Dashiell's buddy asked for guidance

Discussion in 'General Bushcraft Discussion' started by brionic, Nov 26, 2017.

  1. brionic

    brionic Blissful simpleton Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Dashiell's best friend Dexter, eleven years old and a high achiever, cornered me during our Wednesday Friendsgiving dinner to pick my brain about skills, tools, and mindset. He had heard from his mother that I'm interested in camping and "survival" (whatever that means) and because he is curious about the outdoors. He showed me his survival vest, packed with various tool kits and information. I have to say, I was surprised and impressed at the variety of equipment that he had cobbled together on his own... a mylar tube tent, SAK, Esbit stove and fire starter, UCO matches, "survival" skill cards, journal and pencil, a nav kit, etc etc, in addition to some decent looking woodlore and campcraft books. We looked through the gear together, talked shop, and discussed book "learning" vs field learning, and we agreed to regroup within the week.

    (He, as a five and then six year old, had repeatedly visited Dashiell in the hospital and at home, showing him friendship, love, and compassion. None of Dashiell's other friends did this. To my dying day, I will remember Dexter's courage and selflessness, and his kindness in adding a bit of normality to Dashiell's life... anything I can ever do for him, I will. )

    So this morning he came over with his pop. Over coffee and hot chocolate, we talked about our expectations for today.

    1.We discussed rules, and safety, and what we would NOT be getting into... weapons, hunting, trapping, etc, without his parents' express permission. When his dad was there, no problem, but I don't want to be "that" guy. No axes or knives today... nothing with a blade. Silly, maybe, but I wanted this to be a safe day and one during which I could assess his maturity.

    2. Next, we discussed camping vs surviving. One is fun, one sucks. One we can enjoy, and work on our skills, etc., the other is an emergency and we can hope that we've prepared ourselves enough. Mindset!

    3. Then we talked about planning, permits, and contingencies. Is it safe to go to the woods? What is the weather forecast for now, later, and overnight? Are we allowed to go there, and to use the land in the way we intend? Is it public land, or private, and do we have both permission and permits, as needed? Who else knows of our plans and timeline? Have we left word with a third party, and set up a safety net of "if we're not back by..."

    4. Following that, we talked about our most basic needs in the woods etc. : shelter, water, and fire... in that order. We discussed each for several minutes, including examples of each and why they are more critical than, say, food or a brand of gear. Shelter keeps us out of the elements; water keeps us hydrated and functional, and fire keeps us comfortable, plus offers many additional benefits.

    5. Knots - we would need them for building our shelter and in securing our gear today. We went over the round turn and half hitch; the girth hitch; the figure eight; the taut line hitch, and the sheet bend. He observed and practiced using two foot lengths of 550, one of which we dissected for his understanding of paracord and twists/braids. He did well, but understood that making and using the knots in the field would be a lot more important than memorizing the knots from an app or website.

    His father left, and we adjourned to the back yard, where I'd prepped some oak splits and stashed a variety of BCO tarps and my daypack with gear.

    6. Sheltercraft - he was most interested in the super shelter. We discussed the steps we'd need to go through to get to the super shelter, and started from scratch. Ridge line vs. ridge pole. Toggles on the ridge line. Slippery guy lines. A-frame using the 10x10. Resetting and optimizing the shelter, based on wind, geometry, and other needs. Diamond shelter. Quick and dirty rendition of an Adirondack shelter. Settled on a "lean to" design, for use with a...

    7. Mylar sheet - discussed why it's not a "blanket", lacking insulation, but a reflector, and that to use it most effectively with our shelter, we'd need to attach one to our shelter to reflect radiant heatwaves and warm us from behind and above.

    8. Attaching mylar - we used a BCO 5x7 to practice attaching the mylar to our existing structure. We used dry grass and 18" 550 sections to make button on the 5x7, and then added length to the button tie outs by adding more guy lines vs. sheet bends. Removed the 5x7 and transitioned to the mylar. Mylar failed on removal from the packaging... lots of tear-out and shredding. Discussed why equipment failures were critical to the learning curve, and decided to stick with the thrashed mylar. Created the four buttons and tie outs as best as possible, allowing for tears in mylar. Aligned the mylar alongside the top of the 10x10, guying to the corner tabs of the 10x10. More tearing along the bottom side of the mylar required that we loosen the load on the bottom half. Mylar installation was successful, but mediocre. Better than nothing, though. Discussed how we would optimize installation, and why testing our equipment is critical. Don't learn to swim while you're drowning, etc.

