Camp Roosevelt - Elmer, NJ
I am very excited to write this article about the NJRRAA. First and foremost, I would like to tell you about my first experience with this academy. Last summer, our Sectional Commander, Bob Eckert, asked me if I was sending any boys to this academy, which runs for one week in August every year. I told him I was sending five Discovery Rangers. He then asked if I would be willing to serve on staff as well. My wife and I prayed about it, got approval to take vacation time, and accepted his invitation.
When the boys and I arrived at the camp, it was approximately 100 degrees and probably 100% humidity as well. I was thinking... this is going to be a long week. The week proved to be so much more than I (or the boys) ever expected. It was a time of stretching for the boys. In most cases, they were a bit homesick, and my son, Evan, was struggling with a virus.
I know now that it was God’s plan for each boy, and for me, to be there that week. I think if you talk to the boys involved, they will tell you the same thing. Yes, the academy is about earning merits but, in my opinion, it is about so much more.
Every night, each camp would hold ‘Council Fires’ where the Spirit of God was evident, and the boys were eager to answer a call to get closer to God.
I had the opportunity to serve in a ‘Missions Camp’ designed to give the young men a glimpse of what being on the foreign mission field is like. The boys involved in the camp were 17 years old and ready to leave the Royal Rangers ministry and enter college, the marketplace, and even become junior leaders in Royal Rangers. All of these boys were Gold Medal of Achievement winners, and most participated in the ministry throughout their childhood. I was astounded at the level of commitment to the Lord in the lives of these boys. They were truly mature Christian believers with many different gifts and talents.
The boys we brought to the academy from our outpost were the youngest in the academy, while the young men that I had the privilege of spending time with were the oldest. It was then that the Lord started to speak to me about the future of the boys from our outpost.
While Royal Rangers was not the only reason these boys were such great examples of what a godly young man should exemplify, it certainly was a major part of their growth and godly character. I can honestly say I have never before met such a fine group of young men. I say all this to inform you that we will be accepting applications for this year’s academy very soon.
All I would ask from you as parents is to prayerfully consider this academy as part of your son’s summer schedule. I know firsthand that this is a worthwhile endeavor for your son. The dates are August 13th-19th.
The camp is open to Rangers who have graduated from fourth grade through high school. Although I do not know the price of this summer’s camp yet, it should be close to last year’s price of $175.00, which includes food, accommodations, a beret or hat with camp patches and all applicable merits. Parents must be present to check their son in at the camp, and the boy must be in a full ‘class B’ uniform to register. I would be glad to answer any other questions you might have, so please ask!
-Bill Kluender, Senior Commander
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