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Progressive Classes

Why Achievement Classes?

Years ago, when your fathers and mothers were boys and girls, there came a call through the Spirit of Prophecy to organize all the young people into an united group that should help finish the task of carrying the Advent message to all the world in this generation. It was in response to these and other similar message s that the Adventist Youth Society came to be formed. And so the years have passed and the boys and girls of all lands have met and prayed and studied and gone out from their meetings to work. A great work has been accomplished, and the one-time small band has grown to number many thousands and to stretch round the world.
But how did there come to be Pathfinder classes? As our boys and girls met and worked and became interested in the AY/AJY activities, leaders felt the need of providing additional ways of helping them in their preparation for efficient service and the development of strong Christian character, that they might better know how to pioneer for God when He needs them. During the earnest study given to the question many pointed and helpful suggestions were found in the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy, and a few of these are quoted here for your inspiration and encouragement:
“The children are to be trained to become missionaries; they must be helped to understand distinctly what they must do to be saved.” {Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, page 168}. And the best preparation “is the harmonious development of the physical, the mental, and the spiritual powers. It prepares the student for the joy of service in this world and for the higher joy of wider service in the world to come.” {Education, page 13}.
“Children are to be instructed in the special truths for this time, and in practical missionary work. They are to enlist in the army of workers to help the sick and the suffering. Children can take part in the medical missionary work and by their jots and tittles can help to carry it forward. Their investments may be small, but every little helps, and by their efforts many souls will be won to the truth. By them God’s message will be made known and His saving health to all nations.” {Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, page 176-177}.
“While the Bible should hold the first place in the education of children and youth, the book of nature is next in importance… In itself the beauty of nature leads the soul away from sin and worldly attractions, and toward purity, peace, and God. For this reason the cultivation of the soil is good work for children and youth. It brings them into direct contact with nature and nature’s God.” {Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, page 185-186}.
“As a rule, the exercise most beneficial to the youth will be found in useful employment. The little child finds both diversion and development in play; and his sports should be such as to promote not only physical, but mental and spiritual growth. As he gains strength and intelligence, the best recreation will be found in some line of effort that is useful. That which trains the hand to helpfulness, and teaches the young to bear their share of life’s burdens, is most effective in promoting the growth of mind and character…
“It is essential for every youth to have a thorough acquaintance with everyday duties. If need be, a young woman can dispense with a knowledge of French and algebra, or even of the piano; but it is indispensable that she learn to make good bread, to fashion neatly-fitting garments, and to perform efficiently the many duties that pertain to homemaking…
“Since both men and women have a part in home-making, boys as well as girls should gain a knowledge of household duties. To make a bed and put a room in order, to wash dishes, to prepare a meal, to wash and repair his own clothing, is a training that need not make any boy less manly; it will make him happier and more useful. And if girls, in turn, could learn to harness and drive a horse, and to use the saw and the hammer, as well as the rake and the hoe, they would be better fitted to meet the emergencies of life.” {Education 215-216}.
It was from the study of these and other similar messages that the AY/Pathfinder classes were developed and all requirements for these classes are based on this instruction. They include, therefore, Bible and nature study, the learning of useful and helpful things to do about the home, out-of-door activities, first aid, and personal and home hygiene. All of which are to help the boys and girls find true happiness in missionary service.