The Woodlands Trail Program is divided in THREE age grouped patrols that have a planned TWO year program. Generally speaking, boys, ages 5 and 6 are in the Fox Patrol. Boys, ages 7 and 8 are in the Hawk Patrol, and boys age 9 and 10 are in the Mt. Lion Patrol. These patrols are led by Adult registered leaders called Trail Guides. Depending on the number of Trailmen, we will often have them learning and having fun together.
The Woodlands Trail Program is designed to be “Participation based”, which means they show up and participate and they receive credit for what they learn. During the first year of each two-year program, the focus is on earning Branch pins that will go on their Joining Award also known as a Branch patch. This patch looks like a tree with seven different colored sections, shown here. The goal is to earn their FOREST AWARD which they receive when all seven branch pins are earned.
The Forest Award is received empty and awaits program work from the second year, called Sylvan Stars which build on what they have learned during the first year of that aged program and are affixed to the Forest Award patch. The Forest Award is the highest award for each level in the Woodlands Trail program. Additionally, Mt. Lions have the opportunity to earn the capstone award for the Woodlands Trail program, the Timberline Award, to top off their Woodlands Trail experience before they move on to the Navigators program. We will discuss more about the Timberline Award later
At all three program levels, the Woodlands Trail program is delivered through lessons, called Steps. There are Core Steps which are required as well as Elective Steps to be completed for each Branch. Trail Life USA has provided both pre-written lesson plans as well as Helps Documents for Trail Guides to utilize when preparing for lessons and activities for the meetings.
Each month the patrol, or all Woodlands Trail patrols in the Troop, participate in a Hit the Trail! activity. These special activities are designed to be experiential activities related to the particular Branch topics that the patrol has been learning. These are normally conducted outside of normal Troop meeting times to minimize disruption for families with children at different program levels. There is one Hit the Trail! Activity required for each Branch.
If a Trailman misses a meeting or a Hit the Trail! Activity, he is allowed to complete 2 Family Home Activities to make-up for 1 missed Step or Hit the Trail! activity per Branch. Examples of Family Home Activities are found in the Trailman’s Woodlands Trail Handbook.
The Woodlands Trail Joining Award otherwise known as the branch patch, displays the SEVEN branches of the Woodlands Trail Program. They are Heritage, Life Skills, Science and Technology, Hobbies, Values, Sports and Fitness, and Outdoor Skills. When a Trailmen earns the Steps needed for the Branch Pin, the pin is awarded and placed in the colored branch area.
The Trail Life USA Worthy Award is the Faith-Building Award for all Trailmen at all ages. There are distinct requirements for each Woodlands Trail patrol according to their age.
The Four activities they will focus on are: Devotional Activity, Discipleship Activities, Disciplines Activities, and Demonstration Activities. These are flexible requirements and include serving as an Altar Boy, attending the Catholic Troop Meet-up, and service projects for the parish and local monasteries. As the Trailman earns the Worthy Life Award for his age group, he is awarded a silver cross to affix across the green ribbon at the bottom of the award.
The Timberline Award is the highest award a Trailman can achieve in the Woodlands Trail Program and is available only to a Mountain Lion Trailman. The principles of the Timberline Award are influenced from the book “Raising a Modern Day Knight” by Robert Lewis:
to LIVE BOLDLY, TO AVOID BEING PASSIVE, TO LIVE RESPONSIBLY, and TO LEAD COURAGEOUSLY. It is the only award that carries over from the Woodlands to the Navigator, and should be the goal of every Mountain Lion!