Church-Owned & Operated
We believe there is something special about being in the outdoors. This enables our program to instill “Adventure, Character, and Leadership” traits in boys and young men. Camping, hiking, and other outdoor activities help build deep relationships and provide a special context for leadership, problem solving, conflict resolution, and character building. We also value the outdoor focus of our program as a unique means of helping a boy see and appreciate the wonder, majesty, and grandness of God as reflected in His creation.
Trail Life USA is committed to the health, welfare, and safety of our youth, volunteers, staff, and employees. Physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health are integrated into everything we do to ensure as safe a program as possible. The goal should always be to provide challenging, adventurous, and fun activities in a manner that no injuries occur beyond those that are readily treatable by simple first aid.
Male-Centered Adult Leadership
TLUSA is a program focused on turning boys into godly men. Our firm conviction is that this can only be done by allowing a boy the opportunity to interact, work with, and be mentored by and with other Christian men. All direct contact positions, other than in the Woodlands Trail program for younger boys 5-10 years old, must be filled by men.
Women can serve in a number of roles in the organization including the National Board of Directors, National Advisory Board, Regional Leadership, Area Leadership, Troop Committee members, the Troop Ministry Liaison (TML), and in the Woodlands Trail program.
Character-Focused, Not Awards-Focused
Some boys’ programs are very focused on helping the boy achieve as many awards as he can in the shortest period of time to achieve the highest rankings and awards the program has to offer. In contrast, TLUSA is more concerned with building character than with earning badges and ranks. While TLUSA has a robust and prominent ranking and awards structure, this will not be the focus of the program. The focus should always be on building character over merely earning awards. This value is reflected by the fact that a young man cannot simply earn the Freedom Award quickly in a couple of years; he must stay in the program over an extended period of time — demonstrating maturity and leadership — to earn the highest award in the program.
Leadership with a servant’s attitude by both adults and youth is a core value of TLUSA. Servant leadership is characterized by humility and the willingness to work alongside others and not just “boss” people around. Leading by example and sacrifice are also qualities of servant leadership.
While this will not be the case in every location, ideally the goal would be to create a “family-centered” youth-enrichment experience where on one night, in one location, boys and their dads can participate in Trail Life USA, and girls and their moms can be involved with American Heritage Girls. There are many obvious strengths to this model, and those who are able to experience it will discover lasting impact and accelerated spiritual growth for every member of the family.
Pursuant to the TLUSA By-Laws, after January 1, 2015, decisions regarding changes to the most important elements of the organization will be made by each Charter Organization casting a vote, and not by professionals or delegates chosen by professionals. This principle will be used for any changes to the governing Board Members of Trail Life USA. To ensure fidelity to the principles and values of Trail Life USA, any changes to the Statement of Faith, Statement of Values, or membership standards would require an 80% vote by all Charter Organizations.
The National Board of Directors is committed to being debt averse. The organization will continue to be self-funded with the annual budget for operating expenses growing in direct proportion to fees generated by the growth of the membership. The organization will not accept gifts of property unless it can clearly benefit from the gift without incurring debt from operational or other costs associated with the property.
Trail Life USA maintains that integration of a Christian Worldview is essential in order to accomplish its vision and mission. Click here to view 'Trail Life USA’s Six Essential Concepts of a Christian Worldview'.
“… that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;…”