Battalion Meetings (grades 7-12)

This year, we are trying an experiment by relaunching a modified Battalion program for boys in grades 7-12.  This program will meet on alternating Friday nights from 7 to 9 PM in the lower auditorium: 
  • First 30 minutes reserved for planning for Monday night meetings (arrive by 7), and
  • the second block of time (arrive by 7:30), is for a video, workbook and discussion based bible study called “Stepping Up: A Call to Courageous Manhood” (Preview videos:
The bible study is suitable for teens thru all adult ages, and I’d encourage Battalion cadets / Junior Rangers to invite their dad to attend if possible (not a requirement, but they may find it highly engaging to walk through the program side-by-side with their sons) Our church will require each adult to fill out a youth volunteer application and submit to a background check (but it’s pretty painless!)
The schedule for Friday Night meetings is:
  • October 7
  • October 21
  • November 4
  • November 18
  • December 2

The Stepping Up series is 10 segments long, this group of five meeting nights carries us halfway through the program, allowing us to finish it in the Spring.

There is a cost for the workbook – I’m shopping around the internet to find the lowest possible price now, and will send an update (It’s likely to be about $6-$7).  I’m not planning refreshments on Fridays at this time, but would be open to bringing coffee/juice/tea with an offering basket to offset costs, etc.  If we want to do something more, we’ll discuss at the first meeting and perhaps someone can take charge of that part of the meeting planning, etc.


9/26/16 Meeting Recap

What a great opening night!  We had ten boys, four junior rangers, and three adult rangers participate.

Our focus for the fall is “Cars and Trucks” as we head into “Pinewood Derby” (or as CSB prefers to call it “Shape’N Race”) season following Christmas time.

Boys arrived from 6:45 until 7 PM and we played dodgeball with safety rules in place (no head shots and keep it fun for all).  We have Gatorskin, Soft-Balls to help keep the game fun, too – the balls are squishy, easy to grab and throw, but are softer than “Nerf-style” balls of similar size.

fig_049At 7 PM we called the meeting to order by forming the stockade — this is where the boys line up as though they’re the walls of a frontier fortress called a stockade.

Next, we selected two volunteers to hold our American Flag and CSB Stockade Flag while we recited the pledge of allegiance, the CSB motto (“Bright and Keen for Christ!“) and checked on our positive mental attitude (response from boys is to shout loudly “Boy, Am I Enthusiastic!“)  We covered announcements, and went over the schedule for the night’s events.  We went around the group and had everyone introduce themselves so that we’d begin to learn everyone’s names.

We dismissed the stockade and returned the flags to their closet.  The Junior Rangers are responsible to organize games for the first half hour of the program, and tonight we fhwa-classificationscontinued with variations on dodgeball as everyone was enjoying that game.  Sometimes we do team building events, and sometimes we organize board game nights, etc.

At 7:35 we took a break for icewater, and then got organized for the evening activity – a discussion of cars, trucks and buses — how many different designs there are and how to classify them and name them all. The boys were then given markers to color any of their favorite cars or trucks and this exercise was to help them work on fine motor control, art, and to learn what types of cars or trucks the boys would want to build for the upcoming derby program.


At 7:55, we gathered the markers and started our devotional.  We noted that man has made many types of cars and trucks – each with a purpose or function in mind.  Some are suited 2012-6x6-truckfor hauling rock and gravel, while others are designed to race on special roads.  Some are designed to help fight fires, or transport special cargo and others move our families to the shopping center and back home again.

While we may have a preference for sports cars, we can recognize that they all have important roles to play and that without trucks, we’d be in the dark (utility trucks to fix the electric wires) and without much to do (trucks deliver all our furniture and food to stores from factories and farms).

jeep-under-construction-1Just like each type of car and truck has a purpose in the way it is designed, God had purposes and plans in mind when He created each of us.  Even if some of us function differently than others, each role is important and we’d all suffer without the diversity and range of purposes and activities in our lives.

  • We are created to glorify God.  Our very existence is also a purpose or role that we occupy.  We are, as created beings, a testimony to God’s greatness….Isaiah 43:7 – “Everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory….”
  • We were created with specific plans in mind when God created us – good plans for our welfare….Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil to give you a hope and a future….”
  • We have had duties (revere God and obey his commands) communicated to us — things that we can do out of gratitude to God for His love and care for us….Ecclesiastes 12:13 “Fear God and keep His commandments for this is the whole duty of man….”
  • We have specific jobs to do, good works to perform on a daily basis….”Ephesians 2:10 – “For we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them….”

Following the devotional time, we cleaned the room and gathered in a circle to solicit prayer requests from the boys – we learned of an upcoming quiz at school and the celebration of a birthday.  We prayed and thanked God for a great night of fun, that students would be calm and ready for their quizzes or tests and that birthday celebrations would be well remembered.

