National Pathfinders Day was approved by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and is now part of Brazil's official calendar. With the signing of Law No. 14.665 on September 4, 2023, the celebration is set to take place annually on September 20.
Published in the Diário Oficial da União (“Official Gazette of the Union”) on Tuesday, September 5, the law consists of two articles:
Art. 1—National Pathfinders Day is hereby established, to be celebrated annually on September 20.
Art. 2—This Law comes into force on the date of its publication.
"This is an unprecedented achievement for all the Pathfinders in our country. With this recognition, we will be able to reach more people with a lifestyle that values friendship, the development of all faculties, working for others, and proclaiming the good news in Jesus," says Pastor Udolcy Zukowski, Pathfinders director for the South American Division (SAD) of Seventh-day Adventists.
Zukowski points out that Brazil is the first nation in the world to make the date official, which also contributes to increased visibility, resulting in the opening of new Pathfinder clubs in places where it is not yet present. "This could even arouse the interest of other cities in the seriousness of what is done for children and teenagers, teaching values, strengthening character development, and giving them a perspective on life," he said, pointing out that there are approximately 2 million Pathfinders around the world.
In Portugal alone, there are almost 291,000 Pathfinders in 10,301 clubs. Its activities are aimed at children and teenagers between the ages of 10 and 15, without distinction of color, race, religion, or social class. One of its foundations is a program that seeks to develop the skills and talents of its participants, offering, among other things, almost 500 topics of human knowledge, which are called “specialties.”
"We thank God for the privilege we have to take this ministry even further, to share with more people not [just] a program, but a lifestyle that transforms and prepares for the future,” says Pastor Stanley Arco, president of the SAD. “The experience of being a Pathfinder has changed my life and the lives of so many others, and I want that same impact to reach more people. Parents, leaders, thank you for your support of this beautiful initiative."
Road to the Law's Approval
The first step towards the creation of National Pathfinders Day was taken on June 20, 2018, during a session of the Culture Commission of the Chamber of Deputies. At the time, it was led by Deputy Tadeu Alencar, author of the request. The proposal for the establishment was made by then-Deputy Paulo Folleto.
The issue returned to the agenda on July 15, 2021, this time in the Chamber of Deputies' Constitution and Justice Committee (CCJ), which approved Bill 3936/19. On that occasion, it was not necessary to take the issue to the Plenary for deliberation, as it was dealt with conclusively.
On July 11, 2023, the bill was taken to the Federal Senate's Education and Culture Committee, with Senator Hamilton Mourão as rapporteur. The bill was also approved on a terminative basis (i.e., without the need to go through any other body). Since then, it had only been awaiting the signature of President Lula.
Find out more about the Pathfinders Club at encontreumclube.org.