Equipping the next generation of boys and young men involves preparing them for leadership. In Royal Rangers, the process of preparing boys for leadership and engaging them in leadership roles today is an integral part of what we do. The process of training junior leaders currently takes place both within the local outpost as well as at the district level. Both play a vital role in leadership development in Royal Rangers.
The outpost junior leadership training cycle is a two-step process that involves Junior Leadership Foundations and a series of Junior Leadership Merits.
Junior Leadership Foundations
Junior Leadership Foundations is the first step in developing leadership skills in boys. It is repeated each time a boy assumes a new leadership position in the patrol or outpost. (Guidelines are available through the Leaders Track of TRaCclub.) This patch may be worn once the Ranger completes the following:
- Participate in the Introduction to Leadership interview that will include assigning him an achievable job-related task that he can complete within one week.
- Read the introductory and patrol system material from his handbook
- Pass an outpost uniform inspection
Leadership Merits are a key training tool for Discovery, Adventure, and Expedition Rangers. Leadership merits are intended to be taught every six months by the group commander in one of two ways: in five weekly meetings, or in a one-day/weekend format. Merit lesson plans will be available thru TRaCclub. Each Merit includes lessons on the following universal skills:
- Social skills
- Equipping skills
- Attitude skills
- Leadership skills
- Servant skills
These leadership merits must be taught at the local level and never become part of the district junior camps. This is so important, for if our men send boys to the district to earn the leadership merits, then the boys will return to their leaders, who because of lack of knowledge of the leadership merits, may be incapable of helping the boys put into practice what they have learned. If the leaders themselves teach these servant leadership skills to the boys, the men are not only learning, but also obligating themselves to model and implement what they are teaching. The leadership merits profit the local adult leaders as much as the junior leaders.
Districts play a vital role in junior leadership development. They can provide an environment for boys and young men to come together from many different outposts and backgrounds and learn to work together and fine-tune leadership skills. They can also provide instruction in specialized skills local leaders may not be able to offer.
MERIT CAMP (MC)
MC is designed as a transitional camp where boys are introduced to the district junior leader training. It is not a prerequisite for Junior Leadership Development Academy (JLDA) attendance but is recommended for all boys who have graduated 4th grade. MC is a district leadership training event geared for boys who have graduated the 4th grade but not yet in the 5th grade. MC introduces the patrol system while a boy earns merits that have been selected by the district. MC can be offered in a camping, retreat center, or church venue.
RANGER TRAINING CAMP (RTC)
RTC is designed to help prepare boys for leadership in the local group and outpost. It is not a prerequisite for Junior Leaders Development Academy (JLDA) attendance but is recommended for all boys 4th-6th grade. Ranger Training Camp (RTC) is a district leadership training event for boys who have graduated the 4th grade but not yet in the 7th grade. RTC prepares boys to serve as junior leaders in a boy-led, adult-facilitated outpost. RTC can be offered in a camping, retreat center, or church venue. RTC will help boys discover answers to these questions:
- What is my role in my patrol and group?
- What are some of my God-given (natural) talents and strengths?
- How do I add value to my patrol and group?
- What responsibilities can I undertake to help my patrol and group?
Junior Leadership Development Academy
The Junior Leadership Development Academy (JLDA) is designed to assist a boy in his leadership journey. It consists of several events that are held annually that will give boys fun-filled, intentional leadership training, along with powerful spiritual development opportunities. This training experience is designed to be a catalyst and springboard of spiritual encouragement. The following is a current list of the JLDA events endorsed by the National Royal Rangers Ministry:
JUNIOR TRAINING CAMP (JTC)
JTC is a district training event for boys in the 7th grade or above. JTC focuses on leadership development in the local patrol and group. JTC can be offered in a camping, retreat center, or church venue. JTC is a required event for the Trial of the Saber Award. JTC will help boys discover answers to these questions:
- What are my God-given (natural) talents and strengths and how am I developing them?
- Do I have what it takes to be a godly man?
- What is God’s plan for my life?
ADVANCED JUNIOR TRAINING CAMP (AJTC)
AJTC is a district event for boys in the 8th grade or above. AJTC focuses on leadership development by serving in group and church leadership roles for young men. AJTC can be offered in a camping, retreat center, or church venue. AJTC is a required event for the Trail of the Saber Award. AJTC will help boys discover answers to these questions:
- Am I following God’s plan for my life today?
- How am I developing my godly character?
- How am I helping (serving) others?
JUNIOR ACADEMY (JA)
Junior Academy (JA) is designed to prepare men and young men to serve as leaders/instructors at RTC, JTC, AJTC, Action Camps, and further equip them for service in the local outpost and the local church. JA has a strong focus on mentoring and staff training. JA is a two-stage process. Stage 1 offers training in staff orientation and theory (pre-event). Stage 2 is the practical application of Stage 1 and involves staff in training at a JLDA event. JA can be offered in a camping, retreat center, or church venue.
Prerequisites for boys:
- Completed JTC & AJTC (see below)
- Completed an Action Camp (minimum of one)
- Completed the 9th grade
Prerequisites for men:
- Completed the Ready and Safety Level of the OLAL.
