Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Rite of Passage to Navigators Ceremony

Trailmaster: Lord Baden-Powell, a British war hero, started the Scouting movement in England in 1907.  This movement quickly spread to the United States as the Boy Scouts of America and incorporated other outdoor youth organizations including Lone Scouts, Sons of Daniel Boone, and Woodcraft Indians.  In 2014, Trail Life USA was formed as an evolution of the Scouting movement to teach our boys and young men time-honored Christian morals and virtues.  In fact, the creation of our Trailman Handbook was influenced by the first Boy Scouts of America handbook, published over 100 years ago.  Here is an excerpt from that early book that is applicable to this important ceremony today:

 “A little over fifteen hundred years ago, the great order of knighthood and chivalry was founded.  The reason for this was the feeling on the part of the best men of that day that it was the duty of the stronger to help the weak.  These were the days when might was right, and the man with the strongest arm did as he pleased, often oppressing the poor and riding rough shod without any regard over the feelings and affections of others.  In revolt against this, there sprang up all over Europe a noble and useful order of men who called themselves knights.  Nowhere in all the stories that have come down to us have the acts of chivalry been so well told as in the tales of King Arthur and his Round Table.  The desire of these men was "To live pure, speak true, right wrong, follow the king."  It was for this great service that they trained themselves, passing through the degrees of page, esquire, and knight with all the hard work that each of these meant in order that they might the better do their duty to their God and country.”
Trail Life USA and Troop ­­­______ has sought to reintroduce the spirit of the ancient order of knighthood to raise up a new generation of modern-day knights.  C.S. Lewis, the great Christian philosopher of the 20th Century, once said "Since it is so likely that children will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage.  Otherwise you are making their destiny not brighter but darker.”  As originally taught in earlier Scout handbooks and reinforced in The Trailman’s Handbook, a Trailman “while living in modern times, must consider himself the heir of ancient chivalry and of the pioneers, and he must for this reason give himself to ever renewed efforts to be true to the traditions which have been handed down to him by these great and good leaders of men”. 
Patrol Leader: Knights were brave, Christian men of honor, valor, and courage who defended what was right and good.  They abided by a Code of Chivalry or Code of Conduct.  Although this Code varied among different orders of knights through the ages, there were codes that were common among all Christian orders:
Navigator #1: I am Sir Godwyn.  My name means “friend of God”.  I am the knight who exemplifies the following codes of chivalry:
  • Fear God and defend His Church
  • Serve your country in valor and faith
  • Keep the faith
  • Always and everywhere be right and good against evil and injustice
I am the knight who reminds Trailmen of the part of the Trailman Oath that says, “On my honor, I will do my best to serve God and my country”.

Navigator #2: I am Sir Simen.  My name means “obedient”.  I am the knight who exemplifies the following codes of chivalry:
  • Avoid causing trouble
  • Despise taking bribes
  • Obey those placed in authority
  • Finish any task that you start
I am the knight who reminds Trailmen of the part of the Trailman Oath that says, “On my honor, I will do my best to respect authority”.

Navigator #3: I am Sir Eadmund.  My name means “protector of prosperity”.  I am the knight who exemplifies the following codes of chivalry:
  • Respect and protect the weak and defenseless
  • Live by honor and for glory
  • Take care of widows and orphans
  • Fight for the welfare of all
I am the knight who reminds Trailmen of the part of the Trailman Oath that says, “On my honor, I will do my best to be a good steward of creation”.

Navigator #4: I am Sir Aureus.  My name means “golden”. I am the knight who exemplifies the following codes of chivalry:
  • Speak the truth at all times and never go back on your word.
  • Guard the honor of fellow knights
  • Avoid unfairness, meanness and deceit
  • Be generous to everyone.
  • Respect the honor of women
I am the knight who reminds Trailmen of the Golden Rule in the Trailman Oath that says, “On my honor, I will do my best to treat others as I want to be treated”.

Trailmaster: Only those boys who were worthy could become knights when they reached manhood.  Earning the honor to be called a knight was similar to earning the Freedom Award in Trail Life.  Those who earn Trail Life’s highest rank of Rangeman, like those who earned the rank of knight, have shown that they have earned this honor by hard work and Godly living.
Before a boy could become a knight, he was first a page.  A page studied under a knight to learn how to become a knight.  At 14 or 15 years of age, a page would become a squire.  A squire was the armor bearer for a knight.  He also took care of the knight’s horse and accompanied him in battle.  He learned and lived the code of chivalry.  He was a servant to the knight and obeyed him since he had much to learn.  Squires were also responsible for teaching and overseeing the pages.


