Archive for the ‘Adventures’ Category

Are You Ready for a Challenge?

Are You Ready for a Challenge?

Anyone who regularly reads my blogs knows already that I am not a fan of “reality” television, particularly those focusing on wilderness survival.  After all, reality television is not reality.  At best, it’s entertainment, plain and simple.  At worst, it can get someone, who attempts to replicate what they have “learned” while watching it, hurt, even killed.  Sadly, this has already occurred in at least a few instances over the years because viewers sometimes don’t appreciate how reckless the so-called expert is being, or that the scenario presented has in fact been manipulated for effect.  Happily, though, there are exceptions. When created and presented in the proper spirit, television programs can be a wonderful supplement to actual hands-on learning, particularly from a qualified instructor.  For example, I must admit that I respect Les Stroud of Survivorman, and I especially like watching Animal Planet’s I Shouldn’t be Alive series, which provides a pretty fair account and analysis of […]

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Camping & Safety

Camping & Safety

I just spent a very nice morning with a group of wonderfully energetic children from Tender Care Learning Center in Monroeville, Pennsylvania.  The goal of the workshop was to provide them an introduction to camping and safety. Aged between 7 and 10 years old, the kids learned about the parts of a tent and how to set it up.  Then, they all spent some time crawling in and out … which I think they all thought was the best part of the program! Then we talked about what to do should they every become lost in the woods.  First and foremost, they learned about the importance of carrying a whistle and how to properly blow it.  They I should them how to use a plastic trash bag as shelter.  Hopefully, they will never need to use these skills, but should they ever become separated from there family, they’ll be better prepared.

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True North prepares for Television!

True North prepares for Television! Read more

A Thank You from Venture Outdoors

A Thank You from Venture Outdoors

Last Sunday, True North ran a training program for the folks at Venture Outdoors, a non-profit organization based in Pittsburgh whose mission is to make outdoor activities, like hiking, climbing, and paddling, more accessible to people of all ages and experience levels.  As such, its staff and volunteer trip leaders need to know, not just how to run a smooth program, but how to deal with the unexpected.  So last week’s program was designed to help them better prepare for outdoor medical emergencies. Today, we received a really nice thank you note from them: “Thank you for arranging a fantastic training for VO staff and volunteer leaders. The real-time emergency response with actual EMS made the scenario incredibly realistic.  We look forward to setting up more outings with you in the future!“ But the simple truth is that this event wouldn’t have been such a success had it not been for […]

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An Evening with YMCA Indian Guides

An Evening with YMCA Indian Guides

I spent a really enjoyable evening around a campfire this past Friday evening with roughly 150 Indian Guides and their fathers at YMCA Camp Kon-O-Kwee Spencer.  Conveniently located in Frombell, Pennsylvania, about an hours drive north of Pittsburgh, the camp provided a wonderful setting to help kick off their weekend. The theme of their weekend was “Wilderness Survival” so the group had asked me to show them the basics of making a fire and to introduce them to wilderness survival. The YMCA Indian Guides program is designed to foster companionship between a father and his son through such shared activities as campouts, monthly meetings, community outings, and competitions.  This particular group hails from the Wexford, Pennsylvania area, and the ages of the children is between 5 and 8 years old. Right on time at 8:30 that evening, a long stream of kids and parents marched single file through the dark […]

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Adventure Race Results – Congratulations Becca!

Adventure Race Results - Congratulations Becca!

Congratulations to a great friend of True North, Becca Mix, who competed today in the Friends of the Riverfront “Pittsburgh Triathlon & Adventure Race,” which started and ended this morning on the North Shore of Pittsburgh.  To write that her performance was outstanding would be an understatement. The “Adventure Race” portion, which was comprised of 122 racers, included three stages: first a 2 mile paddle up the Allegheny River and back, followed by a 20K bike ride up and back along the HOV lane of Interstate 279, and ending with a 5K run. It was definitely a challenging race. So how did Becca do? She finished 11th overall at 1:28:22 … “Overall” meaning men AND women! She was 2nd of all the women. Moreover, Becca finished 1st in her age group! True North had been considering recruiting Becca for Team True North, the adventure racing team that it sponsors, but […]

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Allegheny River Sojourn 2013

Allegheny River Sojourn 2013

As I sit here relaxing on a Sunday morning, cradling a hot mug of strong coffee in my hand, I cannot help but fondly reflect on one of the most terrific programs in which I have been involved in a long time.  I spent three days, from Thursday of last week through Saturday, paddling along the Allegheny River with six amazing kids from the North Side and seven terrific instructors. The program was the “Allegheny River Sojourn and Program for Urban Youth.”  Envisioned and developed by Melissa and David Rohm of Paddle Without Pollution (PWP) the goal of the program was to introduce a group of urban youth to the beauty and wonders of the outdoors.  As they paddled their canoes and kayaks, they not only saw scores of Bald Eagles, but they learned about the important role of watersheds, they leaned about plant identification, they saw bear bear tracks and scat […]

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YMCA Ranger Staff Training

YMCA Ranger Staff Training

I just finished a very busy, but very wonderful, week working with the four leaders of the Ranger Program at YMCA Camp Ockanickon & Matollionequay located in Medford, New Jersey. Monika and Jessica, and Matt and Zach, will be spending this summer leading trips that hike up a portion of the Appalachian Trail through Northeastern Pennsylvania, then paddle down the Delaware River. So we worked together to get them certified in Wilderness First Aid (WFA), learn the fundamentals of land navigation, and develop their backcountry skills as they get ready to soon head out on their own with their groups. With only three days to train, our schedule and work was compressed and intense, not to mention the rain, heat, and ticks. But these four worked extremely hard, and they did so with smiles on their faces, sprinkled with much laughter, the entire time. Trust me, they may have had […]

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More WFA News

More WFA News

True North just completed yesterday a Wilderness First Aid (WFA) course for a great group. Several of them are Boy Scout leaders who are preparing to take their Scouts to Seabase next month, while two others are getting ready to head to Brazil with Engineers Without Borders as part of a development project. Many thanks to all of them!

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WFA News

WFA News

Last night, I started the first of a four session Wilderness First Aid (WFA) course with Scout leaders at BSA Camp Guyasuta in Sharpsburg. Not only are they a great bunch, but Camp Guyasuta is truly a hidden gem. Most people (including me) have been whizzing by it on Route 28 for years, not really knowing that it’s there. Trust me, it is truly a slice of peaceful wilderness tucked away in a largely urban landscape. I’m thinking that True North may need to hold more classes there!

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