, Agriculture, Amphibians, Animal Tracking, Basketry, Birds, Bookkeeping, Canoeing, Ceramics, Decoupage, Edible Wild Plants, Feltcraft, Ferns, Fruit Growing, Gardening, Glasscraft, Heredity, Knot Tying, Laundering, Mammals, Masonry . . . the list could go on, and on, and on.
But what do all those titles mean? They are all Pathfinder Honors, achievable through individual clubs throughout the world church. Earning Honors
is a key component of the overall Pathfinder experience. They are easily recognizable too—proudly displayed on Pathfinder sashes, usually oval in shape with distinctive colors and embroidery symbolizing each Honor’s focus.
Pathfinder Honors run the gamut of selected interests and fields of study—from nature to practical pursuits to region-specific items—and they vary from club to club, Pathfinder to Pathfinder. Regarding the popularity of certain Honors programs, “They vary depending on interest,” says James Black, North American Division youth director. “Many leaders allow their Pathfinders to participate in the selection process. Some like nature, while others like Honors that are seen as fun, like water sports, etc. I have noticed that some Pathfinders have started small businesses after earning Photography or other technical Honors. It just depends on interest, as we have hundreds to choose from.”
Vocational Honors were first introduced in 1928 at Southern California’s first youth camp. In 1989 and 1997 the North American Honors Manual was revised to include many new Honors, and again in 2001, to include the addition of several new international Honors.1
Anyone who has ever participated in the church’s Pathfinder program likely has many memories of selecting Honors and the time spent fulfilling their individual requirements. The proud sense of achievement and accomplishment at completing them, receiving patches, and affixing them to the uniform sash was all part of the fun. The patches are also referred to as AY Honor patches.2 They come in several colors denoting the categories of study they belong to. For example, light blue is for arts; purple for health and science; white for nature; dark green for recreational; etc.
“Every Honor is designed to educate and prepare the Pathfinder for service,” Black adds. “They are now challenged not just to wear the Honor patches proudly, but take what they have learned and go serve proudly. In the future, an Honor cannot be earned until a service component is completed. The goal: the more you’ve earned, the more you have served.”
Pathfinder Clubs can also participate in the creation of new Honors too, which can be a highly rewarding experience as it gives the club an opportunity to display its creativity as well as the chance to interact with other clubs and conference Pathfinder directors during the submission process.3
Honor achieving is a huge draw for many youth entering the Pathfinders program. “They come in knowing they will achieve something,” says Black. “They know they will be challenged and yet they complete their assignments. I also see the look of accomplishment during every Investiture. The look says, ‘I am glad I participated.’”