An organization billing itself as a Christian alternative to the Boy Scouts of America says it has close to 500 troops preparing for its Jan. 1 launch.
The new scouting group, Trail Life USA, was created by OnMyHonor.net, which opposed the BSA’s policy change last May that permitted gay Boy Scouts — but not gay adult leaders — effective on Jan. 1.
Mark Hancock, Trail Life USA’s chief operating officer, said close to 500 troops have signed up since early September, a handbook has been created and leadership guides have been published for three levels of boys in kindergarten through the 12th grade.
“We have a very excited group of churches and Christian organizations that are joining us,” said Hancock in an interview Thursday (Dec. 30). “They’re ready to go.”
He said the organization has “hundreds of volunteers all over the country” and will have a staff of six on Jan. 1 in virtual rather than brick-and-mortar offices. Hancock said many participants are evangelical Christian, but a number of Catholic troops are starting as well.
“Our focus is not really on numbers but it’s on providing a quality program for families to help the boys become men,” he said.
Those that have signed up — and paid $325 for the first year’s charter fee (it will subsequently be $185 annually) — include churches and other groups with a statement of Christian beliefs, such as a Christian home school organization or a Christian camp.
SOURCE: Religion News Service
Adelle M. Banks