Thirty men from seven states spent over 400 volunteer hours to plan and execute a life-changing event for boys, dads, and mentors
October 31, 2022
GREENVILLE, S.C.— Time with family and father figures is essential for young boys. The 2020 U.S. Census reported that one in four children, or 18.3 million kids, live in a home without a father, stepfather, or father-figure. Children who grow up without a strong paternal figure in their lives are more likely to have behavioral problems, have substance abuse issues, drop out of school, or other concerning traits. The need for a godly male role model is great, yet many men struggle to make that connection with the children in their lives.
Trail Life USA (TrailLifeUSA.com), one of the largest Christ-centered, boy-focused scout-type organizations in the country,is proud to foster meaningful connections for families across America. For Trail Life, the goal of inspiring men to be godly fathers and mentors is key to the development of boys of all ages. Dedicated to building character, fostering leadership skills, and encouraging adventure in boys across America, Trail Life offers a safe place for boys and men to create meaningful relationships that will impact both fathers and sons.
Mark Hancock, CEO of Trail Life, commented, “Our society is plagued by absent or disengaged fathers. But willing men can make a difference. Boys need men who are enthralled by their exuberance, acknowledge their abilities, pursue their passions, celebrate their strengths, and nurture their independence.”
Recently, Trail Life hosted its largest gathering of men and boys yet. Trail Life’s Daniel Boone Base Camp saw 1,350 fathers, sons, and mentors from seven different states gather and pitch tents together for a weekend of axe throwing, pugil stick battles, friction fire-starting, monkey-bridge crossing, archery, riflery, sling-shot firing, atlatl throwing, cooking, camaraderie around a campfire, and more.
Hancock continued, “When engaged in outdoor experiences like these, it is natural for boys to look to men for answers. In an age of instant web-searched answers, the outdoors provides a venue where time slows, relationships form, and dads and mentors find a natural voice. Here problems need solving — and it is clear when mistakes are made. The Trail Life program functions as an intentional catalyst to capitalize on those opportunities.
“In Trail Life USA, boys are mentored by caring adults who intentionally equip them to rise to the occasion and lead in moments where preparation meets opportunity. The dedication and preparation that went into this event was truly remarkable. I often say that Trailmen are the best men I know, and events like this are why. One of our volunteer leaders in Ohio, Eric Tanner, led a remarkable team of over 30 men to put together a world class event.”
Tanner commented, “This year the campout began with ten committed men who banded together over a ten-month period and put in over 400 hours of work. As a team, they worked through all the details for each event, took care of safety, made facility agreements, and planned every detail down to microphones, speakers, signage, parking, campfires, schedules — and most importantly, a coordinated emphasis across events and large group gatherings on spiritual and personal growth components. This year the theme was Joshua 1:9, ‘Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.’”
Regional Trail Life volunteer Kent Marks added, “The Daniel Boone Base Camp began in 2013, when my friend commented to me that Trail Life needed a great kick-off event to welcome boys into the Trail Life program and equip them with the skills they needed to thrive in the outdoors.”
Tanner continued, “This event that began with 119 boys had grown to over 1,300. It really is a testament to the hard work and dedication of so many leaders who come together to make this a reality. This year 50 Troops from seven states were able to come together, enjoy camaraderie, compete, experience adventure, grow in faith, and be part of this great introduction to the Trail Life. That’s really what it’s all about!”
To see video and other stories from the Daniel Boone Base Camp, see Trail Life’s Facebook page.
Trail Life’s unique approach is garnering attention from families across the nation. Trail Life has grown by nearly 20,000 new Troop members in 2022 alone. In just the last month, nearly 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 45,000 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.