Get Off the Sidelines and Join the Adventure!

Stephen Ashton 2 Comments

In today's world, too many fathers find themselves relegated to the role of spectators: whether it's on the sidelines of sports games, engaging meaningfully in education, or playing an active role in spiritual formation. A recent survey revealed that 63% of dads feel they don’t get enough time with their kids, and a mere 39% believe they are doing an excellent job in raising them. We understand the yearning for more meaningful opportunities, beyond the traditional roles dictated by societal expectations.

That's where Trail Life USA comes in. Every week, we witness a remarkable group of men who have stepped out of the shadows of spectatorship and into a more engaged, intentional role. In Trail Life, fathers are not passive observers; they stand shoulder-to-shoulder with other men, forming a band of brothers who become co-pilots in their sons' journeys.

As Super Bowl LVIII approaches, fathers and sons will come together across the country as armchair quarterbacks connecting with friends and family, and virtually living the dream of being a part of the big game. Sports have become a modern-day communal connection for many, offering valuable lessons in discipline, teamwork, and competition. However, they often leave fathers as distant observers, cheering from afar while separated from their sons by the boundaries of the playing field.

Yukon AdventureWe invite you to join a band of brothers who are stepping out of the shadows of spectatorship to raise a generation of biblically-bold, courageous leaders of character and conviction. Trail Life provides unique opportunities for side-by-side experiences where boys and dads work together, learn important life skills, and forge lifelong memories. We've seen it during our Trail Life Yukon adventure, where fathers and sons built Klondike sleds, practiced fire-building, and camped in the snow, competing with other Troops for the Yukon Trophy.

Unlike traditional sports, Trail Life emphasizes involvement, shared experiences, and holistic development. It's about navigating life's challenges together, instilling resilience, developing character, and cultivating a sense of responsibility and leadership.

Here's what one of our Trail Life members had to say: "We joined Trail Life to spend time together as a father and son. My son is 14, and he's only got four more years left. Sports and everything else take that time away from us. We just want to spend time together. We love the campouts and the events we take part in with Trail Life that allow us to spend time together, that is special to us."

A remnant is rising in Trail Life USA, with nearly 20,000 men across the country standing in the gap and utilizing outdoor adventure as a tool to lead men and boys into a life of adventure, character development, and leadership.

Boys are searching for godly, masculine, adventurous men who are willing to lead them on the difficult journey into manhood. Our future depends on men stepping up not only for their sons but for boys in their community as well. Engaging with a boy and speaking encouragement creates a golden opportunity to reflect Christ and speak truth and meaning into his life.

In the outdoors, the experience of adults is never obsolete, and that's why we believe God created nature as a place for boys to mature, learn responsibility, forge leadership, understand masculinity, and become biblically bold and courageous men as they live in community with godly men.

The spiritual stakes for the next generation couldn't be higher, and the data couldn't be clearer: Dads matter. Trail Life gives men a means to engage as dads and dad-likes to lead the charge for the next generation.

Let's rewrite the narrative of father-son connections together. Trail Life replaces sidelines with sightlines, tees with trails, bats with backpacks, and separation with shared challenges. It's time to actively engage, experience adventure, and foster holistic growth. Join the adventure!

Find a Troop near you or Start one Today! Together, we can make a difference in the lives of our sons and the generations to come.

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About the Author
Stephen Ashton

Stephen Ashton

Stephen Ashton is the National Director of Marketing for Trail Life USA and serves as an adjunct professor at Clarks Summit University and Anchor Christian University. Prior to his work at Trail Life, he spent 15 years working with at-risk youth in residential therapeutic wilderness programs and served as the Vice-President of the Wilderness Road Therapeutic Camping Association. An author and a speaker, he has written for journals and published a book chronicling the foundations of therapeutic camping. He frequently speaks on the topics of fatherhood, biblical masculinity, outdoor education, and wilderness therapy. Stephen lives in South Carolina with his wife and 4 sons.

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