The Woodlands Trail Program
Adventure is at the heart of the Trail Life USA program. Boys love hiking, camping, fishing, tree-climbing, story-telling, and s'mores around campfires. Weekly meetings are designed with that in mind. Meetings are designed to delight the raucous, rowdy, unruly nature of a boy; therefore we will provide opportunities to go outside and be active as much as possible.
Young Trailmen engage in hands-on experiences that develop character, deepen faith, and hone practical skills in the seven program branches (Outdoor Skills, Life Skills, Heritage, Hobbies, Values, Science & Technology, and Sports & Fitness).
Boys also love stickers, patches, pins, and awards. Each week as boys meet in their patrols, they work on a Branch Step as part of a planned meeting or a "Hit the Trail!" adventure. As Branches are completed, pins are added to the Branch Patch. Each branch builds the structure of the Branch Patch boys wear on their uniforms. At each patrol level, when all seven Branches are complete, boys earn The Forest Award.
Along the trail, boys engage with older boys in the Troop and with mentors who are vetted by church leadership, background checked every year, and must have completed extensive Child Safety and Youth Protection Training.
Each meeting has a different focus to always keep the program fresh and different. This will also allow new boys to come in at any time to have an opportunity to engage. We strive to always have hands-on activities and games to mentally stimulate and physically challenge the boys.
Having fun is a goal. We want the boys to want to come to the meetings and events because they are fully engaging and fun. At the same time, we are teaching them life skills, Biblical morals and standards to live by, and showing them great examples of adult leadership and guidance. The leaders will help the trailmen to explore the biblical themes each night that relates to that meetings badge lesson.
We want the family to be a big part of the program in every possible way. We invite parents to stay and participate at meetings, especially fathers. All troops are 100% parent and volunteer operated; without parental participation, a troop can not exist.
Though the Woodlands program is designed around troop participation, boys can accomplish work at home with their family's support. Parents can sign-off on requirements as designated by the group leaders or advancement coordinator. In this way, boys that have absences are still able to complete the necessary badge work for advancement.
Boys will automatically move through the Woodlands Trail ranks based on their age and grades.
K - 1st
2nd - 3rd
4th - 5th
With each new rank, a Woodland trailman will earn a Joining Award patch by memorizing and reciting the Trailman Oath, the Motto, and the Pledge of Allegiance. He must also demonstrate the Trailman Handshake, Sign, and Salute. Mountain Lions must also understand the proper way to fold the American flag.
As mentioned above, there are seven branches of interest:
Science and Technology
Sports and Fitness
Trailmen will collect branch pins on each branch of the Joining Award to complete the patch and earn their Forest Award. After that, they will then earn Sylvan stars for each branch of interest in order to earn a completed Forest Award.
Earning branch or star pins is based on attendance, participation in activities/projects (individual or group), and the mastering of skills. Each time a Trailmen ranks up, he has the opportunity to earn all pins or stars at that rank regardless of whether he did so at his previous rank.
The Timberline Award
The Timberline Award
During the last year in Woodlands Trail, a Mountain Lion can earn the prestigious Timberline Award. It is the highest award in the Woodlands Trail program and is the only award that transfers to the Navigators and Adventurers Programs. It was developed to celebrate a boy's entrance into the new world of the Trail Life USA Navigators program. In many Troops, the Timberline Award is presented as part of a meaningful bridging ceremony when Trailmen move from the Woodlands Trail program to the Navigators and Adventurers uniform.
The Worthy Life Award is an integral part of the overall Trail Life discipleship process in the Woodlands Trail, Navigators, and Adventurers programs. For a Trailman to earn the Timberline Award or the Freedom Award, he must complete the requirements for the Worthy Life Award. At each level, this distinction requires that a boy complete activities in four categories: Devotional, Discipleship, Discipline, and Demonstration.