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Local Wilderness course helps students survive in the wild

By Matthew Goncalves and Jordan Singh 

Staff Writers

The Local Wilderness course is a class at Summit Shasta where students learn about survival tactics in order to survive in different situations, and it taught by Vaughan Wilkins.

This course will better students, and it will make sure they are prepared when it comes to a survival situation where there are not that many natural resources available.

Shasta senior Billy White, when asked to explain this class in two to three sentences, said: “It gets you to try out new things and new experiences, and you kinda, like, meet new people you didn’t know before.”

White added, “I learned how to build campfires, how to create different, like, tools when you’re out in the wilderness and generally how to survive in the wilderness.”

When asked what to expect in the Local Wilderness course, White said, “Definitely expect to try new things and expect to have fun because it’s going to be a whole bunch of fun.”

When White was questioned on how being in the Local Wilderness course has strengthened his friendships with others, he said, “There are some new people I didn’t know before, but now I actually found out that they are pretty chill and stuff like that.”

White also explained, “I think everybody should definitely try it once in their four years of high school, as long as it’s still a thing, ’cause it’s definitely fun, and just, like I keep on saying, you get to try out new things. I think people will like it.”

Shasta freshman Brandon Bodestyne, when asked to describe the class in a few sentences, said, “We did a lot of interesting stuff; for example, the teacher put charcoal on his face to camouflage himself, and it was pretty weird.”

When asked what Bodestyne learned that was valuable in this particular course, he said, “I learned how to make a fire without using, you know, like a match or something.”

When Bodestyne was asked what to expect in the class, he said, “[Students] can expect to get their clothes dirty a lot and, uh, expect to do a lot of hands-on activities and stuff.”

Finally, when Bodestyne was asked if this course helped his relationships with others, he said, “Uh, yeah, ’cause of most or maybe like everyone in that class I did not know at the beginning of the year.”

Local Wilderness teacher Vaughan Wilkins, when asked what students learn in this class, said: “Pretty much this is a year-long staff training. So, it’s pretty much teaching them how to be a wilderness skills instructor.” He also said that they learned how to “make their own trips” and “run their own lesson plans and their games to make people excited.”

When Mr. Wilkins was asked about what students would be able to take away from this class, he said, “They will have a whole portfolio of skills that they now have … they’ve almost mastered their fire skills; they can do campfire cooking; they know how to use knives and carve a different variety of tools.”

Finally, when Mr. Wilkins was asked if the course helped him strengthen his relationships with his students, he said, “Just by the nature of us going out and doing different challenges, and there is a certain amount of vulnerability involved when your blindfolded and you’re not sure how to get through the woods and you have to listen to your friends guide you through … it puts us in a place of dropping our guard and actually having to connect as a community.”

See below for a video about the Local Wilderness course:

 

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