We conclude our meetings with a benediction;

Lord, our Savior, Guide and Captain,

Be a stalwart wall around us;

Make of us Stockaders valiant;

Keep us in the name of Jesus, Amen!

It was great to meet many moms after the meeting, and we appreciate your prayer support for the program – that God will keep us safe, help us to have fun, and reach the boys with strong lessons from His Word to help them grow into strong, faith-filled men.

Upcoming Meeting Schedule:

Oct.  3 – Club Meeting

Oct.  10 – Holiday: Columbus Day (NO club meeting)

Oct. 17 – Club Meeting

Oct. 24 – Club Meeting

Oct. 31 – (NO club meeting)

Nov.  7 – Club Meeting (Need extra CSB Adults – Ranger Leslie Lin will be available)

Nov. 14  –  Club Meeting (need extra CSB Adults)

Nov. 21 – No Club Meeting – Week of Thanksgiving

Nov. 28 – Club Meeting

Dec. 5 – Club Meeting (CSB in White House/Sunday School Annex — across the parking lot that night so Pioneer Girls can have their Tea in the main building.)

Dec.  12 – NO Club meeting, off until January restart (to be announced)


Brigade Experience 2016

Today, we had the opportunity to receive regional training and a National update on what’s happening with the ministry.

Offering a total of ten different workshops over the course of three time periods, we found that there was “something for everyone” — whether very experienced or brand new to the program.

Peter Westerman offered a three part series to enable adult leaders to become “certified” with basic training on: “Brigade Principles”; “Brigade Ministries Overview”; and “Leadership Skills”.

Joel Fiscus, from our National support team, offered a pair of workshops:  “Fatherless No More” (delving into ways leaders can better support boys from single parent homes) and “leaving a legacy” (looking at ways to build up bench strength in adult leaders so that the program will continue at your church).

Ron Rynd offered two sessions: “Why Achievement?” (promoting the value of the achievement program for boys to feel a sense of accomplishment and goal setting); “Brigade Chairman” (covering the distinct mission of the Brigade Chairman position and how it is different from the role of Chief Ranger)

Duanne Moeller from Rutherford Bible Chapel offered a workshop designed to help familiarize leaders on the various stockade booklets, leaders guides and other deliverables.

Andy Puttbach had a seminar on getting your unit ready for a Shape N Race event (pinewood derby).

Paul Farrell covered how to leverage social media to better connect with parents, church supporters and the local community.


Planning Resources for Day Outings


Bish Bash Falls

Magazine article – – offering places for day hikes for folks with varied ability (some strenuous, some flat – – all picturesque)

Not from NJ?  That’s OK – check out this link for info on activities closer to where ever you live –

1. High Point Monument – High Point State Park has a variety of trails, ranging from .5 – 4.3 miles (near the Northern Tip of NJ – the tri-state area of NY, PA, NJ) – also the highest point (elevation-wise) in the State of NJ.  Has camping available.

2. Buttermilk Falls – “While you don’t need to hike to see the falls (there’s a parking lot and viewing area), it’s a great starting point for several other trips.” Located in NW New Jersey along the Delaware Water Gap. (

3. Manasquan Reservoir – “You’ll find four designated trails at this reservoir, ranging from just .2 miles to a more challenging 5.1 miles.”

4. imgp7163Pochuck Boardwalk – A section of the Appalachian Trail in Norther NJ that features an extensive boardwalk system (1.5 miles end to end) over a protected marsh area with stunning wild flowers in summer, and a nifty suspension bridge.

5. Pyramid Mountain – located in Morris County, the park offers a range of trails with interesting views and scenery.

6. South Mountain Fairy Trail – “This whimsical, family-friendly hike can be found along the Rahway Trail (white blazes) of the South Mountain Reservation. It is dotted with charming fairy abodes, made of all natural materials.”

7. Island Beach State Park – Offers eight trails, beach hiking and wildlife observation.

8. Batsto Lake Trail – Based in the Wharton State Forest, this trail is an easy 4.2-mile loop around the lake. May want to schedule time to visit the historic Batso villiage, too.

9. Belleplain State Forest – part of the Pinelands region of the State, this trail system is in the southern reaches of the State featuring bogs, lakes, wetlands and forests.

10. Delaware & Raritan Canal Towpath – “Offering 70 miles of flat, level terrain, this scenic towpath is ideal for hiking and biking. It is wheelchair and stroller accessible in most areas and takes you through towns from Trenton to Lambertville. Be sure to stop at Washington Crossing State Park.”

These are the hikes recommended by the magazine, but represent only the tip of the iceberg — there are so many great places for day hikes in NJ and the surrounding area.  A careful study of the NJ State Parks web site as well as the NY/NJ Trail Conference ( web portal will help you identify great hikes and camping locations.

