Tag Archives: scooter’s

Tough Love-Babes in the Woods


Lighting a fire in wet conditions, and not rescuing from the failures is tough…
















(This goes along with our podcast- you can find it at http://www.Adventure IQ.com)

I have never been a fan of the notion everybody wins. When coaching youth roller hockey in San Antonio, I had one of the few, and eventually the only program that still kept score in the YMCA portfolio of sports programs.

I believe that you need to give kids a realistic view of their performance, but done so in a way that you leverage their strengths in whatever evaluation you are doing. I don’t believe in sugar coating the feedback, or playing with soft gloves. I also don’t believe in being harsh on them either.

In all my workshops, coaching endeavors, or training I do with kids, military leaders, new adults to the woods, etc is the same… I define the conditions and expectations, allow them to perform, allow them to self evaluate, and then provide guidance and feedback.

The other aspect is tough. I don’t rescue. I allow failure as long as safety is not compromised. Nothing is learned if I am constantly helping a participant to a point I am completing the task them.

Let’s discuss two situations where I have to guide a participant differently.

The first is a fire building scenario. The participant has a good grasp of the concept, understands how to use flint and steel, knows the type of tinder and has been highly successful in starting fires in the past. But this has all been in controlled conditions when it has been fair weather and dry materials.

Survival fires though are most often needed when conditions are wet and clammy. To really test skills, I have to put the participant into real conditions so they not only have the ability to start fires and get warm when most needed, but to have the confidence to do so.

Most fail in getting the fire started in these conditions. Many times, I fail. It is a difficult test to complete. But the real learning is through the debrief with the participant and allowing them to do it again.

Watching a participant unnecessarily expending energy to grab materials, using the wrong materials, standing by and watching the fire not start can be irritating and the desire to jump in can be powerful. But I have to let them fail. This is because the participant has acquired a level of mastery in controlled conditions that can lead to over-confidence which is just as dangerous as not having the skills at all. Here you have to have the tough love and not jump in, allow them to identify their own mistakes, and then provide guidance.

In the other situation, a participant who is new to GPS navigation. In this scenario, the participant is just learning, and allowing them to fail outright as they work to program coordinates, follow the gps to a target, and try to find the best path to get to the target can be overwhelming. In this case I will work closely with the participant and provide constant coaching and working them to success. I still use the same debrief techniques of “what, so what, now what” that I have discussed in the blog and podcast in the past.

Building a solid toolbox of skills is an on-going exercise. As a team, constantly work on our skills to either keep them sharp or learn new techniques. It is also what helps us in communicating with each other and building our team and our families to a tighter cohesive group.

I am not a fan of the everybody wins philosophy. In the back-country people die. There is no second place with mother nature, just a body bag.

Original article: http://waukeefamilyymca.blogspot.com/2011/09/everybody-plays-everybody-wins.html

For more information about us, please checkout http://www.AdventureIQ.com for other blogs, podcast, and videos.

Scooters Prep

Its that time of year we checkout as we prep for Scooter’s Youth Hunting Camp. While our days still have us working the 9-5 (well 6-6), we have been spending each evening and weekend getting ready for the camp. In the mean time, we are still rock’n our podcast, building videos, and doing all the other activities that support Adventure IQ.

On the heals of that we will be taking a journey to Arizona to attend workshops at Overland Expo to get our crew ready for new adventures.

We also have our own kids day camp we are doing this year in August. We have built a dynamic team of instructors who will train 10-15 year-olds outdoor skills such as fire building, water purification, shelter, and wilderness first aid.

Stay tuned….

Be sure to check out the podcast for our new and improved show


Post Scooter’s Camp Check In

What an amazing camp we had this year. So thankful to be a part of it!

Months of planning and prep work – coming to the beginning of the end for us Friday morning as we re-packed the trailer, I practiced my presentations- and then headed out for set up in Emmett. We made it back to the house around 10 pm– in time to make a few modifications, in bed at midnight and after unrestful night we headed back to Emmett at 5 am. On our feet, answering questions, running seminars, breaking down the camp, late meal with friends, and back to Meridian and unloading the rigs and in bed around midnight again….yes I slept all day Sunday!