Moving from Mountain Lions to Navigators is similar to becoming a page, except that instead of learning from a squire and a Knight, you will be under the leadership of a Patrol Leader, 1st Officer, Trail Guides, and your Trailmaster as you start to learn to lead yourself and others.

Patrol Leader: Will the following Mountain Lions and their parents come forward? 

Navigator #1: ­________________________

Navigator #2: ________________________

Navigator #3: ________________________

Trailmaster: Today is a special day.  Like the pages of old, you are starting to move from boyhood into manhood.  You are leaving Woodlands Trail and becoming a Navigator, which is another step towards earning the Freedom Award and becoming a Rangeman.  You will bring all of the knowledge that you learned in Woodlands Trail with you.  Now you will begin your training to add understanding to the knowledge that you have been given.  You will start learning by experience. 
You are not yet a squire or an Adventurer where you will begin to combine your knowledge, understanding, and experience with Godly commonsense and insight to become wise.  However, you are beginning that journey.  You will learn much from your patrol, your Trail Guide, and your Trailmaster.  You will begin to show wisdom by listening to and obeying those who are in authority over you.
You have now reached a time in your life where you will be given greater freedom and greater responsibility.  Your parents have stood beside you as you gained knowledge in Woodland Trails.  Parents, thank you for walking beside him and encouraging him. 

Patrol Leader: You will now band together as brothers in a Navigator patrol and start learning to walk with and encourage each other.  We will encounter many exciting, and sometimes frightening, experiences along the trail as you journey along the trek to manhood. 
As a Navigator, you will carry a standard or staff.  Like you, the wood of your staff started out small and helpless, a seedling.  Like you, it grew tall and sturdy, capable of supporting itself and others.  Just as a ruler is a standard for measuring things, your staff will be the standard to measure your growth from a boyhood to manhood. 
You will carry 2 standards in Navigators and Adventurers.  When you have earned the rank of Able Trailman, you will receive a Troop Standard.  This is a shorter, ceremonial staff that will be used to display your Trail Life awards.  You will bring this standard to important Trail Life ceremonies when in full uniform. 
The hiking staff that you have with you today is your Trail Standard to use on the trail.  Over 100 years ago, Lord Baden-Powell said, “Personally, I have found [the Trail Standard] to be an invaluable assistant when traversing mountains or boulder-strewn country and especially in night work in forest or bush.  In fact, you will soon find that if you don’t have your staff with you, you will always be wanting.”  
You will be instructed in its many uses, and together, we will attach trail markers to our trail standards to commemorate our many adventures together.  Your fathers or mentors have brought a Trail Standard today to present to you to assist you along the trail as you continue your journey through Navigators and Adventurers. 
Will those who stand here with these boys present them their standards for inspection?  Parents, please be seated.
(The Patrol Leader tests each staff in accordance with the attributes described by the following Navigators:)
Navigator #1: A Trail Standard has many uses.  A standard gives a Trailmen balance so that you are sure-footed as you hike through streams and rugged terrain.  A standard has to be balanced and fit well in a Trailman’s hand.
Navigator #2: It has to be long enough to be useful for many tasks.  It can be used to hold up a make-shift shelter or maybe used to reach out to save your fellow Trailman.  It must be long enough to display the many trail markers that we will collect along the way.
Navigator #3: A Trail Standard has to be strong.  Someday, your standard may be needed to carry a heavy load like water or to build a litter to carry a person to safety.  It must be durable to withstand burdens that you might find on the trail.
Navigator #4: A Trail Standard is also a defensive weapon.  In the hands of an experienced Trailman, a standard can fight off attackers and keep danger at a safe distance.
Patrol Leader says, “This staff is worthy” and hands it to a Knight.
Troopmaster: __________________, _______________________, and _______________, stand at attention and give the Trailman sign?  Do you wish to continue on in Trail Life and expand your adventures, character, and leadership by becoming a Navigator in Troop __________?  Will you strive to Walk Worthy, as stated in the Trailman Motto, and live up to a code of chivalry, as found in the Holy Scriptures and the Trailman Oath, as you grow from being a boy to becoming a man of God?  Two
Patrol Leader: Kneel on one knee facing the Knights.  In the tradition of the noble knights, may you be blessed in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (touch head, shoulder, and shoulder with Trail Standard).  Using your new Trail Standard we confer on you the Trail Life ideals that focus on Christian Adventure, Christian Leadership, and Christian Character (touch head, shoulder, and shoulder).  May you grow in the image of God in God’s great outdoors.  You may rise.  Give the Trailman his standard.
Navigator #1: As you learn to navigate your way through the world, you will need 2 things.  First you will need your Bible to know where you came from and where you are going.  Navigator #2 presents Bibles.  The Holy Spirit will guide you through Navigators, Adventurers, and the rest of your life. 
Navigator #3: On the trail, you will also need a compass to show you the way.  As the Bible points you to Jesus so that you can find your way in life, your compass will point you toward North so that you will be able to find your way on the trail.  Navigator #4 presents compasses.  Carry this compass on every campout where you will be instructed in its use.
Trailmaster: Again quoting the 1911 Boy Scout handbook, “chivalry is not a virtue that had its beginning long ago and merely lived a short time, becoming a mere story.  Chivalry began in the far-distant past out of the desire to help others, and the knights of the olden days did this as best they could.  Later the new race of men in America took up the burden of chivalry, and did the best they could.  Now the privilege and responsibility comes to the boys of today, and the voices of the knight of the olden time and of the hardy pioneers of our own country are urging the boys of today to do the right thing, in a gentlemanly way, for the sake of those about them.  All of those men, whether knights or pioneers, had an unwritten code, somewhat like our" Trailman Oath. 
Patrol Leader: You are now Navigators and the newest heirs of this tradition.  Navigators, join me in reciting the Trailman Oath.
On my honor, I will do my best
To serve God and my country;
To respect authority;
To be a good steward of creation;
And to treat others as I want to be treated. (Two)
Welcome to the order of the Navigators. 
(Troopmaster, Trailmaster, and Navigators give Trailmen the Trailman handshake.)
As it is written in Colossians 1:10, “May you walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God”.
Troopmaster: Troop _________, please rise and join me in congratulating our newest Navigators.  You may be seated.

