19 July 2014

Trail Life Offers An Alternative To BSA

Trail Life USA
When the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) announced last year their decision to lift a ban on gay youth membership, everyone knew that something will crop up to challenge its supremacy.

Well, a serious contender did emerge after more than 1,200 ex-participants of the BSA, hailing from 44 states, met in Nashville in September 2013 for a two-day "national leadership conference," at which the "new scouts’" name, logo, and uniforms were selected.

"Most of us are coming from a highly-structured environment that has 103 years of culture and language and program and symbols . . . and we are starting from scratch," John Stemberger, a father of two who earned the title of Eagle Scout during his youth, told the news organization.

Stemberger told reporters last year that the new organization will be named Trail Life USA (TLUSA) and it would amount to "a program that we believe will be stronger, safer and more principled in every way."

The successful campaign to alter the original boy scout membership policy gained steam after the organization ousted a lesbian as den mother and denied Eagle rank to a gay teen.

The organization’s longstanding policy on gay youth took effect last 1 January 2014.

"I want to have a prominent faith component that will be weaved in every fiber of the program," Stemberger, an Orlando attorney.

Membership in Trail Life has both youth and adult elements. The youth membership in the program is open to all who meet the membership requirements, and is currently designed for biologically male children under the age of 18.

The adult applicant must be at least 18 years of age and subscribe to and abide by the Trail Life USA Statement of Christian Faith and Values as well as the Oath and Motto of the program.

While the program is undergirded by Biblical values and unapologetically reflects a Christian worldview, there is also a clearly defined inclusion policy for youth. Accordingly, all boys are welcome irrespective of religion, race, national origin or socio-economic status. Our goal is for parents and families of every faith to be able to place their boys in a youth program that endeavors to provide moral consistency and ethical integrity in its adult leaders.

Charter partners own and operate local groups, selecting leaders and admitting members as they deem beneficial to their group and within the parameters of the national policy.