Open Letter from James Kenney
First off, let me start by saying how excited I am to be serving all our AZ Royal Rangers both leaders and young men! Royal Rangers holds a deep part in my heart, especially now with the birth of my son only days ago. There is another generation of rangers coming through the ranks and it looks like my house has one as well!
I wanted to write and share just a little bit about me. I am hoping to see many of you soon at Man Camp, as well as our next staff meeting, but I felt that I needed to reach out to you briefly now. Hopefully most of you have read my bio so I won’t take up your time with that. If not please see our Royal Ranger FB page.
I was fortunate many years ago to earn my GMA as well as move on into leadership within my outpost. I was the first GMA at my church and later became the first GMAA president for the AZ District. I say this not to be boastful but to hopefully make a point about how I believe that God moves in the lives of our young men and especially to show you part of my heart for this ministry.
As a young man I moved around a lot up until I was 11 years old. I moved from school to school and found it difficult to keep friends and stay involved in anything! Though my grades were decent and I had been to a few scouting meetings, played sports, etc., nothing was ever in my life long enough to take root. Until my family moved back to Phoenix and I found myself in Royal Rangers. I instantly took to it. I loved the challenges, the adventure and the friendships. I was even that guy in the outpost who loved the uniform and always wanted it perfect. Don’t worry, I’m not that rigid anymore. I have two little ones so I am lucky if I get out of the house with matching socks.
What I am trying to say is that Royal Rangers was a “first” for me. My “first” campout without my parents, my “first” succeeding in something other than the classroom, my “first” rope bridge built with other young men I called friends, my “first” real milestone where I felt like I was becoming my own man. It was also the place where I experienced God for the “first” time at a campfire and saw the Holy Spirit move among a crowd of young, restless and wild boys and watch them weep while they worshipped God. It was where I “first” understood baptism and was baptized. It was where I trusted the leaders around me enough to share my heart and life with them. Little did I know that having that group of men who were leading, serving, and praying over me be the same men to stand by my side years later when my world fell apart and do the same thing… lead me, serve me, and pray over me.
If you want to know my heart and vision for Rangers, it’s simple. I want every young man and every leader to experience a “FIRST”. To know that what they are learning now carries well into their future. That the attributes of every Christ-like man seasoned in the faith starts with the actions and the “firsts” of a Christ-like boy. Remember, He loved us “first” so much that He gave His Son for us. What else should ever come first then to make sure that every young man knows this and sees it in us?
I look forward to serving you,
James R. Kenney
AZ RR Network Director