Raising Youth to be Biblically Minded – with Mark Hancock: Today, we have Mark Hancock of Trail Life USA on to give us an update on their current programs. Trail Life USA fills the void left by the Boy Scouts when they moved to woke and homosexual policies. Trail Life USA is celebrating their 10 year anniversary with over a thousand troops hosted by Christian churches. This is essential to raising young boys to becoming godly men.
Air Date: 08/22/2023
Guest: Mark Hancock
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Rick Green: 0:03
Welcome to WallBuilders, got a great program for you today, appreciate you joining us. I’m Rick Green, America’s Constitution Coach, and I’m here with David Barton and Tim Barton. David’s, America’s premier historian and our founder at WallBuilders. Tim Barton, of course, national speaker and pastor and president of WallBuilders. You can learn more about all of us at WallBuilders. com. All right, David and Tim, we got Mark Hancock with us later in the program, organization is called Trail Life USA and of course, we’ve talked a lot lately about manhood, biblical manhood and the need for more of that. And then, of course, there’s the gender wars in America and this whole effort to effeminize America and our young boys, and so it’s very, very important to have opportunities to raise godly men and there’s some not-so-godly men that are filling that vacuum right now, unfortunately out there and leading, I think, boys to the wrong definition of manhood. And so WallBuilders, at Patriot Academy, at Leaders Academy at High Point, all these different programs that we’re involved with, one of our big goals is teaching biblical manhood. Clearly, you know the Founding Fathers had a good definition of that, or you wouldn’t have been able to take on the greatest military power on the planet and win and still have a biblical concept of even you know what do we call it? Just war theory, you know, let alone being a biblical man in and of itself. But we desperately need this. So I’m looking forward to this guest later.
David Barton: 1:29
Yeah, this, it’s interesting that we’ve been doing a lot of research lately, historical research related to a book that we’ve got coming out in the fall and so we had the American Story come out a couple of years ago and it went kind of from Columbus through the Constitutional Convention and this next one, the American Story Building the Republic, really looks at all right now that the Constitution’s in place. How did we build a country? I mean, we took the Constitution and it looks at the first seven presidents and so you go all right, George Washington and John Adams and Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, etc., the first seven presidents. These are the early guys who really built on the foundation and what we have today is largely the result of the structure they built. And it was really interesting in researching each of these guys going back to when they were young men, going back to when they were 12, 13, 8, 10, whatever it was, and what they did at that point in time. And I was really struck with George Washington, because when he’s in the vicinity of 14, 15 years old he is out in the absolute wild wilderness, he is learning, surveying and he’s going out which very dangerous, very hostile places they’ve never been before and trying to map it out. And so he learns that and by the time he’s 16, he becomes a really good surveyor and by the time he’s 17, he’s licensed by the university there as this surveyor and he’s in charge of one of the counties. And so just reading his accounts and reading what was happening, and so I was speaking at a church in Western Maryland here a few weeks ago and it’s a church that really it’s where West Virginia and Maryland and Pennsylvania all kind of come together and they were able to show me one of the stones that George Washington put on the boundary of the state line there, back when he was that young boy and back when he was just doing that surveying in the wilds. And then shortly after that he is chosen by the governor of Virginia to go try to negotiate peace between the French and the British. And so he ends up having to make this winter trek in the middle of winter as this teenage guy, essentially with one friend, and they go to what is now Pittsburgh and Just what… He kept a journal on the way and what they face day by day, the treacherous conditions they had, the fact that they were caught in the ice and had to spend the night on an ice island and fingers and toes froze, and then they were chased by Indians and Indians almost got them one time but they escaped and went for two days trying to get away. It’s just unbelievable stuff. And then I got to John Adams. And John Adams turns out that when he’s just a young boy, eight or nine, he loves physical labor and he loves shooting guns and he got really good with guns and with shotguns especially, not just rifles, with shotguns. And as I’m going through all the youth of these great leaders, man, the, the manhood side, was there really, really early. You know what we maybe look for young men to do when they’re 20, 21, 22, these guys were doing back when they were eight, nine, ten, twelve, and so there is an aspect, historical aspect, of there is this side of manhood, biblical manhood. You see it throughout the Bible. You know, David is a mere teenager when he’s fighting Goliath and the lions and the bears, and that the three Hebrew children Considered teenagers when they were made governors over the lands there in Babylon, where that they refused to kneel down to the altar. I mean, these are young men and this is the model we’ve had and we’re really come to a point where we’ve really tried to effeminize that. We not only have tried to remove gender, we’ve tried to make a unigender out of this thing. We tried to make men not only not being men, but being more feminine than they are masculine, and that’s just not a healthy place for the nation to be. I really consider Trail Life and what they’ve done in trying to come back… The Boy Scouts when they were started more than a hundred years ago, they really filled a great need to help young men be men earlier and be able to handle Manhood and the masculinity side. And then they went woke and they got real twisted. They lost their moral underpinnings. Their founder was very strongly biblical, very moral, and then the Boy Scouts modern wise, they moved away from that, strongly.
