The inaugural Leadership Convention of Trail Life USA was held in Nashville, Tenn.Â More than 1,200 attended last weekend, including former scoutmasters, Eagle Scouts and Boy Scouts of America professionals.Â Trail Life USA will be an outdoor scouting organization for boys ages 5-17.Â The program will provide young men with adventure, character building events and leadership training from a Christian perspective â€“ and offer them an alternative to the faltering Boy Scouts.
Coming up with the name and branding for the group was a very practical process, according to Clint Cline with Design 4 Marketing.
â€œWe engaged hundreds of thousands of people through online surveys, our Facebook page, and blast emails,â€ he said.Â â€œWe also involved focus groups in two different cities where we engaged parents and young men who would be members of an organization like this.â€
All boys, regardless of religion, race, national origin or socio-economic status, are welcome in the program.Â Leaders must sign a statement of faith supporting Christian principles and submit to background checks.Â Shawn Anderson, one of the board members for Trail Life, said both boys and adults must adhere to a code of conduct.
â€œThis program speaks to the journey that a young boy has to take from a young age and then developing into a young man,â€ he said, â€œwho can one day stand firm in life on what they believe.â€
John Stemberger, chairman of the board, said the image of young men following a â€œtrailâ€ is powerful.
â€œChrist says to â€˜Follow Me,â€™â€ he explained, â€œand this speaks to a specific trail and young people on a journey.Â Theyâ€™re on a journey of trying to understand.Â We make moral decisions that could put us on the right path or the wrong path.Â Our life is about the journey, not just outdoors, but our life is about the journey with Christ â€“ following Him.â€
The new group was formed in response to the recent decision by BSA to include openly gay members.
Stemberger said since that announcement, more than 30,000 people have asked for information about the alternative program.
â€œOur vision is to become the premier national character development organization for young men, which produces godly and responsible husbands, fathers, and citizens,â€ he said. Parents are going to love the new outdoor adventure program and we are very excited to be part of this next chapter in the history of scouting in America.â€
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