The cost & importance of learning, clubs, groups & schools. Plus the advantages & disadvantages.
When it comes to long term survival, the skills start with choosing the right clothing & equipment. After that you have to learn how to use that equipment & you need to learn how to manage if you should lose that equipment. Survival schools are generally expensive, this is because they have to put in a lot of time teaching people the skills, & time cost money if you are running a business. Some schools will teach you primitive skills, others will not. Some schools will teach you how to survive if you get lost in the bush, others may teach you how to survive long term. But it will all cost you money.
Bushcraft groups are good & they will teach you some survival skills. Again, some may promote the use of modern tools & equipment, where as others may teach you more primitive skills. In general, you will pay a yearly fee which is used to pay for your insurance cover. Survival groups fall roughly into the same category as the bushcraft groups, a mixed lot which may or may not teach you what you need to know. Basically it depends on the individual members, some will be more knowledgeable than others, but in the long run they can’t teach you what they don’t know themselves.
It is well known that in order to survive long term in a wilderness situation, you will need to learn primitive skills, & your equipment & tools will need to be low tech. Modern equipment is not made to last, batteries will go flat, items will break & wear out. You need sustainable methods & primitive gear. If you start off with pre 19th century equipment you will never drop below that level of comfort. But if you start off with all modern gear, then sooner or later you will be thrown back into the stone age.
Now let’s look at another kind of club or group, an 18th century living history group. Most again will charge a yearly membership fee, & it must be said that not all living history groups are equal in the benefits that they offer the survivalist. But, the potential for learning is still there, you simply may have to put in more effort to gather some members together who have the skills that you need to learn.
Our group, the New England Colonial Living History Group does not charge any membership fees or training fees, it is all free. However, we do not carry any insurance either, our members are covered by the Civil Liability Amendment (Personal Responsibility) Bill 2002. For many years I payed for our group insurance out of my own pocket so that lower income families could afford to join our group. Eventually, I had to stop paying out of my own pocket (there never were any accidents or insurance claims). When you think about it we go with groups of friends out bush for various recreational activities, & no one ever questions if there is insurance cover. We all take personal responsibility for ourselves, & we watch out for the safety of others.
The advantages of joining a group like ours is that our activities cover a wide range of interests. We can advise on equipment & clothing, & we teach people all the skills they may need for free. Individuals do not have to participate in any activity if they do not wish to, but remember, in a shtf situation, there will be NO insurance, NO doctors & NO hospitals. If you want to cover yourself, use your money to purchase a good modern medical kit & take it to group meetings. Also carry a personal first aid kit in your pack. That way if you cut yourself or smack yourself in the head whilst learning archery, you can patch yourself up & keep going.
Kids in general love participating in living history. It is an opportunity to do something which is fun & educational & they get to share this experience with there parents or carers. In shooting clubs, archery clubs & fishing clubs you will learn only so much, very little of what you do learn will prepare you for survival. In a group like ours though you get to learn everything; you learn what is the best equipment & how to use it. You learn how to repair your equipment & in the case of archery & fishing, you learn how to make your own from scratch with no modern tools.
Some living history groups have splinter groups such as a militia group where you can learn battle tactics. Some groups are purely Ranger groups & again, battle training is a normal part of their activities on top of all the other skills you can learn. All Living History groups are family oriented, so all the family gets to join in one way or another. On top of all this learning & training, living history groups are a lot of fun. If you are serious about long term wilderness survival, I recommend you inquire in your area for a living history group, be it medieval period or 18th century or somewhere in between.
Our Group's Official Forum: http://eighteenthcenturylivinghistory.freeforums.org/
You will also find links to other groups in other areas & countries on our forum.