I’ll never forget the first time I went to Camp Eagle Rock in Southern Missouri. Seeing pictures of the camp in printed materials and my Royal Rangers handbooks had me dreaming of experiencing that adventure for myself. Being a kid from Gulf Coast, I was mesmerized by the thought of camping in the Ozark Mountains, going to the home of Royal Rangers, and meeting other guys from all over the world. As my Dad and I drove down the forest roads and into Camporama that sunny July day in 1998, I didn’t know it yet, but my life would never be the same.
I’ve always been obsessed with the question, “why?”. My parents, teachers, Ranger leaders, pastors, Sunday School teachers, and bosses have all heard the question. If I’m going to do something and give it my all, I want to know the “why?” behind the objective. The answer of “why?” behind Camporama is two-fold for me: Camporama is a life-changing experience for future men and it’s an opportunity I can’t pass up to mentor the boys God has entrusted me with.
As a 14-year-old boy in 1998, I had an amazing week of fun, excitement, and adventure with the friends in my outpost. At the Wednesday evening service, I responded to Jim Barger’s altar call and that night I was filled with the Baptism of the Holy Spirit for the first time. That same night, the Lord also impressed on me the need to give my life to serving Him in ministry.
As a leader, when I ask boys about their favorite memories of their time in Royal Rangers, boys who attended a Camporama will point to that as a high watermark experience in their time as a Ranger. The van ride, the memories on the way to and from the camp, and the excitement overload the camp provides are all part of the Camporama experience. Getting to be there with our boys to witness their excitement and life change is the cherry on top. The national Royal Rangers ministry spends the 4 years between Camporamas and plans for each one to be the best it can be. From the service speakers, worship experience, games, activities, food menu, camp upgrades, and logistics, Camporama is a custom-made Royal Rangers adventure experience that is for every boy in your outpost!
Before my 1998 trip, the leaders of Outpost 194 decided that we would attend Camporama. The trip to Eagle Rock doesn’t happen by accident or on a whim; it must be planned and executed. As the saying goes, “nothing in life is free” and Camporama is no different. It takes time, energy, effort, planning, communication, vision, and funds to make the event happen for our boys. I’m forever indebted to those men who not only chose to take our outpost but every leader who had a part in making that 1998 Camporama happen. I wish I could shake each of their hands today and thank them for their impact on my life’s destiny.
My prayer is that your outpost will attend the 2022 National Camporama with as many boys as you can and years later, you’ll have a young man come and thank you for making his experience with God possible. The question for you will shift like it has for me from “Why Camporama?” to “When is the next Camporama?”!