Sunday, May 3, 2009
It’s a school with no computers, no televisions, no cell phones, no light switches, no amenities. If you want food or water, you’re pretty much on your own. The classroom is the great outdoors – and the course is survival.
In today’s tough economic times, when people are contemplating living with less, survival classes are attracting plenty of students who believe the primitive world offers an embarrassment of natural riches that not only can make the difference between life and death but also can expand personal growth.
“Five years ago, I founded Adventure Out. It was just me with a few friends helping to give surf lessons and survival workshops,” says Cliff Hodges of Santa Cruz. “The company grew to 20 employees, and now we run programs all over the state. Now every class fills up with a pretty long waiting list.”
Wilderness survival schools have been around since the 1960s, but interest began swelling during the Y2K scare. These days, people have access to plenty of survival material. They’re watching survival television shows. They’re reading survival books, such as “Survive! Essential Skills and Tactics to Get You Out of Anywhere – Alive” by Les Stroud, host of the Discovery Channel show “Survivorman.” They’re checking out survival schools online and through word of mouth.
What neophytes are quickly discovering is that survival schools are not just for Rambo anymore; they’re for Bambi, too.