Tim Barton: 5:55
And specifically, right? When they stopped saying that boys are boys and girls are girls, when we can’t define that, we don’t even know who the boys are to have a Boy Scouts. And then they started saying that, troop leaders, you can have a… male homosexual leader of little boys, and that homosexual leader can take the little boys on campouts, which already seems super odd and bizarre for hopefully logical reasons. And then they said, well, girls can identify as boys and let’s just, let’s open this up, and then women can be the troop leaders for these little boys, because who can teach boys to be men better than a woman? And all these things it didn’t seem to make sense. They begin rejecting some basic biblical values which, Dad, as you mentioned, the Boy Scouts were founded on those biblical values and we’ve seen just certainly in recent times and, by the way, not just thinking about the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts have embraced some very similar bad ideologies. We’ve just seen them reject a foundation of the moral compass, the moral code of which they were so good, and helping boys learn to be men and the Girl Scouts helping girls learn to be women, helping the boys learn to be tough and to do things outdoors and to be physical and to serve people and think about others and be resourceful. Some of that has changed and this is not to say that everybody who’s ever been a Boy Scout is bad or that everybody in the Boy Scouts now is bad, but certainly the organization is not what it was supposed to be. It’s not what it used to be and fortunately that doesn’t have to be the only option which led to organizations like Trail Life USA, I guess now about ten years ago coming out and saying there needs to be an alternative. If for kids that want to do outdoor things, that actually for parents that believe that male and female are real things, that there are boys, there are girls, that believe in some of the basic foundation of human society, like marriage is a man and a woman, it shouldn’t be things that ostracize, but there should be something that we can unify around and still get these outdoor adventures, these outdoor activities, this development of young boys, helping them learn to become men along the way. And Trail Life has stepped in and filled that gap and they have grown so significantly over this past decade that I don’t know what the current Boy Scout numbers are. I would think the Boy Scouts, probably a little larger still right now. It would not surprise me if Trail Life surpasses them in the very near future, because there is major momentum behind Trail Life. There’s not momentum behind the Boy Scouts based on their ideology, and so we thought we should probably have a little discussion about Trail Life, make sure that our listeners are familiar with this organization and introduce them to some of the concepts behind Trail Life.
David Barton: 8:27
And by the way, even though the Boy Scouts may be a little bigger, they don’t have the same philosophy. They’re no longer committed to that helping young men be masculine and so that is, if you want a woke version of that, that’s your Boy Scouts. If you want the original version, that’s where Trail Life is, and so it is a very needed ministry, and it is a ministry. It’s really good too, because it’s all the physical skills and all the mental toughness and all the things that should go with that as well. So it’s really good that they’re 10 years old and they’re growing as fast as they are, and this is a great alternative for every young man to get involved with.