    9. Firecraft - I quickly split out some oak while he observed. Shavings, pencil lead, pencil, and wrist thick. I also produced a variety of kindling... birch bark; waxed jute; and fatwood curls. Produced cotton balls, to which we added vaseline. "Light, hair-like and fluffy." Set up a brick with four types of kindling. He struck a UCO match, on which he tested burn time - about twenty seconds. Struck a second match, which he dunked in water, removed, and watched it reignite. Struck a third match - took several attempts, with hints on finger position, etc - and tested the various kindling. He decided that cotton balls/vaseline burned the longest and were easiest to ignite. Then I showed him the ferro road, explained why it beats other firestarters under multiple conditions, and started a splitwood fire in front of the shelter. We took our places atop the 5x7 under the tarp and mylar, and felt the warming effect of the mylar. He was stunned and delighted how even a small fire was so effective at warming us. We discussed the importance of fire safety and extinguishing, which I demonstrated using water and shovel.

    10. Regrouping - we touched on what we had discussed and learned. He retained the vast majority. I told him that tomorrow would be Dashiell's tenth birthday, and that I could think of no better way to celebrate it than with his best friend, by fire. I did my best to keep myself from choking as I explained it to him. Awarded him a new pack of UCO matches and a cutdown arrow shaft "blow poker" which thrilled him.

    11. Hot chocolate. Earned!

    All in all, a good time with a great kid. I told him to beware of anyone selling him "the truth" or new doodads, or almost anything with the words "survival" and "expert", and I directed him to the Bushclass section. I also admitted that he could find any number of actual teachers who would be more effective as educators than I am.

    What a fun day! FullSizeRender-12.jpg

    Yes, I know the mylar is not taut... it was tearing apart, as per above, and loosening it was the only way to keep it intact. Side lesson - cheap is too expensive, sometimes.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2017
  2. Rockgod1619

    Rockgod1619 Supporter Supporter

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    Awesome job passing on skills! He seems very interested and I'm sure you'll teach him man skills that he'll carry the rest of his life!
     
  3. Skeptiksks

    Skeptiksks Green Haired Weirdo Supporter

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    Truly an amazing write up @brionic I'm sure this young man will member these lesson for life and further keep your young son's memory alive.

    I'm sure it couldn't have been easy but you have done a very good thing here teaching the young of this next generation the skills and maturity it will take to survive in this world. I will bet my butt this will be an experience he won't soon forget and I hope you have more opportunities to continue to teach this young man.

    Thanks again my friend, this really brightened this rainy day for me.
     
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  4. BalsamFur

    BalsamFur BCUSA Friend Bushcraft Friend

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    Your son's name is Dashiell? That's awesome.
    You're awesome, and I'm sure Dexter thinks so too. :dblthumb:
     
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  5. Jakuka

    Jakuka Scout

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    Wish I could 'Like' your post twice.
     
  6. gohammergo

    gohammergo Still running against the wind..... Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Nice stuff right there! Kudos to you for making the time to do that. :)
     
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  7. Winterhorse

    Winterhorse Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Good job sir!
     
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  8. Bullhed78

    Bullhed78 Scout

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    Way to put time and effort into our future. You never know when you are going to make a lasting impression on a kid. I have memories of some of the most obscure things that I was told by adults when I was a kid. Things I was told or taught almost in passing. Good things that stuck. I commend you for teaching this young man. He won’t remember everything you taught him but I’m sure some of the stuff will last his lifetime.
     
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  9. alukban

    alukban Guide

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    "Awesumniss!" <----- what my son says :D
     
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  10. Skab

    Skab Staff Staff Member Administrator Vendor Lifetime Supporter Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    Well done Brionic. Dash was there in spirit learning right along side of him. I have no doubt.

    And on another note that post would have taken me 3 days to write
     
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  11. IA Woodsman

    IA Woodsman Overwatch Moderator Staff Member Super Moderator Vendor Lifetime Supporter Bushclass Instructor

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    Very cool buddy. I will keep you in my prayers tomorrow.
     
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  12. brionic

    brionic Blissful simpleton Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    We used some of your gear today. And three days or not, I had to pay the piper after I wrote it.

    Thx!
     
  13. OMRebel

    OMRebel Supporter Supporter Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    Me too! Great job!!!
     
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  14. central joe

    central joe Guide

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    You're a real good man young fellar. I'm proud of you. joe
     
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  15. Kurt992

    Kurt992 Guide Lifetime Supporter Bushclass II

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    Excellent write-up Brian. Dexter seems very worthy of your experience and patience.
     
