Integrity is a word that, in my opinion, has ample value when it comes to the sort of training that we engage in at Nature Reliance School. There needs to be integrity from the instructors, in the training, and from the students/participants themselves. By considering this idea of integrity as it applies to us, I am certain you can also consider how it applies to you and your work, your family, and maybe even more.
Integrity from the instructors
As it applies to outdoor education, one of the greatest benefits of the internet is that charlatans and those like them are more easily found out. Research on an instructor, school, or class can more readily be done these days. “Back in the day” it was not so simple. There have been a high number of instructors who have taught survival, tracking or similar topics and basically been lying about it the entire time. Lying about their background, experience or knowledge along the way. The internet, with all its faults, has been beneficial for this reason. It is fairly easy to research a school formally and informally. You can obviously search out the reviews and see what others are saying about them. You can also dig into the various forums and see what people who are hidden by the cloak of anonymity, have to say as well. Sometimes this proves to be good. Other times this proves to be where communities of people attempt to build up “their guy” and knock down all others. At our school that means we recognize that our instructors have strengths and weaknesses. On those topics that we are strong, we teach. For those that we are not, and there is interest, we find guest instructors to jump in with us.
Integrity in the training
At our school our focus has always been to educate more than entertain. That means that it is of utmost important to us that the information be retained. That is why all of our Level 1 courses are basically camping trips studying the topic at hand, rather than being incredibly “hard core”. Since we focus on education, we must create an environment in which it is easy as possible to learn. You will note that much training out there is full of stressors and there is certainly time for that. In our opinion, that is mostly for developing an experience to remember (i.e. entertaining) rather than material that needs to learned. It is physiologically difficult for any of us to learn under stress. To insure that we have integrity of training we teach and study in a way that our students walk away with the ability to re-create the learning on their own. This also means that our students do not leave with a false sense of security, whether it be survival, tracking, land nav, etc. We insure our students know their abilities and what they need to improve upon. Creating an atmosphere of a false sense of security can prove to be deadly in the topics that we teach.
Integrity of the students
A good teacher of mine once said, “Craig you cannot pick and choose your students”. He was right. We basically offer our courses and whoever comes to them, comes to them. However, what we have noticed is that our leadership attracts a certain base of students that have integrity. You won’t see our students leaving courses as if they have conquered the world. We are realists and we impress that upon our students as much as we can. All of the skills we teach our perishable. One weekend class does not make our students experts. They understand, as do we, that a lifetime of study is not time wasted. Our hope is always that a weekend course is the spark that lights the fire in someone to be “all in” on a topic they have interest in.
In this video I discuss the “Sliding Scales of Training” as it pertains to those we teach. Survival, Tracking, Land Nav and more. It is a a bit more lengthy than our normal video, I thought it was worth it to get this message across.
Craig Caudill is the Founder and Chief Instructor of Nature Reliance School. He specializes in teaching outdoor related topics to include, survival, tracking, nature awareness and gun safety for private and public groups, and government agencies. Craig’s first book is Extreme Wilderness Survival from Page Street Publishing, distributed by Macmillan Publishing
Craig is a also frequent contributor to TV outlets, blog sites, magazines and is a popular online outdoor educator on his YouTube channel. Pick up the book, subscribe to him on youtube, or join Craig in a class so he can help you be more safe and aware in the outdoors.