Submitted by W. Todd Watson  TX-1836

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Trail Marker Ceremony

Troopmaster: (Welcome)

Trailman: (Present the colors)

Troop Chaplain: (Opening prayer)
Candlea”Bro” (Chandelier) Lighting

Trailman: In the Trail Life logo, there is a trinity of mountaintops in the background that remind us of the Holy Trinity: The Father (light the upper white candle), the Son (light the right white candle), and the Holy Spirit (light the left white candle).  The white candles represent the purity, holiness, and goodness of God.  These peaks represent our ultimate destiny as we travel along life’s trail.

These peaks also remind us of the Trail Life goals for each boy and young man: Adventure (light the upper red candle), Character (light the right red candle), and Leadership (light the left red candle).  The red candles remind us that Adventure, Character, and Leadership are the lifeblood of Trail Life and flow through the veins of every Trailman. 

The trinity of mountaintops also represent the 3 units within each Trail Life troop, which starts with Woodlands Trail (light the lowest blue candle), then Navigators (light the next highest blue candle), and finally the Adventurers (light the highest blue candle).  The blue candle represents the sky, which reminds us to continue to climb to higher heights and to look up to God at all times so that we do not lose our way.

The red, white, and blue candles also remind us of the heritage of Texas and the United States of America, which were founded on Christian principles, and the brave men who have gone before us who defended our God-given rights.  May we never forget our past or fail to defend our Christian liberties.

Trailman: Please stand, give the Trail Life sign, and join me in reciting the Trail Life Oath.  (Lead Troop in Trail Life Oath)

Recap Spring Events

Troopmaster: This spring has been a busy one… (Review activities that we did this spring and any other important info and/or show PowerPoint presentation of past events)

Woodlands Trail Awards

Ranger/Troopmaster:  The Woodlands Trail curriculum is built, in part, around the instructional components of the Forest Badge Award.  The Forest Badge is the highest award for each age-level unit.  Trailmen can earn a Forest Badge as a Fox, Hawk, and Mountain Lion.  To earn the Forest Badge, the Trailman must complete the requirements for all 7 branches in his specific age group, which typically takes about a year and a half.  The 7 branches are:
·                     Heritage Branch
·                     Hobbies Branch
·                     Life Skills Branch
·                     Outdoor Activities Branch
·                     Pioneering Skills Branch
·                     Science and Technology Branch
·                     Values Branch

The Woodlands Trail Program grants basic credits, in the form of Leaves for participation in meetings, activities, and campouts.  The boys need to earn 9 Leaves for each Branch award.  The object of the program is not the amount of patches one may accumulate, but the character and faith built along the way. 

