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Trail Life Troop in Idaho Fulfills Year-long Dream of Building a Wooden Boat From Scratch

August 16, 2021

GREENVILLE, S.C.—While some dreams remain merely far-fetched ideas, Trail Life USA (TrailLifeUSA.com) helps to make the dreams of boys all across America a reality. A God-centered, mentoring and discipleship journey which is church-based, boy-focused, and allows boys to be boys, Trail Life USA encourages young men to dream big with a variety of activities meant to build character, inspire adventure, and build meaningful relationships, both with other boys and Christ.

Dreaming big is a common occurrence within the Trail Life community. A Trail Life Troop in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho did the unthinkable—they built a working boat from scratch. From felling the tree, to seasoning the lumber, to rebuilding a boat motor, to hand sanding the rails, slats, and keel—Troop ID-4:12 utilized new skills and learned valuable lessons about teamwork and cooperation while building a functioning wooden motorboat.

“As the new year begins, each Trail Life Troop gathers to dream about new adventures they will enjoy that year,” quipped Trail Life CEO Mark Hancock. “In Troop ID-4:12, someone tossed out the idea of building a fishing boat. Instead of dismissing the idea, Troop leaders wrote it on the list. Soon the seemingly outlandish idea began to gain traction.”

Boys and adults got excited as a plausible plan to make the dream a reality came into view. Boys dove into research about boat building. One family donated a broken golf-cart, and together the Troop rebuilt the motor to earn a small-engine repair badge. They then began an entreprenuial venture buying old motors that they rebuilt and sold to buy boat parts. After months of work planning, milling, cutting, and assembling, the boys spent the final night applying finishing touches to the fiberglass, adding final coats to the hull, and working on a 5-hp outboard motor. The next morning, they hauled the boat to the water for a test drive. The research and hard work paid off.  The boat worked flawlessly, and the boys can’t wait to load it with a half-dozen fishermen and 100 pounds of pike!

Projects like this one explempify Trail Life USA’s focus—creativity, determination, learning of new skills, camaraderie, and the joy of the completed adventure. Read the full story of the Coeur d’Alene boat adventure on the Trail Life blog.

Adventure, Character, and Leadership come in many sizes and shapes. When it was all done, Troop ID-4:12 had an adventure that lasted several months and measured over fifteen feet bow to stern. The next dream is bigger and better for the Troop based in Idaho.

Hancock praised the Troop’s innovation and bringing their dream to reality. “The final step was to name the boat. After much discussion, the boys decided to name the boat ‘Lots of Character s.’ To clarify the play on words, the final ‘s’ will dangle below the end of the word Character so that it appears to be falling off into the water. Plans are already being made for next year,” Hancock said. “The boys are eagerly discussing building a 24-foot wooden cruiser with a big ole 8-cylinder engine. The Troop has already purchased a pair of two-man saws so the boys can fell the tree. The boys are hoping next year will be the year of the wakeboard and the water ski!”

The Trail Life Mission is to guide generations of courageous young men to honor God, lead with integrity, serve others, and experience outdoor adventure.

Join the adventure. Find a Troop for your son today, or Start a Troop in your area. Find out more at TrailLifeUSA.com.

Trail Life USA is a Church-Based, Christ-Centered, Boy-Focused mentoring and discipleship journey that speaks to the heart of a boy. Established on timeless values derived from the Bible and set in the context of outdoor adventure, boys from Kindergarten through 12th grade are engaged in a Troop setting by male mentors where they are challenged to grow in character, understand their purpose, serve their community, and develop practical leadership skills to carry out the mission for which they were created.

Trail Life has experienced a 70% increase in new members compared to the previous year, adding over 100 new Troops this year and expanding total membership to over 30,000. In just the last month, over 300 individuals have reached out for information on starting a Trail Life Troop. 

Trail Life USA is the premier national character development organization for young men, producing godly and responsible husbands, fathers, and citizens. Trail Life’s mission is to guide generations of courageous young men to honor God, lead with integrity, serve others, and experience outdoor adventure. Troops exist in all 50 states and are growing as Trail Life USA expands around the country. Get involved in a Troop near you, or Start a Troop in your community today.      

Discover more about Trail Life USA atTrailLifeUSA.comFacebookInstagramTwitterYouTube, or Vimeo.  


To interview Mark Hancock from Trail Life USA, contactMedia@HamiltonStrategies.comJeff Tolson, 610.584.1096, ext. 108, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.