Trail Life USA and Mark Hancock have released a new book in partnership with BRAVE Books, a cutting-edge children’s book publishing house who has worked with Kirk Cameron, Bethany Hamilton, Kevin Sorbo, Missy Robertson, and many others. Trail Life USA and BRAVE complement each other’s efforts to shape a future generation of men who have the skills and knowledge to model upstanding character in a country where masculinity is sorely lacking.
Mark Hancock, CEO of Trail Life USA, is an author, award-winning writer and conference speaker and holds two master’s degrees in the mental health counseling field. Hancock has chosen to partner with BRAVE Books to launch a thrilling children's book focused on the detrimental effects of excessive screen time and the numerous benefits of outdoor adventures and connecting with others in person.
Trail Life USA and BRAVE Books are helping children and their families strike a balance between screen time and outdoor experiences, promoting healthier lifestyles and fostering a lifelong appreciation for nature and quality time connecting with others. Parents, educators and youth organizations are encouraged to take advantage of this valuable resource to address the challenges of screen time and inspire a love for the great outdoors and connecting with others in the next generation.
Screen time continues to be a flashpoint in society. Studies have shown that excessive time spent on devices negatively impacts people physically, emotionally and mentally, disrupting healthy sleep patterns, darkening our mood and rewiring our minds.
The negative effects are even more pronounced in young people. A study revealed that the rise of social media and gaming correlates with a 16% bullying incidence rate among high schoolers, a 40% surge in depression over the past decade and nearly half of students attributing struggles with anxiety to social media.
In light of these sobering statistics, Trail Life USA and CEO Hancock are encouraging families to make a powerful New Year’s resolution: trade time online for real-world adventure and connection.
Hancock said, “Devices are wonderful tools that are helpful for us, even in the outdoors. But we want to use them as a tool, rather than something that keeps us from going outdoors or from interacting with other people. That’s what we’re after, to tame this thing that so many of us carry in our pockets and that kids are handed now at a very young age; to tame them and understand that they are a tool, something to be used, not something to take us away from the most important relationships that we have: family and friends. That face-to-face interaction is so valuable in the maturing of young children.”
Trail Life is a church-based, Christ-centered, boy-focused mentoring and discipleship journey that speaks to the heart of a boy. Trail Life believes that the proper, God-designed context for this journey is the great outdoors; where boys move from the pseudo quests of video games to real-world adventures in nature; and trade hollow online connections for authentic relationships.
In a recent interview, Hancock emphasized the importance of removing phones from children and getting them outdoors and making face-to-face connections with others.
Hancock remarked, “In Trail Life, we’re after adventure, character and leadership, and that’s hard to do with a phone in front of your face. So, we provide an environment where kids are getting away from their screens and joining the outdoors, playing again with their friends. Boys are in the outdoors away from their digital devices and figuring out how to connect on a social, emotional, relational level with people, rather than being distracted by the digital.”
In addition to Trail Life’s thriving Troop community across the country, the organization is encouraging boys through a partnership with BRAVE Books, a faith-based publishing company created to Bring Real American Values that Endure into the hearts and minds of children and their families.
Hancock shared, “It was a natural thing for us to work together because the topic of ‘Too Much Tubular!’ is social media and the impact of screen time among kids. And of course, Trail Life, being an outdoor adventure organization for boys, helps get boys away from screens. It just made sense that we partner together on this kind of project.”
Co-authored by Hancock, “Too Much Tubular!” was written to help parents address the issue of screen time with their children. In this captivating children’s book, Team BRAVE embarks on a rescue mission to save the animals of Furenzy Park, who have lost themselves in the digital world of Tubular, a parallel to social media.
Hancock said, “The creatures of Furenzy Park become almost like zombies who are dependent on this tubular thing. Then a Trail Life family camping just outside of town helps introduce them to the concept of moderation, the outdoors and enjoying time with family. And that’s the solution to too much tubular: reintroducing kids to the outdoors and time with their families and good fellowship in setting the phones down.”
Ultimately, the book fits within Trail Life’s invaluable mission to grow the boys of today into the next generation of men.
Hancock said, “Away from daily concerns, cell phone distraction, social media interaction and video game pseudo-satisfaction is a real world of wonder — a world of adventure and exploration, where crickets chirp, campfires crackle, stars twinkle, freshly caught fish simmer and pocket knives whittle. Trail Life USA supplies the place, the program and the outdoor adventures to connect boys to other boys, to adult mentors and to their God-given purpose to become godly men.”
Trail Life USA is the premier national character development organization for young men, producing godly and responsible husbands, fathers, and citizens. Trail Life’s mission is to guide generations of courageous young men to honor God, lead with integrity, serve others, and experience outdoor adventure.Troops exist in all 50 states and are growing as Trail Life USA expands around the country. Find a Troop today, or Start a Troop in your community. Find out more at TrailLifeUSA.com.