American Bushman

"If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing." —Benjamin Franklin

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Renewed Focus

The big push these past few weeks has been on getting outdoors.

In order to get the "time off" to do that, I have been involving not only my own kids but any other kids that want to tag along.

I have focused on kid-specific skills and gear in the past but I'm going to be focusing more and more on how to get kids into the woods and back home safely while teaching them important skills and knowledge about the natural, sometimes unforgiving, world around them.

I have built small kits for the kids which I wrote about here, I'm going got revisit that. I worked with Jake yesterday on how to make the simplest of shelters using a space blanket and zipties. I'll make it a photo tutorial. We talk about what to do when the kid becomes separated from the adult--hug a tree, blow your whistle, and be patient.

Some of the writing here is going to be aimed at the lowest common denominator and may seem elementary for some of you but if you have kids and you want to take them outdoors and get 'em dirty you can read along with them as I get my own kids even more comfortable with the concepts of spending an unplanned night out and, eventually, taking that trip.

I had an interesting discussion with a friend of mine yesterday about the state of the modern outdoorsman and I'm afraid that he's right that we're going the way of the dinosaurs. People (here at least) like their woods to be clean and safe and that's what they've been given. We're not allowed off the beaten path and it's making us more and more incapable of handling the dirt, the heat, the bugs, and all the wonderful pains and annoyances that can come with being "out there."

I'm going to see if I can't turn some of these kids into muddy, knife-carrying, fire-building, plant and tree identifiers who WANT to get dirtier every week and who want to learn what a roasted acorn tastes like and how to skin a squirrel with a pocket knife.

Who wouldn't want that?

Thanks for reading,



At 9:19 AM, Anonymous Tim Smith said...

A valuable focus, the kids will thank you for it someday. I agree with your friend, youth are trending away from spending time outside. While there aren't any simple answers, having adults who are genuinely interested in the outdoors can go a long way. By this I mean people like you, not those who put an outdoorsy sticker on a car. Thanks for all you do.

At 9:23 AM, Blogger American Bushman said...

Jack Mountain Tim Smith?

Thanks for your comment. :)

We need to talk sometime about me getting out there for a course or two.

Thanks for stopping by.


At 2:33 PM, Anonymous Tim Smith said...

That's me. I'm a long-time reader and fan.

At 6:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree 100%. I have been doing the same with my kids and it has made a difference. Their confidence levels have increased dramatically and they are learning the importance of mastering the basic skills to form a foundation for future development. Even when you think they aren't paying attention they tend to surprise you. They now know that there's a huge difference between reading a book or Scout manual and the real world. I would be interested to see more of your posts on this subject as I'm always learning and willing to try new approaches. Thanks, Jeff aka Bushpuukko


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