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Trail Life Teaches Boys Using the Formula God Created – Action, Adventure, Challenge, and Godly Mentors

August 31, 2021

GREENVILLE, S.C.—A year of pandemic and hybrid classrooms have disrupted traditional learning models. Parents who have been at home with their children are becoming increasingly aware of the shortcomings of both modern classroom and virtual learning settings. While both boys and girls have been affected by these dramatic schooling changes, for years boys have been falling significantly behind girls in academic circles.

According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, boys are almost twice as likely to receive special education than girls, and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that boys are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than girls (12.9% compared to 5.6%). Academically, boys underperform girls at every level. One recent study of high school students showed that during the pandemic, young men consistently failed at higher rates than girls in core subjects.

The 2020 American Family Survey shows a similar trend in churches where learning approaches are often similar. According to the survey, only 36% of parents believed churches were serving their sons well. Something is missing for young men, and it’s not internet, homework, or effort; it’s activity, purpose, and action.

For Trail Life (TrailLifeUSA.comCEO Mark Hancock, the answer to this problem is obvious. He points to the absolute necessity of activity and challenge in a young man’s development: “Boys were designed by their Creator to be doers. They need action and purpose. Trail Life understands that God intended boys to be boys. Snakes and snails, hammers and nails, rifles and coonskin caps—that is what boys are made of! Outdoor exploration and adventure make men out of boys because that is how boys grow—through activity and experience.”

Activity and experience are hard to come by in the traditional classroom setting. Boys need more than sitting at a desk—they require a hands-on approach to best retain information and grow into godly men of character. This is why Trail Life was founded with the mission to guide generations of courageous young men to honor God, lead with integrity, serve others, and experience outdoor adventure.  

To further explain, Hancock points to the intelligent design of a creative God: “Adam was not created in the beauty and security of the Garden of Eden. He was created in the wild, and placed in the garden with a mission. He was to go, ‘fill the earth and subdue it.’ God made man to explore, conquer, lead, face dangers, and overcome obstacles with the tools, heart, and power God instilled in him as a man. At Trail Life, we are teaching boys to fulfill God’s purpose and obey His commands each time we put them in a situation where they must solve problems and overcome the difficulties life throws at them. Whether a rock wall or a pandemic, boys grow and learn through challenge and conquest.

“The same principles apply to developing character and strong faith in Christ,” says Hancock. “Reading and hearing about God are important, but the muscles of faith are strengthened through action. James 2:17 states, ‘Faith without works is dead.’ As boys experience God through service and adventure, as they rub shoulders with mentors, as they face challenges and pray and see answers, faith becomes personal. Instead of knowing intellectually about God, boys come to know God.”

Hancock concludes, “There is a time for a book and a desk, and there is a time for experience and adventure.”

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

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.    

Discover more about Trail Life USA atTrailLifeUSA.com, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, or Vimeo.   


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