As expected, yesterday was very busy. It was Pathfinder Sabbath at our church, so my Pathfinder club presented the worship service. I was hoping someone would have made a video recording of it, but… I don’t think anyone did.

The kids did a TV newscast of the plagues in Egypt leading up to Passover. We prerecorded several “Live Action Reporters” interviewing both Egyptians and Hebrews about the events, and we have an live anchor team (and they really were live) reporting the stories. They interacted with the pre-recorded segments (as if they really were live) and it all went pretty well! There were a few technical glitches here and there, but all in all, I was very proud of them. Hats off to Eric Atherton, one of the parents who did all the video editing. I received a ton of positive comments about the program after it was concluded, so I have every reason to be pleased with the kids. They were terrific.

Following the church service we had lunch, and after that we hosted the annual Bible Bowl. This is like a quiz show game where the participants (including adults if they want to participate) are asked questions about an assigned section of the Bible. We do separate the kids from the adults, and the kid-team with the highest score sets the bar for all the other teams. Any team scoring within 90% of them wins gold, any within 80% wins silver, and everyone else gets bronze.

Then we had supper and started the Pinewood Derby. I did not have time to build a car this year, so I did not enter. But Beth made one, and here it is:

Beth's Bunny Car

Beth's Bunny Car

I had the idea of making a tortoise car Wednesday, but by then, it was too late for me to pull that off. Oh well. Maybe next year.

Here’s her car crossing the finish line (after having lost an eye):

Crossing the finish line

Crossing the finish line

Her car won first place in the creativity competition for the junior division, and she won third place in the speed competition. I was not at all surprised about the creativity, but kind of was about the speed. We didn’t really do anything to it to make it fast other than polish the axles. But I guess that was good enough. Who knows what would have happened if we had added graphite to the wheels and smoothed them down?

We finally went home around 9:00pm. It was a very long, but satisfying and fun day.

Last Saturday, Beth and I went back to the Richard Smart Conservation Area to visit Devil’s Den. The trails were covered in ice, and the steeper parts were pretty slick. As a result, we walked to the side of them in the snow where the footing was much better.

We set out on this hike a lot later than I had meant too, due to a much needed nap that I had taken earlier. But it was worth it. 🙂

This is one of the things I saw:

Hemlock stump

Hemlock stump

This is the stump of a hemlock tree. In most trees, the bark decays before the wood does, but with hemlock, the reverse is true. So they leave stumps like this with an outer sheath of bark standing up higher than the rest of the stump.

I didn’t get a lot of photos as the light was failing fast. I had taken my flashlight out of my camera bag the previous week and loaned it to Beth, and I had neglected to get it back from her. Therefore, we really needed to hustle to get back to the car before it got dark, so all the shots I attempted of the woods at sunset were too rushed. Here’s one:

Racing the Sun

Racing the Sun

The trail here winds around in a very serpentine pattern. I think the intent was to make a longer more enjoyable trail in the limited space available. I was tempted to leave the marked trail and cut through the woods to shorten our hike, but resisted the temptation. That would have been a good way to make our trek even longer, and almost would have guaranteed we’d still be there when it got dark.

There was hardly any snow on the ground, which is the big story of our winter this year. The winter that was not. Maybe we’ll get some snow before the season is over, but I’m starting to resign myself to a snowless winter.

Tomorrow will be a busy day as it is Pathfinder Sabbath at our church. The club will be responsible for the entire church service. We are doing a three-act skit, most of which has been pre-recorded. Our video enthusiasts have been working pretty hard all week to get the video editing done, and last night the live actors were able to rehearse interacting with the video segments. That went pretty well I thought. Yes there is some less-than-optimal acting involved in the pre-recorded segments, but we work with what we have. And everyone had fun, so I count this as a success. I believe someone was planning to record the skit (the live and pre-recorded parts together) – if they’ll upload it to the innerwebs, I’ll link you to it.

After the church service we will eat lunch, and then the Bible Bowl starts. Bible Bowl is something like a quiz game. I don’t know how much the kids have been studying 1 & 2 Corinthians, but I have reminded them every week for about two months. The rest is up to them.

When that’s over, we will have dinner, and then the Pinewood Derby starts. I did not have time to build a car this year, but Beth made a pretty nice one – it looks like a rabbit. Only when hers nearly finish did I finally get an idea for a car of my own – a tortoise. What better competitor to her hare? But by then, it was too late for me to execute, so… no car for me this year. I’ll take some pictures of her car for you tomorrow during the race.

