Navigators & Adventurers New Ranking Structure 2023
*Core were formally called Required Badges
**True Freedom were formally the “Horizon Badges”
Trailman are automatically be moved over to the new advancement structure. This structure has three main changes that affect Aug 14, 2023 every Navigator and Adventurer Trailman. Additional details are explained in the questions and answers.
1. The first change is the previous Navigator Ranks and Adventurer Awards have changed to one cumulative rank structure that spans both the Navigators and the Adventurers programs. Every Trailman (no matter their program whether Nav. or Adv.) will begin with the Recruit Trailman Rank. However, only Adventurers can earn the last three ranks.
2. The Navigators program has a brand new Capstone Award, the Ridgeline Award, which has its own set of requirements including a Navigators project. This award is available ONLY to Navigator Trailmen who have already earned the Ready Trailman Rank. Once a Trailman becomes an Adventurer, he no longer may earn the Ridgeline Award.
3. The Adventurer program’s new Journey RANK now has different requirements from the old Journey Award, AND there is a new rank, the Ascent Rank, between the Journey Rank and the Horizon Rank.
The following FAQs are primarily predicated on the assumption that Troops are tracking
Trailmen’s advancement in Trail Life Connect. “Outside” tracking systems other than Trail Life
Connect are not recommended and would need to be updated manually by the individual
Troops and their leaders.
Q: What is driving a proposed change in the advancement program?
A: This proposal attempts to address several perceived weaknesses in the advancement
program, but the main drivers are:
● The large gap in the old program between the Journey Award and the Horizon
Award, particularly for Trailmen who were not Navigators or made minimal
progress in Trail Badges as a Navigator.
● The gap contributed to a fairly broad and unprioritized set of activities expected of
a new Adventurer. Many of the proposed changes help to focus the Trailman’s
efforts on core outdoor skills while preserving flexibility within the Troop for
unique Navigator and Adventurer programming.
Q: Where are these changes going to be displayed and/or recorded?
A: All paper and digital advancement tracking resources have been updated to reflect the
new advancement program (Woodlands Trail Handbook, Navigators and Adventurers
Handbook, Parent and Leader Guide, Posters, Tracking charts, Trail Life Connect, etc.)
Q: Where can I find all the new rank requirements?
A: The new Navigators and Adventurer Handbook, Trail Life Connect Badges and
Advancement tabs, and the downloadable “2023 Rank Requirements Supplement”
available in the Trail Life Connect Resources section.
Q: Are there any other details that changed besides the three main changes?
● The Navigators Worthy Life Award is no longer a requirement for the Ready
Trailman Rank. It is now a requirement for the Navigators Ridgeline Award.
● The first three ranks are rebranded as Core Skills Ranks.
● The last three ranks are branded as True Freedom Ranks.
● The old “Navigator Required Trail Badges” are now rebranded as Core Skills Trail
Badges and are specifically required to be completed as part of the first three
ranks (Core Skills Ranks).
● The old “Adventurer Required Trail Badges” are now rebranded as True Freedom
Trail Badges and are specifically required to be completed as part of the last
three ranks (True Freedom Ranks).
● The Journey Rank is NOT a joining rank for the Adventurers. It has a new set of
requirements including Trail Badges, Troop Attendance, Troop Activities, and
writing Freedom Experiences Plans.
● The “New” fifth rank, Ascent, has its own set of requirements including
completing at least one Freedom Experience. This experience will count toward
the four required for the Freedom Award.
● The Horizon Rank includes a new requirement of completing a second Freedom
Experience. This experience also will count toward the four required for the
● Required Troop Activities have changed for all ranks except Recruit Trailman to
be at least 6 activities for each program year.
Q: For the 6 Troop activities for each program year, is that cumulative in order to earn the next
rank? In other words, do the Trailmen need to complete 6 activities per year, per rank?
A: No. A Trailman only needs to complete six activities per year. Within that year he could
move through a couple of ranks, but the minimum number of required activities would
stay at six per program year.
Q: We already have Navigators and Adventurers in our Troop participating in the old
advancement program. Can they continue to use the old advancement program?
A: No. On Monday the Trail Life Connect advancement Aug 14, 2023 tracking system will
automatically display the new advancement program.
Q: Will my Trailmen’s advancement records all automatically roll over to the new advancement
A: Yes and No.
● All previously completed Trail Badges, Worthy Life Award requirements, Service
Hours, Troop meeting Attendance, and Troop Activities will all show as fully
● The Trailman’s rank records will only show the last fully completed rank
(according to the NEW rank requirements). Because the old Journey Award and
Horizon Award were Awards and not ranks, many Trailman”s Trail Life Connect
profiles may only show the Recruit Trailman or Able Trailman Rank as complete.
● Individual requirements of the “uncompleted” ranks will have indicators on the
Advancement tracking screen showing what certain requirements are already
completed based on the Trailman’s previously recorded work; however, the main
requirement will be left unchecked (See screenshot below).
