“A Soft Land Breeds Soft Men. . .” And so begins an exhortation on the banks of the North Fork Clearwater River in North-central Idaho. A group of 30 men and boys ages 8-14 listen attentively as the morning sun begins to burn off the dew and warm up our toes.
After an encouraging morning exhortation we split up into groups of 5-10 to learn and practice basic outdoor skills such as building a campfire (2 matches, using material found in the wild), shooting a .22 rifle, basic knot tying, navigating a kayak/canoe, fishing, basic first aid, and building a debris shelter.
We came together with a common purpose, to teach and learn practical outdoor skills with our sons. We want strong sons, capable sons, sons who respond to emergency with a storehouse of experience and competence. Sons who exercise dominion through their care of Creation and through their understanding of how to effectively harness the Lord’s power-filled provision. Sons who can protect and provide.
This was just a small start, a first run. We hope to continue this new tradition at least once a year, maybe more. It took a bit of organizing, some passionate instructors, and willing fathers to make it happen.
Some great books as starting points for skills:
Tom Brown’s Field Guide to Wilderness Survival
Boy Scout Handbook (the older the better)
“Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction;
pay attention and gain understanding.
I give you sound learning,
so do not forsake my teaching.
For I too was a son to my father,
still tender, and cherished by my mother.
Then he taught me, and he said to me,
“Take hold of my words with all your heart;
keep my commands, and you will live.” (Proverbs 4:1-4)
This post followed last year’s (2014) event. If you are interested in joining us for this year’s Future Men Campout please contact us!
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