Woodlands Trail offers awards that can be earned at all unit levels within the program. Award criteria will be age-appropriate for the boy’s cognitive and physical levels of development. The following categories of awards may be earned by boys within the Woodlands Trail program:
THE BRANCH PATCH: When a boy qualifies to enter one of the three (3) Woodlands Trail program age Patrols, the boy may earn the joining patch for that group. This patch will be worn on the uniform. This patch recognizes that the boy knows the basics of Trail Life USA which includes learning the oath, motto, salute, sign, and handshake. It is here he will attach his branch pins as he completes them.
THE FOREST AWARD: Earned at each age group upon completion of all 7 Branches plus 18 additional leaves (see below What is a Branch, What is a Leaf?) from any branch or combination of branches. This badge will be a cumulative award. When a boy in a particular age group has completed work he is said to have earned his [Fox/Hawk/Mountain Lion] Forest Award. Boys that advance through age groups of the Woodlands Trail program will wear their latest earned Forest Badge on their right pocket. The Forest Badges are unique to the Woodlands Trail program and are set aside once boys are inducted into the Navigators program.
WHAT IS A BRANCH? A Branch is an area of study. The same seven Branches are earned within all three age groups (Fox, Hawk, and Mountain Lion). The Branch awards correspond to the seven main instructional areas of the Woodlands Trail program. Branches are earned by completion of the requisite number of Leaves within the two-year program period. A Branch Pin will be given for each Branch completed. Topics for meeting plans are selected to teach participants lessons within 7 general Woodlands Trail Unit. A Branch is awarded after earning 9 leaves for that branch. A description of these areas of instruction are provided below.
- Heritage Branch (Brown): An exploration of American Heritage, Christian pholding the finest traditions of the heritage we obtain from our forefathers.
- Hobbies Branch (Black): An exploration of various indoor and outdoor hobbies that demand varying levels of knowledge, skill, or aptitude.
- Life Skills Branch (Burgundy): Teaching life lessons ranging from the practical and mundane to higher-level interpersonal skill sets.
- Outdoor Activities Branch (Green): Having fun in the outdoors with sports and other activities.
- Pioneering Skills Branch (Blue): Gaining basic understanding of woodcraft, hiking, exploration, and camping skills.
- Science and Technology Branch (Yellow): An exploration of physical and natural science concerning our created world.
- Values Branch (Red): Instilling Biblical-based values within the boys regarding any number of pertinent topics. The central focus of this branch is teachings of the Christian faith.
The award representing each Branch earned changes with each age group so that there is differentiation between Branches earned as a Fox, a Hawk, and a Mountain Lion.
WHAT IS A LEAF? A single requirement that goes toward earning a Branch is called a Leaf. Through the accumulation of Leaves over the two-year program, boys earn their Branch awards. Leaves are earned by actively participating in meetings as well as completion of activities and projects.
Leaves at meetings: A boy’s participation in a meeting earns him 2 leaves toward the branches identified in the meeting plan.
Leaves for Hit the Trail Activities: Hit the Trail! activities and projects can take many forms ranging from weekend events, after-school events, overnight events, camping trips, service projects or a summer adventure. For activities which do not require an overnight stay, the boy will earn three (3) Leaves. For any activity which includes one (1) or more overnight stays (such as camping) the boy will earn five (5) leaves
Leaves for Family Activities: The Trailman may earn one (1) leaf for completing the assigned Family activity portion of the lesson plan up to a maximum of two (2) leaves per branch and an additional two (2) leaves per Sylvan Star.