Easter 2017 has been a massive milestone for Sun and Stars Bushcraft. The first week of this Easter Holidays we ran our inaugural 5-day Holiday Bushcraft Program, in partnership with the Samford Valley Steiner School, Samford, QLD…and we had a blast! We had 14 kids aged 8-12 attend the course; 6 came for the entire 5 days, while the remaining 8 attended when they could, some for one day, some for 3, as fit their own schedules. This worked just great as we had a mix of experience and new blood that kept us on our toes. We had a maximum of 11 on any given day and always had heaps of people to share in the learning.
This particular program was heavily focused on technical bush skills as the kids learned the priorities of survival and then delved deeper into what that they meant to a real survival situation.
For the uninitiated the rule of threes states that any person can only survive for…
- 3 minutes without air
- 3 hours without shelter (assuming harsh exposure to heat/cold/wind/rain etc)
- 3 days without water
- 3 weeks without food
Given that air is fairly fundamental; if you find yourself buried, get out as best you can and don’t go into dark caves or holes…this is a natural tendency in most humans to protect themselves, so we don’t cover it in too much depth.
After this though, the rule of threes gives rise to our Priorities of Survival;
So our Easter Holiday Bushcraft Program studied just this; the children built their own shelter, waterproofed the roof and built wind breaks on three sides. They built a raised bed off the ground, weaved a grass mattress on a camp loom and increased camp comfort with some awesome arm chairs.
They each received their own flint and striker and learned to start fires with it, discovered what good tinder was available nearby and how to manage fire in a camp throughout an entire day.
They set up a solar still to catch water, collected natural materials to make a filter and fired clay pots that could later be used to boil water in.
Finally they received their own whistle and signalling mirror, made a smoke signal with the fire and learned a number of techniques, including the internationally recognised distress signals and brainstormed other ideas of resourceful signalling in different situations.
Beyond this we covered an introduction to navigation to aid them in not getting lost in the first place and a number of useful camp crafts and skills including knife work, weaving, pottery with natural clay and painting with ochre.
Along with having a fantastic time, we recieved such positive feedback. I heard one parent had concerns that his children would not want to go to school during the holidays, and was astounded at their enthusiasm, often haranguing their parents to hurry up because they didn’t want to be late! Great to see the joy and connection in each of the students as they lapped up the information and skills and really connected with the purpose.
We ran this holiday bushcraft program on a small section of school grounds which was in an overgrown eucalypt forest, normally out of bounds to the kids it was sufficiently ‘not like school’ and provided a perfect location to be both safe and wild at the same time.
Honestly, I couldn’t have asked for more from our first venture and am already receiving requests for the next one…let’s go, I say and bring on more bushcraft!