Checklist for Host Churches

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These are things that host churches need to think about and prepare for when hosting a Pathfinder Bible Achievement event:

  • Facilities: Ensure ahead of time that sufficient paper towels and toilet paper are restocked between the church service and the PBA event. Also consider having the trash emptied during the first and second set of questions, while the bathrooms are relatively empty. The basic problem is that there will be large numbers of Pathfinders and parents using the facilities right before the event begins, during the break, and immediately afterward. Many churches are not prepared to keep the facilities nice after crowds of this size are concentrated into such short time frames.
  • If the host church provides Bibles in the pews, remove them before the event starts. Even if they're not normally there, it's good to spot-check the pews and make sure someone's Bible hasn't been left there.
  • Refreshments: At the conference and union levels, many teams will have a very long drive before getting home. One of the nicest things a host church can do is to provide a solid meal after the event. One meals that stands out in memory is the spaghetti, garlic bread and salad provided by the Pittsburgh host church after the union level event there in 2007.
  • Think ahead of time about where the group picture will be taken. After each event, all of the Pathfinders are gathered into a large group for photographs. If there is a natural place for the group to gather, such as a choir loft or steps on the front of the rostrum, give thought ahead of time to clearing that space to get a good group shot. For example, the choir loft could be emptied of chairs, or the church platform cleared of extra plants or other decorations. Also check that the area will have good lighting at the time of day when the event is expected to finish and later. We visited a church where the sun shone directly behind the designated group picture site, making all the pictures terribly back-lit. Not good.

There are a number of supplies that the host church and the level organization need to provide. I.e. if this is a conference level event, the conference could provide these things, or the host church. But it's critical that you talk about it ahead of time, because the event can't happen without these things. Also, plan to have supplies for at least two unexpected teams, especially at the local- and conference-level events.

  • Blank sheets of paper, 100 for each team (90 questions plus a few extra). It would be nice to print each of the 100 sheets with the name of the team and a number from 1 to 90. (But remember to have un-printed paper for the unexpected teams.)
  • A marker for each team. Get new ones if there is any risk of running out of ink. Provide unscented markers with a medium-width point, one marker for each team to write their answers. (Don't use white-board markers, and don't get the overly large-tip pens.) Pens similar to these are about right, but may have a strong scent, so shop wisely.
  • A pen or marker for each team judge. These don't need to be as thick as the team's markers, but should still make a bold and legible mark.
  • A pen and clipboard for each team scorekeeper. A standard ball-point pen is appropriate.
  • Someone needs to print out enough score sheets, one for each team.
  • A time-keeping device for marking the "talk" and "write" time for each question. A sports stop-watch is overkill, but convenient.
  • At least two microphones, one for the reader and the other for the timekeeper.
  • Overhead slide projection, typically using a computer and presentation software ( or PowerPoint, for example). The question slides need to be obtained ahead of time from Elder Dodge's organization.
  • For personnel, each event will need one or two readers (in case the first reader's voice gives out), two or three event-level judges, a time-keeper, and someone to control the overhead projector and slides. This last position should be filled soberly: there have been many occasions, even at the highest-level events, in which the slides have been advanced too far, revealing the answer and disqualifying the question.
  • Make sure that the overhead projector is in excellent working order, especially including the remote control. At some PBA events the remote has had weak batteries, requiring extreme patience and finesse to make it work correctly. This sometimes creates a situation in which the slides are advanced too far, revealing answers before the time is up.

Each club that attends needs to bring with them one adult to act as a local judge, one adult to act as a scorekeeper, and one child to act as a runner. These three will typically be assigned to judge and run for a different team, but each attending team must plan to provide all three people. Several events have been delayed as the emcee pleads for more helpers.

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