Fire & Ice

Local students learn wilderness survival skills over spring break

Corinne Westeman
cwesteman@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 4/6/21

While spring break is traditionally when students hit the beaches for some fun in the sun, some Clear Creek students had different plans. Instead of building sand castles and bonfires, they learned …

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Fire & Ice

Local students learn wilderness survival skills over spring break

Posted

While spring break is traditionally when students hit the beaches for some fun in the sun, some Clear Creek students had different plans.

Instead of building sand castles and bonfires, they learned how to build shelters in the snow and make fires using only sticks. They still got to go swimming, though.

Last week, the rec district’s Kidz Korner program hosted the Ninja Outdoor Wilderness Survival Spring Break Camp, and about 20 children participated throughout the five-day camp.

Activities included learning to identify minerals and plants, natural movement training, and experimenting with dry ice. The capstone project was a ninja training obstacle course on Friday.

Rose Morris, Kidz Korner director, said the initial theme was centered on the ninja obstacle course, but once she contacted Roary Archibald, a local wilderness educator, the theme shifted more toward wilderness survival.

The camp still focused on teaching the students how to move naturally and efficiently, including how to calm down through breathing techniques, Morris explained.

Archibald, who lives on the Clear Creek side of Evergreen, has been studying wilderness survival techniques for years and has started passing on that knowledge to students like Kidz Korner over the past six years.

He loves teaching and wants children to learn environmental adaptability — what they shouldn’t be as afraid of and what they should be more cautious about.

Archibald also wanted the students to know that failing is totally OK, saying that he’s failed to start a fire by hand, for instance, thousands of times. Sometimes, failure is another way to learn.

As far as particular subjects, Archibald said his favorites to teach are about local flora and natural movement, which involves proper posture, and how to jump and hike without hurting oneself.

While he only attended camp the latter half of the week, Johnny Reich, 9, really enjoyed creating a snowball on March 24 that was so big that he and his friends could sit on it. However, he said the coolest part of camp was Thursday’s dry ice experiment.

Five-year-old Fiona Beall, who attended the camp Wednesday and Thursday, said she liked swimming the most.

Meanwhile, 11-year-old Noah Windley, who was at the camp all five days, described how it took three days to build a shelter out of compressed snow and lattice-worked sticks, as the group took on new tasks to complete it each day.

Noah and Johnny both said they do a lot of hiking, camping and backpacking, so these skills will probably come in handy someday, especially if they ever get lost or stranded.

Noah particularly appreciated learning how to make a friction fire, saying, “If you’re stuck in the wild, you can use these techniques.”

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