More than 1,200 former Scoutmasters, Eagle Scouts, parents, church leaders and former Boy Scout of America (BSA) professionals gathered Friday, September 6, for the first inaugural Leadership Convention of a youth character development organization in Nashville. The convention’s theme was “Honoring the Legacy … Raising the Standard.” Forty-four (44) states were represented, including Alaska and Hawaii.
The name and visual branding for “Trail Life USA” were unveiled publicly for the first time to great applause and excitement by those gathered to launch a Christian alternative to the Boy Scouts of America. Trail Life USA will be an outdoor scouting-like program designed for boys ages 5-17 which will focus on adventure, character and leadership.
The new group will have a strong inclusion policy for youth; all boys are welcome to the program regardless of religion, race, national origin or socio-economic status. However, adult leaders in the program will be Christian and must sign a statement of faith and submit to background checks. Both boys and adults will be required to adhere to a code of conduct. The full membership policy can be read online at www.TrailLifeUSA.com.
The Trail Life USA leadership team includes some highly decorated former BSA members and former professional BSA executives. Among these are:
Rob Green Trail Life USA’s Interim Executive Director; served as a professional BSA executive for 20 years in Florida and South Carolina before resigning after the BSA’s membership change in May 2013.
Attorney Richard Mathews: Consultant and legal counsel for Trail Life USA hired this week. Richard worked for the BSA professionally as their in-house legal counsel for eleven years, culminating as the BSA’s General Council for the last seven years until recently.
John Burkitt: Considered by many to be one of the greatest Boy Scout historians alive today having compared, studied and analyzed every Boy Scout, Cub Scout and Scoutmaster handbook ever published from the original Baden Powell’s “Scouting for Boys” to the present. John has served as the primary editor and author of the first edition of the Adventuring handbook that will be used in the Trail Life USA program.
Eagle Scout and former Scoutmaster, John Stemberger: Chairman of the Board for Trail Life USA, and President of the Florida Family Policy Council said, “Our vision will be to become the premier national character development organization for young men which produces godly and responsible husbands, fathers, and citizens. Parents are going love the new outdoor adventure program and we are very excited to be part of this next chapter in the history of scouting in America.”
On Saturday special guest speakers include former Governor and Fox News Commentator Mike Huckabee and Michael Farris, Chancellor of Patrick Henry College.
More than 30,000 former scoutmasters, Eagle Scouts, parents, and church leaders have contacted the organization about the new program. Chartering new troops will occur in late September 2013 and the program will officially launch on January 1, 2014. For more information churches, parents and former BSA members can check out the TL website at www.TrailLifeUSA.com or contact Info [at] TrailLifeUSA [dot] com.