We just completed a very successful day camp for our cub scouts that focused on basic camping and survival skills. As I owe you all a second article on teaching urban kids bushcraft I thought I would outline what I did there.

Knife Safety

As I spoke about in part one the ability to use a knife safely and effectively is a key bushcraft skill. We spent the first part of our morning learning how to use and maintain our knives. The kids were very enthusiastic and just wanted to get into carving something (many de-barked walking sticks and hot dog roasters were made that day)

Camping Hygiene

The next station that we ran was on camping hygiene. We spoke of personal hygiene, maintaining our cooking gear and caring for our water and environment. All of our cubs are encouraged to carry a personal hand sanitizer and to use it after going to the washroom. Human waste can carry fecal coli which can lead to sickness and vomiting if ingested. If your hands are visibly dirty or before meals wash with soap and water, nothing beats a good hand wash.

After eating the youth should wash their personal mess kit using a 3 step process. 1.Warm soapy water to clean the plate 2.Clean water to rinse the plate and 3.water with a cap full pf bleach to sanitize the dishes. We then have our cubs hang their mess kits in a mesh bag on a line to air dry. remember to use a sump hole or the spread and spray method for your grey water, 100-200 feet away from any natural water source.

As for the camp area itself we teach all our youth to pack out what they brought in, no garbage no mess left behind. As for bathroom facilities, we usually use sites that have pit toilets, but in the back country make sure you dig a hole 10 to 12 inches deep and at least 200 feet away from any water source, use minimal biodegradable paper or pack it out with you in a plastic bag. fill the hole in when you are done.

Camp Cooking

Try to make cooking at camp as simple and mess free as possible. You want your youth to be involved in every step of the process so if they are ever in a situation where they need to do it for themselves they will have the skill and confidence to do so. Try things like walking taco’s or ice cream cone smores, these are thinks that the kids can hod in their hand, are easy to make and fun to eat.

In the afternoon we broke the kids up into three groups and ran three separate stations for them as follows.

Fire Building

We exposed the youth to fire building using several different methods from matches to a bow drill, by the end of the day most of the cubs had started a fire with a cottin ball and ferrocerium rod (fire steel).

Shelter building

The kids were given rope and a tarp and sheet depicting several different basic shelter. They set to making a shelter of their own with adults there to offer advice on improvements. To my surprise all the kids made good sturdy shelters will little or no prompting. I wouldn’t try and live in them long term, but in an emergency to get out of the wind and the rain they were great.

Emergency signaling

We reviewed the need for youth when lost to Hug A Tree, and why to always carry a whistle.

Hug a Tree – Stay in place, use your survival blanket to stay warm and dry, and blow your whistle… Three Blasts, because 3 is the universal signal for help. We also talked about using fire to signal for help, smokey fire in the day by burning green material, and a bright fire by night to be seen from a distance. The rule of 3 applies here as well, 3 fires in a triangle shape is out of place in nature and will let people know you need help.

We also gave the kids a basic lesson on signaling aircraft, and the use of morse code.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All of this was done at a local park over the course of one day, its easy and fun and your kids will walk away with the knowledge and experience they need to get started on their bushcraft adventure.

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