Friday, February 8, 2013

Knowledge, with Skill, is Power

One clear, summer night a few years back, I asked a group of teenaged Scouts how they would navigate without a compass... "Use the Sun", one said. Another responded, "Use the North Star".. Both were valid, well-rehearsed answers. I smiled, hoping my doubts were going to be proven wrong.  My follow up questions were "Tell me how" and "Show me how". Unfortunately at that, I was met with blank, slack jawed stares. 

"Kinder and gentler".. oh how I remember those thoughts and words from the early 1990s. For social issues, and in raising children and dealing with our neighbors.. and others.. there are few words of advice that are more timely. 
The problem is that somehow people have started to think that the wider natural world is a "kinder and gentler " place. Nothing could be much further from the truth.

At Teamlink/Shenandoah Mountain Guides, we work with Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, colleges and universities, as well as with the broader worldwide public, and somehow, it seems, those who are the "deciders" have decided that it may not be as necessary today as it was 10, 15, 20 or 100 years ago, to go into the outdoors armed with solid knowledge and proven outdoor skills, prepared to handle any situation that may come your way.

Too many magazine articles have espoused that "with the right gear" you can do and survive anything. And besides, if anything does go wrong your SPOT/EPIRB/cell phone is always within reach... you can call on someone who DOES have the skills to come and "save " you. Too many folks have grown into adulthood thinking that safety and comfort in the outdoors natural world is a right... not something that has to be, not earned.. but rather,  LEARNED.
Reading about outdoor adventure is enjoyable, but actually knowing HOW is a different thing altogether.
(I can read about brain surgery and rocket science... does that prepare me to actually do brain surgery or build a rocket??.. heck no.) 

It's not that  outdoor adventure skills are hard, they just take time and focus, to master. Our immediate gratification society is increasingly willing to dispense with mastery of outdoor skills in exchange for rolling the dice... will we, or will we not need assistance...

Am I the only one who would find it hugely embarrassing to have to be "rescued" for simply not being prepared??

At SMG, we LEAD trips into mountain wilderness areas all the time. We SERVE as Search and Rescue (SAR) volunteers in those same mountains. We TEACH technical high angle rescue to professional mountain rescue teams.
We KNOW the sorts of things that can go wrong, and we know how to teach folks to be prepared and how to avoid getting into bad situations in the first place.

So, take the time to learn to get more enjoyment from the outdoors! LEARN to be more fully self reliant! 

How cool would it be to know a bunch of KNOTS? (each of which having a unique function). .. or how to navigate without a compass? (and not get lost).. or something as simple as how to dress and prepare for a long hike (without buying a bunch of shiny new gear whose function is questionable)? The answer is really cool!
Or just maybe you want to be in the position of knowing exactly what to do (and how to do it) when things beyond your control,  go really, really wrong. (THAT could be as cool as saving a life!)

  Call us today.. 866.455.8672. Our Spring and Summer classes are open for you.

 (as the Suunto Compass ad goes: "Replacing Luck")