All-night Vigil, Alone in the Wilderness

CAMP WILDERNESS, Waupaca, WI – October 2016

Staying awake all night on a comfy couch with snacks and a game consul for company is hard enough, but have you ever tried praying from dusk to dawn… alone in the wilderness… in the fall… with nothing but limited primitive gear to sustain you. This Vigil is the final requirement towards becoming a Wilderness Member – the highest advancement level in Frontiersman Camping Fellowship (FCF).

For Caleb “Buffalo Tooth” Laux (15), this was an adventure to look forward to! Just a few years after he started Rangers in Kindergarten, he already set his sights on the Academy Saber. He picked the Frontier Adventure as one of his optional Academy camps but it wasn’t until his Uncle and cousins invited him to join them at Fall Trace, that the FCF bug bit him – and it bit him hard!

When asked what motivated him to take on his Wilderness Vigil, Caleb provided great insight.

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Whether your an Outpost of 10 or 100, you need a chaplain!

After twenty five years leading at Outpost 169, Commander Wayne Elliott urges all Outpost to establish the spiritual foundation of your organizational structure first. That’s not to say that Outpost wont experience times where commanders have to fill positions temporary because someone has had to step down, but it does mean that an Outpost should always recognize the need for an Outpost chaplain the the vital role he fills.
For those of us that have been commanders for any length of time then you have probably worn many hats at your Outpost or sat in many seats on your Outpost “bus”. With a ministry motto of “Ready, ready for anything” we sometimes can help but clutter our plates with a whole host of things that have to be accomplished for out weekly meetings. There is a seat for everyone on the bus and more importantly a right seat. The sooner you get everyone on the right seat the sooner those plates begin to be uncluttered and the healthy your Outpost with be.
The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. Weekly Outpost meetings are the keystone activities of an Outpost. It’s when relationships are forged and we begin to build around us a fellowship that will see us through. Having a spiritual lighthouse “Chaplain” will pull everything together and bring a unity that’s totally in tune with God’s word.
Every commander should be a spiritual leader, but a chaplain is THE Outpost spiritual leader.

Who makes a great Chaplin?
At Outpost 169 Commander Wayne has seen former college professors, Outpost commanders and retired missionaries step into the role of chaplain. The important thing is that this is a unique full time position. Now that doesn’t mean that this is a forty hour a week job. I just mean that the chaplain is not ask to fill any other position at the Outpost. His total focus in on the spiritual heath of the Outpost. You may be in a situation where your churches children’s pastor or even the senior pastor could fill the role of chaplain.

Proven steps to fining an Outpost chaplain

Recognize the need. Anytime we establish a real need in our lives it begins to get our attention.

Pray. Take you need to God daily. Lift up your Outpost to the Lord and ask him to fill the chaplain position.

Take steps of faith. Faith is an action verb. Follow God’s prompting on your heart. The Lord didn’t wake up today and say, “Oh no, that outpost doesn’t have a chaplain”. We are stewards of God’s ministry. He will provide.

The position of Outpost chaplain at OP169 was recently filled by a semi-retired missionary that had been sitting in font of Commander Wayne in church for several months. Commander Wayne had been praying for God to bring us a new chaplain after Chaplain Steve resigned. It was months of prayer and simply getting to know Richard Dunn on Sunday morning. One Sunday morning during service Commander Wayne just felt a prompting from God to just casually bring up the conversation regarding Rangers and our need for a chaplain. Within a few weeks Chaplain Richard had moved into his new role. And let me tell you it has been a perfect fit.

The true power of the chaplain position.
Outpost 169 has hosted several SMC’s. (Summer Merit Camps) and at each on Commander Wayne was careful to fill the position of Chaplain. At this particular SMC our chaplain was Edd Sattesahn. During our planning meetings Commander Wayne would always emphasis the phrase, “behind every set of eyes is a story.” Well, during one of our first devotions at SMC Chaplain Edd handed each of the boys a 3×5 card and asked them to write down something we didn’t know about their story. He reminded them that no one but Chaplain Edd would ever read these so the information was confidential. This was the moment that Chaplain Edd and the rest of us as commanders became intimately aware of how important the role of chaplain was. One of the boys who was there with his two brothers wrote, “I am here with my two brothers. We all have the same mother, we each have different dads, all four are in prison.” They were all staying with their grandmother who felt the importance of getting these boys to rangers.
Now I know, I said that these cards were written in confidence and that was never broken, but over the coarse of the next few days of building relationships we these boys they began to share and we learned more about this young mans story. Interestingly to meet this young man you would have never known his story. He is a dynamic young man with an amazing servants heart. He would have done anything for you or any of the other boys. You would have thought he had a great home life and a father that had just poured into his life.
The point is, without Chaplain Edd leading the spiritual foundation, teaching the bible merit at camp, serving communion, praying for the boys and building those relationships we would have never learned the stories of these boys hearts. The story God was telling. There is more about all of us than meets the eye. More about us than others know and more about our true selves that we would like to know and to get at it you have to go deep. Behind the eyes and deep into our true heats. The heart God wants to make whole and alive. The heart the enemy wants to steal kill and destroy.
Commanders, you have a great responsibility and a great adventure before you, but without a fellowship united and standing firmly on the foundation of God’s word you will struggle to hold it together. Prayerfully fill the position of chaplain and enjoy life’s journey one adventure at a time.

Books we’re reading

Wild At Heart Killing Lions


Original author: Commander
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Ranger teen survives 3 days in the wilderness.

CAMP WILDERNESS, Waupaca, WI - August 2016

Seth Hunt (15) spent two nights and three days in the woods with not much more than a knife, magnesium flint, a piece of foil, a couple of fish hooks and some plastic sheeting. He and twelve other teens attended Wilderness Survival Camp in August were they were trained to live off the land and rely on God and the friendship of the guy they were paired off with. To make things worse, they faced a deluge of storms during the first two days of their adventure. “All the Academy camps are tough, but this was especially hard… making fires in the rain and building shelters in the storms” was Seth’s cheerful response when asked how well the camp went.

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Suggested Merits

I found this article while rummaging through the internet and thought it might be useful, but would suggest you consider the following adjustments:

  • The required merits should not be scheduled in the summer when attendance is typically  lower. Rather schedule required merits (Bible Knowledge, etc.) during the Fall when the boys can complete the reading by next Sept. (reading during the Summer does not usually happen).
  • We see Ropecraft is not mentioned.  We highly recommended you include this merit to ensure your boys are well prepared for District camps, plus this is a super valuble skill to have.

Here's the article:

The advancement trails for Discovery Rangers (grades 3-5), Adventure Rangers (grades 6-8), and Expedition Rangers (grades 9-12) are largely based on the completion of a specified number of skill merits.  Groups may choose from a list of over 200 merits currently available.  

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Knife Sharpening

Article credit: Crazy Crow.  Take a look at their knife sharpening tools. I have also bought their knife blanks in the past. They're relatively inexpensive and make a cool project as you add your custom handle and make a sheath for it.

How to Sharpen a Knife

The most difficult knife care task is said to be sharpening a blade. Modern stainless steel is very hard and when sharpened properly, will hold a good edge for a very long time.

When sharpening a knife, you must have a high quality sharpener that features a rough stock removal surface of diamond abrasive and a finishing surface of hard stone or ceramic abrasive. The diamond and ceramic materials will cut away the blade’s cutting surface easily as these materials are much harder than steel.

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