I spent today (and part of last night) in Woodstock, Maine for Pathfinder Leadership training. This is the church where the training is being held:

Woodstock Adventist Church

Woodstock Adventist Church

And here’s what I saw tonight as the sun was setting:
Sunset in Woodstock, ME
It has been pretty cold here so far. The thermometer in Melissa’s van read -8F as we headed from the church to the house where we are being lodged. It fluctuated too quickly for me to believe that number though, going from -8 to -4 in under a minute. It was cold enough to freeze the hair in my nose though, so maybe it was eight below.

We also had snow throughout most of the day. It didn’t amount to much, but it was pretty. And here I am without snowshoes (and with a full schedule).

David and I are supposed to write a script for Pathfinder Sabbath. We will present the worship service in its entirety in about a month, and that’s not a lot of time to pull off what we have planned. David and I made a rough outline last night, but that’s as far as we got. The kids wanted to make a movie. We compromised, and instead we will be doing a series of “television newscasts” from Egypt during the ten plagues. The news anchors will be behind a desk and live. The reporters “live on the scene” will all be pre-recorded. We will use the fearless kids for the live action, and the eager, but less fearless for the pre-recorded parts. This will require costumes, sets, and a ton of video editing. Then the live actors have to practice banter with the on-the-scene reporters. It is ambitious for the amount of time we have, but I think we can pull it off.

But first we have to write a script!

Yesterday was Pathfinder Sabbath. That meant that the Pathfinders presented our church service in its entirety. I thought the best part was the skit we put on – “Showdown on Mt Carmel.” It was the story of Elijah vs Ahab set to the Old West. We had background music from a couple of Clint Eastwood’s spaghetti westerns, a minute of Foggy Mountain Breakdown, and the theme from The Magnificent Seven. It was pretty well received.

At one point, a couple of cowpokes each took a pail of water and used it to douse Elijah’s altar. We had laid down a brand new tarp for this, and had four broomsticks arranged underneath that in a square so that the water wouldn’t run off the tarp. But when it was poured on, some of it did indeed splash right off and hit David in the face. That was… funny!

After the church service, we had lunch, and then the Bible Bowl. Bible Bowl is like a Scholastic Bowl, where the kids (and adults!) study a given section of the Bible before the event. In our case, it was Exodus 21-40. On the day of the event, the kids are put in teams of up to six. Adults form their own teams. Then the questions are asked, and the group writes down an answer and runs it up to the judge’s table.

After that, we had supper, and then came the Pinewood Derby. My car was not very fast compared to the others, and when I saw some of my competition, I was convinced that I would probably not get a blue ribbon in either creativity or craftsmanship.

The competition.

The competition.

I thought the best I could hope for would be a red ribbon. I thought Paul’s Moose Mobile was utterly fantastic, and Warran entered in red sports car with a very professional-looking paint job. Nice.

I didn’t even place in the speed contest, but I didn’t come in last place on all the races either. Here’s a shot of my car crossing the finish line in second place (for that run).

Close Contest

Close Contest

This shot is pretty grainy. I was aiming for a quick shutter speed in dim light, so I had to make some compromises. I didn’t want to use flash, as that would likely impair the judge’s view just as the cars crossed the finish line.

Much to my surprise, my car took the blue ribbon for both creativity and craftsmanship. I was in total disbelief.

Dunno why, but I am utterly exhausted tonight. I had a busy day at work, and there was a lot of pressure there to find out what was going wrong in a customer’s setup. I was sure glad when it was time to go home.

Tomorrow promises to be a very busy day. First, it’s going to be Pathfinder Sabbath, so the club will be in charge of the entire worship service. For the sermon I have arranged for each unit in the club to present a skit. Jonathan will handle the children’s story. We will also invest Melissa (one of the staff) as a Master Guide. We are expecting Pathfinders from area clubs to be there too.

Following that we will have a potluck lunch, and after lunch the Bible Bowl starts. Bible Bowl is a little like a game show. All the participants are divided into teams, and questions taken from Genesis 6 to 25:11 (basically, Noah through Abraham) will be asked. For every question that the group answers correctly, a point is awarded. It should go about two hours.

And then we’ll an Induction service to welcome three new members into our club. I need to review that and get everything ready tonight. After the Induction, we’ll have supper, and after that is the Pinewood Derby. I did not have time to finish my own car this week, but oh well. I couldn’t build one during the meetings either because I was helping the kids build theirs.