Traditional education model is failing boys both spiritually and academically

Trail Life USA understands boys need action, purpose, connection, and recognition to thrive!

August 29, 2022

GREENVILLE, S.C.— After students were forced to stay home for schooling during the COVID-19 pandemic, parents were able to witness the shortcomings of both the modern classroom and virtual learning settings. Many parents have chosen to send their children to private schools or taken on homeschooling in order to avoid the inadequacies of the traditional educational model. While both boys and girls have been affected by these dramatic schooling changes, boys have been hit particularly hard.

According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, boys are almost twice as likely as girls to receive special education, 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.

For Trail Life (TrailLifeUSA.comCEO Mark Hancock, the answer to this problem is obvious. “Boys and girls are different,” Hancock explained. “And let’s face it, teaching girls is easier. They are less active and noisy, they are generally more compliant, and they are better suited to listen attentively, reflect competently, and respond correctly when asked to do what they are told.”

He continued, “Boys were designed by their Creator to be doers. They struggle when when required to ‘sit down, be quiet, and pay attention’ for prolonged periods of time. Boys need action and purpose. Snakes and snails, hammers and nails, rifles and coonskin caps — that is what boys are made of! Hands-on problem solving, action, outdoor exploration and adventure make men out of boys because that is how boys grow — through activity and experience.”

Trail Life was founded with this fundamental need in mind. Trail Life’s mission is to guide generations of courageous young men to honor God, lead with integrity, serve others, and experience outdoor adventure.  

The 2020 American Family Survey shows a comparable 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.

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,” stated 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 actively know God.”

Instilling godly values is a foundational principle at Trail Life. Trail Life USA’s Six Essential Concepts of a Christian Worldview are woven throughout its’ unique practical, hands-on, adventure-based Proven Process that is designed to help a boy truly grasp the concepts and apply them to his own life.

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

Trail Life’s unique approach is garnering attention from families across the nation. Trail Life has grown by nearly 10,000 new Troop members in 2022 alone. In just the last month, over 500 individuals have reached out for information on starting a Trail Life Troop, and more than 30 new Troops have been chartered in the past 30 days. With Trail Life’s success in growing to over 40,000 members in under ten years, boys and men are building meaningful relationships, growing in character, developing in leadership, and just having fun in the great outdoors.

Trail Life USA has received praise from some of the top Christian voices today, including Focus on the Family, Franklin Graham, James Dobson, Mike Huckabee, Alex and Stephen Kendrick, Family Life, Promise Keepers, the American Family Association, and many others. 

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 today, or Start a Troop in your community. Find out more at TrailLifeUSA.com.  

Trail Life USA’s 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.    ###