My name is C.J. Bradshaw and I have been in Royal Rangers since I was 5 years old. For the past 9 years, I have learned many things, made friends, and had lots of fun.
When I first started in Rangers, I was new to Lake Wylie Christian Assembly and didn't have many friends outside my school friends. Straight Arrows helped change that. I was able to meet and hang out with kids my own age. I knew about God, but this program helped me to learn more about Him. I learned that God has and always will be there for me. Having Jesus live in my heart is more than knowing his name but knowing that where I go He is already there.
In Rangers, I learned things like how to tie different types of knots in a rope, safe-hiking techniques, how to start a controlled fire (without catching myself on fire), how to cook awesome food in a Dutch-oven, how to use CPR, and many other useful lessons that will last a life time. Without a doubt, Rangers has helped me to mature mentally, physically, and spiritually. All these things add up to a still growing and a more mature me.
I have attended many Ranger outings that range from hikes to camp outs. All of these things have helped to make my Ranger experience a great one. I have been to places, done things, and met people that I would never have met otherwise. My first event was the Straight Arrows overnighter. We slept in a gym in an old school building. It was kind of scary looking, but we had a ball. For the next two years I was able to go. The third year was the first time my dad was able to go and see all the things I had been telling him about. One of the funniest things was at the FCF village when our commanders and others joining FCF could not talk to us. We would all laugh and they were not able to say a word. It was nice knowing some of them couldn't talk. We got to see my Uncle Ernie wearing a skirt (he called it a kilt, but it looks like a skirt to me). Oh, did I say he was my uncle? Oops, I meant Commander Ernest.
I have been to many Pow-Wow's. I really enjoyed all of them with. the exception of the time I got stuck at the top of a repelling tower. Mr. Jolly had to lower me down. I didn't like the time we went to Pow-Wow and had to come home early because of the rain that just would not stop. Camporama was the hottest event I have ever been to in my life, but the best. I was able to meet other Rangers from around the world. I got to see Bibleman and thought, "Man, I wish my little brother was here to see him."
In Rangers you have to work to achieve merits. That is how I got here to my GMA. My favorite merit that I worked for was my cycling merit. It was tough, but I enjoyed the talks I had with my mom as I would blow by her or she would do the same just to keep me motivated to keep on going. My MawMaw would load Hunter, my little brother, in the basket on her bike and off we would go. The 50-mile ride was the hardest, but also the most rewarding. I didn't think I could do it, but my family kept telling me, "You're almost there." Afterwards, we celebrated with hot dogs and chili cheese fries. We earned it!
To sum up my Ranger experience, I have made some of my closest friends, gone to places and seen and done things, spent time with my family that I may not have otherwise, and above all, gotten closer to God. I hope that younger boys will want to have some of the same great experiences that have motivated me to stay the course. I have enjoyed Rangers so much that I want to become a JR Commander and help other kids in this program.
I would like to thank my commanders for all of their help and support. The people that I would like to thank the most are Mom, Dad, my brother Hunter, and Maw Maw Messer, because these four people have helped me through this whole process, and I truly thank them.