Rick Green: 8:56
And just before we go to our interview, just one word on the Scouts. This is Jimmy Stewart on the Scouts. He was a scout and he gave a speech receiving their Distinguished Scouter Award. This was in 1980 and Jimmy Stewart broke down their oath. Remember, guys, their oath ends with morally straight. All right, that’s parts probably been taken out I don’t know if it has or not. It certainly means something different to them. But Jimmy Stewart said of that part, he broke down the whole thing. He’s got great stuff he said about each of those things, but he said morally straight. Without these two words, none of the other 38 mean much. He’s talking about the other 38 words in the oath. All the good talk in the world won’t help if you don’t keep yourself morally straight. You can make your whole life worthless unless you grab onto these two words and live by them. Live by them every hour of every day of your lifetime. I hope that’s what the scout oath means to every boy who’s ever worn the uniform or wanted to wear the uniform or who will wear the uniform. Just thought that was interesting and of course, because that was lost, the organization itself has been definitely gone downhill from there, but thankfully God provides this new outlet in the last 10 years, known as Trail Life. Our friend John Stemberger helped us start this 10 years ago. He was very involved in the Scouts as well, and the founder, Mark Hancock, is going to be with us to talk about where they are at this 10-year mark and with their thousandth troop. This is a huge, huge accomplishment and we’re excited for them and the role that it plays as David was talking about in the country itself and how important it is to raise up godly men. Stay with us folks. You’re listening to Wall Builders.
Tim Barton: 10:35
This is Tim Barton from Wall Builders with another moment from American history. In the early 1700s, the Reverend John Wise preached that all men were created equal, that taxation without representation was tyranny, and that God’s preferred form of government was the consent of the governed. All of which is language recognizable in the Declaration of Independence. Why? Because in 1772, the Sons of Liberty, led by founders such as Sam Adams and John Hancock, reprinted and distributed the Reverend Wise’s sermons. So four years later, much of the Declaration reflected the language of those sermons by John Wise. In 1926, on the 150th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, president Calvin Coolidge affirmed, the thoughts in the Declaration can very largely be traced back to what John Wise was saying. Few today know that the Declaration was so strongly influenced by the Reverend John Wise. For more information on this and other stories, go to WallBuilders. com .
Rick Green: 11:33
Welcome back to Wall Builders. Thanks for staying with us. Really excited about Mark Hancock being with us today. I love, love, love what Trail Life is doing. They are absolutely essential to us turning the country around. We got to raise good kids and good civic minded, biblically minded young people in our country and they’re doing a phenomenal job out there with, man, thousands and thousands of kids and now more than a thousand troops out there. Mark, god bless you, man, congrats on a great milestone and just excited about what y’all are doing to raise Godly men.
Mark Hancock: 12:02
Rick, thank you so much. It’s great to be over a thousand troops, close to 1060 now, all 50 states, over 50,000 members now participating in Trail Life around the country.
Rick Green: 12:12
You guys took off when Boy Scouts of America, just you know, went woke and started doing a lot of the just deviancy stuff and promoting it and allowing for it. And of course we’ve had John Stenberger, our friend that’s on your board on many times. He’s our partner for Patriot Academy out in Florida. So we’ve been watching and celebrating and promoting everything that you’re doing and I just thought what a great milestone. David and Tim Barton love what you’re doing as well. We all thought that hitting a thousand troops seems like a tipping point to me. I mean, you may have felt like the tipping point was earlier, but this to me seems like the place where you guys are the mainstay now. This is where Christian families should be putting their young boys into this program from a young age if they want to see their young men grow into Godly men. That’s the way I see it. What say you about this thousandth chapter point?
Mark Hancock: 13:04
Yeah, I get that, but a couple of things coming together. We also last week and celebrated our 10th anniversary outside of Louisville, kentucky. So that 10-year anniversary, you know, a lot of ministries don’t make it that long, Rick, especially in this culture, standing, you know, holding up the banner that we’re holding up, which is Godly masculinity, and in boys we happen to think that boys and girls are different. That’s a difficult thing to say today…
Rick Green: 13:27
Wow! Oh, this is… You’re a radical. We’ve got to end this interview right now. No, go ahead, man.
