Around the campfire
by Winyan Staz
(Washington State, USA)
Moral is so important in survival situations. It's extremely important to keep a good frame of mind as it is your mind that is your best weapon and tool for survival.
Depending on how large or small your groups are, will determine how much you want to try of these things I am about to share..or how little.
There will be people that will try to stay cheerful or be helpful and those that refuse to try to even be civil and want others to do for them. So therefor, there must be a few rules.
Everyone MUST work and work for the good of the whole group. Unless you are physically unable to do anything there are still little things one can and must do in order for all to survive.
All food must be gathered for all the people. No hoarding food.
Yes its fine to stuff a few berries in your mouth if you're picking or to eat a leaf or something along the trail..but the majority of foods must be gathered for ALL.
If someone refuses to help with survival, then they cannot share in the community food. There are things even small children can do, which will not only keep them busy but make them feel a part as well. Something as simple as moving the rocks people might trip on at night in the camp area is important or perhaps picking dandylion leaves for the evening stewpot are little things little ones can do. It must not be made a chore beyond their years or ability, and it can be made into a fun game for them as well.
A time in the evening, after bellies are full as possible..to sit down in a circle or around the fire and discuss all the little things of the day is very important.
This is where you can share about the plant you ran into that you know or a time to try to see if anyone knows what it is. It might be a useful plant for food or medicine or one to avoid. People need to know.
This is a good time to talk of animal signs, mention land marks, water found, types of trees, the coming weather changes, etc..as all these types of things are important in survival situations.
It is far easier for a group to survive than an individual. Not only are there many hands to do the work but also many eyes to see what needs to be seen.
Little things can be the difference between having a difficult time with survival or actually having enough to live in relative comfort while in the wilds. It can be done.
To help keep people from talking over each other in larger groups it helps to have what Native Americans call a "Talking Feather" or "Talking Stick". They are something symbolic for the one speaking to hold while they explain what they wished to share and while a person is holding the Talking stick/feather and speaking, everyone should remain in respectful silence so everyone can hear clearly.
No hoarding the Talking stick/feather. Say what needs to be said and pass it on. It is considered very rude to hold the stick and just blabber away. Say something meaningful and helpful or just pass it on. It can make its way around as much time as needed. If you have nothing to say just nod and pass it to the next person. It will help keep the tempers down too as people have time to think of what they will say, and hopefully it will keep the foolishness down as well which can cause tempers to flare.
It is the time to plan for the coming day.. what would be best to do or to look for, etc. No one will feel left out or not needed.
It's important to have some time to relax and play.. even for the grownups. Singing songs around the fire, making music sticks to tap together or on the ground for a beat, rocks to clack together, things to shake & rattle, etc... all sounds to make music with and soothe the soul. If no one can or wants to sing or make music, then take turns and make up stores to tell. Share jokes, talk of what you will do when home safe, talk of the past or some adventure you once had....anything but don't withdraw and be silent.
The mind needs comfort. Even if you don't have it yourself, you can still give a measure of comfort to the others. It will give people a time to unwind, a time to feel comforted and normal before sleep and a time to bond as a unit for survival.
Be a wilderness survivor, not a wilderness victim.