WHAT A Christian-based youth organization
WHEN Thursdays from 7 to 8 p.m.
WHERE Worship Christian Center 107 South Street, Camden
FOR AGES 18 and younger

The Royal Rangers and Girls Ministries teach children a variety of skills such as First Aid, knot tying and character development, just like the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.

They even have badges, ranks and camps.

But what separates the Royal Rangers and Girls Ministries from their better-known counterparts is their focus on Christian values, according to officials at Worship Christian Center, which first sponsored local chapters of the clubs less than a year ago.

“Our pastor saw a need in the church, as well as in the community, to foster kids from infancy to 18 so that they can stay in the gospel,” explained TR Rowe, the church’s Girls Ministries coordinator. “They learn the scripture as a point of reference for guiding the younger ones into adulthood.”

Girls Ministries and Royal Rangers currently meet on Thursdays in an old furniture store, located just behind Worship Christian Center, after outgrowing the daycare center that previously housed the clubs.

Membership in the two groups has grown from eight members to roughly 40 over the last nine months, and their new space now has been divided by makeshift walls to accommodate the different age groups in the program, Rowe said.

At Worship Christian Center, Royal Rangers and Girls Ministries meet at the same time, but each group is divided by gender and age and works on different lessons.

In Girls Ministries, one of the most important skills girls are being taught is to build relationships, TR said.

“That’s a hard thing for most girls,” she said. “Then they build it on the foundation of Jesus Christ that teaches that we are to love everyone and respect everyone.”

The sponsors who oversee age groups also provide girls with built-in mentors who can help and support them, TR said.

One of the main goals of Royal Rangers is to lead young men to Christ, said Rowe’s husband, Donald, who coordinatres the boys’ group.

“Once they understand there is a higher being, then we move them into the discipline part of it,” he said. “We teach them about substance abuse and child abuse. We teach those kids skills, from learning how to tie a rope to learning how to repair bikes, archery, you name it.”

Eight-year-old Asya Stewart, a member of The Prims, the first- and second-grade age group of Girls Ministries, said she likes being in Girls Ministries.

“Because I learn everything about Jesus,” she said. “[Coming here] is fun because you get to sing and worship about God and making new friends is fun because you get to play with them all the time.”

Any children from the community can join Girls Ministries or Royal Rangers. Children don’t have to be members of Worship Christian Center.

During a typical meeting, children pledge allegiance to the U.S. flag, the Christian flag and the Bible. Boys and girls then divide up into groups to do activities and assignments aimed at teaching them life lessons and helping them memorize Bible verses.

Because the club is still so new children are still working to memorize the pledges, group mottos and scriptures, but on July 31 children will receive their vests, club patches and any badges they’ve earned.

Jennifer Smith said that her 9-year-old son has already learned a lot from Royal Rangers.

“He’s learned a lot about God and the Bible and working together in a team with his friends that he goes to church and Bible study with,” she said.