Both age and school grade eligibility will be factors in placement and advancement.

Boys remain at their age group until completion of their current grade level within school. Therefore, a first grade boy who enters the program midway through his first grade year is a Fox and will be eligible to become a Hawk upon successful completion of the first grade. Within the Mountain Lion age group, boys entering during their fifth grade year will be eligible to advance to Navigator upon successful completion of the fifth grade.



While the Woodlands Trail Program includes numerous awards such as Branch Awards and the Forest Badge, it should be specifically noted that acquiring awards is not the goal of the Woodlands Trail experience. The program provides a structure or framework to motivate boys to actively participate in a program designed to not only teach essential life skills, but also to teach them about eternal life possible through Jesus Christ.

  • Fox Patrol: Kindergarten and 5 years old by 10/31
  • Hawk Patrol: 2nd Grade and 7 years old by 10/31
  • Mountain Lion Patrol: 4th Grade and 9 years old by 10/31

While the Woodlands Trail Program includes numerous awards, acquiring awards is not its goal. Meetings and outdoor activities are used to inspire the heart and mind, convey essential life skills, and reinforce the good news of Jesus Christ. Boys develop in each of these areas at different rates. Some are natural leaders but need to develop teamwork. Some have mast ere outdoor skills but need guidance on interpersonal skills. Regardless, advancing with boys the own age works best in Trail Life USA.

In this manner, the program provides a real-world example of the concept of Grace. And, it proves that the object of the program is not the amount of patches one may accumulate, but the character and faith built along the way.

Awards may be earned at all unit levels. Award criteria will be age-appropriate for the boy's cognitive and physical levels of development.

The following categories of awards may be earned by boys within the Woodlands Trail program:

  • Patrol Patch: When a boy qualifies to enter one of the three (3) Woodlands Trail program age groups, the boy earns the patch for that group. This patch will be worn on the Troop uniform.
  • Branch Awards: Seven distinct awards which correspond to the seven main instructional areas of the Woodlands Trail program. Each award is earned by completion of the required number of Steps. An award will be given for each Branch earned. Each Branch Award will have a distinctive look for each consecutive age group. Branch Awards are displayed on the Troop Uniform.
  • Forest Badge: Earned within each age group upon completion of all Branch Awards for that particular age group. Forest Badge Awards are displayed on the Troop Uniform.
  • Special Awards: Special awards are given for completion of certain activities, projects, or accomplishments. Special awards are named for the purpose for which they are given.