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Devils Lake Journal - Devils Lake, ND
No Moonshine by Danny Batson
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By Danny Batson
Feb. 18, 2013 9:46 p.m.



Editor’s Note:  Royal Rangers is a worldwide ministry of the Assemblies of God and is designed to provide youth with challenging activities while providing them with Christian instruction. A camping theme has traditionally been at the heart of most activities, although other non-camping activities are included as well. The program includes a merit award system whereby Royal Rangers must demonstrate specific knowledge and abilities. The Royal Rangers ministry is an alternative to Scouting. GT

I was Senior Commander of our local Royal Rangers for a number of years. We were able to teach a lot of boys how to camp and survive if they got lost out in the wilderness.  After the class work, we would take them out for “hands on” testing of what they had learned. We were about to complete a 10 point compass training course. It would be easy during daylight hours. Too easy, so I thought.

I drove out to Poosey Park just northwest of Chillicothe.  As many of you know, Poosey has big timber. I walked a course through the tall grass, weeds, trees, hills, and one briar big patch and then sketched out a map. 

The map had 10 points where the boys would stop and read their compass and change their direction.  It would lead them back to the starting point where the vehicles were.  At the next class I told them it's time to show us what you've learned boys.  We are going to Poosey Park Friday at midnight.  This trip will let you prove to us that you can follow directions. 

As we drove to Poosey, they began to get really excited about a late night run in the deep woods! We had made lights out of three pound coffee cans, I gave them a candle to put in each one.  We got every boy out and divided them into teams, four teams, and five persons in each including a leader.  One compass and one can light per team, no flashlights allowed! 

However, I did not know the moon was going to hide from us that night.  I lit the candles as I sent them off in five minute intervals, the fastest time back will be declared the winner.  I stayed at the vans, because after all-- I'm the Senior CommanderJ! 

But then the trouble started, by the time teams reached the second point the candles had burnt out.  That idea was a mistake on my part. I told them no flashlights, my mistake again.  They would not be able to see their hand in front of their face! 

As luck or the Lord would have it, one person on each team had snuck a small flashlight in their pocket, except one.  I waited and waited until I thought I would have to go find them; then all at once here comes a team laughing telling of all the troubles they had. Then another team and another returned.

Finally, there was just one team left out there.  Where are they? We all wondered, hoping they would not wander off in the wrong direction without a light.

It was a very long wait.

Suddenly out of the darkness, we heard a lone, soft voice. Everyone yelled "Over Here, Over Here!"  The last team had a cigarette lighter to check the map and compass at each point and they had gotten a little mixed up, but had made it back to home base safely. 

Those boys still talk about that special night even now. They want to get together again and camp, and even bring their own boys!  Life can be good, but getting through tough times together is even better.  My Royal Rangers are very dear to me and I still watch them from a distance.  Adventures with friends will never leave your heart.      

  DB

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