- (Photo: Screenshot/Youtube via TrailLifeUSA)
Trail Life USA, the new Christian alternative to the Boy Scouts youth organization, has released its first promotional video, inviting America's youth to join its ranks to "walk worthy" and develop a sense of "adventure, character, and leadership." Trail Life USA was formed shortly after Boy Scouts of America voted to lift its ban on openly gay members.
The video, entitled "Introducing Trail Life USA," begins with the challenge for America's youth to "walk worthy," and then shows a montage of outdoor activities, including mountain climbing, hiking, and kayaking.
Splashed in between these activities are beautiful natural shots of snow-capped mountain peaks, sunsets, and freshwater rivers. The words "adventure, character, and leadership" flash on the screen before the minute-long video concludes, showing the Trail Life USA crest that features the silhouette of a man leading the way to the top of a mountain.
The purpose of this recently uploaded YouTube video is to introduce the Christian-oriented youth organization before it officially launches in January 2014. After the century-old Boy Scouts youth organization changed its policy in May to allow openly gay members into its ranks, John Stemberger, an eagle scout opposed to the gay ban lift, created OnMyHonor.Net, a coalition of those opposed to the Boy Scouts' change in policy.
After creating OnMyHonor.net, Stemberger, along with others, decided to found Trail Life USA for those opposed to the Boy Scouts change in policy and seeking a more Christian-oriented youth organization for their children. The organization's official launch date in January coincides with the implementation of the new Boy Scouts policy.
In addition to the video, the newly-formed youth organization held a convention in Nashville, Tenn. last weekend to discuss the direction and structure of the new Boy Scouts alternative, as well as unveil its official name and logo. According to NBC News, 1,200 former scout officials, parents and youth attended last weekend's conference.
Stemberger told the large turnout that he believes Trail Life USA will be "a program that [...] will be stronger, safer and more principled in every way."
Stemberger went on to ask the crowd for patience with their novice program: "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."
Stemberger added at the conference that although he wants there to be a prominent faith component "weaved in every fiber of the program," he also wants to assert that "this is not another church program. This is going to be a masculine outdoor program to raise young men."
The newly-formed group said in a statement to CNN that it will not discriminate against youth wishing to join its program, but it will not allow the youth organization to be a platform for discussions relating to politics or sexuality.
"Trail Life USA will be inclusive of boys, regardless of religion, race, national origin or socioeconomic status, and accept boys who are experiencing same-sex attractions or gender confusion," a statement from the group says. "However, it will not admit youth who are open or avowed about their homosexuality, and it will not admit boys who are not 'biologically male' or boys who wish to dress and act like girls."
Last May, the 1,400-member Boy Scouts of America National Council voted to lift the organization's ban on gay youth by a 61 percent majority. The organization kept its ban on gay adult leaders.