1978 Ahwahnee Survival Camp
Notes on Original Schedule


  1. Staff was not assigned to different cooking groups due to size of staff (3) and amount of work to be done that day.
  2. Scouts were not weighed in. Make an effort to get a scale.
  3. Course director did not go over resource sheet with each of the scouts due to amount of work to be done that day.
  4. We did not have an actual campfire Sunday night, although scouts were invited to staff shelter for manzanita tea and bull-session. It was suggested that next year we show a modified version of the Bunny Foo Foo skit to help loosen things up from Monday.


  1. Morning instruction began at 9:00. Gave the scouts cards indicating what they need to bring to each session. Need more instruction on twitch-up snares. Try to get surgical (highly elastic) tubing. Have prepared diagrams.
  2. It is best to do skinning, gutting, and tanning all at once. Do not leave the hill until done. Fryer rabbits have less fat than stewers and are easy to tan on the spot.
  3. Jerky didn't turn out right on several occasions. Let scouts hang their own jerky in their own campsites. Suggest smoking the meat.
  4. Food is issued to each group after entire group has finished the rabbit kill. May cook rabbits now for early supper. Scouts were informed how long food would have to last.
  5. National Supply flint worked poorly. Next year pick some up on PC2000 trail during staff week.


  1. We did not teach how to make a sewing awl. Instead we used Tandy #1195 "Easy Thread Needle", which worked fine.
  2. We did not teach arrowheads after the first week. The obsidian was of poor quality. It was very hard to knock off blanks and two scouts got fragments in their eyes.
  3. Morning instruction (9:00) included what to do if you get lost, finding direction without a compass, and fire by friction.
  4. Morning was spent practicing fire by friction, sewing possible bag, and making award belt-loop.
  5. There was a problem with too much free time for some scouts.
  6. An edible plants walk (2:00) was taken prior to afternoon instruction.
  7. Afternoon instruction included hypothermia and dehydration. Used brochures from "By Nature's Rules" and "The Thermal Wilderness". (This made for a much better understanding of the movies this evening.)
  8. When teaching about hypothermia include readings from "Hupothermia: Killer of the Unprepared", by T.G. Lathrop, M.D.
  9. In the evening (7:15) we hiked to the main camp, saw both films, and scouts were given a chance to swim and shower.


  1. Morning instruction (9:00) included survival kits, fire bed, water purification, and solar stills. Next year use well prepared slides or easel drawings.
  2. Each group set up a solar still. This was really more trouble than it was worth.
  3. Next year teach various firestarters and demonstrate their use.
  4. The morning was spent passing off skill awards. Again, there as a problem with too much free time for some scouts.
  5. There was no "confidence course". The afternoon (1:00) was spent rappeling. It worked best when we took time to teach how to tie a swami and had each scout tie it once before leaving the camp.


  1. Allow packs on the hike - anything except blanket. Scouts must be allowed to take ponchos on the hike. During the fourth week we had a hail storm. The scouts that week skipped solo.
  2. There was not much orienteering on the hike. It was strictly trail and creekbed. Try to get proper topos next year.


  1. Rested after returning to camp. Again, some scouts complained about too much free time.
  2. After one of the staff demonstrated the chicken kill, the scouts were left alone to do it. In the meantime one of the staff heated rocks for the sweat lodge.
  3. Dinner was by cooking groups, not everyone together.
  4. Wilderness camp did not have a trading post. Souvenirs were sold in main camp on Saturday morning.
  5. There was not a closing ceremony although I would recommend this for next year. Order Tribe of Ahwahnee Mountain Man neckerchiefs.


  1. No breakfast.
  2. No long distance run. Hike to camp as a group at 8:30am.

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Copyright © 1978, 2000 by Bill Qualls. Last updated March 9, 2000.