So we’re starting a new Youth Adventure Program, and you’re probably curious what the program looks like. While nothing is official until the start date of January 1st, and is subject to change before then, the structure is gelling pretty quickly. Let’s take a few minutes to look at the structure of a Trail Life USA Troop.
Each Troop is chartered by a Christian Church or other religious institution such as a Christian school. Each Charter Organization is a voting member of Trail Life USA. The Charter Organization is in charge of the Troop and a Charter Organization Representative (COR) is expected to be an active member of the Troop’s Core Leadership Team.
The Core Leadership Team consists of the COR, a Committee Chair, a Troop Chaplain, a Treasurer, and a Troopmaster.
The Program portion of the Troop – the actual hands-on portion – is led by the Troopmaster. The Troopmaster oversees the four Units within the Troop: Woodlands Trail, Navigators, Adventurers, and Guidon.
The Woodlands Trail unit consists of boys in Kindergarten through 5th grade. They are led by a Ranger (Cub Scout equivalent would be a Cubmaster). The Woodlands Trail is divided into three levels, each led by a Trail Guide. Kindergarten and 1st grade boys are Foxes, 2nd & 3rd graders are Hawks, and 4th & 5th graders are Moutain Lions.
Middle Schoolers are in the Navigators unit, led by a Trailmaster. The Trailmaster oversees the adult Trail Guides who help run the program. There are three rank awards in Navigators, Recruit Trailman, Able Trailman, and Ready Trailman. Boys in Navigators are referred to as Trailmen.
The Adventurers unit is for High School boys. They are led by an Advisor. Just like in the Woodlands Trail and Navigators, Trail Guides are other adults who help run the Adventurers program. Boys in Adventurers can earn three awards, Journey, Horizon, and the Freedom Award. Boys in Adventurers are considered Trailmen until they earn their Freedom award, at which time they become Rangemen.
The entire Troop will begin the meeting as a single unit, and then quickly break up into their three respective units to work on skills, awards, etc. They will come back together for a closing ceremony at the end of the meeting.
While there is freedom and flexibility, it is expected the Navigators and Adventurers will go on a joint, monthly campout once per month, just as Boy Scout Troops do. This means sometimes the Navigators and Adventurers will meet independently to work on their own skills, ranks, and awards, but about once per month they will meet jointly to plan their campout.
Unlike Boy Scout Troops, however, about once every three months the Adventurers’ campout will be separate from the Navigators campout, which allows the older boys to participate in even Higher Adventure activities as an older unit.
There is a fourth unit which may or may not be found in individual Trail Life USA Troops. The Guidon is a co-ed unit for men and women 18-24 years of age. The Guidon unit is led by Advisors and is designed to be a High Adventure unit.
In addition to the units, there are age-appropriate extra-curricular Spiritual Growth programs that many of the boys will pariticpate in. We’ll review these at a later time.