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  16. Midwest.Bushlore

    Midwest.Bushlore Tracker

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    Well done! Sounds like a heckuva kid, good for you for taking him under your wing.
     
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  17. Dadio

    Dadio Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    Darn allergies.
     
  18. foxfire

    foxfire Supporter Supporter

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    Well done brother! I am glad Dexter has still remained close and you have taken him underwing to teach him things. Your in my thoughts and prayers! Dash will be smiling down on you tomorrow.
     
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  19. cbrianroll

    cbrianroll Scout

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    I'm lacking the proper words to express my thoughts after reading that....choked me up a bit....you sir are awesome!
     
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  20. T. Pollock

    T. Pollock T's Custom Outdoor Gear Vendor Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    I wasn't a member back in 2012-2013 but I went back and read the thread and tears flow for what your family has been through. You sir are awesome for what you are sharing with this young man, may God bless you and your family!
    Special prayers for you guys tomorrow.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2017
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  21. DarrylM

    DarrylM Guide

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    My condolences. And kudos.
     
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  22. MrFixIt

    MrFixIt Old Jarhead Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    What a great post @brionic .
    When Dexter is ready (and with his parents permission) please contact me.
    I’ll be happy to gift him a new Mora knife.
     
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  23. Longbeard

    Longbeard Continental Drifter Bushclass III

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    That really made my day. Passing on skills firsthand that way is a great gift.
     
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  24. backlasher

    backlasher Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I know it wasn't easy and I appreciate your efforts in helping this young man.
     
  25. mtnoutdoors

    mtnoutdoors Guide

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    Well done he well remember this for ever. Keep up the good work on passing on the Bushcraft lifestyle to a younger person well done. Prov 27:17
     
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  26. brionic

    brionic Blissful simpleton Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Dexter celebrated his birthday today. The boys and I surprised him at his family party at the Old Mill - a local joint/bar and grill, and his favorite birthday hangout - and we caught him, surrounded by family, with his nose in a new volume of Robert Louis Stevenson stories. Cool kid!

    We presented him with a Bushcraft Outfitters 5x7 MEST, a ridge and guy line kit, four stakes, a ferro rod, and a stuffable collecting bag. He was thrilled and asked for another "lesson", but this time in the woods or a county park.

    It warms the heart.
     
  27. T. Pollock

    T. Pollock T's Custom Outdoor Gear Vendor Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    Awesome!
     
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  28. atlastrekker

    atlastrekker Supporter Supporter Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    Definitely
     
  29. MrFixIt

    MrFixIt Old Jarhead Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Definitely warms the heart!
     
  30. Doc.

    Doc. Scout

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    Thanks for this, Brionic. You, sir, will probably go to heaven. Doc.
     
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  31. brionic

    brionic Blissful simpleton Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Thanks Doc. I don't know about that, but Dexter is a great youngster. He earned my admiration with the kindness he showed to our sweet little boy, and I will repay him at every opportunity.

    Plus, I'm just happy to find someone who's interested in my cornball theories.
     
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  32. Angus McGunnigl

    Angus McGunnigl Scout

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    Very good things happening here. It is very encouraging to see a young man doing things that do not involve a screen !
    Real life is out there !
    You are honoring Dexter for his kindness.
    This effort on your part benefits you as well. Helping others is very good for our brain, soul and body.
     
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  33. LongAgoLEO

    LongAgoLEO Scout

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    Aside from the wonderfulness of this great trip, I just printed out your narrative to use as a working document as I embark on doing similar activities with similarly-aged grandsons. Just fantastic and well thought-out... and superbly communicated.
     
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  34. Scotchmon

    Scotchmon Supporter Supporter

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    Good on you for mentoring the lad. Thanks for sharing what had to be a great experience for both of you.
     
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  35. Quinlan

    Quinlan BCUSA Friend Bushcraft Friend

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    Greetings,
    The fact that your heart can be warmed by such deeds after a loss such as the one you have experienced, it speaks volumes about the kind of person you are. Thank you for warming my heart with your deeds @brionic.

    Regards,

    Christos
     
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  36. Zunga

    Zunga Scout

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    Not enough people are willing to put there time in where it really matters. Glad to see you setting the example!
     
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  37. Lichen

    Lichen Supporter Supporter

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    Your post is just too cool and heartwarming.
     
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  38. foxfire

    foxfire Supporter Supporter

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    Still waiting on things brother! Hopefully soon.
     

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