- Pastor’s signature confirming background check completed
- Invitation by district leadership to attend
Those who complete the Junior Academy will be challenged to answer these questions:
- How do I help others to find God’s plan for their life?
- How am I helping to develop godly character in others?
- Who are those in need and how can I serve?
- How am I improving as an instructor?
- Am I emulating a Christlike life worthy of following?
Action Camps are district-sponsored training events in which both young men in grades 9-12 and adult men can attend. Together they will learn exciting skills, such as backpacking, canoeing, survival, winter camping, etc., to take back to the local outpost. These activities can be ideal for a father and son to attend together. Boys do not need to complete JTC or AJTC prior to attending an action camp. Action Camps are required to be a minimum of 2 1/2 days in length. Any questions about the requirements of an action camp should be directed to your regional training coordinator.
Does your district have an idea for an Action Camp? Contact the national training coordinator for a packet to see what it will take to make your Action Camp a reality.
The following Action Camps are recognized by the National Royal Ranger office and have patches and artwork available.
BACKPACKING ACTION CAMP (BAC)
BAC is designed for those who want to spend time on the trail learning and developing backpacking skills with classes, such as trail equipment, low impact camping, emergency first aid, map and compass, and rescue techniques. Instruction is based on the Green and Silver Backpacking merits. Trail teams will camp and work together. Participants will carry their gear and food in backpacks and will share in tasks and leadership responsibilities. They will live in tents and prepare their meals. They will be given many opportunities to demonstrate what they have learned about living in the back-country.
CANOEING ACTION CAMP (CAC)
CAC is for those who want to learn basic and advanced canoeing skills as well as how to conduct canoe trips. Topics to be studied include water-related first aid, swimming safety, canoe safety, waterproofing of gear, canoe care, and portaging. After attending some important training classes, trainees and staff will set out on a water expedition. Much of the instruction is based on the requirements from the green Canoeing merit. Canoeing rivers and lakes can be a fun and adventurous way to explore nature.
MISSIONS ACTION CAMP (MAC)
MAC prepares you for home and world missions service. Instructions range from construction skills to community outreach. Witnessing skills are taught and put to use in a visit to a local community or other ministry opportunities. You are encouraged to take part in mission opportunities on a regular basis, meeting the practical and spiritual needs of others.
SURVIVAL ACTION CAMP (SAC)
SAC is designed to give training and experience in survival in the backcountry. Much of the instruction is based on the requirements from the silver Wilderness Survival merit. The time will be divided between instruction and application. You will learn skills, such as advanced fire craft, primitive beds and shelters, how to find food and water, outdoor cooking, and first aid. Teams will construct and live in survival shelters. This is also a great opportunity to draw closer to God and grow spiritually.
WINTER SURVIVAL ACTION CAMP (WSAC)
WSAC is for those who wish to learn more about winter camping. You will receive instruction in the fundamentals of cold weather camping/survival. Classes and activities include winter shelters, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and avalanche safety. Much of the instruction is based on the requirements from the Silver Winter Camping merit.
AQUATICS ACTION CAMP (AAC)
AAC is for those who wish to learn about boating and other water activities. Classes and activities include nautical terms, water safety, water rescue, weather warnings, riptides, nautical knots, rowing, etc. Much of the instruction is based on the requirements from the Silver Boating, Sailing, and Skin Diving merits.
SHOOTING SPORTS ACTION CAMP (SSAC)
SSAC is for those who wish to learn about shooting sports. You will learn basic shooting and firearm safety. Much of the instruction is based on the silver Small-bore Safety, Shotgun Safety, Small-bore Shooting, and Shotgun Shooting merits. Either silver Black Powder Shooting merit or silver Air Rifle merit is another option that may be available. You will also learn the process for participating in the Royal Rangers Postal Competitions.
The Trail of the Saber is an award giving special recognition to boys who take full advantage of the junior leadership development opportunities available in their outpost and district. The award acknowledges the growth in servant leadership experienced in this process, starting in Discovery or Adventure Rangers and continuing through Expedition Rangers. Although this award may only be earned by boys, the award medal and ribbon may continue to be worn on the Royal Rangers uniform after a boy graduates into the ranks of adult leadership. (See order of wear)
Trail of the Saber Requirements
The following requirements must be met before reaching 18 years of age in order to qualify for the Trail of the Saber award.
- Be at least 14 years of age and a graduate of the 9th grade.
- Earn (8) leadership merits of any color (red, gold, or sky blue).
- Complete Junior Training Camp (JTC) and Advanced Junior Training Camp (AJTC).
- Complete two Action Camps or Junior Academy (JA) and one Action Camp.
- Read all 72 leadership distinctives as found in the 18 leadership merits. These may also be found in the book A Guy’s Journey to Servant Leadership.
- Read the book Next Generation Leader by Andy Stanley.
- Submit a Trail of the Saber Award Application to the national office for processing.
It should be noted that the Trail of the Saber award is represented on the uniform by a medal, ribbon, or patch and does not represent an actual saber. However, recipients may be presented with a saber as a symbol representing the award. For guidelines relating to the wearing of a saber with the uniform, please refer to our Saber Usage Parameters.