Troops Fully Alive

Praised be Jesus Christ! Now and forever!

Troops Fully Alive is the national association of the Catholic troops of Trail Life USA—those chartered by parishes, schools, and other Catholic institutions. Our purpose is to promote Trail Life USA among the Catholic faithful as an effective form of youth ministry.

About Us

Troops Fully Alive is the national association of the Catholic troops of Trail Life USA—those chartered by parishes, schools, and other Catholic institutions. Our purpose is to promote Trail Life USA among the Catholic faithful as an effective form of youth ministry.

In today’s toxic secular culture, families are pressured to keep religion a personal matter, sequestered to the confines of their homes. Bishop Robert Barron refers to this phenomenon as the “privatization of religion” and asserts that “authentic Christianity can never be privatized” since all areas of life belong to God.

Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, a bishop of the early Church, wrote that “The glory of God is man fully alive, and the life of man is the vision of God.”

Our vision for the Catholic troops of Trail Life USA is Troops Fully Alive!—that is, the authentic integration of the Catholic Faith, together with traditional methods of the international scouting movement, in a program that guides young men on their journey to become ordinary saints and prepares them to defend the Faith.

Click here for a copy of the association’s statutes.

Founded in 2013, Trail Life USA is a Christ-centered, boy-focused outdoor adventure, character, and leadership development program for boys and young men.

The mission of Trail Life USA is to guide generations of courageous young men to honor God, lead with integrity, serve others, and experience outdoor adventure.

Our Legacy

Since nearly the beginning of the international scouting movement, some Catholic troops have sought to integrate Christian formation among scouting’s traditional aims. In recent years, national scouting associations have increasingly adopted secular and humanist principles. In the United States, the Catholic troops of Trail Life USA continue the legacy of these founders:

Lord Robert Baden-Powell

In 1907, Lord Robert Baden-Powell established the scouting movement in the United Kingdom with three aims: character development, citizenship training, and personal fitness. To accomplish these aims, he used various methods, including outdoor adventure, the patrol system, leadership development, advancement, uniforms, and the ideals of an oath and law. Baden-Powell’s scouting movement lives on today in Trail Life USA, honoring its rich legacy and traditions while raising the standard through a Christ-centered, boy-focused program.

Venerable Jacques Sévin

Father Jacques Sévin, a Jesuit priest, is regarded as the father of Catholic scouting. Inspired by Baden-Powell’s scouting movement and seeing its potential for character development in the Catholic youth of France, in 1918, Father Sévin established the first Catholic troop, which added Christian formation as a fourth aim of scouting. The cause of beatification of this Servant of God was introduced in 1989. On January 10, 2012, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints promulgated a decree on the heroic virtue of Father Sévin, and on May 10, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed Father Sévin venerable.

Jerusalem Cross

The heraldic arms of Troops Fully Alive features a uniquely styled red Jerusalem Cross, in part inspired by the original emblem of Scouts de France designed in 1917 by Father Jacques Sévin. Variations of the Jerusalem Cross have symbolized various Catholic scouting programs—principally in Europe—for more than a century. 

A Catholic Trailman leads a life of …

The ultimate goal of the Christian life is to become a saint. One day, Saint Thomas Aquinas’ sister asked him a very simple but important question, “How do you become a saint?” He paused and famously replied, “Will it!” In Trail Life USA, Catholic Trailmen embark upon this journey of becoming ordinary saints by leading lives according to the following seven pillars of the Christian life:

Prayer

Right praise and worship of God are central to the Christian life, and prayer is the wellspring of our personal relationship with Jesus Christ. According to Saint John of Damascus, “prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God” (CCC 2559). In Trail Life USA, Catholic Trailmen experience a rich prayer life, including personal prayer, traditional communal prayer such as the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet, and adoration before the Blessed Sacrament.

Sacrament

The fullness of God’s grace is experienced in the seven Sacraments. For Catholic Trailmen, keeping the sabbath, participating in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and receiving the Eucharist—the “source and summit of the Christian life” (CCC 1324)—are essential. To grow in holiness, Catholic Trailmen regularly seek Christ’s mercy in the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation.

Catechesis

For too many youth, instruction in the Catholic Faith is limited to periodic sacramental preparation. In Trail Life USA, learning the faith is an enduring pursuit. To rightly order our lives to the Divine Will requires that we understand his commands. Drawing upon the rich beauty of both Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, Catholic Trailmen gain a stronger knowledge of the Faith.

Virtue

Sin is the cause of all unhappiness, and true freedom is a life of moral virtue. A Catholic Trailman pursues holiness, armed with virtue—a habitual and firm disposition to do the good. The Theological Virtues (CCC 1812-1829), the Cardinal Virtues (CCC 1805-1809), the Gifts and Fruits of the Holy Spirit (CCC 1830-1832), and heroic virtue revealed in the lives of the Saints are a few examples of how Catholic Trailmen learn to live for God.

Service

“Faith without works is dead” (James 2:26), and the mission of Trail Life USA includes leading generations of courageous young men to serve others. We are called to “serve one another through love,” (Gal 5:13) and service is one of the greatest expressions of our faith and love for God. Catholic Trailmen serve their fellow man, especially through the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy.

Evangelization

“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:19). The Great Commission sends all Trailmen on mission to share the Faith with the world. Our nation desperately needs Trail Life USA to transform the country’s toxic secular culture. Sharing the Gospel message—the hope of the Risen Christ—and proclaiming with great ardor the kingship of Jesus Christ are integral to Catholic Trailmen.

Vocation

At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles as “tongues as of fire” (Acts 2:3). Each Catholic Trailman, strengthened by the sacramental grace of Confirmation, sits vigil awaiting the Holy Spirit’s call, revealing his life’s vocation. Whether the priesthood, consecrated religious life, or the life of the Domestic Church, a Catholic Trailman carefully discerns what God reveals to him.

For more information about these seven pillars of the Christian life—Prayer, Sacrament, Catechesis, Virtue, Service, Evangelization, and Vocation—visit the Troop Resources page.

As a young priest, Karol Wojtyla, the future Pope John Paul II, understood the spiritual beauty of God’s creation.

He was a favorite with students at Lublin University who flocked to his classes and joined him on camping, hiking, and canoeing trips.

Saint John Paul II, pray for us.

 

Contact Us

A core value of Trail Life USA is that each troop is church-owned and operated, so the local diocese and parish ensure the troop presents the Catholic Faith authentically, in fidelity to Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the living Magisterium of the Church.