10-Year-Old Boy On Autism Spectrum Gets Confidence, Beats Fears, Through 'Trail Life'

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'Trail Life provides a safe space for boys to mature and grow through outdoor adventures, leadership opportunities, and more' 

April 2 is World Autism Day, and Trail Life USA, the largest Christ-centered, boy-focused scout-type organization in the country, is proud to accept and encourage boys on the autism spectrum to walk worthy through Trail Life's unique program.

Mark Hancock, CEO of Trail Life, stated, “The outdoors with all its inherent adventure creates a unique opportunity to teach responsibility, forge leadership, impart masculinity, and mold boys to become biblically bold and courageous men of character. Trail Life provides a safe space for boys of any ability to mature and grow through outdoor adventures, leadership opportunities, and more.

Troop TX-1836 welcomed a ten-year-old boy on the autism spectrum with open arms. The boys’ grandparent commented, “Our grandson joined Troop TX-1836 as a second year Mountain Lion when he was 10 years old. At that time, he was learning to deal with fears of insects, fire, and loud noises. Any of those things would overwhelm him because he was unable to deal with the sensory input. The Troop leaders and boys were so understanding and helpful—they really encouraged him to take his time at his own comfort level. When he went camping with the Troop for the first time, he wouldn’t step in the grass for fear of ants. By then end of the campout, he was walking though the grass uninhibited (but watchful for ant hills).

“Over the next several years, my grandson gained confidence. It was significant when he overcame his fear of fire by learning to set and light a campfire. He still does not like flying insects, and occasionally overreacts to a large fly or bee flying near him. But his frequent exposure to the outdoors and insects of different kinds has calmed his response greatly. He has earned several trail badges, but some things are very difficult for him. As a Navigator, he earned the Able Trailman rank, and proudly displays his trail badges and service stars on his ceremonial standard. He was even elected as the First Officer of the Troop, and he has taken the responsibility very seriously. His Trail Guides and the Trailmaster frequently comment on what a great job he is doing, and their encouragement really helps him feel comfortable in situations he previously would have been overwhelmed with.”

The grandparent concluded, “It’s remarkable how much this involvement in Trail Life has helped our grandson adjust to his environment, take on leadership roles, and deal with things that would previously keep him from participating in activities with other boys.”

Hancock explained, “Trail Life deliberately structures programs with biblical truths in mind, then rewards boys who accept the challenge to reach new physical and spiritual heights. Boys strategically advance to greater challenges and greater accomplishments with each adventure. We are honored to encourage and equip boys with the leadership skills, confidence, and adventurous spirit that they were designed to have by their Creator.”

Through tried-and-true methodology, Trail Life offers boy-focused, adventure-driven solutions delivered in the context of a Christian worldview that encourage boys to embrace what makes them unique and build strong relationships with other boys, mentors, and most importantly, Christ.

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