Thursday, June 2, 2016

Survival Skills Field Trip

Last spring my boys attended a "Survival Skills" day in a nearby town. This was put on at a campground by their staff and set up for homeschooling families to attend. My boys had a great time so we were excited to hear they were doing another class this spring. What was even better was that it was a totally different program.

They were able to have a Game Warden come and kick off the day just like they did last year. The warden shared what it was like to be a warden, some of things they do during the day, and some of the equipment they carry with them. 

The kids were broken into four groups this year and my boys and their friend were in the same one. We headed out on a tree identification walk. The forester who took us was extremely knowledgeable. He had been working in the industry for quite some time and it definitely showed. 

The finale to his morning talk was to fell a tree. Gauging from the reactions to this, many had never seen this before which I find surprising considering we all live in Maine. It was still very cool to watch and we were very close to the action so that was neat as well. 

The tree is "locked" here and he is pounding in wedges to make sure it falls where he wants it too. 

He showed the kids how to figure out how old the tree was after. This particular tree was estimated to be 85-100 years old! He also talked about why trees need to be cut and thinned. It was something I hadn't realized. Trees need width to grow as well as height. So if there are too many trees close together, they will just stop growing.

For lunch this year, the had the kids go by group to various campsites and they were able to cook hot dogs wrapped in croistant dough. Both my boys said this was THE favorite part of this year's event.

I opted not to follow them around after lunch as it was a recap of what they had done last year. They practiced how to build shelters. 

The last event of the afternoon was a relay race of sorts. They had to run out to a checkpoint and chose a "short" or "long" trail. If they picked the shorter trail, they had to do more things to complete their task. If they picked the longer trail, they were given some "short cuts" to the tasks. 

The first task was to simply fill a cup of a water to a certain mark. Those who took the short trail had to filter water they brought back through a sock. Those who took the longer trail were given a bottle of water and only had to fill the cup. 

The second task was to build a fire that would burn through a string. Those on the shorter trail were given matches only. Those on the longer trail were given matches and something to strike it on. All the materials they needed to build the fire were waiting for them at the end. I think the kids had a good time with this task. 

Lastly, all the children were given certificates and a small baggie full of survival items. All in all it was a good day. 

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