Q: So, what does that mean for Adventurers who completed the old Journey Award and are
now working toward earning the Horizon Award but did not complete any or some of the
lower old “Navigator” ranks of Recruit Trailman, Able Trailman, or Ready Trailman?
A: The work that the Trailman has completed during his time in Trail Life AND recorded in
Trail Life Connect will automatically appear in Trail Life Connect according to where that
work falls in the new rank structure.
● If a Trailman’s work (previously recorded in TLC) happens to complete all the
requirements of any of the NEW ranks, the TLC system will automatically show
that rank as earned.
● If a Trailman’s work (previously recorded in TLC) does NOT happen to complete
all of the requirements for any of the NEW ranks, the TLC system will show
indicators on the individual requirements of what work counts toward that
● Troop leaders will need to hold an advancement conference near the beginning
of their program year for all their Navigators and Adventurers to review their
records and ensure all requirements for the new ranks are accurately recorded.
● Note: The first three ranks of Recruit Trailman, Able Trailman, and Ready
Trailman along with the Trail Badges associated with them are called the Core
Skills Trail Badges and Ranks. These Ranks and Badges embody the core skills
that every Trailman both Navigator and Adventurer need to know first.
Q: How do Trailmen transition from the old advancement program to the new advancement
system if our Troop and/or Trailman don’t have advancement records in Trail Life Connect?
A: The Trailman and Troop leaders will use the appropriate flowchart (at the end of this
document) to determine the appropriate credit he should receive in the new
● After the Trailman’s next NEW rank is determined, the Trailman will participate in
a single Advancement Conference and Board of Review to bring him up-to-date
in the new advancement system.
Q: The transition flowcharts look pretty complicated. What’s the big idea?
A: The transition flowcharts implement the following principles:
● Navigators are only eligible to earn the first three ranks: Recruit Trallman, Able
Trailman, and Ready Trailman.
● Adventurers may earn any of the six ranks: Recruit Trallman, Able Trailman,
Ready Trailman, Journey, Ascent, and Horizon.
● Generally, Trailmen will earn the highest rank for which they are eligible, plus all
lesser included ranks within the following parameters:
○ A Trailman must be current in Troop activities (6 non-Troop activities per
year in the current program level).
○ A Trailman must be current in service hours (15/year as a Navigator and
20/year as an Adventurer).
○ The Trailman must have earned the appropriate number and type of Trail
Badges to qualify for the rank sought.
○ Though the leadership requirement is progressive, that is, because each
of the Ready Trailman, Journey, Ascent, and Horizon Ranks require a
leadership component, a Trailman earning the Horizon Rank will typically
have completed 4 leadership activities. However, at this initial transition, a
total of only one leadership requirement will be required to earn these
○ At this initial transition, the Freedom Experience requirements for these
ranks may be waived at the Troop’s discretion.
● Trailmen who are (1) eligible to have earned the NEW Ready Rank, namely, have
completed the Trail Badge requirements, the leadership activity, are current in
their Troop activities and service for their current program level and (2) have also
earned the Navigator Worthy Life Award may retroactively be awarded the
○ Neither the Trail Badges need to have been earned as a Navigator nor
the leadership activity completed as a Navigator to earn the Ridgeline
Award during this initial transition.
○ Note: This relaxation of these specific requirements applies only during
the initial transition. A Navigator Trailman seeking to earn the Ridgeline
Award after this initial transition must complete all Ready Trailman Rank
requirements plus Ridgeline Award requirements as a Navigator.
Q: Are the service hours per year as a Navigator or as an Adventurer cumulative? In other
words, if a Navigator Trailman only completed 10 hours of service his first year, does he
need to go back and make up the 5 hours “missing” from the first year before completing 15
for his second year in order to progress in the ranks?
A: No, the hours are not cumulative. A Navigator Trailman will need to complete 15 hours
of service in a year period in order to move forward in the ranks. He could progress
through several ranks in that one year, but the minimum number of service hours needed
to progress at all would be 15 per year. An Adventurer would need to complete a
minimum of 20 hours of service per year. It is up to the Trailman and Troop leadership to
accurately track and record the number of hours and the time period that they are for.
Q: We have a Trailman who has completed all the Trail Badge requirements for one of the
ranks but is behind on service hours or Troop activities. Can we waive the service and Troop
A: No. Instead, the Trailman should focus his efforts on completing service hours and Troop
activities in order to facilitate the transition to the desired rank.
Q: I noticed that the ranks now state that Trailman must appear “in-uniform.” Is Trail Life
requiring uniforms now?
A: The requirement is that Trailmen present themselves in a Troop-approved
uniform option. Trail Life has three official options: Troop Uniform (Formal),
Travel Uniform (Polo), and Trail Uniform (T-shirt). See pages 34-35 in the
2023 Navigators and Adventurers Handbook or page 16 in the Parent and
Download the FAQ: 2023 Navigators Adventurers New Ranking System FAQ
What is My Current Rank Now?:
*NOTE: “New Rank” is referring to the Ascent Rank
*NOTE: “New Rank” is referring to the Ascent Rank
Transition Period Waivers Available:
Highlighted areas below showed the waivers available during the transition period: