While we run courses and trips year round, the majority of our open courses take place in Spring, Summer and early Autumn, with this course season really kicking off around Easter.
In preparation for this, every Spring the Frontier Bushcraft team gather together for a pre-season training camp. It’s a time when the old hands can reunite after the winter, sharing tales of recent adventures (which this winter included plenty of hiking, a ski tour in Norway and a minimalist ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro). It’s an opportunity for new members of the team to be welcomed and integrated into the wider team. It’s an important opportunity for me to set development goals and highlight themes for our course delivery for the year.
The main focus is on honing the skill set we need to ensure the wilderness bushcraft skills training provided by Frontier Bushcraft is amongst the finest available.
Developing a cadre of highly capable instructors and course assistants is not just about bushcraft skills, it’s about developing teaching and coaching skills, outdoor leadership, client care, forethought, initiative and communication. It’s about having systems in place, slick logistics and a common understanding of what we do and how we do it. It’s about engraining high standards.
Emergency procedures are practiced, discussed and refreshed. First aid forms a core component of our pre-season training. I’ve written about the first aid training we undertake and why in a separate blog post, which you can read here.
Back To Bushcraft Basics
Whatever the extent of your skills or the depth of your knowledge, there is value in revisiting the basics. This is something I learned through many years of martial arts training; the basics are the foundations on which everything else is built.
Moreover, going back to basics in the light of a broader understanding of a subject often affords new insights, which weren’t available to you when you first approached the subject as a beginner.
As mentioned above, it’s not just about owning the skills. Deconstructing the techniques we teach affords a better understanding of the elements which need to be highlighted when teaching.
Combining this deconstruction with guidance from experienced instructors allows the more junior members of the team to understand why certain elements are emphasised. Discussions around teaching methods extends everyone’s ability to tailor their instruction to the group or the individuals being coached in the skills. This approach better enables the desired outcome of having the course students being as capable and knowledgeable as possible by the end of the course and, in the process, giving them excellent value for money.
A focus on the foundations also allows the newer members of the team to gain an understanding of the standards required.
So it was, following an orientation period of a couple of days for the newcomers to become familiar with the course equipment and the extent of our main course venue (it’s very large and varied), then some intensive and realistic first aid training, we set about examining and honing key foundational bushcraft techniques.
If this were not a great enough reason to be out in the woods, we were also blessed with some fantastic Spring weather.
Our enthusiastic and highly motivated team look forward to sharing their skills and knowledge through the 2014 course season and beyond…