Inside Royal Rangers is a ministry called FCF, or Frontier Camping Fellowship. What does FCF do? What is its purpose? What specifically could I look for in an FCF member? In this article I hope to answer these questions and more. These are some very good questions I have been faced with in my 26 years of involvement in FCF. Fortunately, for this particular ministry, there are very good answers. Never is it seen as another “babysitting program”, or “it’s just what someone though of almost 50 years ago” type answer. There is deep meaning and purpose inside the ministry.
FCF was founded, is supported, staffed, and its membership comes from Royal Ranger members. It is meant to take a Ranger lad who desires to travel further out into Gods wilderness to deeper levels of God and Godly manhood. By “Frontier”, it is meant any time in American history prior to 1840. We try hard to camp like someone did in history, with their same limitations and technology. These camps are sometimes separate from a Royal Ranger campout, but sometimes are also inside a Ranger camp. The ministry emblem is a fire which contains five logs. Each log represents a specific character FCF develops in lads. These five logs are as follows.
Woodsmanship: FCF stands apart from Rangers in that it teaches primitive historical ways of life while living or surviving in the wilderness (FCF campouts). Our “uniform” is much like our ancestors wore who blazed trails, hunted, trapped, surveyed land, and farmed new land far past where there was strength in the numbers of others. Can you think to yourself (if you are over 30) how much time you spent as a child outside playing and working compared to the latest generations? FCF takes lads back to a time where there was nothing to plug into an electrical outlet, nothing to turn on or off, nothing to recharge. It exposes life before modern entertainment in video games and sports. It takes them into Gods creation, that which He saw “was good”. God meets us in special ways when we are enjoying what He has built, rather than inside what we have built. How can one find their way by looking at the sun? How can one make a fire with a rock and steel? How can one build a shelter in the middle of the wilderness? We teach these and other frontier skills in FCF.
Courage: Imagine the statements mentioned above, and sleeping out in a wilderness-type area where we have never been, inside a canvas tent or less, and hearing the coyote’s start to holler for dinner! Yes, courage is a very present need of today’s time.
You might be asking, “What is so special about this era in history”? I would like to remind you this era holds some of the toughest men and women this country has ever seen. What if you had to sign a document you knew good and well a whole country would be hunting you for? What if you were faced with sure danger from attack and loss of family, loved ones, and home? What would you do if your lack of vocation forced you into leaving home for months and months at a time to make enough money to support your family? These men in history could have felt one or all of these realities, did, and lived to tell about it.
FCF teaches lads to stand up for who they are, who they KNOW, and who they love. These are all traits of Godly men.
Achievement: Imagine if you were taught how to start a fire. Someone showed you everything you needed to do. They even went as far as starting one for you so you could see and watch. The only problem is, if you have not started the fire for yourself, struck the flint against the steel to get sparks, made your own charred material and put all of these skills together to get a flame going, you still have not achieved a fire. Achievement today is a fleeting thing. We have allowed so much of our lives to be filled with entertainment and things that do not provide meaningful achievements, and do not matter in life as a whole. Many times we lack personal achievement even in the work force. So many of us are “parted out” to do a task that has been started by someone else, only to pass it along to the next person after we are done. We can achieve our portion, yes. But imagine the feeling of the man who puts the last bolt on the car before completion. Imagine the teacher who sees a pupil pass a grade. Imagine a lad, who creates fire where there was none before, and can now warm himself, dry out his wet clothing, or cook his food. I focus on fire building because it is almost every lads past time who has ever camped, to stare into the fire. There is something about fire that draws us to it. Learning a primitive skill such as how to make a fire, and the confidence to build one when and where needed gives a lad a sense of achievement and confidence nothing else can.
Friendship: For so many of us, our best friends are those who have walked with us through a difficult or trying situation. Most of my good friends have shared camp fires with me in a historical mindset, as well as in a modern mindset. Godly relationships are built at camps where the power is turned off, when we have nothing else to focus on but God, his creation, and each other. We all could use more Godly friends, those around us to hold our arms up when we are tired. Godly men need Godly friends. FCF grows Godly friendships.
Leadership: I left leadership last on purpose. Leadership is a quality in a public setting that is born and developed into a lad. Meaning, there are born leaders who hear Gods voice, listen to His heart, and follow It. King David comes to mind. But, there was only one of David. What should all the rest of the men do? The Bible is clear men are to be leaders in their homes. They are responsible for the well being of their wife and children, to provide for them spiritually and physically. To protect them! A leader does NOT mean leading with an iron fist. In fact, our purest example of a leader lived His life on earth showing how good God the Father was. Not how well He could control his friends and followers, or how strong He could make an army to take charge. Jesus was a humble servant to his father. In FCF we teach lads to serve others in ministry, and inside their homes.
Back to the FCF emblem; imagine those logs blazing on fire. The flames with the five logs under it are the visual image I want you to have. But what are the five logs fueling? What is the flame represented of when it is produced? Simple and three things: Love-Witness-and Service. The five logs fuel these three major things commanded in scripture for us to partake in. Love your neighbor before yourself, share the good news, and serve others before yourself. All three are major traits of a Godly man. FCF takes lads who may not get much of a chance to see Gods great creation out of the cities and roads, and into the life of far less hustle and bustle. It gets them into a space where technology can not interrupt. It shows them the majestic wonders of God. And those are JUST the atmosphere! When one prepares themselves with historical clothing and gear, works hard at making things and buying things to have what is needed, he is completing another biblical principle which is to “study to show himself approved”. When we show that we are serious about meeting with God IN his creation, He honors that. Some of the greatest services I have ever been a part of, have been around a campfire with other friends and family there.
What does FCF do? It helps build Godly men with His creation as a backdrop and stage.
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