Legal Fight Over ‘Scouts’ Sparks Interest Surge in Faith-Based, Boys-Only Outdoor Adventure Group

Stephen Ashton 2 Comments

As a legal fight between America’s two long-time scouting organizations ensues, Trail Life USA is experiencing historic growth. “In the eight days following the announcement of the lawsuit we saw a 79 percent increase in inquiries into starting a troop and a 35 percent increase in traffic to our website, as compared to the eight days before the announcement,” explained Trail Life CEO, Mark Hancock.

In May of 2018, the Boy Scouts of America made the decision to allow girls into the historically boy-only program and rebrand themselves as Scouts BSA.  The Girls Scouts are now arguing the decision to rebrand as Scouts BSA and admit girls to the program has caused confusion, and could adversely affect the girls-only organization.

The dispute has not come as a surprise to Trail Life USA CEO, Mark Hancock, who leads the organization that provides character development opportunities specifically tailored to boys’ unique needs and learning style. He says, “There’s a good reason why boys and girls should not be involved together in scouting programs. You can’t deliver the same program to boys and girls and expect the same response. Boys and girls are different, they need to be taught differently, and they learn and act differently.”

There’s a good reason why boys and girls should not be involved together in scouting programs. You can’t deliver the same program to boys and girls and expect the same response.

This message is resonating with parents and leaders across the country.  In recent months, Trail Life USA has shattered its previous membership records adding over 90 Troops and enrolling 36% more new members than last year at this time.

Hancock has written an authoritative booklet entitled “Let Boys be Boys” in which he offers strategies for parents, churches, and schools to engage boys’ assertive, audacious, adventurous nature to grow capable men. Hancock points out that things once considered normal boyish behavior like talking out of turn, fidgeting, running in the hall, jumping, or being unable to sit still are now labeled as symptoms of ADHD and are being treated with medication.

Trail Life USA Let Boys Be Boys Book Cover

Hancock says, “This is a reflection of the increasing confusion in the general culture. Engaged parents and experienced teachers know that there are innate differences between boys and girls—biologically, psychologically, socially, and in many other ways—and that watering down those differences in a one-size-fits-all program delivery model does not help either.”

As leaders of boys in schools, homeschools, churches, and youth organizations, we must recognize and affirm their unique strengths and challenges. We are positioned to instill the principles and character traits that can prepare boys to become successful, focused men.

By way of example, he pointed to a high school in Memphis that has raised its graduation rate to 90.5 percent from 53 percent after converting to boys-only and girls-only classes. Attacking political correctness that ignores the differences between the sexes and referencing recent discussions about “toxic masculinity” Hancock says that normal boyhood has come to be viewed as, “some sort of social disease that needs to be eradicated. … As leaders of boys in schools, homeschools, churches, and youth organizations, we must recognize and affirm their unique strengths and challenges. We are positioned to instill the principles and character traits that can prepare boys to become successful, focused men.”

Founded in 2013, Trail Life USA has more than 800 troops in 49 states, with a total membership of more than 30,000. Through Troops chartered by local churches, Trail Life offers a K-12 program centered on outdoor experiences that build young men’s skills and help them grow on a personal level and as role models and leaders for their peers.

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Stephen Ashton

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