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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Wilderness First Aid - CERTIFIED!

Morning fog on the lake... 32 degrees on June 3rd.

When I set off for Wilderness First Aid training at Camp Manito-wish, I had visions of heading off to "camp" and being able to explore and roam the property, snapping awesome photographs, making friends and learning tons of first aid stuff. The realities of being "at camp" were quite different. I never had the experience of being sent off to camp when I was a kid. At most, there were two class trips to area "camps" in middle school that lasted for about 3 days. I have very few memories of those trips - mostly yucky food, mice in the cabins and ticks on our heads. This time was going to be different! I am an adult now! I can bring my own food! I have a car and can go where I want!

Unfortunately, the good scholar in me just wanted to make sure I learned as much as possible so I wouldn't fail the training. Plus, I was almost the oldest person in the class. Surrounded by more than thirty 18-22 year-old kids, I realized I was old enough to be their mother. Ugh. The hardest part is that I still feel like I'm in my twenties... but obviously older and therefore left out.

There was no time for leisurely exploring - I had 9 chapters of reading homework the first night. After a long day out in the sun and fresh air, I was exhausted from all the CPR drills and making my brain learn new things. All I wanted to do was lay down and go to sleep, but I forced myself to get through the reading homework and review my notes from the day. The other girls in my cabin headed off into town for... real food? ice cream? alcohol? ...I'm not really sure since I wasn't invited. All I know is they piled into a car and left. By 9pm., after finishing the homework assignment, I showered and got ready for bed. This is when the girls returned to the cabin and decided to go start a fire in the camp fire pit... they politely invited me to join them, but I was already in my jammies... and way too tired to stay up any later; I went to bed.

The next morning, instead of waking up early and hiking around the lake, I slept in a little. I still got up earlier than the rest of them and headed off to breakfast by myself. Apparently many of my classmates were up late the previous night because the instructor had to stop her lecture to ask people to stay awake or they wouldn't be certified. Seriously? I felt like I was in high school again. Don't these people want to learn first aid? Unfortunately, many of them were there as a prerequisite to their summer camp jobs and not really engaged in learning the material. Even more unfortunate, these people all passed with their certifications. I'm not really sure I'd want to rely on these people if I were injured in the wilderness... but at least now I have the knowledge to help someone help me.

I think a lot of the students were confused why someone would take this class voluntarily. I actually paid to be there. They were there on someone else's dime and just going through the motions. Maybe I'm being too harsh; I'm sure there were some students who put forth the effort. In any case, I feel like I have the tools and knowledge to help someone if I ran across a situation out on the trail... and that was the purpose behind signing up for this training. In the future, though, I think I'll take my training at a designated wilderness school rather than one that is offered at a "camp." I would rather be in an environment with other like-minded individuals who are serious about learning the material. I've had enough of camp life.

My bottom bunk.