Throughout the Pandemic Trail Life USA Continued to Grow Courage, Character, and Faith in the Most Naturally Healthy Place on Earth
July 19, 2021
GREENVILLE, S.C.—Trail Life USA (TrailLifeUSA.com) helps thousands of boys grow to become strong, courageous, men of character through outdoor adventure.
When some groups chose to move operations indoors during the COVID pandemic, Trail Life USA decided the safest and most healthy environment for boys was the place God created – the outdoors. Troops continued meeting, experiencing adventure, and trusting God to grow strong men out of active boys in the safety of an outdoor environment. “It really has been an amazing year,” Trail Life CEO, Mark Hancock, commented. “Rather than isolating or canceling meetings, our volunteers realized boys needed a safe outlet for their rough-and-tumble adventurous nature. They realized boys needed resources for camaraderie, connection, and spiritual growth. Troops across the nation chose to meet in parking lots, backyards, campgrounds and parks. They planned responsible outdoor events and great adventures.”
Last fall the Ohio Daniel Boone Camp attracted 741 attendees, while gatherings in Indiana hosted 212 participants, 152 in Michigan, and 60 in Wisconsin. Just last month, over 400 Trail Life Trailmen from 47 Troops across 17 states met in West Virginia for a week of comradery, challenge, adventure, and growth. In all, since the pandemic, Trail Life has hosted over 1,500 campers at major outdoor events without a single COVID case.
“Spending time with friends in the outdoors while enjoying ziplining, campfires, archery, white-water rafting, first-aid training, rock climbing, and paintball makes boys healthy, not sick,” said Hancock. “God made boys to be outside. It in their nature to embrace challenge, to rise to the occasion and to overcome. Their God-given drive is to get wet, to get their hands dirty, to climb the tallest tree, and take the next hill. The outdoors – with its wide-open spaces and fresh air – is almost certainly the safest and healthiest place for kids to be.”
The outdoors offers many benefits to emotional health, too. According to a recent study in The Journal of Adolescent Health, being penned up indoors for weeks on end takes its toll on children’s mental health. Another article from TIME magazine highlighted the negative drain on kids’ mental and emotional well-being as they spend more time indoors, isolated from their friends and regular healthy outdoor pursuits.
While other youth organizations were sheltering in place and shrinking, Trail Life Troops saw explosive growth. Trail Life has experienced a 70% increase in new members compared to the previous year, adding dozens of new Troops 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.
“Families are scrambling in search of an organization that will help them make godly men from the stuff of boys. Trail Life is that organization, and that’s why our numbers are exploding,” Hancock said. “Troops are springing up as individuals and churches understand that Trail Life USA is not just another program seeking to meet in a church. Trail Life is a ministry of the Church. We are, at our core, a Christ-centered program that utilizes the outdoors to draw boys and their families into a closer relationship with their Creator. Churches are attracted to our model as a means to engage men, connect fathers and sons, impact families, and grow the Church.”
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.
Since Trail Life USA launched on January 1, 2014, it has grown to over 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.
To interview Mark Hancock from Trail Life USA, contactMedia@HamiltonStrategies.com, Jeff Tolson, 610.584.1096, ext. 108, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.