January 11th- 12th, 2013.  Temps 68 on Friday and 48 for a low on Saturday morning.  Perfect weather.  PICTURES AT THE END OF THE REPORT!

We had 7 churches represented.  Central, Evangel Temple, Ozark, Peace Chappell, Crimson House, Morrisville and Oak Grove.

With 63 in attendance it was  a full cave.   Sr. Pastor from Morrisville and Youth Pastor from Peace Chapel were also bat cave campers!

Video by James Gilpin

Report by Justin Fisher on the Big Batcave.

Special thanks to these folk for sharing their pictures with all of us.  Dan Rockafellow, Justin Fisher, Rob Batchman, George Georgiades, James Gilpin.

Mark, Rob, Cole, James and Ernie went down early on Friday and cut wood and cleared out the briars.  Thanks bunches!

So many wonderful men and boys and one young lady made this camp one of the best campouts yet.  Click on a picture for a larger view.

2 boys saved and a lot of Christian Fellowship with nothing but a hole in the ground and some bat guano. 

The week leading up to a Bring your own, Cook your own or go hungry event is full of thought and preparing for the event.  This method for Royal Rangers is one

of the best methods for teaching folk.  Once they realize that they have no one to blame but themselves if things are just not right they learn fast.  No excuses, no blame all

fingers point back to themselves.   So this method makes folks think about all the little things that others have done for them and now "THEY" have to do it.  A growing time.

One of the best things is as an event organizer there are no complaints. I got weary of hearing the petty complaints.  This method nips it. Yet they learn from it.  That is why I

enjoy these events. 

The few days before the event we all face the phone calls... I am attending,  Next day.  I am not attending.  So as Ranger Commanders we keep a eye on it so we can have enough

vehicle space to get the herd to the event.  GRIN!  It never fails there is always those that show up and have forgotten something..so we pull out a reserve something and hand it over. 

Being Blessed!!!  This year James Evans early on told me he was planning on attending and wanted to come down early to help clean up the trail and cut wood.  God sends folks like that to encourage us.  Those friends that are closer than a brother that make all these events with you that you can't imagine them not being there  I am blessed to have such Ranger friends as that.   For 20 years Rob Batchman has been my closer than a brother friend that has always been there to go on these Ranger events.  Over this past 20 years only once has Rob not made the Big Bat Cave campout. He was out of town on a business meeting that he could not miss on his new job.   It's funny as much as I love backpacking. If Rob wasn't going I don't know if I would want to go.  It's funny how God brings folks like this to assist and aid in the various ministries we are called to.   Other Commanders faces flash through my mind as I write these words and you all know how much I appreciate you and your work in the Church and in Rangers.  Just wanted to say thanks.

It's always a challenge to get your gear all packed up.  Get the food you are going to eat.  Plan for your meals.  The snacks.  The basics.  Then the hundred little things that need to be in place to make the event successful for the group.  Each event is a little different yet.

The recon group went in with chain saws and gloves and cut up dead wood and hauled up some to the face of the cave and left some to be hauled later.  We arranged rocks for fire pits and key hole fires and cut down poles for tripods for smoking jerky.  Got a fire going with red oak to start the slow smoking process going.  Then went back down the path to clear out the over grown thorns, branches dead trees and brush so the trail would be easier.  At 3:30 I discovered I had not brought the candles for the candle light service in the back of the cave and on my return trip to Springfield would stop by Hobby Lobby and pickup some more 12" candles.  At the Ranger Annex I bandsawed those 2 packages of 12" candles into 3 pieces and made 72 candles out of them. 

At the Annex we headed out with a car pool of 4 vehicles and headed towards the Big Bat Cave.  The boys were excited. One young man told me of all the backpacking gear he had gotten for Christmas and was using much of it for the first time this event.  The weather was perfect.  55 degrees walking in at night along the river to the face of the cave.  When they boys first arrive they hang close to Dad and won't go far.  Yet soon enough they are looking for treasure chests and exploring this perfect cave with just enough mystery to hold a boys attention for a 18 hours steady.  There is almost no structure to this event other than Council Fire and morning devotion.  Both take place at 9:00.  Other than that go where you wish and eat and cook when you wish.  I prefer the campfire so I hang out there mostly.

Council fire speaker this year was James Gilpin from Morrisville.  He reminded us to have focus on Christ in the back of that cave.  The group of 63 with candles filled up that little back room.  We even had one bat hanging out in there with us. 

I reminded everyone that we didn't come to the bat cave to sleep and that unless they brought ear plugs they would hear "tromp, tromp, tromp" all night long.  Well between 2:30 and 5:30 it would be pretty quiet.  So many stories I could relay.  You will just have to ask. 

You know your blessed with a great event when the boys wake up from a nights sleep next to their dad and saying...DAD when can we do this again?  It's good stuff and it's memories that last a life time.

Saturday morning the low temperature was 48 degrees.  This was one of the warmest bat cave campouts ever.  I remember climbing out of my sleeping bag saying man this is a new thing... it's warm in here.  Generally it's 22 degrees and your scurrying as fast as you can to get warm clothes on with your teeth chattering...this year it was paradise.  GRIN! 

The boys had been hunting little golden treasure chests all night and in the morning hours before the devotion.  It was time to gather around the fire and have the boys read from the little scrolls in the boxes they found.  The salvation verses and some wisdom from proverbs for all of us.  They boys got to pick out of a larger golden treasure chest.  Some got a metal match, magnifying glass, blow torch, bow drill fire kit, flash light and more. Everyone got a golden pearl as a keep sake.  Rob Batchman brought the morning devotion and talked about the real treasure.

We had a great event and it was so warm many hung around the fire in the mouth of the cave till mid day.  I returned back to the Ranger Annex with our group and washed the van and vacuumed and scrubbed the floor so it would be ready for Sunday Church.

Thanks to each of you leaders and Dad's that take time out of your busy schedules to take these boys and this year one girl to experience a unique camping event like the BIG BAT CAVE 2013!


Devotion in back of cave

See the star?

Inside view of cave opening

Boys reading scrolls

Morning Devotion

Rappelling the opening

Boys love skipping rocks

Foil pack meals

Back of cave

Heading towards the back of the cave

Our First Batgirl

Marks tent

James spliting wood

Smoking Jerky

Skully and Rob