TRAIL LIFE USA CEO: Boyhood Is Under Attack In America

Boys need godly mentors and an environment where biblical masculinity is encouraged to grow into godly men, Trail Life CEO Mark Hancock said on The Todd Starnes Radio Show.

Trail Life USA seeks to raise men of God in a time where our culture desperately needs them, Hancock said.

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TODD STARNES: [00:44:47] I wanted to bring in a good friend of this program. He runs Trail Life USA, one of the top scouting organizations in America. Our good friend Mark Hancock joins us. Mark, you’ve had a chance to watch Tucker’s remarks last night. I’d like to get your take on this. Is he out in left field somewhere? [00:45:07][20.3]

Do you think boyhood is under attack in America?

MARK HANCOCK: [00:45:09] Well, you know, first of all, thanks for having me on. You know, there are so many things that are affecting boys today. I don’t know that he’s coming out of left field. He’s certainly talking about some of the things that are impacting boys in our culture today. But they’re certainly paying a price. And we need to pay more attention to what’s happening to boys and young men in our society today. [00:45:29][19.9]

STARNES: [00:45:30] Let’s talk about some of those issues because again, Mark, I know you’ve written books about this. This is an issue that is very important to you. Talk about this war on boys in America and what does that look like? [00:45:45][14.5]

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HANCOCK: [00:45:46] Yeah, well, the book we’ve just released is called “Raising Godly Boys,” and it talks about the proven process for raising godly boys and identifies some of the challenges we’re dealing with. And we’ve narrowed it down to four. We see boys are unguided and it’s a shortage of role models. So they don’t have the guidance that they need. They’re ungrounded, because the generational values and norms that we used to stand on firmly have been shifted. And we also say they’re unappreciated because of this gender blurring thing that boys are being faced with today, they question about their own sexuality. We’re not appreciating the difference between boys and girls. And so we need to restore that. We need to recognize the strength of boys and not just constantly discount them for their weaknesses. Now, finally, we talk about how boys are uninspired. You know, boys lose interest when there’s nothing at stake. And so because of participation trophies and not keeping score and those sorts of things, boys are losing their way. They’re uninspired. If they’re not inspired, their questions is, well, why even try? If somebody doesn’t keep score, if somebody doesn’t care, if I’m not allowed to win, if I’m not recognized for achievement, why even try? And all of this is all wrapped in the things that Tucker’s talking about. You know, the leading demographic now in suicide, increase in suicide is boys from 10 to 14 years of age. That’s tragic. There’s a problem here. We need to recognize that there’s all sorts of things that are affecting the winning and the focused growth of good and godly boys. [00:47:16][90.0]

STARNES: [00:47:17] You know, it’s interesting that you mentioned that component of it, even in our military where, you know, winning the war is is not even talked about. It’s not even discussed now. There seems to be so much emphasis on the sex and the gender stuff, the pronouns. And I’m wondering if that sort of thing is turning boys away and young men away from serving even in our military? [00:47:41][24.1]

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HANCOCK: [00:47:43] Well, sure. We used to hold our military as heroes. They are the ones, the greatest generation went in and secured our freedom and took on tyranny. We’re not rewarding boys and men for that anymore, and somehow it’s discounted if we’re going out doing these sorts of things that that, you know, look like war. But it’s necessary for the culture to have winning and focused men who are taking on that heroic role in order to secure the kind of things that we enjoy here. But it’s coming out in so many ways. Boys are twice as likely to need special education, three times more likely to have ADHD, they’re falling behind girls in every single category. There’s just this whole influence, societal influence, you can point to any one of these things or you can point to all of them as having an influence on boys as they’re becoming young men. They’re just kind of losing their way because of the way we’re discounting them. [00:48:43][59.7]

STARNES: [00:48:43] And has it always been like this. Is there a point in, you know, recent history where we can say, okay, this is when we started to see the shift? [00:48:51][8.0]