I brought in a new face to my seminar, Travis Rosenbury. Travis understands the philosophy of AIQ and is part of my advisory group. I have a whole bag of experts I could bring in for this from the survival standpoint- Travis has the people skills I needed to compliment the demonstrations. He was a great addition.

255 kids- and lots of questions from parents- in fact- enough that we did a parent’s seminar during lunch!

I have lots of updates to make in the next few weeks– we are going to go through each question we had and make an individual video for it– plus a special video on what goes into a kids pack.

New stuff this year:

We introduced fire puck- specifically to parents. Huge hit- I probably could have sold 30-50 of them!

Signal mirrors this year we had our participants using it on an appropriate target¬†— Jeff our knife guy. (Jeff and I have a seven-year banter going on– makes it fun for the kids)

Increased the interaction of participants on water purification.

A move away from the magnesium block to more modern fire strikers.

Up next– I have to get sponsors on board– Fire Puck was a great start for us–they donated demo material and I already have reports this morning of residual sales at Home Depot. ¬†Now if I can get SPOT locator, Light My Fire, and either MSR or Katadyn on board with their product– we will have a healthy start.

We have also decided that this year we are going to do something different with our survival classes. I have never accepted a dime for providing training. We still have a few private sessions open this year. From this point forward we are requesting a donation to Hunt of a Lifetime to do our survival course. This is a great cause to support. I am not the guy to take a kid on a hunt, but still want to bring awareness and raise money for this organization. If you already booked- I won’t hold you to it, but would appreciate something if you feel lead to do so.

Again- a great camp and I was impressed with how nice the kids were this year and how involved the parents were. This was also a great year for me as I really got to know the other volunteers around me– what an awesome group Scott as brought together!

Red Baron / Oasis Recon #1

This was only one of the several legs of this trip---did over 120 miles of dirt on Sunday alone. I enjoy using the Garmin to track and upload, but still have issues in it capturing everything I do on a trek.

This trip could be called so many different things and as I have tried to sort through pictures and videos….well in spite of traversing the old town of Oasis (Idaho) and Elk Creek Ranch, I landed on “Red Baron Recon”, simply because as a pilot I fly over this private airstrip all the time. (Really- no pun intended here…)

This will be an on-going overlanding adventure since I just don’t have the time right now to take several weeks to explore this region of southwest Idaho. My main goal is to find opportunities for my photo-bug (Melissa) to see as much diversity in wildlife, flora, and architecture as possible.

My adventure began on Friday evening with a trip south of town with Melissa and Abby to do some star-gazing. Using an app on our iPad, we are able to identify various stars, planets, and constellations. It also gave me a reason to use the new driving lights. Not that it really required it…but they were there so I used them anyway.

Saturday morning Abby and I loaded up early with rain gear, a shot gun, a rifle, three days rations, and a gps and spent the day hunting rabbits, chasing geo-caches, and exploring an area south of Indian Creek. She was pretty exhausted by the end of the day and the roads were getting soupy, so I took her home for the night.

By Sunday I was back on the trail. Departing with a”no estrogen rule” and my faithful adventure partner Trigger, I set out to explore the trails from Indian Creek to “where ever”.

Now usually I would say it is not wise to go without map. I purposely wanted a “wunder-lust” experience. I spend a great deal of time with maps as it is…and just needed the break and try something new.

I would also surmise that most people had no idea where I was. I admit I broke not one, but two of my own rules. But before you turn me over to the Explorers Club for rule violations, I need to explain the equipment and emergency gear I did have on hand. Besides, I have a rule with those who tell me I shouldn’t explore alone. If you are that worried about me, pay for my Spot GPS subscription- and I will post up where I am on these adventures. Otherwise- I am going and will post in the blog when I get back.

Here is what I am packing:

  • Full Survival pack including 5 gallons of water, sleeping bag, signal kit, 3 days of food for two, and a bivvy tent.
  • CB radio, cell phone (phones are mostly useless), Ham radio with pre-loaded frequencies, aircraft radio with back-country frequency and emergency frequency preloaded (worse case scenario I would use it)
  • 25 years of continuous survival training and three actual “Wow…I could die” situations under my belt
  • Back-up GPS
  • Tow straps, tools, hand-winch, etc.

With that out of the way….

