Friday, March 20, 2015

Only in America...

...would this guy -

a wildlife biologist with almost 30 years experience teaching Stone Age skills and nature connection and is considered one of the top Stone Age skills experts in North America. Chris has lived most of the past 20+ years in the wilderness ... he lived in a tipi for 6 years, homesteaded along the most remote mail route in the lower 48 states, lead totally Stone Age expeditions into the wilderness of Idaho and Oregon, worked in the most dangerous job in the world, was one of the largest python breeders in Canada, was a waiter at a 4 Star restaurant, managed over $100 million worth of property in Park City, UT, and has had multiple near-death experiences. His teachers include Lakota, Shoshone, Arapaho, Crow, Blackfeet and Serri tribesmen, many wilderness skills experts and life itself 

 - be making  his living running a kids summer camp, during which children learn:
  • Sensory awareness, expanded vision 
  • Silent walking and stalking 
  • Tracking and reading animal signs  
  • Safe use of knives and knife sharpening 
  • Edible and medicinal plants 
  • Fire by friction methods 
  • Making rope/string from plants for fishing line, nets, snares, etc. 
  • Primitive hygiene (making soap, shampoo, toothbrush and comb) 
  • Paiute deadfall trap, quail trap and springpole snare 
  • Accessing intuition 
  • Native and nature immersion games 
  • Traditional and modern stories 
  • Wilderness ethics 
And, probably only in the beach towns of SoCal, come to that. Like so many aspects of life here, my first response on reading his ad was 'how ridiculous' - followed moments later, by the realization that this is awesome. What pampered, urban kid wouldn't gain something from mucking about with sticks and camouflage and fire with a professional wildman? Oh, and 'accessing intuition' too, of course.

It's the season for summer camp ads, and I'm seeing ads like this every day. Children here from the age of 6 or 7 and up can join a camp to pursue almost any interest you can possibly conceive of. I've heard of restaurant camp, photography and film making camps, an animal hospital camp, lego, chess and robotics, and a bunch of sporty ones too.

Nothing so high falutin' for Lady P. We've signed her up for a couple of days a week at the Montessori for the month of July - dipping our toe in the water of South Bay education, so to speak. In a few short years she'll be off experimenting with with knives and fire, playing chef or movie maker.

It's a long way from the summers I enjoyed as a child, of long days playing with my sisters and the local kids in the street or the fields behind our house, with very little structure to most of it. Which makes me think that maybe, when the time comes, we'll just ship her off to Yorkshire for a more traditional summer with her cousins - and call it 'British Camp'.

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