HANCOCK: [00:48:53] Well, you know, a lot of people who are writing about that now, thankfully, and paying attention to when did this change and what went into that. And I’m not going to claim to be an expert on that. I just know that we’re in a place right now where we can effect change. Trail Life U.S.A. is all 50 states has 40,000 members, 900 churches have Trail Life troops. And we’re seeing boys who are benefiting from a male focused program that guides them, that grounds them, that appreciates them and inspires them. And we’re seeing boys being turned into godly men. So no matter where it came from, there are those who are alot more steeped than I am in looking at the history of it, but we’re looking ahead to see what can be done for boys. And that’s why we have organized these troops all over the country. And men are stepping up and taking their role as mentors and good leaders and providing good examples for boys of what it looks like to be a godly man in a culture that discounts biblical masculinity. [00:49:48][55.4]

STARNES: [00:49:49] Mark, is it fair to say that there is a war on boys and that this issue, and it seems like what society has done is take everything that makes a boy a boy or a man a man, and now they’re saying those ideas and concepts make you toxic. I think the phrase is toxic masculinity that they like to use. [00:50:11][21.7]

HANCOCK: [00:50:12] Yeah, I don’t know that I would use that language as war on boys if it’s aimed at specific things. But there’s certainly a war on boyhood in the idea of what comes naturally to a boy, that adventuresome spirit, that risk and competition. There’s a war on the types of things that cause boys to grow up into good winning and focused men. And that certainly is having an effect on boys. You know, it’s like boyhood or boys are some sort of social disease that needs to be eradicated. Or, you know, we tend to look at boys as if they’re deficient girls and they’re just not. Boys have, and I know I can say this on your program, boys and girls are different and boys have strengths that are unique to boys. And girls have strengths that are unique to girls. And we need to acknowledge both of those things. It’s not one size fits all, but as we try to make it fit everybody and this gender blurring and all the stuff that these boys and girls are being raised with, it isn’t playing to their strengths. And ultimately it hurts everybody. [00:51:16][63.3]

STARNES: [00:51:17] On the Patriot Mobile Newsmaker Line is Mark Hancock. He’s the chief executive officer of Trail Life USA. And Mark, to your point, you know, when you look at what’s happened in what used to be known as the Boy Scouts, now they open up their ranks to just about anybody. If you want to identify as a boy, you can do that. And a lot of the activities that really made the Boy Scouts, the Boy Scouts, the boys are not able to do. But you guys at Trail Life, you’ve sort of carved your own path and you’re forging your own path. And I want you to tell moms and dads explain to moms and dads real quick here, maybe the elevator speech of what you guys do and the programs you offer Boys at Trail Life. [00:51:59][41.9]

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HANCOCK: [00:52:00] Sure, we’re an outdoor adventure, character, and leadership organization for boys, kindergarten through 12th grade. And we are male centric, we are boys focused and Christ centered, and we’re 900 troops across country. So it’s everything you expect from an outdoor organization in terms of hiking and camping and the robust awards program, uniforms and handbooks and all those things where boys are in the outdoors in a male centric environment, learning how to be boys and learning how to grow into young men. We have a great emphasis on boys without dads because there’s so many boys in our culture that don’t have a father in the house. We have thousands of men in our movement who understand the value of pouring into the next generation, they may not even have a son in the program. So we have men, a lot of them former law enforcement officers or military or whatever, they’re serving in Trail Life, because they recognize the power of that male centric environment and helping to raise boys. So a lot of single moms love Trail Life, because it’s filling the gap. They’ve been crying out for for something to help them to raise their sons. And then, of course, dads in the program are finding new ways to connect with their sons in the great outdoors, away from all of the distractions and the video games and the cell phones and all those things. And so moms are loving it because they’re seeing their sons come home from a weekend dirty and smelly, but taller, because they went out and experienced that male centric environment. So 40,000 members across the country enjoying the Christ centered boy focused Trail Life USA. [00:53:34][94.0]

STARNES: [00:53:35] Love it! TrailLifeUSA.com is the website. We have a link to it on our website as well, but traillifeusa.com. Mark, we’re going to leave it there. Appreciate the great insight and we look forward to getting you back on the show soon. [00:53:48][13.0]

HANCOCK: [00:53:49] Thank you, Todd. We appreciate you. God Bless [00:53:50][1.1]

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