Almost a decade ago we started our endeavor into Survival training, Bushcraft and the desire to teach folks Woodsman skills. We had spent years in the out of doors to this point, be it hunting, fishing, camping and trapping to a small degree. The Survival community at this time, though not entirely new, was relatively small. This is when we started our research, the practicing of skills and even attended some courses from some of the top schools of the time. Throughout our journey in making ourselves more comfortable afield, it was amazing to see how fast the community began to grow.
As we continued to grow ourselves, we started our youtube channel and began to share things we either already knew, had recently learned, and even the things that we were trying out for the first times. This was a pleasurable time and lots of folks started doing the same. It was cool to see others sharing in what we all loved, and the desire to help one another was clear.
Our intent from the beginning was just that, if we could help someone someday, we consider ourselves successful. We didn’t aim to be the best out there, but wanted to be the best we could be in what we were doing. Honesty and Humbleness were our motto. We didn’t see a need to lie or mislead folks in order to make a buck, after all…what we were sharing may end up being a life or death result. We believe this in itself is what got us a small following that continues to grow each day. How neat it is to know that folks trust us in this way, and realize that we truly aim to help.
Our school was finally born and we kept steadfast in our ways. Keep it honest and relative. Flashy is not always better. Though there are a lot of Survival skills to concern yourselves with, most of them are not really needed in the so-called “Survival situation”. Yes, the skills are fun to learn and practice, but typically not needed. In some cases, doing some of the “cool” stuff, or believing that you need to, could end you up in an even worse scenario. So much hype and opinion based theories have flooded the community and clouded peoples perception on what they are really doing in the first place. We try to keep clear of these thought processes and share the reality of things with our students. Again, in our opinion, there is no room for blowing smoke in this field.
Over the years we have taken a new path. We started moving away from the Survival skills as the main focus, and started looking at how we could teach folks in a more meaningful and appropriate manner. Survival skills are a good thing to know, but that shouldn’t be the end of it. In fact, we think that is where it begins. So the skills are nice to have in case you find yourself in a pinch. But how much better would it be to interact with the land in an entirely different way than thinking it is there to kill you all of the time? So we started focusing on being able to interact, and in some cases even live, with the land in a more natural way…..just as our forefathers did. Doing it in this way offers a much more meaningful time in the woods even if you didn’t plan on being out there. It is no longer a Survival situation, but an extended stay afield. Not everyone spends a lot of time in the woods though, and this is why we find it relevant to teach the Survival skills, as well as it being a baseline as previously mentioned.
So what separates us from all of the other schools out there? Well, first and foremost, we continue to seek knowledge and experience that will better benefit our students, and stay away from thinking that we already know it all. There is currently no certification process for Instructors or Schools, which can make it difficult for folks to chose a worthy school to go to. However, there are only certain schools (a small number) that do this Professionally. That is why we found it important to become a Registered Maine Guide. This is not some certification through another school or such, it is actually a License provided by the Sate of Maine proving that you have what it takes to Guide Wilderness Trips and teach students. The testing for this is considered the toughest in the country! We also find it appropriate to further our knowledge with other Professionals in the community. We have had the pleasure of learning and teaching with the Jack Mountain Bushcraft School.
So the way forward for us here at The Woodsman School and Guide Service is staying true to what we did to get us here. We plan on keeping things relevant and honest, staying away from the hype and trying to pitch such to our students as a reality, or as the right way of doing things. Teaching skills and taking trips that foster a good stewardship to the land and nature. Immersing ourselves and students into the forests and waterways to facilitate and even greater learning experience!