Back in May we had a great opportunity presented to the local homeschooling community. A Christian campground put together a "Survival Skills" day. They had a number of Maine Guides who volunteered to come teach the kids survival skills.
I think the highlight for my boys, however, was meeting Game Warden Ethan Buck. He has been on the reality show North Woods Law. No film crew this day though.
He talked with the kids about what to do if they get lost in the woods. This also included what they should pack in a survival kit to carry whenever they do go out in the woods. He also graciously stayed and signed autographs for a bit after he spoke and before the kids headed out in the woods for their other workshops.
My middle son in blue & glasses getting his hat signed.
The older kids were split into two groups. We first headed out and the Guides showed them various ways to survive in the woods. The first thing we did was go check out the water trap they had made earlier.
See the plastic bag around the leaves?
I had actually never heard of a water trap before so I found this really interesting. If you put a plastic bag (black would probably be best) around some leaves that are in direct sunlight and leave it for some time, water will begin to condense inside the bag and you'll get drinkable water. Not a ton, but enough to survive if you ever found yourself lost without water.
They also went over how to find landmarks and mark a trail. We went for a short walk on a trail and the kids had to navigate back out. They briefly went over how to use a compass - an important skill to have even in this day and age of GPS.
Next we went to talk about shelter. The Guides gave them a couple of examples and the kids broke into two groups. They then started building. It was interesting to watch them work and figure this out. They worked really well together too.
Building the framework
(middle son in an orange hat and youngest in an orange shirt)
Revamped framework to make better use of the rock.
There's a big rock and a boy. Need I say more?
Checking out the inside of their completed shelter.
The other groups shelter.
They then moved on to the one thing most boys like to do, at least mine do, build fire! There are a number of ways to build a fire and they went over all of them as well as how to actually build up what you are going to burn.
My youngest got to try starting a fire using a magnesium stick and a file (think flint and stone).
This Guide also brought his fire bow and showed the kids how that worked.
This was a great day. I really hope the Campground puts on more workshops/days like this. At the end of the day, every child received a certificate of participation plus a small backpack with a few survival items inside it. The whole day was well worth the time, cost affordable (they even fed us!), and fun.