Boys’ Christian Adventure Program CEO Spotlighted for Championing ‘Morality and Uprightness’

Stephen Ashton

Trail Life USA cited by national family values organization for creating different option to Boy Scouts


BELTON, S.C.—The CEO of a flourishing outdoor adventure program, Trail Life USA, has been spotlighted by a national organization for helping develop character in thousands of boys and young men.

Mark Hancock is one of “40 Faithful” saluted by the American Family Association (AFA) as it marks four decades of promoting morality, family and marriage, and the sanctity of life.

Trail Life USA was launched in 2013 to offer a Christian-based outdoor adventure program developing character and leadership. More than 720 troops already have been formed in 48 states, with a total membership of more than 26,000.

The 40th anniversary issue of AFA Journal applauds Hancock for providing an alternative to parents after the Boy Scouts of America changed its participation criteria. Trail Life USA “stands for morality and uprightness as rooted in Christian teaching,” it says, “making a point to teach young boys not only how to be upstanding moral men, but also about the truth of the gospel of Christ.”

Prior to the founding of Trail Life, Hancock’s many years in Christian ministry

included serving as a youth and college pastor, and running a private counseling practice. Before that, he founded and directed a successful national advertising agency for 15 years. Married with two sons, he lives in Belton, S.C., where Trail Life is headquartered.

“It is a great honor for Trail Life to be recognized by the American Family Association,” said Hancock. “AFA has done a great deal to stand for and defend Christian values in our country. As an organization based on timeless values from the Bible, we are grateful for their belief in and support of what we are seeking to do.”

Through troops chartered primarily by local churches, Trail Life offers a K-12 program centered on outdoor adventure experiences that build young men’s skills, and character and leadership opportunities that help them grow on a personal level and as role models and leaders for their peers.

In listing Hancock among its “40 Faithful,” AFA Journal notes that “among its core values, Trail Life is first Christ-centered,” and points to the organization’s other core values, which include “dealing with courage, family values, servanthood, and more.”

Hancock and the others in the list are “simply men and women faithful to follow Christ,” the publication adds, “to be salt and light in the areas they’ve been called to address… any issue that has an impact on the family.”

Founded in 1977 by the Rev. Donald Wildmon, the AFA is based in Tupelo, Miss.

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Trail Life USA ( is a Christian outdoor adventure, character and leadership program for boys and young men, K-12. Chartered through churches in 48 states, the program centers on outdoor experiences and biblical values 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.

PHOTO CUTLINE: Mark Hancock, chief executive officer, Trail Life USA

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Stephen Ashton