Boys Need Heroes

At Trail Life USA, Heroic Men Rise Each Day to Challenge Boys to Lead Lives of Character, Adventure, and God-honoring Leadership

June 1, 2021

GREENVILLE, S.C.—On Friday, May 21, Trail Life USA ( saw thousands of families join the National Backyard Concert and Campout Event. Since the beginning of 2021, over 3,000 new members have joined Trail Life growing the movement to nearly 30,000 members engaged in more than 850 Troops across the U.S. And more boys apply every week. Boys are searching for authentic men who model strength, character, integrity, adventure, and service. Boys need heroes.

“Until recently, boys grew up emulating real-life heroes who seemed larger than life” says Mark Hancodk, CEO of Trail Life USA. “Coonskin caps and six-shooters were the uniforms of boyhood. Boys were enthralled with tales about Teddy Roosevelt, John Glenn, and Davy Crockett. Flannelgraph images taught us about the courage of Noah, the faith of Moses, and the collapse of a giant at the hands of a young shepherd boy. But today, rather than celebrating men for their contributions, culture is dismissing the heroism of our fathers and forefathers and emphasizing their shortcomings. Statues of historic heroes are disappearing as history is rewritten to cater to sanitized ‘non-toxic’ definitions of masculinity.”

Hancock continues, “Discussions about ‘toxic masculinity,’ and this sanitazation of history is leaving many boys confused about what it means to be a man – or if they should even want to be one. Yet in the wake of this confusion, our mission is clear. In 2 Timothy, Paul reminds us to, ‘Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus and entrust what you have understood…to faithful men.’

“Men are God’s means to grow men. To become godly men, boys need the examples and leadership of courageous men. Scripture, history, and personal experiences defy the untethered aims of culture and make clear the significant benefits of godly men who act as traditional masculine role-models for boys. Within Trail Life USA, heroic men across the nation step-up daily to lead and challenge boys to live lives marked by adventure, character, courage, and God-honoring leadership.”

Wilson Grab is one of Trail Life’s real-life heroes. At over 70 years of age, Wilson serves as one of the leaders of Trail Life Troop NC-0942. He summarizes his leadership philosophy this way: “A leader is a servant who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” Wilson says, “Seeing growth among men and boys in the Troop is the most rewarding part of the program … It is our task to lead young men on the trail to manhood and to teach them to be the husbands and fathers they need to be.” Wilson and hundreds of other men are living that example of leadership in over 850 Trail Life Troops around the country.

Hancock affirms that vision. “At Trail Life USA, we recognize the role of strong, courageous, godly men throughout history. We celebrate the fact God created men to live that role. Masculinity is not a toxic condition to be eliminated; it is a building block of God’s Creation. Society needs men of character, young and old. Men who know how to confront real emergencies, overcome risks, and solve real problems.

Boys can’t learn those skills in fantasy worlds of video games and Marvel characters. Real men don’t have superpowers or extra lives, so they need to make their one real-life count, both here and for eternity. Heroes are not born; they are forged through challenge, adventure, and the daily skills built from overcoming the hardships of life. This goes beyond our mission statement. This is what Trail Life USA is building through service and outdoor adventure in the hearts and minds of young men,” Hancock concluded.

One father, as he experienced Trail Life, commented, “We are new to Trail Life, but I have been absolutely blown away by the lessons that these young men are learning about being men. Not JUST men either, but GODLY MEN. It’s really an amazing program for these guys.” 

During a time when many ministries have slowed or closed, Trail Life is seeing growth. As school has become virtual, boys have been forced indoors, personal interaction has become limited, and rough and tumble play was suspended. The need has never been greater for trained leaders to engage boys in outdoor adventure where boys can connect, burn energy, grow in character, and make a difference in their world. Trail Life USA has realized the need and is forging ahead. In the past year, they have launched over 100 new Troops and added over 10,000 new Trailmen. 

Billy Graham once wrote, “Courage is Contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are stiffened.” 

Hancock concludes, “Our future depends on our ability to empower the next generation to honor God, lead with integrity and serve others. Will you stand with us to step up and make a difference in the life of a boy?”

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.

Since Trail Life USA launched on January 1, 2014, it has grown to nearly 30,000 members in over 850 Troops across the nation. The K-12 program centers on outdoor experiences that build a young man’s skills. A robust awards program motivates young men to grow on a personal level to become role models and leaders among their peers. Living the Trail Life USA is a journey established on timeless values derived from the Bible. 

Discover more about Trail Life USA at, Facebook and Instagram pages, Twitter feed, YouTube, or Vimeo.


To interview Mark Hancock from Trail Life USA, contact, Jeff Tolson, 610.584.1096, ext. 108, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.