Navigators Program

  • Grades Supported: 6th through 8th
  • Ranks Earned: Recruit Trailman, Able Trailman, Ready Trailman
  • Trail Badges: [Aquatics] [Camping] [Fire Ranger] [First Aid] [Our Flag] [Outdoor Cooking] [Rope Work] [Trail Skill] [Wood Tools]

Characteristics of Navigators-age Boys

Navigators-age boys are anxious to move up from Woodlands Trail and take the outdoor program to the next level. They enjoy hiking and camping just like the older Adventurers but they benefit from more structure and supervision. It is good for these boys to get as involved in the planning process as they are able. They learn much from the decisions adult leaders make, but they learn even more from the reasoning behind the decisions.

Most Navigators-age boys enjoy team sports where they thrive on competition, work hard at perfecting their skills, and respect good sportsmanship. They seek values in simplified, concrete forms; are often extremely idealistic; and demand fair treatment. They are usually excitable, easily motivated, creative, inquisitive, and eager to explore; but their attention may wander if they are not active participants in learning situations.

One of the three aims of Trail Life USA is to develop fitness: mental, moral, physical and emotional. Following are characteristics of development in these four types of fitness in Navigators-age boys.

Mental Development

  • Display a wide range of individual intellectual development
  • Are in a transition period from concrete thinking to abstract thinking
  • Are very curious and have a range of intellectual pursuits, few of which are sustained
  • Prefer active (over passive) learning experiences
  • Prefer interaction with peers during learning activities
  • Respond positively to opportunities to participate in real life situations
  • Are often preoccupied with self
  • Are mostly interested in what is happening now. They have a hard time thinking ahead to the future, or considering the long-term consequences of their actions.
  • Have a strong need for approval and may be easily discouraged
  • Develop an increasingly better understanding of personal abilities
  • Are inquisitive about adults, often challenging their authority, and always observing them
  • May show disinterest in conventional academic subjects but are intellectually curious about the world and themselves
  • Are developing a capacity to understand higher levels of humor

Moral Development

  • Are generally idealistic, desiring to make the world a better place and to become useful
  • Are in transition from moral reasoning which focuses on "what's in it for me" to that which considers the feelings and rights of others
  • Often show compassion for those who are downtrodden or suffering and have special concern for animals and the environmental problems that our world faces
  • Are moving from acceptance of adult moral judgments to development of their own personal values, yet they tend to embrace values consistent with those of their parents
  • Rely on parents and significant adults for advice when facing major decisions
  • They begin to look for role models to pattern themselves after and are developing stronger ideas of right and wrong
  • Increasingly assess moral matters in shades of grey as opposed to viewing them in black and white terms characteristic of younger children
  • At times are quick to see flaws in others but slow to acknowledge their own faults
  • Owing to their lack of experience are often impatient with the pace of change, underestimating the difficulties in making desired social changes
  • Are capable of and value direct experience in participatory democracy
  • Greatly need and are influenced by adult role models who will listen to them and affirm their moral consciousness and actions as being trustworthy role models
  • Are increasingly aware of and concerned about inconsistencies between values exhibited by adults and the conditions they see in society

Physical Development

  • Experience rapid, irregular physical growth
  • Undergo bodily changes that may cause awkward, uncoordinated movements
  • Have varying maturity rates
  • May be at a disadvantage because of varied rates of maturity
  • Experience restlessness and fatigue due to hormonal changes
  • Need daily physical activity because of increased energy
  • Develop sexual awareness that increases as secondary sex characteristics begin to appear
  • Are concerned with bodily changes that accompany maturation, such as an increase in nose size, protruding ears, long arms, and awkward posture
  • Have preference for junk foods but need good nutrition
  • Often lack physical fitness, with poor levels of endurance, strength, and flexibility
  • Are physically vulnerable because they may adopt poor health habits or engage in risky experimentation with drugs and sex

Emotional Development

  • Experience mood swings often with peaks of intensity and unpredictability
  • Can be moody and dramatic and may revert to childish patterns under stress
  • Need to release energy, often resulting in sudden, puzzling outbursts of activity
  • Seek to become increasingly independent, searching for adult identity and acceptance
  • Are increasingly concerned about peer acceptance
  • Tend to be self-conscious, lacking in self-worth, and sensitive to personal criticism
  • Exhibit concern about physical growth and maturity as profound physical changes occur
  • Increasingly behave in more masculine ways
  • Are concerned with many major societal issues as personal value systems develop
  • Believe that personal problems, feelings, and experiences are unique to themselves
  • Are psychologically vulnerable, because at no other stage in development are they more likely to encounter so many differences between themselves and others
  • Have a strong need to belong to a group, with peer approval becoming more important as adult approval decreases in importance
  • In their search for self, model behavior after older, esteemed students or non-parent adults
  • May exhibit immature behavior because their social skills frequently lag behind their mental and physical maturity
  • Are beginning to see their parents as imperfect beings and may begin to chafe
  • Experiment with new slang and behaviors as they search for a social position within their group, often discarding these new identities at a later date
  • Must adjust to the social acceptance of early maturing girls and the athletic successes of early maturing boys, especially if they themselves are maturing at a slower rate
  • Are dependent on parental beliefs and values but seek to make their own decisions
  • Are often intimidated and frightened by their first exposure to middle school experiencebecause of the large numbers of students and teachers and the size of the building
  • Desire recognition for their efforts and achievements
  • Like fads, especially those shunned by adults
  • Often overreact to ridicule, embarrassment, and rejection
  • Are socially vulnerable because, as they develop their beliefs, attitudes, and values, the influence of media and negative experiences with adults and peers may compromise their ideals and values