What are the awards for Woodlands Trail? Navigators? Adventurers?
Woodlands Trail – The Forest award for each level (Foxes, Hawks, and Mountain Lions) based on completion of activities in 7 branches (program areas).
Mountain Lions are eligible to earn the Timberline award as they finish out their Woodlands Trail program and prepare to move to the Navigators Unit.
Navigators – Able Trailman and Ready Trailman ranks are earned based on completion of Trail Badges, leadership, service, and participation.
Adventurers – Horizon and Freedom awards based completion of badges, leadership, service and participation. The Freedom Award is the highest award and requires the completion of the Majors & Minors Program and a Servant Leadership Project.
Other awards – Religious recognitions and other awards are also available.
Does Trail Life USA use badges for advancement? What are the requirements of each?
Trail Life USA uses “Trail Badges” as learning modules in Navigators and Adventurers Units. The Required Trail Badges (15) are already defined and published in The Trailman’s Handbook for Navigators and Adventurers which is available for sale in our store found here.
Elective Trail Badges developed by the home office program department and volunteers are also published and available to members.
A Trailman can earn an unlimited number of Trail Badges in any topic under our “C.L.E.A.R.” badge creation program outlined in Chapter 19 of The Trailman’s Handbook for Navigators and Adventurers.
Trail Badges are classified into seven Frontiers: Heritage, Hobbies, Life Skills, Outdoor Skills, Science and Technology, Sports, and Values
Will Trail Life USA use Badge Counselors?
We would call them Trail Badge Guides or Mentors. A boy can work with any registered leader that will take on the responsibility.
Troops will determine at each level which Trail Badge work will be presented at Troop meetings (more common in the Navigators Unit, grades 6-8) and which ones will be done outside of meetings with registered leaders (more common in the Adventurers Unit, grades 9-12). Certainly, a leader could offer to serve as a Trail Badge Guide for other troops.
These options for connection will be arranged at the Area Level. All Child Safety Youth Protection Policies and requirements must be followed in all such Trail Badge work.
Do you have all the requirements for each level or rank advancement for the boys already developed? What are these requirements for each rank?
Yes. Please see The Trailman’s Handbook for Navigators and Adventurers for specific rank advancement and award requirements.
What advancement opportunities are there for boys in the Woodlands Trail program?
Woodlands Trail (elementary aged) boys work on Skill Branches that encompass activities and skills in a variety of areas to develop the whole boy. The Woodlands Trail program is an experiential participatory program focused on the intellectual (or cognitive) developmental stages of the Woodlands Trail boys and the way that they learn. Instead of earning Trail Badges, which are used in the Navigators and Adventurers programs, Woodlands Trail boys complete and collect Branch Cards, with constant recognition for participation.
The outcome of the Woodlands Trail program is to accumulate general knowledge through participation, which is more age-appropriately assessed through the Trail Badge program as Trailmen build understanding in the Navigators program and wisdom in the Adventurers program. This pathway has been developed using the cognitive learning stages of each age group to best prepare them for life as Christian husbands, fathers, and citizens.
Are there handbooks available for boys in the Woodlands Trail Unit?
The Woodlands Trail is designed without the need for handbooks.
Is there a handbook for the Navigators and Adventurers?
Yes. The Trailman’s Handbook for Navigators and Adventurers is available in the Trail Life USA store.
By what age must a Trailman complete his Freedom Award requirements?
A Trailman must complete his requirements for the Freedom Award by his 18th birthday. If a Trailman meets the certain conditions he may have until midnight June 30th following his 18th birthday to earn the Freedom Award as an adult participant. Details about Freedom Award requirements are available online to members.
Can Eagle Scouts earn the Freedom Award? What about adult Eagle Scouts?
Yes. Eagle Scouts of any age can earn the Freedom Award by completing a defined set of additional requirements and documentation. Details are available online to members. Proper documentation and reporting is required and guidelines will be provided to local Troop and Area Team leaders.
Will organizations such as Corporations, Colleges, and the Military acknowledge the Freedom Award?
Yes. The Freedom Award is already gaining notoriety with Christian colleges. However, we don’t have any way of knowing to what extent the secular world will hold our top award in high esteem. We do expect that it will continue to be held in very high esteem by Christian organizations.
My son is a 13 year old Eagle Scout. Can he be a 14 year old Freedom award recipient?
The Freedom Award is an Adventurers Unit Award and can only be earned by Adventurers, which means that they must be in grades 9-12. As an Eagle Scout transfers to the Trail Life USA program, once he is in 9th grade he will automatically be awarded the Horizon Award. He will then need to have acceptable Troop participation, an Adventurers Unit religious requirement, and a Freedom Experience that he completes while serving as an Adventurer. If he completes that while he is 14 years old, then it is possible that he could become a 14 year-old Freedom Rangeman.
While that would be technically possible, it is largely an anomaly of the BSA to Trail Life USA achievement transfer process. The program model is to have high school aged Trailmen participating in Freedom Experiences of active citizenry continuously throughout the 9th to 12th grade period in the program.
In Trail Life USA, we are not advocating rapid, check-box type advancement to get to the top award as quickly as possible. For example, our Summer Adventure experiences typically do not focus on advancement, but rather on fun and using the skills we’ve learned.