Monday, January 14, 2013

# 389 - Wilderness Survival Training

I am so proud of my brother. Since I'm from the South, I call him, "Bubba." However, his actual name is Douglas. He is a Boy Scout Leader for Troop 202.

Because my brother is a true survivalist and a decorated war veteran, he will be leading the troop into the wilderness for survival training. The kids who pass all the tests for the weekend will earn their Wilderness Survival Badge.

Douglas and his youngest son, Quin.
Guess where he's taking the troop for their survival training?

He's taking the scouts to my acreage that's located in the Piney Woods of the Big Thicket region. There's near ten acres waiting for the scouts and they will definitely be tucked away inside the forest.

The troop got together and my brother put it to the kids like this, of course, he's giving this speech in his typical booming "Marine" voice, (I'm paraphrasing from my conversation with him), he told the troop, "At the end of this month, I will be taking you scouts into the wilderness where we will live out a survival scenario for the weekend. Your leaders will be injured and the bridge to the creek, needed to escape, will be washed out, so you will have to build a natural bridge to cross the water. Each of you will need to build your own make-shift shelter, prepare your own drinking water, build your own fire, and provide First Aid to your leaders."

My nephew is the long-legged boy to the far right.

He had their attention, he continued, "When you are in the wilderness, you might come across predatory animals, bad weather, unfair conditions, discomfort, and you might want to cry, whine or moan. But, if you walk up to a tree and cry and wail to the tree...What Will Happen? The tree will not respond, AND in this manner, your scout leaders will be trees. We will NOT respond to crying or whining or complaining because this is a weekend for survivalists and that means YOU must work out your own problems. By the way, remember that your leaders will be 'injured' so you will need to take care of US leaders in addition to taking care of yourself. It's going to be tough. You will be challenged and if you succeed, you will definitely have EARNED your Wilderness Survival Badge."

Since my brother is a Marine (never say "ex" Marine), he is forceful and competent, can kill with his bare hands and all that good Marine stuff.

The handsome guy standing there in the middle of the Middle East,
that's my brother. An amazing person --- it took him a while to
figure it out, but he is indeed amazing.

Did I mention that he's also a Systems Analyst Executive in Houston, Texas? The Survivalist-Marine-Computer-Geek.

But, this is still his favorite past-time...

There is an area of our land where the boys will be camping out. My brother has made a couple of trips to scout it out to pick out the perfect spot. I wish I could climb a tree and get a bird's-eye view of the scouts on Saturday, especially as my brother is writhing on the ground with his fake injury...he's a pretty good actor. Come to think of it, aren't all little brothers great at fake-hurt acting? Even if they must slam their own arm in the door kind of acting, twist their own arm kind of acting, then run to mother with real tears while pointing to the big sister and saying, "She hurt me; I don't know why! I was being so nice!" Yea, acting, something like that. He's good, I've witnessed it plenty of times, personally. Let's hope my brother is now smart enough to create a fake injury instead of slamming his face into a tree for the sake of realism. I may need to have a discussion with him about the benefits of FAKE blood. haha.

As for the land, it's pretty isolated enough to believe they are really trapped in the wilderness, but they'll have access to a lake with spring-fed water and a creek. But, the water will still need to be treated before it can be drank. In a worse case scenario, they actually could walk about two miles to the corner store. However, the truth is...where our land is located, if the kids didn't know where they were going, it is a real possibility that they could become lost deep in the woods, very easily, and it could be serious. The Texas Forestry Department doesn't have a head-quarter's building around the corner from our land for nothing.

But, that's what this Wilderness Survival Badge is all about. If those kids were to ever become lost in the wilderness, they will know how to increase their chances of surviving. And guess what? America is still FULL of areas of wilderness; this is a good skill to learn. America also suffers from natural disasters that would make survival training truly valuable.

