Adventist Youth Honors Answer Book/Outreach/Parade Floats

Parade Floats
North American Division
See also Parade Floats - Advanced
Skill Level 2
Year of Introduction: 2009

Instructor Required

1. Learn and implement the following safety rules in the creation of a parade float.


  1. Motorized parade floats and towing apparatus shall be provided with a minimum 2-A, 10- B:C rated portable fire extinguisher readily accessible to the operator.
  2. Open flame devises are prohibited on parade floats. The use of fuel fired torches, candles or similar devises which can ignite the parade float are prohibited.
  3. Fireworks and/or pyrotechnics are not permitted to incorporated into the design or be discharged.
  4. No smoking on or near any floats at any time.
  5. Stabilized props on a float should not exceed 12 feet in height or 8.5 feet in width.
  6. Float beds must be sturdy and capable of carrying the weight to be imposed.
  7. Float vehicles should be properly registered and insured.
  8. The float vehicle must be properly serviced for gasoline, water, oil, brakes, tires and battery prior to entry into the parade. NO extra gasoline, other than in the vehicle’s tank, can be carried on the float vehicle.
  9. Floats must have a minimum of 12 inches ground clearance from the frame. Nothing can drag on the roadway from the float. Proper clearance of materials from around the wheels of the vehicles must be incorporated to avoid any materials being caught in them.
  10. Decorative material and the parade structure must be kept clear of the exhaust system of the tow vehicle.
  11. .Portable generators must be used carefully. Do not allow the heated exhaust to come in contact with the parade float. Do not overload temporary electrical wiring (an electrician should do all float wiring). Secure extension cords properly; do not let them drag on the ground, contact tires or the drive train. Inspect your electrical appliances before energizing the parade float.
  12. Drivers must possess a valid motor vehicle operator’s license and be adequately trained to drive their float. Drivers must be a minimum of 21 years of age.
  13. Once the float is in position in the assembly area, a driver and representative must be in attendance at all times in the event there are questions, problems or if the float needs to be moved.
  14. Be sure that the operator (driver) has a clear field of view. The driver must have a wide field of view to avoid other floats and the crowd. If you have to back-up your parade float, have sufficient personnel to guide the float.
  15. NO ONE will be permitted to ride on the float as it is being transported to and from the parade site.
  16. No children (Adventurers) under 10 will be permitted to ride on a float without Parent supervision. Pathfinders must be supervised by their Club's Leadership team at all times.
  17. All passengers standing or sitting on the float must be wearing a safety belt or have handholds or other support while the float is moving.

2. List at least five materials that can be used in your float building and decorating.

  1. Lumber
  2. Plywood
  3. Wallboard
  4. Cloth
  5. Carpet
  6. Floral Sheeting
  7. Foil
  8. Plants (flowers, boughs, nuts, etc.)
  9. Christmas lights

3. Help build a float by


a. Helping design a float for your Pathfinder Club/Church youth group.

Design begins with a brainstorming session. This is when everyone in the group blurts out ideas about how the float could look. All the ideas are written down on a whiteboard where everyone can see, and none of the ideas are criticized or dismissed, no matter how ludicrous. if criticism begins during this phase, people will be less expressive. Crazy ideas have a way of sparking sane ideas in others, so you will want to encourage that sort of thinking.
Select a Design
Once the brainstorming has run its course, the group should look at all the ideas that have been suggested. This is when the crazy ideas are eliminated. People will by this time have thought more about the ideas that have been presented, and a handful of favorites may stand out. Which of these are actually doable? Once the ideas have been winnowed down to a few, see if you can gain consensus on one of them. Does your group have the skill and resources necessary to pull this off? How? If not, look at the alternatives.
At this point, you need to figure out the float's physical design. This is the unseen part of the float, but it is highly important. Unless the float has a solid foundation, it will not be safe to put in a parade, much less pile a group of unsuspecting children on it. The float's intended shape will inform the design of its underpinnings.
Select materials
Part of the design process is to select materials. Some of these may have been proposed during the brainstorming session, and if so, that's great. If not, make that selection now.
Make sketches
Sketch out the float so that everyone can see the big picture. You may need separate sketches for the engineering aspects verses the artistic aspects of the float, but make sure they are compatible.

b. Assist in planning materials needed and be involved in collecting those items.


Once the float has been designed and the materials have been selected, it is time to figure out how much of each type of material will be needed. Once this is known, the material should be gathered. You may have to buy much of it, but it may also be possible to get some of it donated. If you intend to approach a national home improvement franchise for a donation, you will need to do so well in advance. These companies may require the organization to fill out a written request and supply documentation proving tax-exempt status. However, they may agree to fund a great deal of your project, so it is worth considering.

Another strategy is to approach a local business (i.e., one that is not a national franchise). These businesses will not be burdened with the same levels of bureaucracy as a large company. Such donor companies need not be home improvement stores at all. Any type of business may be interested in helping a good cause.

c. Decorating a float for at least 4 hours.


Once you have the design sketched out and the materials in hand, the fun begins. Be attentive to details and remember to have fun. Building a float is a great way to build friendships as well.

4. Be in a parade experience with the float you have helped to build and decorate, and as appropriate, hand out pamphlets that explain the youth/Pathfinder ministry of your group.


It might not be possible for your entire club to ride on the float, and if this is the case, do not despair! Pathfinders are skilled at Drilling and Marching, and it would be a fine idea for the club to fall in behind the float and march. This will also put club members' feet on the ground where they can easily reach the crowd with pamphlets.

If you are allowed to distribute pamphlets in the parade, you will need to print some up ahead of time. It could be as simple as a one-page club newsletter, or a full-blown brochure describing your club. Be sure the pamphlet includes contact information so that anyone who gains an interest in your club will be able to follow up on that interest.

5. Photograph your float during its creation and during the parade and share the experience in one of the following ways


With a digital camera, the only cost involved is the camera's batteries. Do not feel compelled to include every photo in your presentation, but rather, take lots and lots of photos so that you have many to choose from when assembling the presentation. See the Photography and Digital Photography honors for tips.

You can create your presentation as either a Scrapbook or using electronic media (i.e., a slide show or perhaps a video).

a. With at least two shut-ins how your group witnessed in the community


This activity can be done at a later time. Many clubs visit shut-ins on a regular basis. Older, home-bound church members relish Sabbath afternoon visits from young people, but young people often don't know what to talk about. Having a presentation of your float solves that problem.

b. Report with pictures and stories for a church or Sabbath School program and for a Pathfinder club worship program


This can be a short presentation to your church during Sabbath School, during the worship service (perhaps on Pathfinder Sabbath), or even before the worship service begins. It can also be done during a regular club meeting. Make sure you know how to operate any equipment needed (such as a projector) ahead of time, and run through it once to be sure.

6. Memorize Mark 16:15 and discuss with a group how the honor’s parade float project helps fulfill this biblical command.

Mark 16:16 (NIV)
He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation."

When a Pathfinder group enters a float in a public parade, it raises community awareness about the club, and by extension, of the church that sponsors it. A float establishes the club's presence in the community in a non-threatening way. It leaves a positive impression on those in the community who see it, predisposing them to view the club and the church in a favorable light.

However, this is merely introductory. A float by itself is unlikely to win souls to Christ. Unless the church follows this up with additional outreach, such as a health seminar, cooking class, smoking cessation program, Vacation Bible School, or an evangelism program, people will most likely not act upon the favorable impression made by the parade float. But a parade float is a wonderful first step.

It is especially helpful if, as required in this honor, the participants distribute pamphlets or explain the club to the parade watchers. This has the potential to attract new members to the club, and thus, to the church.

External Resources