Hundreds of Pathfinders Denied Travel to Camporee in Jamaica
4 April 2023 |
Hundreds of Pathfinders were informed at the last minute that they did not have flights to travel to the V Inter-American Camporee in Jamaica, after having paid high prices to be able to attend. Among the delegations are Guatemala, Panama and the Interoceanic Mexican Union. The amounts to attend the Camporee ranged between US$1,120 and US$1,500 per camper, depending on the distance from the country.
In Panama, campers were informed that there was no available flight when they were at the Panama Pacific International Airport (Howard). The delegation included over 400 campers. Even outside the stipulated price, many had to travel hours from their cities of origin to get to the airport, adding additional costs. Misael González, youth department director of the Panamanian Union is currently in Jamaica. This has produced strong criticism and according to reports, delegates from Colón have requested that Pastor Misael be removed from office.
Pastor Eluvinio Castrellon, president of the Metropolitan Association, gathered Pathfinders from his territory into the auditorium of the Metropolitan Adventist College (CAM) to discuss the situation, but in the meeting, some members blamed the leaders for poor organization and lack of financial transparency. An attempt has been made to defuse the situation, saying that Pastor Misael is trying to sell the food bought in Jamaica, and return to Panama as soon as possible.
Panama Union has released a statement explaining that the travel agents contracted by the Union fell through at the last minute, with some reports saying that the specific agent pretended to be a part of his previous travel company, however was no longer employed by them.
While these situations are taking place, the disappointment and frustration of the members due to the poor organization is being reflected on the Inter-American Division’s Facebook fan page. Vilma Ramirez de Perez, commented:
Many young people and [the] brotherhood who were already packing their bags here in Guatemala suffered a great disappointment, not only did they not go to Jamaica, but they were left without vacations. [They] invested money and time in a trip that did not take place. We wish that they had not been deceived in such a cruel, abusive way.
It is not yet clear if the organizers of the Inter-American Camporee will return the money to the delegations that did not travel. A specific figure has not been specified, but it entails hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The churches are totally disappointed, since many efforts were made to raise funds so that all of the Pathfinders could make it. Many members had to make food sales, parents asked for loans and other collections.