What is Trail Life USA?
Trail Life USA is a Christian adventure, character, and leadership program for young men. The K-12 program centers on outdoor experiences that build a young man’s skills and allow him to grow on a personal level and as a role model and leader for his peers. Living the Trail Life is a journey established on timeless values derived from the Bible.
Trail Life USA partners with churches and parents across America as the premier national character development organization for young men which produces the next generation of godly and responsible husbands, fathers, and citizens. In over 800 churches in all 50 states, fathers and sons are connecting, relationships are deepening,
and legacies are beginning as a new generation of godly leaders rises up.
The program is broken down into three levels of participation and development:
Boys on the Woodlands Trail
(ages 5-10) gain knowledge about outdoor skills, citizenship, character, friendship, and faith through fun activities, awards, and skill instruction.
As Navigators, boys (ages 11-13) gain an understanding of their values and beliefs under the guidance of godly male role models through being responsible in outdoor adventures and in their home and school life. They explore areas of interest and earn Trail Badges for advancement.
As Adventurers, young men (ages 14-18) mature in wisdom and faith through more difficult challenges and leadership activities with Christian men walking alongside. They plan and lead outdoor events and large projects while exercising leadership positions in the Troop, even mentoring some of the younger Trailmen.
Regular meetings will typically be held each Tuesday with the exception of the 4th Tuesday of each month, from August - May from 6:30 - 8:00 PM. Meetings will usually begin and end in the church sanctuary.
We will take breaks for major holidays. A calendar of regular events will be made available at the beginning of the club year, however, additional special events and outdoor excursions may be scheduled as opportunity presents. This will allow us to offer our troop as many opportunities as possible to get involved outside of a classroom setting.
Leadership committee meetings will generally be held on the 4th Tuesday of each month. Parents are welcome to attend but their attendance is not required.
**It is our troop policy to request that at least one parent from each family remain on the church premises during our Tuesday night meetings.
For our Tuesday night meetings, boys are generally expected to wear their Troop Uniform (Class A) with the shirt tucked in along with shorts or pants in nice denim or dark-colored utility-type fabric. For outdoor activities or other special events, we may specify to wear the Trail Uniform, which consists of Trail Life logo t-shirt along with more athletic or casual bottoms. Closed-toe shoes are required for all meetings and outings.
Neither Trail Life national nor our local troop receives any funding from outside sources. All costs of running the troop and national organization come through donations, dues, and fundraising. Here's an idea of the costs to join our troop:
(youth) - $33.25 per boy, per year
(registered adults) - $38.00 per year
Local troop dues
(youth only) - $40.00* per boy, per semester (fall & spring)
*discounted to $35.00 per boy, per semester when registering multiple sons
Please let our treasurer know if you need assistance with making Trail Life participation more affordable through the availability of a payment plan for local dues.
What Local Dues Cover:
Local troop dues cover the Joining Award, Forest Award, Branch Pins, and Sylvan Stars for the Woodlands Trail (elementary-aged boys) earned each year. Families will be responsible for the cost of any optional activity patches & pins that are sometimes offered. Certain special events, such as campouts, will incur additional fees.
Navigators & Adventurers:
Local troop dues cover Rank Awards, up to five TrailBadges, and one service star per year for the Navigator (middle school) and Adventurer(high school) Units. The Troop Standard generally earned early in the Navigators program, does incur an additional one-time expense. Families will be responsible for the cost of any optional activity patches & pins that are sometimes offered. Certain special events, such as campouts, will incur additional fees.
We are allowed to have up to 3 fundraisers as a troop. Participation is encouraged, but not mandatory. Merchandise prizes are sometimes awarded for sales.
Unfortunately, due to IRS regulations, we cannot give cash prizes (credit towards individual dues, special events, or registration). Better fundraising means lowered troop dues in the future, lower activity costs, and the ability to purchase gear for our troop.
In addition to dues, boys will need to purchase a Troop Uniform shirt (Class A), shoulder loops, and lanyard (approx. $55.00 as New Trailman Pkg. A). All other uniform items and TrailLife merchandise is optional, though the Trail Uniform shirt is highly encouraged.
For Navigators & Adventurers, a handbook is also required ($17.00).
For registered adults, we ask that you purchase a lanyard to identify yourself ($5.00); official Trail Life Uniform shirts or polos may be worn but are only required for Patrol Leaders.
Troop Operations, Youth Safety, and Parent Membership
Trail Life USA troops are operated by parent volunteers. We ask that each parent contributes to providing a great program for our sons by volunteering in some capacity. This does not mean all parents are expected to serve or lead on a nightly basis; instead, this may include helping to organize a single camping trip or service project, leading a social event, teaching a badge, or simply being present in a room to help meet two-deep leadership quotas, becoming part of the ministry team through leadership, or some other manner.
Your son's safety is extremely important to us. Every registered leader undergoes Youth Protection Training and our troop maintains 2-deep leadership at all times. Once a boy becomes registered with Trail Life USA, he is covered under Trail Life's national liability policy.
Registered adults are also covered by TLUSA’s national liability policy. As such, at least one parent from each family will be required to become a registered adult as a condition of their son's membership. This will incur a once-yearly National
Registration Fee ($38.00) but no additional fees are assessed at the troop level. It is best that the member parent be the parent that is most likely to attend regular meetings and campouts, however, this does NOT limit the trailman’s participation to only participating when the registered parent is able to attend. In the instance that the registered parent
is unable to attend, we simply require that another authorized parent or guardian remains on the church premises.
Exceptions to this policy are under extenuating circumstances only; please speak with the Troop Ministry Liaison if you have any questions or concerns regarding this policy.
For those with daughters between the ages of 5-18, there is also an American Heritage Girls troop that meets at the same time & location to allow all your school-age children to get involved without scheduling conflicts! For more info, please email firstname.lastname@example.org