Mark Hancock: 13:32
I’m making broadcast history, but so you know when you put those things together. And plus, you know there’s a lot of other outdoor organizations that are losing members and we just continue to just blow out it out of the water. Because we know that parents are looking for organizations that agree with their values. They want to place their boys in a place that is Christ-centered, boy-focused, unapologetically Christian, but gives their boy everything they can expect in terms of adventure. And, of course, for the parents, it’s character and leadership that’s being developed in their boys. So we hit all of those bases and I think that’s why we’re seeing the kind of growth that we’re seeing.
Rick Green: 14:06
Amen, amen. Music to my ears, man, music to my ears. The culture is definitely against us at this point, but this is how we turn it around. We’ve got to work on this next generation that’s coming up. For folks that aren’t familiar, can you just kind of give us a breakdown real quick of the age? And then, of course, I want to ask you, before we get off of the program, how they can start a troupe in their community or find a troupe in their community. But first just kind of a breakdown of age of boys that come into trail life.
Mark Hancock: 14:32
Absolutely, well, it’s what you would expect from an outdoor organization, organizing troops that are all chartered by Christian churches that agree with our statement of faith and our statement of values. And we serve boys from kindergarten all the way through 12th grade, or actually five to 17 years old, and then at 18 they become adult members and they become leaders in that troop. So we’re organized in troops with Woodlands Trail Program for the elementary boys, Navigators program for the middle school and the Adventurers for the high school. But the troop all meets together on one night, typically in the church, one night a week and then, because we’re outdoor focused, they’re also wanting to, usually about once a month or so, they’re out exploring the outdoors, camping, hiking everything that you expect from an outdoor organization handbooks, uniforms, robust awards program. Our highest award is the Freedom Award where, if you’re familiar with the Eagle, it’s sort of like that but it’s more difficult, it’s more involved and it has a faith element that of course, the Boy Scouts Eagle Award doesn’t have. So we’re seeing hundreds of boys achieving their freedom. They typically got to be 16, 17 years old by the time they get that. So that’s a good… these aren’t young teens, these are boys who are maturing and receiving the highest award we have.
Rick Green: 15:41
A couple of thoughts on what you said. First of all, plug and play, essentially, the track’s already there to run on. You don’t have to go reinvent the wheel, folks, as you’re listening to this. You know there’s a need for this. You know the hunger is there in your young men and your boys. You know your community needs it, but you don’t want to start from scratch. You don’t want to go the woke Boy Scouts route, and so here’s a plug and play solution. Am I saying that right, Mark? I mean, it seems like you’ve got the system down. If I want to be somebody that brings it to my community, I can plug directly into what you have.
Mark Hancock: 16:13
Absolutely. It just takes five adult leaders and a church that agrees with a visit of raising Godly boys and those leaders can function together in starting the group. Typically, they’ll start with five leaders and boys will just show up out of the woodwork. Sometimes they’ll talk, yeah, we expect about 20 boys, but they’ll have about 40 on the first night. Families are really looking for this. But we have handbooks, guidebooks, leaders guide, parent leader, training for all, online management of the troop. So the troop does all the scheduling and all of its help and safety guide, all of its membership things, all the organization, the advancements and the patrols and the awards and everything are all managed in our online troop management system. So it takes the work out of doing this kind of thing and it gives those adults more ministry minutes to be pouring into these four slots.
Rick Green: 17:01
Okay, the only problem I have with any of this, Mark, I’m looking at the map right now and I may be seeing this… I think I see more red dots in Florida than in Texas, and so I’m concerned that Texas keeps losing to Florida. Actually, now that I’ve zoomed in a little closer, we might outnumber them. I don’t know if you know that off the top of your head, but I just have this ongoing competition in my mind with why Florida keeps beating Texas.
Mark Hancock: 17:21
Well, I believe Texas does lead in the number of troops, but they cover a lot of ground.
Rick Green: 17:26
Oh good! Okay, good, all right, I feel better, now. Let me ask you about the 10-year mark and the fact that at 18 now, they become an adult member. Are you now, because you’ve been around for 10 years, are you getting to see some of those boys that now are men coming back and serving the next group that’s coming up? Have you gotten to that point yet? I mean, at 10 years, you may not be there yet, but I’m just curious.
