FCF Riflemen Territory
The FCF Riflemen Territory is made up from the FCF district chapters of the Southeast Royal Ranger Region. Together we make the Riflemen territory.
The Frontiersmen Camping Fellowship (originally called the Frontiersmen Camping Fraternity) was founded in the summer of 1966. For some time prior to this, the national commander had felt the need for a special honor society to give recognition to older boys and men who had distinguished themselves in advancement, training and camping.
The early American frontiersmen were an excellent example of people’s ability to adapt to the outdoors and the wilderness. Their achievements were also an example of courage and determination. The national Royal Rangers office, therefore decided to base this fellowship on the lore and traditions of these early frontiersmen.
The first FCF chapter was organized in the Southern California District on July 8, 1966. High in the San Bernardino Mountains, in a clearing surrounded by gigantic trees, a large group of Royal Rangers sat around a blazing campfire. As they waited, a feeling of mystery and expectancy filled the air.
Suddenly the blast of a hunter’s horn shattered the night’s stillness and echoed through the trees. National Commander Johnnie Barnes stepped into the firelight dressed in a buckskin outfit and a coonskin cap. As he began to explain the new FCF program, a hum of excitement rose above the sound of the crackling campfire. Assisted by two district leaders, Ron Halvorson, and Rob Reid, commander Barnes proceded with the first FCF call out. After pledging to endure a time of testing, the candidates were led away carrying a large rope to a nearby mountaintop, for an all night initiation. Later as the new members (five boys and five men) were officially inducted into the fellowship at the final friendship fire, everyone present sensed that this ceremony was a milestone in Royal Rangers history.
That same year, three more FCF chapters were organized, in the Northern California, Southern Missouri, and Iowa Districts.
In 1972, the first national FCF rendezvous was held at Fantastic Caverns, near Springfield, Mo. Two hundred boys and men came to that first rendezvous. Today, Rendezvous are held every four years, and attendance has grown to one thousand men and boys. Territorial Rendezvous occur every two years between the National Rendezvous in each region of the United States. Today, there is an organized FCF Chapter in every district, that is capturing the imagination of boys and men across America.
In 1989, the Royal Rangers Executive committee saw the need to overhaul FCF in its entirety. The need to get away from the initiation and all the “secret ceremonies” was so great that the General Council Presbytery directed the National office to make significant changes to the FCF program or dismantle and discontinue its use.
By 1990, the National executive FCF committee, had the following changes outlined:
- Changing the name from the Frontiersmen Camping Fraternity to the Frontiersmen Camping Fellowship
- Eliminating negative all night initiations and replacing it with a positive uplifting training called the Frontier Adventure.
- The elimination of all types of hazing or harassment of the candidates
The changes were approved, and accepted by the voting membership of the national Royal Rangers council. This was another milestone in the history of FCF, as it moved from being viewed as a program to a ministry.
In 1995 Paul Etheridge, National FCF Field Advisor, developed and launched the Pathfinder program. Pathfinders are FCF members who would use their advanced camping skills to go to places that regular MAPS teams would not or could not go. The Pathfinders would travel around the world pouring slabs, laying block, and raising churches where before there were none. At this time, only out of country and overseas projects were approved for Pathfinders. In 2003, the Pathfinder ministry was re-structured to include home missions as well. The newly updated vision of pathfinders includes three levels: Bronze (home missions outside your home district, requiring basic camping skills) Silver (foreign missions outside the US requiring basic camping skills) and Gold (foreign missions which requires advanced camping skills). Mike King of Tennessee was appointed to be the National Pathfinders Coordinator in 2003.
In 2000, Richard Mariott, National Royal Rangers Commander, directed a complete updating of all of the Royal Ranger curriculum, which included FCF. In 2002, the "Trail of the Grizzly" was introduced. This addition to FCF required boys and men to earn the Trail of the Grizzly merits to become a member of FCF, and to advance to the levels of Buckskin Frontiersman, and Wilderness Frontiersman. In addition to the merits, a newly developed testing for the buckskin level was added in 2004.
Today, FCF is going strong. With thousands of members’ nation wide it has become the backbone of the Royal Rangers ministry. Most members of the district, regional and national leaders are members of FCF.
Ad Dare Servire / To Give and to Serve
- To give recognition to boys and men who have shown exceptional interest and outstanding achievement in the Royal Rangers ministry and in Royal Rangers campcraft.
- To build a brotherhood of top-notch boys and men who will, over the years, continue to be Royal Rangers ministry and camping enthusiasts.
- To emphasize the importance of involvement in the advancement program, development of campcraft skills, and completion of the leadership training programs.
- To develop a corps of proven Royal Rangers who will strive to be the very best in Christian example and leadership.
- To encourage the boys and men of Royal Rangers to always prefer others above themselves and to let their leadership be by example.
- To show a spirit of servanthood, willing to give of time and energy above and beyond what is expected of Royal Rangers.
The FCF Pledge
"I share with you the warmth and glow of this campfire. These crimson flames are a symbol of our fellowship and adventures in camping.
I promise to share with you the warmth of Christian friendship and with others the light of my Christian testimony.
I promise to keep alive the spirit of FCF in my personal life and to observe at all times the principles of Royal Rangers."
The FCF Symbol
The blazing campfire is the official symbol of FCF. It symbolizes the spirit of FCF, which is:
- Christian love (warmth)
- Personal witness (light)
- Dedicated service (usefulness)
There are five logs around the fire and they represent things that keep the FCF spirit alive: