Dads, sons explore outdoors again

For the first time since the pandemic, Trail Life Troop fathers and sons camped out at Dos Picos County Park in Ramona learning fire safety, native plants, and making and cooking their breakfast over an open campfire.

Keith Acker, pastor of Blessed Trinity Church and troop leader, said Trail Life families have a variety of local church homes, some without a church home, but share a common belief in God, and is an outdoor Christ-centered adventure for dads and sons. Blessed Trinity Church is the troop’s charter organization, where the dads and sons explore the outdoors in a faith of environment, guiding a new generation of young men to honor God, lead with integrity, serve others, and experience outdoor adventure. Trail Life is also about fathers teaching and having fun with their sons, said Acker.

“We have families that come from a variety of churches, with our troop meetings held at First Baptist Church of El Cajon,” he said. “I grew up in Boy Scouts myself and about 25 years ago, the sister organization American Heritage Girls began wanting to have the faith element, then about 15 years ago, Trail Life was started.”

Acker said the troop started the month before COVID hit and it almost stalled it completely, and this past year he took over as interim troop master, hoping to hand off the title to one of the parents by spring next year.

“We have had to kind of rebuild from scratch with about a half dozen boys at the moment,” he said. “Dads are involved in the teaching parts. Moms are involved in all the support roles. We meet once a month for skill teaching, then we go out for hiking or some other outdoor activity. And this is a great time for me. I am having a wonderful time with this.”

Acker said the families come from a variety of church backgrounds and open to all denominations.

“The statement we have from Trial Life is basic, so whether you are from Baptist, nondenominational, or Roman Catholic background, they are all things that can be subscribed to no matter what Christian denomination you come from. It is something that we all have in common.”

Acker said there are some kids where dad is not in the picture, but other dads will step in and do mentoring, or “I have a dad with three boys and cannot help all three at once, so we have grandparents, empty nesters, laypeople that have grown up in scouting that step in and help.”

You can learn more about Trail Life El Cajon for your son by emailing

Dads, sons explore outdoors again


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