A new 'alternative' version of the Boy Scouts of America is gaining a foothold in San Antonio, as the traditional boy scouts slowly open up to gay members and, eventually, gay scout masters, 1200 WOAI's Michael Board reports.
Called 'Trial Life USA," local troop leader Richard Grochowski says it's message is 'Christ Centered.'
"We felt it was time to move on to this program, which is definitely Christian and Christ centered and definitely reflects our values," he said.
Trail Life USA doesn't specifically call itself a Christian and traditional-values alternative to the boy scouts, in fact, the organization's web site doesn't mention the Boy Scouts of America at all. But it does stress it's strong commitment to Christian beliefs.
"'Trail Life USA' is a Christian adventure, character, and leadership program for young men. The K-12 program centers on outdoor experiences that build a young man’s skills and allow him to grow on a personal level and as a role model and leader for his peers. Living the Trail Life is a journey established on timeless values derived from the Bible," the web site says.
The group says it's vision is to be the 'premiere national character development organization for young men which produces Godly and responsible husbands, fathers, and citizens.' It's activities include activities traditionally associated with the Boy Scouts, including camping, hiking, troop meetings, and fellowship, and the group does not say anywhere in its literature that gays are 'not allowed.'
The Trail Life USA oath is not unlike the Boy Scout oath:
On my honor, I will do my best
To serve God and my country;
To respect authority;
To be a good steward of creation;
And to treat others as I want to be treated.
The Boy Scouts started as a Christian organization and many troops are still sponsored by mainstream Christian denominations. But the Boy Scouts have become under increasing pressure in recent years to drop its prohibitions against gay scoutmasters. The Disney Corporation is the latest to withhold funding from the Boy Scouts over the gay issue.
But Grochowski says the new organization will go a step further than Boy Scouts in raising honorable and Christian men.
"With Trail Life USA' we really believe that we are raising the standard with our program," he said.