Greenville SC | February 21, 2020 | — In the wake of the Boys Scouts of America’s bankruptcy filing, Trail Life USA – a rapidly growing outdoor adventure-based mentoring program that grows leadership and character in boys and young men – is confirming its commitment to creating a safe, boy-centric environment that produces confident, courageous young men.

“We are saddened by the action Boy Scouts have taken,” says Trail Life USA CEO Mark Hancock, “but encouraged that over 30,000 members in 50 states have joined Trail Life’s Christ-centered, boy-focused adventure, leadership, and character program. Although no program can guarantee there will be no instances of adults seeking to do harm to children, we believe our sustained commitment to youth protection procedures and mandatory reporting guidelines will minimize this danger that has played such a role in the tragic state of the scouts.”

In the minds of some, the Boy Scouts inclusion of open and avowed homosexual and transgender boys and adults – and more recently, their decision to allow full participation of girls – will only further expose them to abuse issues. Trail Life USA takes a strong stand on issues of sexual identity. “You can’t submit boys and girls and unsure adults to an environment that doesn’t maintain clear sexual definitions and expect there not to be violations of privacy and abuse,” says Hancock. “At the very least, you are adding to the message that confuses young people. Boys and girls need programs designed for their unique strengths, and confusing cultural messages around their sexual identity only weaken our ability to protect them from
those who would do harm.”

Trail Life understands that boys and girls are different and engages boys in a uniquely masculine program of rigorous activity and outdoor adventure that caters to their rambunctious and energetic nature. Boys are challenged to grow in character, understand their purpose, serve their community, and develop life-long leadership skills in a male-centric environment. Instead of caving to cultural notions of toxic masculinity, Trail Life USA draws on the positive values of traditional masculinity building confident, courageous, chivalric servant leaders. These values seem to have struck a chord with families that, although they may not be sure about how to embrace the gender-blurring issues racing through society, understand intuitively that boys and girls are different.

Paramount to the mentoring approach has been the creation of strong policies to ensure that risk of abuse in the program is minimized. All adult leaders undergo regular background checks, complete youth protection training, and adhere to strict guidelines designed to reduce the potential for abuse.

Youth Protection Policy

  • All adults are background-checked regularly, not just once
  • All adults must receive a personal recommendation from a church representative, who also represents the troop
  • All adults complete youth protection training every two years
  • All troops commit to transparency in reporting incidents to authorities; no investigations are conducted only internally at any level
  • Commitment to 1-2-3 Protection Guidelines in every troop:
    • No one-on-one contact between adult and boy.
    • Minimum of two registered adults on site.
    • Buddy system of 3 at the same program level.

“Our commitment to Christ-centered, boy-focused outdoor adventure vision raises the bar for imparting leadership and biblical values to boys, and families are loving it!” says Hancock. His book “Let Boys be Boys,” is available for free download at