Outdoor activities with a healthy dose of curiosity, brought to you by Laure Latham
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Adventurer and family man Bear Grylls has become the world reference in survival skills and outdoor adventure. Proving that nothing is impossible, the father of three has survived on burgers made of locusts and beetles in the Sahara, fashioned a wetsuit out of seal carcass to cross frigid waters, and used his parachute to slow down while sliding down an icy mountain. Inspired by his adventures, the Bear Grylls Survival Academy offers outdoor camps designed to channel your inner Davy Crockett-meets-Indiana Jones and teach you a thing or two about surviving in the wild. Formerly only available in the UK, the BG Survival Academy now comes to the US (New York’s Catskills, Colora Rockies and California Sierras) and there’s a 24-hour Family Camp option.
Here is what you need to know about the 24-hour family camp.
What Is It?
Specifically aimed at getting kids to spend time outside, away from computer screens and television, Bear developed the 24-hour family course to offer families a chance to bond over truly wild survival experiences. Intrepid families can now learn practical survival skills and share a unique experience together. Parents and children will learn useful life and outdoor skills that can be applied in everyday life, or to look after oneself in challenging situations where the odds may be against you.
Participants get to stay overnight in shelter and gain abilities such as river crossings, water purification, fire building, building emergency shelters, navigate harsh terrain by day and night, rope skills, crossing difficult terrain and survival knife skills.
Is It For Your Kids?
Clearly, you and your child are in for some rough (but fun) times. This is no spa retreat or craft camp. I’d say the camp is for your kids if:
– they are adventurous and like trying new things
– their heroes include The Hunger Games‘ Katniss Everdeen, Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer, Brave’s Princess Merida, My Side Of The Mountain‘s Sam Gribley or Hatchet‘s Brian
– they would like to star in the next Swiss Family Robinson movie or try to replicate Swallows and Amazons commando-style
– Jack London and Mark Twain would be cool grand-dads, Calamity Jane an awesome grand-ma
– they are scouts or want to be scouts
– they are not afraid to get wet, possibly cold or eat unusual foraged or hunted items
What Will You Get Out Of It?
Given the booming Nature Deficit Disorder, it’s not difficult to see how our children are more and more disconnected from the natural world. Many are afraid of nature, others are afraid to get dirty, very few know anything about edible or poisonous plans. Yet, we are surrounded by incredible wilderness in the US and by getting to know it, you’re opening your world to new family opportunities. Who knows, this camp might inspire you to do things you previously thought were impossible. Say, a backpacking trip, or a rafting expedition, or a bushcraft adventure?
I always encourage kids (especially my girls) to take risks, if only because they are more and more restricted by rules. When it’s not Health and Safety, it’s social paranoia or ultra-protective parenting. It’s time to get out! Kids need to know how to take risks, they need to know about facing the unexpected because honestly, that’s what life is all about. Plus, who wouldn’t get a kick out of being Indiana Jones for a day? I know my girls would love it.
The California camp takes place in Oakhurst, Yosemite National Park. The Colorado camp takes place at Glacier View Ranch. The New York camp takes place in the Catskills Mountains. All fabulous locations, but my fave would be the Yosemite:)
Children must be between 10 and 17 years of age, and physically active. Given the challenge, the camps are designed for six pairs of one adult-one child, that’s 12 people max (small numbers).
You can find all other details here.
As for me, I hope to take my girls through this academy in the near future. It sounds like a blast and they’re always up for some exciting adventures!