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4 Survival Lessons You Can Learn From The Boy Scouts

Image source: IMGkid.com [1]

Image source: IMGkid.com

Survival is not a joke — or a TV show. More often than not, what we need in a survival situation is a level head, clear thinking, and a few well-practiced survival skills to keep us alive until help arrives.

And, above all, we should have the right attitude for survival. In this regard, the Boy Scouts can teach us a few basics:

1. The Survival Attitude

Survival is a basic animal instinct, no doubt, but for modern-day humans alienated from nature, it should be more of an attitude. We have become so dependent on the state machinery to protect us and provide for our needs that we rarely spare a thought on survival and self-preservation as our personal goal. The Boys Scouts introduce children [2] to out-of-the-ordinary situations that trigger their latent survival instinct, and also teach them the ways and means of doing it.

Their survival instinct is nurtured by the following:

2. STOP — And Proceed

The Boys Scouts advise the STOP strategy in survival situations. Panic and wandering about without a fixed plan can undermine your survival.

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STOP stands for:

S — Stop

T — Think

O — Observe

P — Plan

Stopping in your tracks to take stock of the situation may help you get your bearings. Think about the different options you have, whether it is best to wait for help or actively look for it. Keen observation of the surroundings will help you assess your prospects in finding your way back or settling down as best as you can. Having a definite plan can give you confidence and a sense of purpose as you methodically work for survival.

3. To Be Prepared

Image source: LDS [4]

Image source: LDS

The Scout motto of “be prepared” has very real practical use when it comes to survival. We may think that it is impossible to be prepared for disasters, as they seem to strike unexpectedly. But that’s not always true. Disasters seem unexpected because we often fail to stretch our imagination to the possibilities. Preparedness takes into consideration both the possibility of different types of dangers, as well as the tools and skills needed to face them.

The basic tools of survival fall primarily into four categories:

But there are other preparedness skills the Scouts learn, such as:

Protection from predators. Fire is a deterrent to many wild animals and pesky pests. But you will need to arm yourself with a potent weapon, such as a sharp knife, heavy rod or rock when faced with potentially dangerous animals or humans. Boys Scouts teach that offense is not always the best defense. Camouflage, quietly backing out, or in some cases, making a ruckus to scare away a predator might work better.

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Finding food and water. Dehydration can be a killer, so finding water [6] and making it safe to drink with water purification tablets or condensation techniques is important. Food is the last priority, and as Scouts are taught, eating wild berries or bugs can cause more harm than good in most situations. That’s why they are taught fishing and hunting skills.

Getting equipped with the skills to use the tools. Nowadays, you don’t have to search for each and every item in your survival kit; compactly packed survival tool sets are available off the shelf. But having a kit in hand is only as good as your skills in using them. An emergency is not the time to learn by trial and error. That’s where the Boy Scouts have an advantage due to their hands-on learning. The Boy Scouts Fieldbook is a great resource on everything related to survival in various situations.

4. Practice makes perfect

Bookish knowledge or TV episodes will not help you unless you complement it with hands-on experience. That’s one thing that Boys Scouts value above everything — and we should, too. There are several survival skills we can practice at home and in the backyard, such as:

Camping trips to different places can be excellent occasions to try out the many skills learned at home. They will help us become aware of the real challenges one might have to face out there in the wild and be better prepared in future. It may also help us remain “physically strong and mentally awake,” as the Boy Scouts oath requires.

What are other survival skills we can learn from the Scouts? Share your suggestions in the section below:

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