Wednesday, March 28, 2012

You Must be Kidding Me !!

That is what I hear from my students every time I get to the point where I issue the teams with their rations for the next two days.

I am a firm believer that to truly consider a course a survival course you must develop sound teaching skills, provide realistic environmental surroundings, allow only the bare minimum in equipment and push the comfort level of your students.  In doing so your students will develop the knowledge, skills and abilities of survival while actually struggling to survive in an extreme environment.

We can all complete tasks while rested, warm, well hydrated and with a belly filled with food.  However you will never truly gain the confidence necessary to survive in a real winter survival emergency unless a good mentor or teacher allows you to test your survival mindset for real.

Team 1 and Team 2 both had four students each and were provided a ration pack which included the following items:
  • 1 Lipton Chicken Noodle Cup a Soup packet
  • 1 Bullion Cube
  • 1 Mr. Noodles dried noodle packet
  • 2 pieces of gum
The ration packs were designed to be minimal and mimic what a hiker or snowshoer might take in his backpack for a bush lunch.  It doesn't take a long look at that list to realize that is barely enough food for one guy for one day let alone a full team working constantly over two days in extreme conditions. 

That's the reality of a true survival emergency.  You didn't plan to be lost.  You didn't plan to get injured.  You didn't plan to be stranded.  You didn't plan to get snowed in.  Cause if you did you would have brought steak, potatoes and a few pints to help you get through it.  This is survival.

As instructors we monitor the ups and downs of team members.  It's always awesome to watch people's reaction to hunger, fatigue, thirst and strangers.  Sometimes it provides great comical relief and other times we fear for people's safety from their teammates !!!

We took this opportunity to show the students one of the greatest survival foods out there.


Very few of the students had ever heard of Bannock and only one of them had ever tried Bannock.  When we rolled into their camps at 2200 hrs we found them fatigued, cold, hungry and miserable.  So when I displayed a Rubbermaid container of the Bannock mixture they became extremely excited.

Armed with marshmallow roasting sticks in hand I wrapped a length of raisin filled Bannock mixture around them.

As the mixture began to rise and brown the excitement was written all over their faces and once they consumed their first taste it was like heaven had just arrived in camp.

It was important to show them what one little zip lock bag filled with Bannock mix could provide them in a survival emergency.

Bannock on a stick on the slow cooker.
Paul getting ready for his first taste.
Dean watching intently as his Bannock cooks.
Preparing for their first taste.
I think they just found Heaven !! Look at their
faces - PRICELESS.
Team 2 cooking their Bannock.
The boys of Team speechless for
the first time in 15 hrs !
What an amazing experience for both student and instructors.  Great job guys !!

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