Mark Hancock: 17:48
Yeah, no, we sure are. In fact, for that Freedom Award. One of the things they do is they write an essay and I read every single one of those Freedom Award essays because I want to see the product. And those boys are saying in there, when I turn 18, I’m going to go back and I’m going to serve that troop, which means that they’re in the same troop as those little boys at five years old. And those little guys love it when that 17, 18, 19-year-old young man comes down and begins to teach them skills. They just really light up because they have somebody who’s like them. But it’s not a grown-up, it’s not a dad, it’s one of these young men who are coming back and pouring into the little boys, giving back what it is they’ve had. So we love that mentorship kind of structure. We have great Christian men. They sign a statement of faith and a statement of values. There’s child safety background, trained and criminal background checked. Those are the men in our program. And then the young men in our program are serving the boys and the troop and we use the patrol method, which means that they’re organized in small groups so that those boys have a chance to lead their peers. Now, where else in society. Do boys get to lead their peers, unless you’re in a gang or something like that? So we give them the opportunity to lead their peers, and that’s where they’re getting leadership experience that you’re just not finding any place else.
Rick Green: 18:55
Man, ah, I love it. Like I said, music to my ears. Folks, if you go to the website, just scroll through for a little bit. Look at the core values, look at the oath, look at all of the things on the website. And it’ll give you a really good sense of what’s being taught, and I can’t imagine a set of Christian parents looking at that and not wanting this stuff instilled in their kids. Huge vacuum being filled out there. TrailLifeUSA. com is the website. TrailLifeUSA. com . You can get connected there. Click on the map, find troops that are close to you. Look at what they’re doing. If there’s not one close to you and you’re interested in starting one, contact them and let them know. Mark, we celebrate with you, brother. It’s a big part of what’s going to turn our country around and I just want to thank you because I know what it’s like to start from scratch, get through those tough first few years, you know, keep it going like you’re saying, the staff turn over, all those things that happen with the ministry. God bless you for sticking it out and for allowing you know, allowing yourself to be used like this and allowing the organization to be used like this. I think God’s doing great work to you guys. So I just want to say celebrating with you, brother.
Mark Hancock: 20:03
Yeah, Rick, I appreciate that. I love what you guys are doing at WallB uilders, Patriot Academy, everything you got going on. We’re all in the same, you know, rowing in the same direction, we’re making a difference.
Rick Green: 20:12
Amen, amen to all of that. Mark, God bless you, brother. Thanks for coming on today.
Mark Hancock: 20:16
Thank you, my friend, God bless.
Rick Green: 20:21
TrailLifeUSA. com . Stay with us, folks. We’ll be right back with David and Tim Barton.
Tim Barton: 20:31
Hey guys, we want to let you know about a new resource we have at Wall uilders, called the American story. For so many years, people have asked us to do a history book to help tell more of the story that’s just not known or not told today and, we would say, very providentially, in the midst of all of the new attacks coming out against America, whether it be from things like the 1619 project that say America is evil and everything in America was built off slavery, which is certainly not true or things like even the Black Lives Matter movement, the organization itself, not the statement Black Lives Matter, but the organization that says we’re against everything that America was built on and this is part of the Marxist ideology. There’s so many things attacking America. Well, is America worth defending? What is a true story of America? We actually have written and told that story, starting with Christopher Columbus going roughly through Abraham Lincoln, we tell the story of America not as a story of a perfect nation or a perfect people, but the story of how God used these imperfect people and did great things through this nation. It’s a story you want to check out. WallBuilders. com , the American Story.
Rick Green: 21:34
We’re back here on WallBuilders. Thanks for staying with us, thanks to Mark Hancock for joining us and for all the good work being done there at Trail Life. And you can get that website today at our website and learn more about them, maybe even start a troop right there in your community. David and Tim good news man. This could have been a good news Friday. I mean, this growth is incredible. The need is being met and we just want to see them explode even further from 1,000, well, 1,060 troops to even more.
