Trail Life USA

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Trail Life USA
Trail Life USA.svg
Headquarters Orlando, FL
Country United States
Founded July 31, 2013 (2013-07-31)
Founders
  • Rob Green
  • John Burkitt
  • Richard Mathews
  • John Stemberger
Website
traillifeusa.com
 Scouting portal

Trail Life USA is a Christian Scouting organization for boys that is "interdenominational with Charter partners representing Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox faith traditions."[1] The organization was founded in 2013 in reaction to changes in the membership policy of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to allow the participation of openly gay youth.[2][3] All charters of Trail Life USA must pledge to follow a "Statement of Faith"; the organization states that non-Christians and those who affirm homosexuality are not eligible to lead or charter in the group as these beliefs contradict their "Statement of Faith". However, youths of all religious beliefs are allowed to join.[1]

Background[edit]

OnMyHonor.net was a group formed by John Stemberger to oppose the proposed membership policy change in March 2013 and consisted of parents, Scoutmasters, Eagle Scouts and other Scouting leaders.[4][5][6] In May 2013, Boy Scouts of America voted to change its membership policy to allow youth of any sexual orientation.[7] Following the vote, John Stemberger changed the mission of OnMyHonor.net to start a new alternative Scouting program.[8]

Following the vote, the Faith Based Boys (FBB) was founded.[9] In May 2013, American Heritage Girls (AHG) joined the FBB.[10] FBB official Thomas Dillingham indicated that the group would start accepting applications in August for youth memberships and group leaders.[11]

OnMyHonor.net, Faith Based Boys, TrailHead USA and Frontier Service Corps joined together to form the new group. A leadership meeting was held in Louisville, Kentucky on June 29, 2013 to discuss forming a new group.[8] The AHG cofounder Patti Garibay was invited to the Kentucky meeting as an advisor.[12] The organization would be based on the AHG program.[8]

History[edit]

Trail Life motto/slogan

Walk Worthy

— NPR[13][14]

Trail Life USA was formed in July 2013.[14] On September 6–7, 2013, a national convention was held for the new group where chartering rules, programs, rankings, and uniforms were adopted and its name revealed.[15] Over 300 names were considered for the new organization.[7] The group selected Trail Life USA as its name[7] and chose to start in January 2014 with an expected 1000 incubation troops formed by then. It was also revealed in September that Trail Life would be partnering with American Heritage Girls. During the national convention announcing Trail Life USA, Stemberger told the audience "Real men value truth over tradition," and "Real men value principle over program, and they value integrity over institutions."[13]

In October 2013, Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod leaders indicated that member churches may affiliate with any Scouting program including Trail Life.[16]

Richard Mathews, BSA’s former general counsel, joined Trail Life USA as its acting general counsel.[17]

Trail Life USA reported that almost 500 troops were pre chartered by the January 1, 2014 official launch date.[18] As of January 30, 2014, according to the Trail Life USA website, 112 troops had been chartered, and nearly 400 troops were in various stages of receiving a charter.[19]

By March 1, 2014, the organization was in 40 states with 600 troops registered or in the process of registration, and with half the members not previously being Boy Scouts.[20]

Program[edit]

The Trailman Oath

On my Honor I will do my best to serve God and my country; to respect authority; to be a good steward of creation; and to treat others as I want to be treated."

The Trailman's Handbook, page xiv

Trailmen fall into various categories based on age:

  • Woodlands Trails, grades K-5
  • Navigators, grades 6-8
  • Adventurers, grades 9-12
  • Guidon, age 18 through 25 years[14]

The Trail Life salute is based on the Military salute while its sign is a five finger sign similar to the three finger Scout sign.[20] Trail Life USA's highest award is the Freedom Award[14] for which the potential recipients must choose a "major" and two "minor" subjects.[20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Frequently Asked Questions". Trail Life USA. Retrieved March 1, 2014. 
  2. ^ Colbert, Chuck (November 19, 2013). "Former Defense Secretary Gates to lead Boy Scouts". Windy City Times. Retrieved December 16, 2013. "In all, more than 1.9 million people have joined Change.org petition campaigns seeking a complete end to BSA discrimination based on sexual orientation." 
  3. ^ Kennedy, Dan (May 24, 2013). "The Boy Scouts' Half-Measure May Hasten the End of Discrimination". Huffington Post. Retrieved December 16, 2013. "More than 60 percent of the organization's national leadership voted to approve a policy ending discrimination against openly gay scouts while keeping in place the ban against gay adult leaders." 
  4. ^ Payne, Ed. (September 9, 2013) Trail Life USA launches a Boy Scout alternative. CNN.
  5. ^ Davis, John W. (March 23, 2013). "Boy Scouts launching coalition to keep gays, lesbians out". Cfnews13.com. Retrieved April 29, 2013. 
  6. ^ Respaut, Robin. (July 10, 2013). Faith-based group to start Boy Scouts rival. Reuters. MSN.
  7. ^ a b c Wetzstein, Cheryl. (September 7, 2013) Boy Scout alternative, Trail Life USA, launches ‘premier’ Christian group for boys. The Washington Times.
  8. ^ a b c Wiggins, Kimberly. July 16, 2013. Orlando group creates faith-based alternative to Boy Scouts. MyFoxOrlando.com (WOFL-FOX35).
  9. ^ Miranda Leitsinger. (July 9, 2013) Faith-based group starting alternative to Boy Scouts — will allow gay youth, adults. NBC News. Accessed on December 16, 2013.
  10. ^ Token, Jody. (May 2013) American Heritage Girls join Faith-Based Boys Coalition. American Heritage Girls. Retrieved October 14, 2013.
  11. ^ Phil Gast., Greg Botelho and Devon M. Sayers. (May 24, 2013). Boy Scouts to allow gay youths to join. CNN.com. Accessed on December 16, 2013.
  12. ^ Butts, Charlie. (June 14, 2013) Christian girls’ group founder advises new boys’ scouting group. OneNewsNow.com (American Family News Network). archived.
  13. ^ a b Lohr, Kathy (September 9, 2013). "Trail Life USA, The 'Other' Boy Scouts Of America". NPR. Retrieved December 16, 2013. 
  14. ^ a b c d Gross, Natalie. (September 22, 2013 ) Faith-based alternative to Boy Scouts emerging. Lubbock Avalanche-Journal (A-J Media).
  15. ^ Wetzstein, Cheryl. (September 5, 2013) Boy Scouts alternative to reveal name at full-capacity gathering. The Washington Times.
  16. ^ Wetzstein, Cheryl. (October 7, 2013) Lutherans OK congregations affiliating with either Boy Scouts or Trail Life. The Washington Times.
  17. ^ Parks, Scott (December 15, 2013). "After Boy Scouts’ vote to admit gay youths, rival group takes root". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved December 16, 2013. 
  18. ^ Banks, Adelle M. (December 31, 2013). Boy Scouts Christian alternative launches with 500 troops. Religion News. Accessed on January 9, 2014.
  19. ^ "Troop Locator". Trial Life USA. Retrieved January 31, 2014. 
  20. ^ a b c Merchant, Nomaan (March 1, 2014). "Trail Life courts those who oppose Boy Scouts' acceptance of gays". Mercury News. Associated Press. Retrieved March 3, 2014. 

External links[edit]