If you’re looking for ways to get your child’s brain, eyes and thumbs off of a device screen (yeee-haw!), this might work. Not only that, but after the fact it might be a great bonding op if parents plan a hike together so kid can teach mom or dad what they learned.
Consider the 3-day Day Camp program being held by Beaver Brook Association in Hollis on August 4th, 5th and 6th from 9am-4pm. “Can You Survive It?” introduces our up-and-comers (grades 7-9) to the basic skills needed to rough it in the woods. They’ll learn how to identify edible and medicinal plants; make, and safely use, a bow drill to create fire, fish without a rod from materials found in nature, discover and identify tracks made by animals, shelter building and generally sharpen and expand their outdoor awareness.
This program brings me back to one of the most fun improv activities I remember, when a friend and I slowly digressed from being in our 30s back to adolescence when we wound up playing a “what if” resource-finding game while hiking. For entertainment along the way, we went on the lookout for what was growing, had fallen, or was lying around that could be fashioned into survival tools. It was fun enough so we did it on later hikes but there was something about that whole exercise that was incredibly compelling because it engrosses your imagination and gets you thinking outside the box (the one that’s inside the other box you never have to think outside of).
Hey, even for a city dwelling gringo, just doing that as casually as we did it actually carried over into sharpening my own eye for jury rigging household things when the right implements weren’t available.
Chick Wetherbee, the instructor and owner of Earthward Natural Foods, has trained at the Tom Brown Jr. Tracker School and instructed survival skills at Beaver Brook for over 8 years. While it’s only three days, it’s a chance for kids to meet others in an environment that’s fun and challenging with nary a cell phone screen connecting them, plus they’ll exercise some muscles in the process because they’ll be hiking into some of the more remote areas of the trail system. The cost for the 3-day experience is $200 which sounds like a lot, but hey, it could end up being worth much more than that.
You can register online or call (603) 465-7787 for more information.
Beaver Brook Association
117 Ridge Road