Tim Barton: 21:56
It is really good news that we have seen so much growth in this. And you know, guys, we’ve talked about before off air so many times. Rick, you and I have had conversations about this, even pertaining to some of our summer programs with Patriot Academy, with our Summer Institutes where we have college students, high school students and they come in, and one of the things we have seen a disparity, a lack of, and Dad, we have talked about this from some of the people that we’ve been connected with recently so much of the growing movement even in the homeschool community… They have done a very good job of upholding a moral standard. What they’ve not done a good job, necessarily, is of teaching boys what it means to be a man. And, Rick, you know we’ve talked about how the constitutional defense, one of the great things about Constitutional Defense is that everybody should learn a firearm, how to use it. The founding fathers taught this is a foundational understanding that every American needs. You need to have a firearm, know how it works, know how to use it, know how to defend your rights. You have the First Amendment. You have a life, liberty, pursuit of happiness. But even Sam Adams said that one of the God given rights was the right to defend all of your other rights. If we are not capable of defending some of our God given rights, if we are not men who are tough, who can endure tough things, then we’re not going to be very good in society. And we have seen so many people who had moral standards but they were so offendable, they were so soft in areas, and it doesn’t mean they’re not good hearted people, but we see this a lot too for a lot of homeschool families. If kids don’t play sports, and specifically maybe some level of sports where there’s contact and by contact it can be relative right, whether it’s soccer or basketball, it doesn’t have to be football, but where you’re actually physically kind of pushing on somebody and you’re pushing them away from the ball or blocking them out or whatever it is, there’s not a level of physicality. So some people are in positions and they don’t know how to be tough. And as much as we talk about men should be able to protect and defend their family, or that should be a goal or ambition. Every parent wants to defend their kids. It’s again the reason that we are such fans of constitutional defense and people learning firearm training, learning to defend themselves and their family. In the midst of that. We also need to get physically tougher and stronger. We need to get mentally stronger, emotionally stronger, but physically stronger, and so I would even encourage parents out there. I’ve started doing jiu-jitsu several years ago. I wish I would have started 20 years ago. It’s been incredible and it’s something that, just like firearms, can boost your confidence. As you have a gun and you know how to use it. It gives you more confidence in life, in a lot of ways. It’s very similar when you start doing some of the things like jiu-jitsu, where you’re learning some basic self-defense techniques. It enhances your confidence, helps you feel more confident to be able to help protect your loved ones if needed. But part of what we have lost in culture is the ability to be tough, and I’m so grateful that there’s things like Trail Life, where guys have to be physically tough out in the woods, surviving, doing some things at times along the way. It’s not everything they do, but this is something we’re lacking in culture is men that are tough, and we need to restore some toughness in our men in culture. So, parents, as you’re raising your boys to be men, make sure we are encouraging that toughness along the way.
Rick Green: 25:03
And Tim, as you and I, like you said, have talked about and it’s not just physical toughness, right, that physical training and that kind of thing results in mental toughness as well being able to handle those tough times and not give in and have the courage, right, courage comes with that toughness.
Tim Barton: 25:16
And Rick, that’s a great point, because when I’m saying we need to be physically tough, it’s true, but if you’re physically tough and not mentally and emotionally tough, then your physical toughness can only take you so far and you can turn into a bully. We need to be well-developed individuals, where even the Bible talks about you love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. We need to be developed in all of those areas, be a complete and a whole person. And so certainly, like the reason I love jiu- jitsu among many things regarding even self-defense is it does help you be mentally and emotionally tougher. You are put in awful situations all the time, with a really big guy is trying to choke you out, and you have to stay calm and you have to navigate and you have to be focused on the problem and not panic and not freak out and not give up. There’s a lot of mental toughness that we need in addition to some of that physical toughness as well.
Rick Green: 26:02
So good guys. I mean that’s such a big part, again, of turning the culture around. We’ve got to raise godly men and women. But I mean this specifically, we’re talking about the vacuum of male leadership in this country and understanding that, you know, as my good friend Doug Giles says, that if you think masculinity is toxic, Jesus is radioactive. That’s one of his books. So masculinity, done the right way, is good for a culture, it’s necessary for a culture and that’s why we want to teach biblical masculinity. So really excited about what’s happening with Trail Life. Thanks for listening today. You’ve been listening to WallBuilders.