Royal Rangers is very important in my life. It is preparing me for the man I am becoming. It has taught me how to be a follower, a leader, and many other skills. Most importantly Royal Rangers has shown me how to have a strong relationship with God. Royal Rangers has given me guidance throughout my life that has helped me conquer the many obstacles in my life so far.

The most challenging thing for me was learning how to be a follower. The camping and outdoor events are really what attracted me to Royal Rangers. I just wanted to go camping and get dirty. But I have learned many skills that are very helpful to me in my life. I have acquired skills on surviving in the wilderness, first aid, shooting guns, water skiing, and much more. Royal Rangers has made the learning experience fun. The day I joined Rangers I instantly wanted to be a leader. I never truly understood that in order to lead, I had to learn to be a follower. I thought I could do things better than my leader did. Thatís when I learned I was wrong. I actually got to hold a leadership position in Pioneers for a day. I quickly realized that I had no clue what I was doing. That motivated me to become a great follower until I was ready to lead.

Leadership is one of the most important traits I have acquired in Rangers. Leadership in Royal Rangers helps me to be a great leader not only in Rangers but also at school, home, Marching Band, JROTC and amongst my friends. I was taught to lead in many ways. I am given tasks from watching over the boys, to leading the outpost in formation. However, I think one of the most important things I can do as a leader is to be a good example.

I remember about three years ago I was talking to another Expedition Ranger and I said something to him I should not have said. One of the younger kids over heard me and later that night repeated what I said. I yelled at him and all he said was, "Well, you said it!" That is what made me realize that the younger boys are always watching everything we do. They want to do the things we do and say the things we say. I realized then, that I have the power to influence the kids for the good or the bad. Ever since that day, I have tried my best to act as the proper role model while in front of kids as well as alone. We never know when people are watching, but we do know that God is watching. Another important thing about leadership that I have learned in Rangers is caring about others. I used to yell at the boys to get in formation, get in line, etc. I finally realized that I went about it all wrong. I have learned that when you show people that you care instead of yelling, you receive better results. You also feel better about yourself. I began to compliment them for what they did right, and encourage them to do better instead of focusing on what was incorrect. When you treat people with respect, they will treat you with respect.

Royal Rangers has helped me discover the value of relationships. My best friends are in Royal Rangers. Most kids my age do not have close friends that are 11 and 12 years old. Through Rangers we have formed a strong bond that surpasses physical age. when times were rough, my friends in Rangers helped me through. I am thankful for all the relationships I have formed in Royal Rangers. I have lots of fun forming strong bonds with the younger kids. I like to help them overcome the many obstacles I have already run into. I am very thankful for my fellow Expedition Rangers as well. The bond between us is unbreakable. I would like to thank them for being there when I need someone to talk to or simply just get out of the house. I would like to thank all the commanders that have been there for me and believed in me when I didnít even believe in myself. I would also like to thank Commander Tom. He has put in a lot of his time working with the Expedition Rangers and me. He is always willing to help me with anything. After you get used to very loud snoring, he is lots of fun camping. He has taught me almost everything I know about camping, guns, black powder, survival, and just having fun. I would also like to thank all the other commanders that have been influential in my life. My life would not be the same with out these men. I have enjoyed all the funny times as well as the serious times. These men have been there for me most of my life.

Commander Randy was always there for me. He is the man that showed me how to have real fun. Commander Andrew and Commander Chris were always there by the campfire late at night to talk about whatever. Commander Todd is always sharing his knowledge of basically everything with me. I also learned many wrestling moves from him, some of them I learned the painful way. I remember the Expedition Rangers and I wrestled Commander Todd and Commander Mike. It did not turn out very well for us, but it was loads of fun. Commander Mike has also always been there for me. He always gives me good advice and lots of wisdom. The most important relationship to me is my family. I am very thankful for them. Even though I feel like avoiding both of my brothers sometimes, they have been more than just brothers to me. They have been the best of friends. I am glad that my brothers are always there for me. I am also very blessed to have two of the greatest parents in the world. Both my Mother and my Father have been there for me and encouraged me to do better in life. The relationship with my family is very healthy, and for that I thank God. I thank God every day for all the relationships I have formed throughout my life.

Royal Rangers has also given me a real relationship with God. I am blessed to have wonderful Christian parents that have raised me well. I did fine with my walk with God up until my junior year in High School. I got involved with the wrong people and did some wrong things. I had stopped reading my Bible and stopped praying. I called myself a Christian, but I know by definition I was not a Christian. Satan kept deceiving me to think that I was too far gone to change so I kept it up until the summer came. I had been thinking about finishing my last year in Rangers then getting out and going away to College. Then I went on a missionís trip to Mexico City. At first my parents were forcing me to go. I started going to the meetings and slowly started praying and reading the Bible again. While I was on this trip I saw miracles that were so amazing, and I felt Godís presence like never before. On our last night there, we were in the middle of a powerful devotion. We were all praying and shouting out to God. I felt God speaking to me, basically telling me that I need to stay in Royal Rangers, and turn my life back to Him. When I returned from that trip I was a completely new person. Satan had a hold on me so strong that I could not get free. Not by myself. Over the summer, that hold was broken by the Lord. Jesus has set me free! I believe that Royal Rangers was one of the threads that kept me holding on to God. I started to realize I can not come to church and be a role model for these kids then leave church and live the life that I was living. I truly believe Royal Rangers was one of the biggest things that helped me become the young man that I am, because of the strong Christian values I learned. Royal Rangers is my life. I honestly would hate to see my life without Royal Rangers. It would be boring. Royal Rangers has changed my life not only physically but spiritually and socially as well. Royal Rangers has given me friends that I can depend on and trust. It has given me hope in times when I know I couldnít make it. It has given me peace. It has given me the opportunity to help boys achieve the many goals in life. Royal Rangers means everything to me.