Like many people, I love to fantasize about terrible things happening to me. If a book promises that it’ll teach me how to safely flip into a dumpster from a burning 20th floor or punch a shark in the face, I’ll buy it. Maybe it’s crazy to have a book on what to do when over 200 kinds of animals bite me, but hey, why do you think Boy Scouts and Survivor are still around? I survived over six years of camp counseling without ever needing to wrestle free from a mountain lion or escape from quicksand, and I had every confidence when
I applied—and was accepted—to be on Corban’s 2012 Camp Team. Moreover, if I was going to be filling my brain with unlikely survival knowledge, I thought I might as well share it!
Please enjoy five of my favorite worst-case-scenario survival tips:
1. How To Escape From A Bear
At camp, you’re likely to come across some pretty amazing creatures: Mountain lions, misquotes the size of your hand, junior high boys… the list is endless. But if you happen to see a bear( there are about 650,000 black bears in North America) you’ll need to know how to make a quick escape:
• Make your presence known by talking loudly or whatever else you can do to be heard: it does not pay to surprise a bear.
• Know that you cannot outrun a bear. They can run much faster than humans, regardless of how amazing your Cross Country record says you are.
• Keep your campers close at hand and within sight. Chances are that will want to see the bear, take pictures, and upload them to Facebook with their cellphones they’re not supposed to have. Bears have no problems chasing after your precious little children, so be sure to keep them close. (The last thing you want is a 2 Kings 2:23-25 situation.)
• To sum up, there is no guaranteed minimum safe distance from a bear: the farther, the better.
2. How To Take A Punch
I’m accident prone, which may be another reason why safety and survival are so dear to me. That said, you should know that summer camp is one of the greatest places to acquire unordinary injuries. The brunt of these may come from your campers (or fellow counselors). A common injury being the punch:
• A blow to the body is incredibly common. When participating in any physical activity or sport, prepare yourself mentally and physically for the possibility of injury.
• The straight punch— one that you see coming—should be countered by moving towards that blow. This will take some force from the blow and help it to be absorbed more effectively.
• If your injury is more severe—such as a blow to the back of the head or abdomen—seek medical help immediately. Don’t try to be brave. Find the nearest nurse and follow their instructions thereafter.
• Note: If youʼve been known to cry or tear up after an injury, but hate the extra attention it brings, try taking some deep breaths. Give yourself a few minutes to recoup if needed. Otherwise, feel free to give people a good scare and blackout in the middle of a volleyball game after you got a serve to the back of the head…
3. How To Survive On 5 Hours Of Sleep A Night
Lack of sleep. Itʼs an unspoken burden at camp, and one thing you have to get used to as a camp counselor. But there is something you can do retain some competence throughout the summer:
• Drink coffee.
• Or, if youʼre like Ricky Mendoza or Bryce Nelson who donʼt drink coffee: Pray. Really hard. (Coffee often helps with praying, so you can do both in an ideal situation.)
4. How To Handle Car Sickness
So you woke up on the wrong side of the bed and youʼre feeling a little queasy. Lucky for you, you have an all-day drive to your next camp on really windy roads—your favorite—and feel that the only way to ease an upset stomach is to down a large orange juice from McDonaldʼs and sit the backseat. Bad call, dude. Not only can you not see the road, but now youʼve just loaded your system with citric acid on an empty stomach.
Here are a few ways you can undo what youʼve just done:
• Look out the front window. Do what you can to focus on an non-moving object in the distance, such as the horizon. Don’t do anything that involves focusing on a fixed spot, such as reading or playing game on your iPhone. Don’t turn around or look from side to side much, either.
• Sit in the front. Consider driving (if possible). Drivers rarely get car sickness as they are always focused on the road. Sitting in the passenger’s seat up front is the next best thing. Riding in the trunk will cause problems.
• Close your eyes. Sleep if you can. If your eyes are closed, you don’t see anything, and that removes the cause of motion sickness. In addition, sleeping can take your mind off of your car sickness.
• Open the window. Many people find that smelling fresh, cool air helps make them feel better, although the reason behind this isn’t clear. If it is not possible to open the window, lean towards the bottom of the window and breathe.
• Take steps to prevent nausea. Since nausea is the most debilitating symptom of car sickness, it’s always good to take precautionary measures.
• If youʼve tried all of the above and youʼre still not feeling any better – in fact youʼre feeling worse and are just about to puke all over the rental van – demand that the driver pull over. Better for you to throw up and get all the sickness out than try and keep it in. Besides, your teammates will be more than happy to try and ignore the sounds of your puking by holding a serious conversation in the front seat while they wait. Trust me.
5. Win A Belly-Flop Contest (That You Never Signed Up For, But Is Mandatory For You To Participate In As A Counselor) Twice
• Pray. (And know that I feel for you.)
*For more information, check out Joshua Pivenʼs The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook. Itʼs good stuff!