The Scouts will be allowed to cut down certain pine trees to build their independent make-shift shelters and to create a passable area at the creek. I believe they will use the pine branches to make the roof of their shelters which my brother said should be very low to the ground, just enough for the kids to slide under because it will better hold in their body heat with less space to the "ceiling" of the shelter.

I think that starting a fire will be their main challenge. Each scout must start his own fire. That will be interesting. I can't wait to hear the details of how this goes.

My brother's three awesome kiddos!

My brother is a sweetheart to me. Like any siblings, we have our ups and downs, but our hearts are very close. He is my "little" brother, but I am so damn proud of him. He's become a man of great conviction, truth and honor. He took a rough road to get there, but he got there and he keeps trying to reach higher.

At Heather's wedding a few months ago, my oldest daughter's wedding, my sweetest dance was with my brother. We couldn't even talk...just the knowledge that we were kids together and that our own children are growing up was overwhelming. All we needed was a couple of minutes together to absorb the phase we've reached as siblings.

It took a long time to get to that wedding day for my daughter, all the way from days like these...

...and these...but I think he's off the bottle now.

As soon as the scouts have their weekend with Big Foot on our land, I will be posting pictures to share with you. I'm sure Bubba will have incredible memories to share and the boy scouts will have awesome memories as well. I can only imagine how he will play out the scout leaders' injuries and what will be expected of his troop. These boys will definitely benefit from my brother's life experiences and from being thrust in the middle of the woods and expected to "survive."

It's nice to know my brother was selected to lead the troop for this badge expedition, especially since my brother is a man who survived in the desert; he's survived in canyon-lands: and he is a true woodsman from babyhood to manhood. To be honest, all this upcoming fun makes me wish I had been in the Boy Scouts, well, that sounds WRONG on many levels. Yes, I believe ONLY BOYS should be in the Boy Scouts, but they sure get to do a lot of awesome things! Forget the cookies! Give me the woods!

Good thing is, the first night there, Friday night, they will be staying in a tent, then the survivor time begins the next morning and will continue all throughout that coming night, all night, and I suppose it will come to an end on Sunday morning. For these boys, I bet Saturday will be high-stress, challenging and a test of their skills while Saturday night will seem to last forever.

I'm going to tell my brother that they can pick a hardwood tree (out of the hundreds on the land) and carve in their troop number and date, a tree that will be there for a long time for all to see. I'm sure those boys will leave their "mark" on our land in many ways, especially in sporadic holes dug here and there for a specific purpose, but the carved tree will give me years of joy as I pass it by.

By the end of January, the Boy Scouts will be one step closer to becoming a man. They might go home with their chests sticking out a bit further and with the feeling that chin hairs are starting to sprout, but I bet most will be glad to be home with mommy, a warm bed, and a kitchen with food to grab. Life will certainly look more grand and their pride will be inflated in a positive way. Ahhh, the beauty of the Boy Scouts organization.


Anonymous said...

Nice to have someone who "has your back" and can back it up.
The boyscouts are lucky to have him. Beth

LindaG said...

That's an amazing test they have set up; but they must be pretty sure their scouts are up to it.
Good luck to them all!

Love your brother's cat, too. ;o)

Have a Blessed week, Lana. said...

Beth- My brother is definitely the kind of guy who will always have your back. I am blessed to have him as my brother.

Linda – the other scout leaders told my brother, after his speech, that they believe they were going to be swamped with more scouts signing up for the survival weekend. Next weekend my brother is going out to the property to mow a section so that the scouts and parents can drop off their kids and not be in high grass. One of the scout leaders told my brother that not everybody enjoys the wilderness and some people will be driving minivans and low-profile cars so they want to make sure that there's not knee-high grass in one section. It's been so long since we've been there to mow.


Becky's Barnyard said...

Wow! I know those kids are going to have a great weekend. And tell your brother THANK YOU from me for his service. said...

Becky - I will make SURE to pass on your kind words and I know it will touch his heart. He believes in investing time into the children of tomorrow. I am so proud of him because the Boy Scouts of American is an incredible organization.

Thanks again!