Also, don’t forget about History Hikes (history scavenger hunts combined with day hikes) —


The “Lemon Squeezer”

Pineapple-Cherry Dump Cake

2013-11-02_13-06-37_938I like to test new recipes from time to time – partly because I’m hungry and partly to see if it would be workable on a camping trip or for use at a Stockade meeting at church.

I noticed we had an abundance of Yellow Cake Mix as we tend to stock it for pineapple upside down cakes.  To thin the “herd” I tried making a simple Pineapple-Cherry Dump Cake.


  1. 20 oz can of crushed pineapple (in juice)
  2. 20 oz can of cherry pie filling
  3. 1 box of Yellow Cake Mix
  4. 1 bag of shredded coconut
  5. 1/2 cup melted butter (1 stick)


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees (if outdoors, prep and preheat charcoal – arrange on dutch oven lid and under dutch oven to suit (see for basics)
  • Lightly butter the inside edges and bottom of a 9X13 pan.
  • Dump pineapple (with juice) and cherries into center.  Spread around for even layer.
  • Sprinkle cake mix over fruit.
  • Sprinkle coconut over cake mix.
  • Pour melted butter evenly over top of coconut.
  • Bake for one hour.  Let cool – can be served warm as cobbler, or cooled to “room temp” and served as slab pie.

What went well:

  • 20160917_193811_resized

    The aftermath…

    it was super easy with quick prep, quick clean up.

  • boys should be able to do this with little or no prior cooking skills (impossible to mess up short of dropping the mixture onto the floor)
  • less finesse and fumbling with the mixture assures better outcome (just dump and go)
  • tasty combo of flavors, crunch of toasted coconut was appealing – even to those who had previously said they don’t like coconut.

What didn’t go as planned:

  • WOW – it is sickeningly sweet.  Over The Top, Sugar Rush! (Of course, to elementary-school aged boys, this is probably going to be perfect).
  • Very “tart” or “sour” taste from the acids in the pineapple juice and cherries. (See parenthetical statement, above).
  • By layering the components, the cake mix didn’t pick up much liquid from the bubbling juices and we got a thin layer of “brownie-bake” texture.  Had we been less clinical in the approach and simply made a mess of it, we might have gotten a better mixture of flavors and textures.
  • The coconut absorbed a lot of the butter that was intended for the cake mix – maybe drizzling the butter first, and then adding the coconut might have helped.
  • The recipe I found for this called for sliced almonds as a topping instead of coconut (which I didn’t have on hand – hence the coconut) — the almonds might have toned down the sweetness and the coconut increased it.  Something to consider if I try this again.

Reminder – if doing this at club, always check for food allergies.  Almonds and coconut are suspect to food “sensitivities” more than genuine allergies, but better to check, warn, be sure to avoid problems.  When we plan to cook, we often send the ingredients list home the week before (and we ask parents during initial registration if they’re aware of food allergies or sensitivities ahead of time).

Despite the outcome being a mixed success, it was devoured quickly (over two days).  At club, I think making one wouldn’t be near enough as the boys would likely descend on it like a flock of locusts.  It did inspire me to consider a dump cake using devils food cake mix, coffee, cherries and almonds for adults.  Maybe some twist on “rocky road” ice cream as a dump cake?


“Beef on a Weck” (specialty sandwich on a Kummelweck Roll you’ve gotta try when attending a National CSB meeting in the Buffalo, NY area.  MMMMM.

Renewal within CSB

IMGP6811A lot has been happening in the background at CSB Ministries over the past two to three years:

  • a move of their headquarters location,
  • creation of new ministry curriculum, and
  • an increase in training opportunities for leaders to refresh and renew their local vision and passion for discipleship.
  • release of Valor – a magazine for the parents of the children enrolled in the program
  • release of a new logo to revitalize the marketing and promotion of the ministry

It is amazing to think about the origins of the ministry and how far it has come.  As you’ll see in the accompanying video, the program got its start with a college student in a church basement almost 80 years ago.  Now it’s a leading provider of men’s ministry to boys, young men and adult guides.

This fall, NVEFC will kick off it’s normal Monday evening program for grades 3-6 with boys in grades 7-12 providing leadership support as Junior Rangers, under the supervision of adult Rangers.

However, we are also planning to offer a twice per month Friday evening program for the older boys and the adult Rangers.  This is a chance to talk about what’s going well on Monday’s and plan meetings ahead of time.  Further, it will provide a time of ministry to the older boys and adult leaders focused on them.  A chance to refresh and renew the vision for discipleship.

We will likely rely on curriculum from either Manhood Journey or use the “Stepping Up” series from Family Life Ministries in this Friday program.  All teen boys and their dads at NVEFC, and all Junior Rangers and their dads (whether they regularly attend NVEFC or another local church) are welcome to attend.

A welcome letter with kick off details is being prepared, but if you can’t wait and are filling up your fall calendar – contact Paul Farrell via the church office and we’ll get you up to speed ASAP.