New organization offers alternative to Boy Scouts
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Last Friday, over 1,200 people gathered at a conference in Nashville for the unveiling of a new youth organization known as “Trail Life USA,” which claims to be a Christian alternative to the Boy Scouts of America. This news comes three months after the BSA announced its monumental decision to change its membership policy, which now allows open homosexuals to join.
Among the crowd at the conference, which had representatives from 44 states, were Scout Masters, Eagle Scouts, former BSA professionals, as well as church officials, all of whom were lending their support to this new, innovative organization.
According to their website, Trail Life USA, “… is a Christian adventure, character and leadership movement for young men … centers on outdoor experiences that build a young man’s skills and allow him to grow on a personal level and as a role model and leader for his peers … [is] a journey established on timeless values derived from the Bible.”
Trail Life was started by men like John Stemberger and Rob Green, who were more than displeased with the BSA’s decision. They aren’t the only ones, however.
The BSA may be losing many members over this, anywhere from 200,000 to 400,000 by their own estimates. A sign that declining membership may already be affecting the BSA is indicated in the increase in dues for the first since 2010.
As an Eagle Scout, I too am disappointed with the BSA’s decision, not only because it goes against my morals, but also because a once-strong organization has failed to stand on its principles, caving under pressure from a minority group.
Stemberger, who led a campaign against this decision by launching the website OnMyHonor.net, said in an interview, “Our main message is: keep sex and politics out of Boy Scouts.”
In the summer of 2012, the BSA National Commissioner claimed that the policy excluding open homosexuals was “the absolute best policy for the BSA.” Not long after that, the policy was reversed.
The tragedy of this cannot be overstated. Common sense would dictate that it is the gays who should have been the ones to start their own organization. To demand that any well-established organization adhere to your way of thinking so you can join them is ridiculously backwards. Nevertheless, that battle is over, but the fight for the heart and soul of America’s young men still goes on.
The expressed goal of Trail Life is “to be the premier national character development organization for young men which produces Godly and responsible husbands, fathers, and citizens …” and “to guide generations of courageous young men to honor God, lead with integrity, serve others, and experience outdoor adventure.”
Executive National Director, Rob Green said Trail Life is “resetting the clock and starting over with something far better” by doing “what the Boy Scouts had a chance to do.”
Trail Life will accept any young man regardless of race, religion, or socioeconomic status. Even boys who may be experiencing sexual confusion are welcome to join. However, anyone who wishes to be a part of the organization must adhere to the membership guidelines, which are based on Biblical principles.
While I wholly support the mission of Trail Life, I cannot help but wonder if there is still hope for the BSA, which still does not allow openly gay troop leaders. Some might argue that the BSA, which claims thousands of young men as members, needs moral, Christian men now more than ever.
I believe the ban of homosexual leaders is the next thing to go, though it may come sooner now rather than later. The responsibility falls to the parents to choose which organization is best for their kids.
While the BSA wallows in political correctness, Trail Life will be training the future leaders of America to “take back our culture.” The program officially begins in January and is looking to start with nearly 1,000 troops nationwide.
This article originally appeared in the East Tennessean. Written by Daniel Taylor