If you are thinking of going back to the land and living a self-reliant life or you are a Prepper or survivalist looking to learn skills to help you comfortably get through any emergency or disaster then you are probably wondering where and how you can learn these skills that you lack. If you are like me, you are a visual person and do best with hands on instruction or “book/online” courses with video and plenty of how-to pictures.
Over the years I have been lucky enough to participate in a number of activities, camps and wilderness outings to learn quite a few self-reliant skills. Since some of my friends are now looking for these types of learning activities I got to wondering where can one learn this now, today? So I did some research (went to REI, asked my homesteading, backing, scouting and S&R friends, as well as exploring the internet) and this is what I have found that sound worthwhile.
Before we get into the various schools and camps lets look at some other Options to Learning Necessary Traditional Skills.
County and State Fairs are great places and many offer 1-2 hour long mini-classes in various traditional skills from weaving, basket making to cast iron cooking and leather craft. Be sure to check out any 4H and Future Farmers booths/barns and then talk with the entrants. I have learned so much about various animals, etc. from these people that the last 5 times I have attended, I have taken a notebook and tape recorder so I couldn’t forget the information!
Think the big ones and make a vacation out of it like:
Calgary Stampede Alberta Canada http://calgarystampede.com/
Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo Wyoming http://www.cfdrodeo.com/
I’ve been to the one in Oklahoma too and learned a lot while having a blast, but can’t remember the name it.
Don’t forget Mountain Man Rendezvous either where they often let people “sign on” just to learn like:
Mountain Man Rendezvous Crazy Crow http://www.crazycrow.com/events_rendezvous/
Fort Bridger Rendezvous Wyoming http://fortbridgerrendezvous.net/
Rocky Mountain National Rendezvous http://www.rmnr.org/
If you see a Colonial, Frontier or Pioneer Days event, stop in. Many offer learning opportunities. There are tons of old forts and colonial villages that have either learning demonstrations or hands-on classes all along the East Coast and New England. The plains and western states have a variety of “frontier” villages and forts too.
Military Re-enactment events are another source for learning experiences and instruction.
Many Indian Powwow, Pueblo , Tribe and Cultural Centers or Museums often have hands-on and instructional “shows” on traditional skills and crafts at their various festivals, powwows or cultural centers that are open to the public.
Gathering of Nations http://www.gatheringofnations.com/
United Tribes International Powwow http://www.unitedtribespowwow.com/
Here in New Mexico at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center I have learned how to bake bread in a earth oven and Indian Fry Bread from scratch, as well as some weaving techniques.
Nature Centers and Museums are another source of summer learning opportunities for children and adults alike. At the Rio Grande Nature Center I learned how to garden the Pueblo way with a dry desert waffle garden utilizing the Three Sister companion planting method.
The internet, books and magazines are always ready to teach us anything we are willing to search for, read and do.
For any Prepper, survivalist or self-reliance seeker the magazines are a must no matter how skilled or unskilled you are.
Backwoods Home http://www.backwoodshome.com/
The Backwoodsman http://www.backwoodsmanmag.com/
Country Side http://www.countrysidemag.com/
Wilderness Way http://www.wwmag.net/
Back Home http://www.backhomemagazine.com/
Sorry but Mother Earth News (http://www.motherearthnews.com/) since it was sold by its originator back in the 80’s, has become too yippie and yuppie to be consistent. Scan it in the store before purchasing or you could end up with a glossy “greenwashed” magazine. Older copies from before the sale are very good so be sure to check garage sales and flea markets for these.
To see a full list of researched Classes, Schools, Colleges and Camps, complete with contact information see http://www.scribd.com/doc/29724360/How-Where-to-Learn-Traditional-Skills
So get out there and take a vacation that is not only fun but can help you and yours if the unthinkable happens.
From a 50 Something, soon to be rural homesteading, Prepper ;-}