Start a Troop

There are hundreds of Troops forming all around the country! If you are interested in joining us in fulfilling the mission of Trail Life USA in your community “to guide generations of courageous young men to honor God, lead with integrity, serve others, and experience outdoor adventure,” please make a selection below.  We look forward to partnering with you! 



The Key Steps Involved


  1. Talk with the leadership of your church or Christian organization. The Pastor of your church (or, in some cases, the leader of a Christian organization aligned with our mission) is also known as the Institutional Head ("IH"). The IH and adult registered members should be in agreement with our Core Values and must sign our Trail Life USA Statement of Faith and Values as a part of the registration process.  

    Our Troops are Christ-centered, and church owned and operated. The Charter Organizations (most commonly churches) in the TLUSA program do not merely allow the organization to use space to meet in their building.  The Charter Organization is expected to own and operate the Troop through selecting its adult leaders, integrating the Troop into the life of the church, and by involving the boys in mission trips, service projects and/or other ministry or ceremonial purposes.  Each Charter Organization influences its Troop differently, but is encouraged to take ownership of the Troop as an active part of its ministry offerings to the members of the church and/or the community at large. Refer to this diagram of How a Troop is Chartered and Operates

  2. Your Pastor/organization leader ("IH") will then decide to serve as, or appoint his liaison (known as the Chartered Organization Representative, or “COR”).The IH or COR will then select the rest of the “core leadership team” consisting of a Committee Chairman, a Troop Chaplain, a Treasurer and a Troopmaster. See the Troop Level Positions document for general position descriptions. Neither the IH or the COR pay the member registration fee; all other members do—both adult and youth.

    The Institutional Head (IH) is the highest authority in his organization (for example, the Senior Pastor of a church). He approves the existence of a Trail Life Troop and ensures it is an active ministry of the organization (usually a church). He understands the mission and policies of Trail Life USA.  He appoints or serves as the Charter Organization Representative (COR), and delegates the responsibility of selecting volunteer leaders to the COR.

    The IH can actually serve as a COR and Chaplain, however, this may be too large of a commitment for the organization’s top leader, as the time required to serve as COR is substantial. A better solution is for the IH to select a COR. The COR can also serve as Chaplain, if he desires. Other core leaders cannot serve in duplicate positions.

    Charter Organization Representative (COR) | The Charter Organization Representative is the most important Troop leader and is appointed by the Institutional Head. The COR is the Charter Organization’s appointed official, their Troop liaison, an Area resource, and a National voter.  The COR is responsible for selecting and recruiting the rest of the core leadership team. The COR can serve as the Chaplain also.

  3. All core leaders are invited to register by email, and complete their Adult Membership Applications and the chartering process online (which includes acceptance and agreement with Trail Life USA policies and the Statement of Faith and Values), consent to a criminal background check, and submit payment of the membership fee.

  4. After successful completion of the Adult Membership Application, applicants will receive an e-mail invitation from [email protected] to complete the required online Child Safety Youth Protection Training.  Adult leaders are only approved by Trail Life USA after an approved criminal background check, their successful completion of the Child Safety Youth Protection Training, and certification by their Charter Organization Representative.

  5. Once the chartering process is complete and the Troop is official, additional leaders register, and youth and their families are invited to participate. The Troop Committee meets to review the Annual Troop and Membership Costs information document and to begin establishing a Troop budget. Find this document and additional information to help your Troop PLAN, PROMOTE, GROW, and THRIVE at

  6. Schedule a special informational meeting (a “Join the Trail” event), where participants will sign up, submit fees, and become members.



If you have additional questions prior to submitting your request to charter, please get in touch with your local Point Man via the Troop Locator Map.

Electronic chartering is TRAIL LIFE U.S.A.’s only method of chartering Troops. 

Check out Chartering FAQ and Troop Numbering Policy for even more information.