Completing Steps

Branch Pins and Sylvan Stars are the primary advancement pieces that are awarded on the Woodlands Trail. They are affixed to Branch Patches or Forest Awards, depending on the Trailman's current advancement status within his Patrol.

Branch Pins and Sylvan Stars are earned by completing a determined number of Core and Elective Steps in the seven color-coded Branches, as well as attending a "Hit the Trail" Troop outing or activity for each Branch.


In short, to earn a Branch Pin OR a Sylvan Star, a Trailman will complete the following in a particular Branch:

  • The required number of Core Steps
  • The required number of Elective Steps
  • One Hit the Trail! Activity for that Branch.

Two Family Home Activities (FHA) may be completed in place of a maximum of one Step or one Hit the Trail! (HTT) in each Branch. Family Home Activities are published in a separate document.

Each Program year and for each Branch, the Trail Guide chooses what to deliver from the Required Core and Elective Steps. For the Required Core Steps, keep in mind that any remaining Required Core Steps for that Branch would be delivered in the next year. Given the two years a Trailman remains in each level (Fox, Hawk, or Mountain Lion), he has the opportunity to complete all the Required Core Steps of every Branch in a two-year period before moving up to the next level. Steps can be completed at a meeting, campout, field trip, or other Troop or Patrol gathering. Trailmen may receive only one Branch pin per Branch per level. Branch Pins are not transferable to the next level Branch Patch.