We live for others. In Emergency Survival Training this concept is underscored in the purpose as to why we train. Secure in our relationship and future with God, our motive for staying alive and healthy on this planet is to be here for others.
Though we train individually to survive, we value the team. This has application in the family, the church, and the workplace. The opportunity to divide labor and delegate responsibilities can be a tremendous advantage when time is of the essence. Maybe more importantly is the opportunity to have my weakness covered by another’s strength. We take our direction from our Father who put us in community.
We are always about building the father and son relationship. This leadership camp was no exception. Dads were encouraged to be their son’s closest advisor. We do ask the dads to make room for their sons to fail. After all, most wisdom in our fallen world comes from trial and error. Each dad must strike his own balance between observing and suggesting.
For our younger members of the LTC we prized the reality of putting away childish things. Remaining focused on the mission becomes absolutely essential in a survival mode. Even a small cut from the careless use of a knife can significantly reduce one’s ability to do what is needed. We witnessed growth as the price of carelessness was realized.
Situational awareness became of utmost importance in so many ways. Two examples: locating all exits at the time of entering a structure, and making a mental record while walking in the woods of the resources that might be useful later for building a fire or shelter, collecting or purifying water, or foraging for food.
We also emphasized using situational awareness to avoid crisis in the first instance. The Book of Proverbs is replete with exhortations to exercise prudence. When the Holy Spirit shows danger ahead, it is time to turn around and go the other way.
The men learned the hard way that when they are cold and they and their fire-starting materials are soaking wet, getting warm with a fire is a priority but difficult. Endurance becomes the operative character quality, and noted for the future is always having multiple proven methods of starting a fire that work even in extremely bad weather.
As for building shelters, the men learned from experience that it takes time to build a barrier sufficient to keep warm from the cold air and ground. The recourse: a good fire to provide the warmth that the shelters were lacking.
When it came to purifying water, natural elements did an amazing job of turning grey water into clear. The harder part was collecting water without access to a pond or stream. The Platoon of fathers and sons resorted to collecting rain in a plastic bag, catching water rolling off a metal roof, and sopping up standing water in puddles and wet grass.
The fun part was finding food. We enjoyed edible plants, crickets, and grasshoppers. A few sons for the first time had to dispatch, pluck, and dress chickens for the Dutch ovens in the fire. The other components of training were weather forecasting, distress signaling, primitive navigation, natural medicine, and personal emergency preparedness, including the creation of a survival kit.
We had an intimate Platoon of three dads and four sons, let by Cadre of five, including a new sergeant. By the way, most of the time we had wonderful meals prepared for us by our outstanding cooking staff consisting of 2Lt. Brian Bilodeau and two of his daughters Rachel and Faith.
This LTC camp was the first venue to offer the training requisite to earn the new Emergency Survival Training Award. All the men passed the testing and demonstrated the necessary field proficiency.
Lt. Col. Doug Dagarin