The Heritage Branch, which is brown, explores a boy’s family heritage, American heritage, and Christian heritage

The Hobbies Branch, which is black, explores various indoor and outdoor hobbies that demand varying levels of knowledge, skill, or aptitude.

The Life Skills Branch, which is burgundy, teaches life lessons ranging from the practical, such as food preparation or knowledge of safety practices, to higher-level interpersonal skill sets, such as dealing with difficult people or situations.

The Outdoor Activities Branch, which is green, focuses on having fun in the outdoors with sports and other activities. 

The Pioneering Skills Branch, which is blue, demonstrates a basic understanding of woodcraft, hiking, exploration, and camping skills. 

The Science and Technology Branch, which is yellow, explores physical and natural sciences concerning our created world

The Values Branch, which is red, instills biblically-based values within the boys regarding any number of pertinent topics.  A central focus of this Branch is the teachings of the Christian faith. 

Troopmaster: Will the adult leaders for the Fox patrol please come forward?  Will the following boys please come forward when your name is called to receive the branches that you have earned? (Call names off of program and mention awards for each boy.  Adult leaders help the boys put the awards on their uniform)

Troop, please join me in congratulating these boys for earning these Branches. (applause)  You may be seated.

Troopmaster: Will the adult leaders for the Hawk patrol please come forward?  Will the following boys please come forward when your name is called to receive the branches that you have earned? (Call names off of program and mention awards for each boy.  Adult leaders help the boys put the awards on their uniform)
Troop, please join me in congratulating these boys for earning these Branches. (applause)  You may be seated.

Troopmaster: Will the adult leaders for the Mountain Lion patrol please come forward?  Will the following boys please come forward when your name is called to receive the branches that you have earned? (Call names off of program and mention awards for each boy.  Adult leaders help the boys put the awards on their uniform)
Troop, please join me in congratulating these boys for earning these Branches. (applause)  You may be seated.

Woodlands Trail Forest Awards

Troopmaster: Trailmen who earn all 7 Branch Awards for Foxes, Hawks, or Mountain Lions plus an additional 18 leaves on any combination of branches for a total of 81 leaves will earn their Forest Badge for their respective age group.  A separate Forest Badge is available for Foxes, Hawks, and Mountain Lions, and this award represents the pinnacle of each patrol rank.  Forest Awards are displayed on the Troop Uniform, hanging on the right pocket.  Once a Trailman earns the Forest Award, they can earn Sylvan Stars for each branch by earning 9 leaves for each branch.  The Trailman can continue to wear their Forest Badge when they move up into the next patrol level until they earn the Forest Badge for that level.

Will the following boys please come forward when your name is called to receive the branches that you have earned? (Call names off of program and mention awards for each boy.  Adult leaders help the boys put the awards on their uniform)

Troop, please join me in congratulating these boys for being the first Trailmen in our troop to earn their Forest Badges. (applause)  You may be seated.

Navigator Trail Badge Awards

Trailmaster: Where the Woodlands Trail program focuses on gaining knowledge, the Navigators program emphasizes understanding.  The primary aims are to achieve mental, moral, emotional, and physical fitness through adventures in God’s great outdoors with the guidance of Trailman ideals.  Navigators participate in a true outdoor program with hiking, camping, and other activities.  

During their three years in the Navigators program, Trailmen work on various activities and trail badges to achieve rank advancements.  Their ranks represent a growing ability to operate comfortably, safely, and confidently in the outdoors.  These skills will form the foundation of later adventures and teach important life lessons in character development. 

As they climb through the ranks of Recruit Trailman, Able Trailman, and Ready Trailman, they will lay a safe and comfortable foundation for the challenges of the Adventurers Program. Navigators have 9 required trail badges and 5 elective trail badges of their choice they must complete.  They must also complete 15 hours of service projects each year.  The highest rank also requires leadership and faith-building activities.

Will ______________________________________________, come forward to receive the trail badges that you have earned? (hand out awards).  Please join me in recognizing the boys for these achievements. (applause)  You may be seated.

Navigator Rank Awards

Trailmaster: The first rank that the boys achieve is the Recruit Trailman.  To earn this rank, they have to memorize and agree to live by the Trailman Oath as well as the motto, sign, and salute.  They form their own patrol, elect their Patrol Leader, and create their own patrol flag and yell.  They also have to participate in an annual Troop safety program.

Will the following members of the Patriot Patrol please come forward to receive your Recruit Trailman rank?  ___________________________. (present awards to be placed on the right pocket)

Please join me in congratulating these boys for this achievement. (applause)  You may be seated.