The trip was awesome on Sunday. I explored areas containing old dump sites (circa 1920-1940), saw several types of hawks, the emergence of a few whistle pigs, and miles and miles of dirt roads. Many impassable with two-wheel drive.

The main point of the trip is to find areas for my wife to photograph so I was moving pretty quick from point to point. On the next round I will definitely take a map with me since she will be in the rig. I am certain that there is a route to take me through some great country and hope that when the snow fades from the mountains, this will be part of our exploration into eastern Idaho. I know there is a back-country road going from Hailey to Mackay, now if I can find dirt that takes me to Haley, I will be set.

So in the morning it is back to work to pay for my adventure addictions…tonight I expect to dream of muddy roads and hawks dancing in the air.

Building a Kids Survival Pack (part 1)

This has been a long but needed process.

Many of you know I teach a special session on survival for kids at places like Scooter’s Youth Hunting Camp as well as other venues. This is a course that is scaled down to the abilities and mind set of kids from 10-16 years of age. We keep it interactive and the kids get hands on experience with fire craft, water purification, and other skills. I also pass on specific advice of what to put in a kids pack as well as what not to place in there.

On the outside it may be buttons, bows, and puppy dog tails...on the inside are the skills that would put most Boy Scouts to shame

As a parent of a soon to be 11-year old who has grown up with the advantage of not only seeing her dad use these skills in the real world, but has also been a student of mine. But instead of the abbreviated session I do for Scott’s camp, I get a more in-depth opportunity to ensure she masters various skills.

My approach has been simple, and also teaches her responsibility with the tools she is given. Let’s face it- most people cringe when you tell them your kiddo has a knife and knows how to start a fire. Each tool is thoroughly trained and mastered and even monitored for proper use. The last thing I want is her cutting herself or starting a wildfire. So let me walk you through the tools and the methodology I have used along the way.

Hydration Pack

This is the building block of her survival training. If I can keep her drinking water then she will always increase her odds of living should she get separated from us. This started out with a small Camelback designed specifically for kids and did not hold any items in it- it was just a water bladder with straps. Since she was 4 or 5 her responsibility was to make sure it was always full when we went out. As she grew more responsible we added a name tape for her on it as a symbol of getting wiser on trips. She was also keeping her “Junior Ranger” badges on it that she earned at various national parks. She has out grown that pack and tonight she got a new Camelback (Scout) in hot pink. Great color for girls and noticeable in the woods. (There is a blue one for boys). It will hold her other basic tools she has earned to this point as well as rain jacket, gloves, wool hat, and flashlight.

Flashlight/ Headlamp

When Abby was four she started earning a headlamp of her own. This was done by turning her borrowed lamp off when not in use, not pointing it in people’s eyes in camp, and knowing how to change both battery and bulb. She received her very own lamp when she was seven or eight.

Flint and Steel Fire Starter

I still do not believe in matches- specifically for a kiddo. Through practice and increasing responsibility she earned her own flint and steel fire striker. Along with a bag full of dryer lint and bits of pencil shavings she is ready for the woods. I have given her the job of starting family bon fires in the backyard and campfires when we are in the woods. She does everything from prep phase to extinguish. She did get it taken away from her at one point and had to earn it back. Smokey Bear would be proud of her.

Pocket Knife

Many of us had knives early in life but it is such a different world. I remember carrying a 300 series Buck Knife to school in a black case on my belt and no one cared at all. Not the world we live in today. In addition, the last thing I need is for her to make a bad situation worse. The knife has been a hard fought process for her. Just when I would think she was ready she would do something to make me think twice. But she has finally earned the privilege to carry a folding pocket knife. Tonight inside her new pack was a Swiss Army knife.

I have tried to make each stage important for her and I will continue this series as she earns other tools such as a compass, signal devices, purification tablets, etc. It is my belief that anything you put into a kids pack should be limited to ONLY the tools they know how to use and have demonstrated the proper use and car of.

I would encourage you to get you and your family trained in survival. I offer this as free service to anyone who request it (based on schedule availability). I also invite you to sign your kiddo up for camps such as Scooter’s. It is a first rate camp and we have had many success stories come out of it from both the hunting as well as the survival perceptive.

Learning water purification at survival seminar at Scooter's