Making Merits Interactive
Fun and Interactive Meetings are the Key to Reaching & Keeping Boys!
Since its inception in 1962, Royal Rangers has been at its core an outdoor, action-oriented program. Our aim, as stated in the 1998 edition of the Leaders Manual, is "to instruct, challenge, and inspire our boys in the areas of Bible doctrine, Christian service, moral conduct, and basic beliefs of our church through interesting activities the boys enjoy." [Emphasis added.]
In keeping with this tradition, page 4 of the Leaders Guides for both the Discovery and Adventure Rangers programs begin by describing Royal Rangers as "an action-packed, life-changing ministry to boys of all ages." These resources go on to describe the program as having weekly meetings "filled with the activities, camaraderie, and spiritual challenge that boys need."
|Good meetings are FUN!
for boys as well as leaders
With these thoughts in mind, consider the following as tips and alternatives when teaching your next weekly meeting:
- Whenever possible, complete merit requirements orally as a group rather than in written format. Requirements beginning with words like explain, list, or tell do not need to be completed in written format but may be completed as a group discussion. Every boy present may then receive credit for having completed that requirement.
- Allow essay requirements to be satisfied orally by short individual presentations to the group. This will satisfy the purpose of the requirement (i.e., knowledge of the subject) while avoiding a written format that could be a major obstacle to younger boys. For those who aren't comfortable with oral presentations or when the size of the group makes this option unsuitable, the boys may create illustrated reports by researching and assembling collages of photos or images with captions describing the subjects.
- Look for ways to get the boys physically involved in the learning process. Requirements that begin with demonstrate should always involve physical activity not merely explaining or writing a response. "Sit and listen" times should be limited to approximately 1 minute per age. For example, a 7-year-old Ranger Kid can "sit and listen" for approximately 7 minutes; a 12-year-old Adventure Ranger for about 12 minutes. Look for ways to utilize the "hear, see, do" principle of instruction. Let the boys hear you explain how to do something, see you demonstrate the skill, and then do or practice the skill themselves.
- Provide opportunities for the boys to complete requirements as a group or patrol. Interaction with friends makes any task more fun and enhances learning for everyone.
It should be noted that the requirements for the merits cannot be changed and should be completed as written. The handbooks and workbooks are still necessary resources to direct and track each boy's progress through the advancement system. However, the methods used to satisfy requirements should be flexible, allowing for differing abilities and maturity levels of boys.
As Royal Ranger leaders, we enjoy a tremendous privilege to serve our Master Ranger, Jesus Christ, through the ministry of Royal Rangers. Along with any privilege comes responsibility. It is our responsibility to provide our boys with an "action-packed, life-changing ministry" that will "instruct, challenge, and inspire" them in their personal growth and achievement as they daily grow into the image of Christ.
National Communications Coordinator
National Royal Rangers Ministries