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Royal Ranger of the Year finishes leadership academy
Ryan, a Sequim High School and Peninsula College Running Start graduate, completed the Royal Ranger Junior Leadership Training Academy, a program that includes a one-week camp each year for five years.
He said about 50 percent of first-time attendees finish the program and that only a few Rangers from Sequim have graduated.
The academy has five levels of progressively intense training for camping, first aid, cooking, safety, hiking, rope work, map reading, search and rescue, boating, survival skills, spiritual development and more.
The five camp levels are Junior Training Camp, Advanced Junior Training Camp, Junior Training Trails, Junior Canoeing Expedition and Junior Survival Camp.
When Ryan completed the fifth camp, a ceremony was held with him receiving a saber with the 1 Corinthians 10:13 Bible verse engraved on it.
"It's been my favorite verse because my family has gone through some hard times," Ryan said. "It says God is faithful and when you are tempted you can stand up under him."
Ranger of the Year
Ryan is a highly decorated member of the Royal Rangers.
He was awarded the Gold Medal of Achievement in 2007 - the Boy Scouts of America's Eagle Scout equivalent - and the prestigious National Ranger of the Year award in 2008.
Preston Smith, senior commander during most of Ryan's leadership training, said Ryan is really sharp and one of the best examples of a Royal Ranger.
Ryan said his Royal Ranger and academy experience meant the world to him.
"From starting in (Junior Training Camp) and wondering if I really wanted to come back the next year to now having a desire to come back and learn more about hiking, canoeing and survival, academy built me into a leader," Ryan said.
"It has given me knowledge and taught me discipline. Best of all I have received understanding and from that wisdom from God over the years."
"Academy has made me a better person, a more loyal friend, a better leader and it has brought me into a deeper relationship with the Lord."
Ryan joined Royal Rangers when he was 10, along with some of his friends. His parents always encouraged him to keep going, he said. Ryan recommends other Rangers stick with the program, too.
"My favorite part is that I gained so much leadership experience and learned to work as a team with friends and people I didn't even know," Ryan said.
Ryan is pursuing a second associate's degree from Peninsula College so he can finish prerequisites for a future in music and science. He's one of the two vice presidents of the student council, which coordinates music and other entertainment for the college.
More about the Rangers
Royal Rangers is a Christian program for children in kindergarten-12th grade. It's a program of the National Assemblies of God that includes members of many denominations. Ryan attends King's Way Foursquare Church, where he leads the middle school youth group program. Sequim's Royal Ranger Outpost 147 meets at Sequim Worship Center, 640 N. Sequim Ave.
The Royal Ranger Junior Leadership Training Academy is sponsored and run by the Royal Ranger ministry of the Northwest Ministry Network of the Assemblies of God in Washington and North Idaho.
For more information, visit www.royal rangers.ag.org, call Sequim Worship Center at 683-7981 or e-mail info@sequimworship center.org.
Reach Matthew Nash at mnash@