How the Adventurer Program Works

Adventurers Trailmen have six required trail badges targeted at the needs and abilities of older boys. Focus moves more toward servant leadership, teamwork, faith-building activities, and experiences in the community.

The Adventurers Program offers more freedom for older boys who can handle it. Consider this swimming analogy; Trailmen go from the shallow waters of Woodlands Trail into the standing-height waters of Navigators to practice their leadership skills with adequate supervision. As Adventurers, boys will be in deeper waters, using leadership skills to stay afloat and enjoyably and efficiently move from place to place. Adults have moved from the role of swimming instructor to life guard and their place is on the shore. Adults still have plenty to do, but their work is more subtle, and it becomes easier as the boys take on more of the load.

While the younger age-level programs are much more structured and defined by specific program materials, the Adventurers Program is purposely less structured and more flexible for older boys to customize according to their interests and goals. A unique aspect of the Adventurers program is that different patrols can actually choose to engage in different program emphases. There is the potential to operate multiple Adventurers patrols as if they were separate units. The charter from Trail Life USA allows the churrch to operate as many different Adventuring programs as desired. One patrol could be engaged as a backpacking crew. Another may enjoy a variety of high adventure activities. Yet another may choose to focus their program efforts around water craft. And finally, another patrol might be more engaged with planned coed activities with the high school Patriot girls in the AHG Troop.

The point is that the boys at this age can work together socially in a group setting to determine their own interests as a group, and then to pursue those interests in a very rewarding way. It is our goal to make the Trail Life so exciting that a boy would never want to leave the program!

Adventurers as Leaders

Adventurers are 14 to 17 years old. The First Officer and Second Officer, as high profile youth leaders, oversee the Adventurers program. Patrol Leaders will be selected to head each patrol. Typically, after the common opening with kindergarten through 12th grade boys, the Adventurers meet as a group to focus on their own activities. These activities can include working on Trail Badges, although it is more common at this age level for Trailmen to work on badges outside of meetings with mentors. During meetings, Adventurers Trailmen will often focus on more complicated planning for quarterly high-adventure trips.

While Adventurers Trailmen participate in monthly camping trips with their counterparts in the Navigators program, it is suggested that about once every three months they participate in age-appropriate adventures that they have planned on their own. Meetings of Adventurers Trailmen can also focus on whatever skills, areas of interest, or activities that the youth leaders schedule.

Once each month, Adventurers Trailmen share their weekly meeting with the Navigators patrols. During this shared meeting, they work together to plan the joint monthly camping trips, to serve as mentors to the Navigators Trailmen, to teach outdoor skills, and to complete any other joint activities for that month.

This unique arrangement allows Adventurers Trailmen to both retain excitement and interest in an age-appropriate program with their social peers while at the same time continuing to mentor those younger Trailmen that look up to them.

Monthly Officer's Conference

Annual and monthly planning is completed by the Officers' Conference, which is composed of the First and Second Officer, Adventurers Patrol Leaders, and Navigators Junior Patrol Leaders. The Officers' Conference should meet monthly to review the previous month and plan the upcoming two months of activities. Extra planning time is also required each year to prepare the general annual calendar as well. While the youth leaders in the Officers' Conference are engaged in program planning, appropriate input and oversight is also provided by the Trailmaster, Adventurers Advisor, and Trail Guides who also can attend planning meetings. One other youth leader is also part of the Officers' Conference - the Quartermaster.

The Quartermaster may seem to supervise equipment rather than people, but that is not so. Equipment could rest safely in a storage facility for many years without the leadership of a Quartermaster. However, loan equipment out to people and a whole host of issues arise; everything from proper use to loss prevention, proper storage, and noting wear and tear.

Patrol Leaders do not merely give structure to the small democracies we call patrols; they also set the tone and exercise great influence over morale. How they can do this well is expounded upon at depth in the Trailman's Handbook.

High Adventure

There is a reason why older boys are called "Adventurers!" One thing that separates their high-adventure outings from those of younger boys is the need for specialized preparation, often including new equipment, new instruction, and new levels of forethought.

Adventurers-age boys have more physical robustness and athletic prowess. Their valuable experiences in more conventional outings are a firm foundation upon which the advanced skills and challenges of high adventure will be built.