The next Navigator rank is the Able Trailman.  After they earn the Recruit Trailmen rank, Navigators have to earn 4 required Trail Badges and 3 Elective Trail Badges.  They also must complete 15 hours of service for each year since joining Navigators and participate in at least 8 troop activities in addition to regular weekly meetings.  In addition, the boys must complete an Advancement Conference with their Trailmaster.  Perhaps the scariest part is that they have to go before a Board of Review made up of adult leaders and parents in our Troop.

Will __________________ with the Patriot Patrol please come forward?  To earn the Able Trailman rank, _________________ completed the (list required Trail Badges earned) required trail badges.  They also completed elective trail badges in (list elective Trail Badges earned)

When the boys in our troop achieve this rank, they reach a special milestone.  In addition to receiving their Able Trailman medallion, they also receive their Troop Ceremonial Standard.  This is where they will display their ranks, trail badges, and service stars.  The Troop Standard is to be used when in full uniform at formal occasions such as Trail Marker ceremonies, parades, National Day of Prayer, and other special ceremonies.  You will be instructed on how to properly place your medallions on your Standard.

When you started your adventures as a Navigator, your father or mentor gave you a Trail Standard to assist and protect you in the outdoors as you hike along the trail to manhood.  You will keep and cherish that standard for the rest of your lives and remember what has been handed down to you by your parents.  This standard you have earned for yourself.  Humbly use it to show your parents and others what you have achieved and your ongoing commitment to make God you true Standard, Guide, and Protector.  Gentlemen, face the audience and raise your Standard!  Please join me in congratulating these boys for this achievement. (applause)  You may be seated.

Troopmaster: (Closing announcements/Troopmaster minute)

Troop Chaplain: (Closing prayer)

Trailman: (Retire the colors)

Submitted by W. Todd Watson TX-1836

Sunday, February 19, 2017

2017 2nd Annual Western PA Klondike Adventure

Feb. 17-19th Camp Lutherlyn, Butler PA

Here’s who was ready for this years Yukon Adventure! No  snow, so wheels were in order. Troopmaster Dan McCoy of Troop PA-1418 said – despite not having snow, it was a great weekend, without muddy conditions of rain at Camp Lutherlyn, Butler, PA!

Photos & videos courtesy of TM Jarrett Chapman PA-1116

Participating Troops included:

NE Region's Ed Thompson - (DSA - Eastern MD) and Randy Wolfe (PM - SW PA), and I visited the Western PA Yunkon Adventure Event. What a great day -- even without snow this year.

Sunday, January 29, 2017


of Trail Life USA & American Heritage Girls
from in and around our Northeast Region

Thanks to all, we are aware of, that marched
with their family, church, and troop

AHG VA1381
St. Rita's of Alexandria, VA.
 Led the Opening Pledge of Allegiances to the Flag!
and met Vice President of the United States of America, Mike Pence


 AHG & TLUSA WV-0082
St. James the Greater Catholic Church in Charles Town, WV.

St. Andrew the Apostle Catholic Church in Clifton, VA.
Troop Master, Leaders and Trailmen at the March for Life!

First Christian Church of Barry Illinois

AHG MD2540 & TLUSA MD-0513
Bob & Debbie Cress and others - St. John Francis Regis Catholic Parish, Hollywood

Steve & Mary Padgett - Forge Road Bible Chapel - Perry Hall Maryland

and some particated in other RESPECT LIFE events

Captivate Community Church of Hanover, PA.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

TLUSA MD-0518 Wreaths across Americia

Trail Life USA Troop MD-0518 and others, braved the icy hazardous road conditions to participate in this years Wreaths Across America event at Holly Hill Memorial Gardens to: 

*REMEMBER - our fallen U.S. veterans. HONOR - those who serve.  * TEACH - our youth & others about the value of freedom.



Lamky, Luther, Whitehead Veterans Monument,
at the foot of the cemetery's Valor Hill.


Seven Wreaths were placed at the Veterans Monument
representing the Branches of our Armed Services

Trail Life USA Leader Bradley K Spain
placed the Wreath honoring the U.S. Army Veterans





Hundreds of wreaths were placed at the grave sites of individual veterans.





Just one the the many veterans honored at Holly Hill Memorial Garden

Trail Life Troop MD-518 meets at Forge Road Bible Chapel, in Perry Hall, MD.

MD-0518 is a member of the Northeast Region
   Facebook - www.facebook.com/TLUSA.NE