Former Boy Scout leaders have formally launched a new national youth development program modeled on the original ideals of the Scouting program. The new organization will go by the name Trail Life USA. The
program aims to provide boys with outdoor adventure experiences with a Christian foundation and emphasis.
The new character development program was unveiled last month at a convention in Nashville attended by more than 1200 former scoutmasters, Eagle Scouts, and leaders from Boy Scout councils across the country. Organizers shared the vision of Trail Life USA, which is to grow young men to be responsible husbands, fathers, and citizens.
"Our vision is to grow young men to be responsible husbands, fathers, and citizens," says John Stemberger
, one of the founders of Trail Life USA. "We are excited to be part of this next chapter in the
history of scouting in America." Stemberger, an Eagle Scout, also serves as President of the Florida Family Policy Council, a sister organization to the Missouri Family Policy Council.
"Real men value truth over tradition," Stemberger told the cheering crowd at the Nashville gathering. "Real men value principles over programs. Real men value integrity over institutions."
The mission of Trail Life USA is straightforward: "To guide generations of courageous young men to honor God, lead with integrity, serve others, and experience outdoor adventure." In place of the Boy Scout motto to "be prepared," the motto of Trail Life USA is to "walk worthy," a reference to the Scriptural verse found
The genesis of Trail Life USA was the recent decision by the Boy Scouts of America to abandon the central moral values of the Scouting program. Under intense pressure from BSA executives, Scout leaders adopted a new policy stating that homosexual affections and conduct are no longer incompatible with the core principles of Scouting.
The new "inclusive" BSA policy stands in contradiction to the pledge made in the Scout oath that a young man will be "physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight." The revised policy also stands in opposition to
the ideals contained in the Scout Law that that a Scout will be both "clean and reverent."
BSA officials pushed the policy change despite an extensive program study which concluded that the current Boy Scout membership standards were in the continuing best interests of the organization. Scout executives also ignored a broad-based survey of Scout leaders and parents which showed strong opposition to any change in the current policy on homosexuality.
Under the new membership policy, professed homosexuals can be active participants in Boy Scout functions and outings. However, BSA officials retreated
from an initial proposal to allow adult homosexuals to serve as Scout leaders. "Gay rights" activists and corporate donors to Scouting are now pressing for that change to be made as well.
The new name Trail Life USA was chosen from over 300 options with the help of marketing experts using surveys, focus groups, and social media feedback. Stemberger says the name signifies more than the traditional Scouting activities of hiking and exploration.
"The 'trail' doesn't just refer to an outdoor pathway, but also symbolizes the passages of life where we have to make moral choices, and choose between the right and the wrong paths. Our whole life is about the path we mark out in our journey with Christ."
While Trail Life USA is "undergirded by Biblical values" and "unapologetically reflects a Christian world view," the program welcomes any boy from kindergarten through 18 years of age regardless of religion, race, national origin, or socio-economic status. Members make a commitment not to engage in or promote sexual immorality of any kind.
The group's Statement of Faith and Values reads: "Members are called to live a life of holiness, being pure of heart, mind, word, and deed, reserving sexual activity for the sanctity of marriage--marriage being a lifelong commitment before God between a man and a woman."
Adult leaders, whether staff or volunteer, must subscribe to a Statement of Christian Faith. Program leaders pledge to live lives of purity, stewardship, service, and integrity. They agree to "love the Lord God with all our
heart, mind, soul, and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourself."
You can learn more about Trail Life USA by visiting their website below. On the website you will find extensive information about chartering a local troop, including an excellent list of FAQ's that cover almost every topic relevant to traditional scouting participation, activities, and advancements. You will also find a 39-minute video that provides a comprehensive overview of the program.
Here is the link to the Trail Life USA website:Trail Life USA
It is remarkable how much groundwork has already been done in such a short time in efforts to get this new youth development program off the ground. Please be praying that God continues to bless these efforts, and that its leaders remain focused in word and in deed on cultivating the Godly character of future generations of young men.