Trail Life USA, the largest Christ-centered, boy-focused scout-type organization in the country, is proud to challenge boys to grow in confidence and leadership through amazing outdoor adventure.
Troops in Texas recently gathered for a “Night Ops Challenge,” designed to challenge boys’ character and leadership, grow their confidence and sense of independence, and test their outdoor skills through a series of scenarios and obstacles. 46 boys and 37 volunteers— including a full medical team— gathered to begin the adventure around 8:00pm. Boys were split up into eight patrols of about six boys. With the temperatures dropping to around 20 degrees Fahrenheit, the boys’ first task was to use the bearings and distances provided to create their own map to the nine challenge stations spread across 1100 remote acres.
After the maps were created and safety briefings completed, boys were equipped with military flashlights, GPS trackers and radios, and sent out around 10:00pm to stealthily navigate to each scenario challenges in the darkness. During the overnight race, boys were challenged to start a fire from natural materials to pop popcorn, correctly translate morse code, throw rocks to hit a target across the river, build a monkey bridge, complete knot tying and tomahawk throwing challenges, traverse a river on a hand bridge, work as a team to carry heavy logs up a sand dune to create the tallest signal tower, and assess an emergency situation and treat a downed pilot. Points were scored for winning each event. The first team arrived back at 4:00am and the adventure ended with the last patrol arriving at the command center around 5:30am. The next morning, the Troop leaders announced that the second team to finish, Troop TX-3211 from Clear Lake, won the event.
Trail Life CEO Mark Hancock stated, “Challenges like these are so important! A boy’s longings for risk, competition, independence, and responsibility are necessary God-given desires that, when provided adequately, enable him to develop into a mature man of character. Boys thrive when provided with proper challenge, adventure, accomplishment, accolade, and advancement. Intentionally increasing responsibility and independence as sons mature is essential. If challenge and encouragement are not sufficient and developmentally appropriate, instead of becoming confident, resilient leaders of character, boys fall into one of the twin pitfalls of adolescence: anger or apathy.”
The Troop leaders and volunteers built a sense of independence and accomplishment by creating a safe environment that allowed boys to make mistakes, learn from failure, and experience the challenge of navigating the course themselves with minimal adult assistance. Rather than completing a challenge for a boy, Trail Life leaders and mentors come alongside boys and guide them, allowing them to achieve the goals themselves.
After the Texas “Night Ops Challenge,” many of the Troops are already asking to do it again, one boy exclaimed, “This adventure is the best thing I have ever done in Trail Life!”
Through tried-and-true methodology, Trail Life offers boy-focused, adventure-driven solutions delivered in the context of a Christian worldview that encourage boys to embrace what makes them unique and build strong relationships with other boys, mentors, and most importantly, Christ.
Trail Life USA is the premier national character development organization for young men, producing godly and responsible husbands, fathers, and citizens. Trail Life’s mission is to guide generations of courageous young men to honor God, lead with integrity, serve others, and experience outdoor adventure. Troops exist in all 50 states and are growing as Trail Life USA expands around the country. You can find a Troop today, or Start a Troop in your community.
Trail Life USA’s K-12 program centers on outdoor experiences that build a young man's skills. A robust awards program motivates young men to grow on a personal level to become role models and leaders among their peers. Living the Trail Life USA is a journey established on timeless values derived from the Bible.