'Pilots believes that children and young people matter, therefore:
Pilots gives local churches the opportunity to share the love of God in the ongoing life of Jesus Christ by inviting children and young people on an exciting journey.' - Pilots Commitment
'I will learn, pray and serve all I can with the worldwide Church of Jesus Christ.' - Pilots Promise
Since 1936, Pilots has existed to recognise and nurture the gifts and talents which children and young people inherently bring to the service of themselves, their communities, the Church and God. Whoever they are, whatever their status or their ability, every child is loved by God and so they are loved by Pilots.
To learn more about the history of the organisation, click here.
The word Pilots, as well as being related to our maritime past, also acts as an acronym, with each letter representing one of the core principles of the organisation:
Praying - Communicating with God and thinking about what God wants of us
Interest - Nurturing our understanding of topics which we enjoy exploring
Learning - Growing in our knowledge of new things
Overseas - Deepening our understanding of life, culture and faith around the globe
Talent - Developing our abilities in the hobbies and activities we enjoy
Service - Looking after the people around us and the world which God has gifted to us
In their local companies, Pilots focus on each of these principles, working to obtain 'Crests' with activities and challenges in a whole range of disciplines and areas, deepening their knowledge and abilities in each of these crucial areas.
But what do local Pilots companies actually do? Well, a Pilots company will normally meet every week, where the Captain and Officers or Leaders will run a programme of games, worship and activities. It could be cooking one week, learning about the pyramids of Egypt the next, and a paper aeroplane throwing competition the one after! There’s always something fun and original to get involved in.
Every community is different. Therefore, Pilots companies are encouraged to shape their programme to best suit the context they are working in. There's no one-size-fits-all in Pilots. Companies are encouraged to do what's right for them, in their own way, at their own pace.
To support the work of local companies, the Pilots Management Committee, Pilots Publications Board and the Pilots Desk provide a number of resources and services including annual Worship Materials to encourage and enable Pilots to lead worship, annual Overseas Materials to help Pilots learn more about a different country each year and 'The Compass', the main manual of Pilots, full of information, guidance, games, activities and suggestions.
The Pilots 'Big Day Out', held every few years, is a highlight in the Pilots calendar, gathering people from all companies, churches and places across the UK in one place for a day of extraordinary fun and adventure. In previous years, there have been trips to Legoland, Longleat Safari Park, Warwick Castle and even Cadbury World! Wherever the 'Big Day Out' is, it is always fantastic and memorable for the children and young people who attend, not to mention their parents, friend, leaders and everyone else. All are invited to 'be a Pilot for the day'!
Voyagers and Navigators, as older members of Pilots, sometimes need a bit of time on their own, a chance to chill out, the opportunity to meet others in the same situation, a space to explore some of the questions and ideas which arise from their involvement in Pilots in a safe, fun and welcoming environment. Every year, ‘V&N’ brings Voyagers and Navigators from around the country together for four days to share in reflection, worship, games, challenges and activities away from the pressures of their usual contexts, meeting new people and exploring what it is to be part of the wider Pilots family, not to mention building a broader perspective of different views and ways of approaching God, Scripture and faith.
With its commitment to catering for all children and young people, with authentic love and care, to help encourage and nurture their inherent gifts and talents, is there a place for Pilots in your life or community?