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Newsletter

September-October 2020

Hello friends, and welcome to the very first official Midwest Woodcraft Newsletter! I am extremely excited to update you on everything that has been happening here at Midwest Woodcraft as of late and the plans that we have lined up for the future. There has been a lot going on and we are super pumped to share it with you.

 

First, I am absolutely thrilled to announce that we are once again holding our own classes in Central Illinois. Up first in October is Beginners Bushcraft, a class designed to show students though experience how difficult an emergency situation could be without proper gear to assist you.  Then we will run our very first Firecraft class which is intended to immerse students in to fire skills for two days, assuring they will be Ninja Pyros when I am done with them. It feels great to be running classes again and I hope that some of you will join us for these training opportunities.

 

  Additionally, I had the opportunity to get back to Campcraft Outdoors this past weekend to help teach a family survival clinic. We had a fantastic group of students with a bunch of kiddos right in there learning as well. It was truly a blessing to see them working together and learning life saving skills as a unit.

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It was great to get back out into the field teaching students

The class Itself introduced a group of beginners to vital survival skills but it reintroduced me to something different, it presented me with the opportunity to teach in person  in over a year and to have that indescribable feeling of helping someone achieve their goals in their training. The fire class was a blast! Being newcomers, some of the students lacked some of the gear necessary or even had gear that was inadequate, it is in these cases that I will lend my own gear to assist. One thing that I am extremely proud of is that when I hand them a Midwest Woodcraft Ferro rod their success rates in fire-making go up a great deal. It cannot be argued that good training partnered with good gear will always increase your chances of success in an emergency or even in a training situation.

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A family participating in fire training at Campcraft Outdoors In Bethlehem Kentucky using a Midwest Woodcraft Ferro rod

Fire was not the only thing on the docket, soon our students found themselves right in the middle of a soap making class. They were simply amazed that you could make soap out of animal fat, pine tar, and some lye. The look on their faces when the bars were cut from the mold was worth my drive alone. Introducing people to new skills is one of the most rewarding parts of being a wilderness skills instructor and is why I will continue to do this so long as the good lord allows.

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Pine tar soap in a wooden mold sits among medicinal plants and coconut oil used for our cerate (salve)

As the soap Cooled and hardened, I had the privilege to lead the group on a plant Identification walk for the purpose of collecting ingredients for a salve. We walked the beautiful Campcraft Outdoors property and found quite a few useful additions in the form of Jewelweed, Goldenrod, two or three varieties of Plantain (Plantago) Chickweed, Golden Rod, and Yarrow. This salve was dialed in to treat any skin ailments as well as bug bites and stings, burns or minor wounds. Edible and Medicinal plants, trees and fungus are one of my true passions and it is always a great feeling to introduce folks to this fascinating and miraculous world.

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Discussing some of the properties of milkweed with students

Upon returning to the classroom area we prepped our herbs, melted some coconut oil down and began to infuse the oil with the amazing properties contained in the plants. Once the concoction was ready, we added beeswax to the desired hardness. Students were putting it to use before the night was out, treating minor things such as mosquito bites. The rest of the evening was filled with talk, laughter, good food and lots of fellowship. To me Campcraft Outdoors is a special place; a place with great personal successes earned through hard work, struggle and determination; a place where I have attained friendships and new family members whom I will love, cherish and respect for the rest of my days.

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Survival Guru Jason Hunt teaches students the finer qualities of fire tinder

I am truly a blessed man to be able to teach outdoor skills, whether it is a hardcore class such as Advanced survival where we are extremely hard on students to create the most realistic training possible, or a laid back introduction to skills like this one I always leave for the house with the same feeling of gratitude and accomplishment. There is nothing better than having the opportunity to do what you were made to do, and I hope everyone reading this has that same opportunity. Thank you for subscribing to The Midwest Woodcraft Newsletter God bless each and every one of you, I will talk to you again soon, be safe and remember to try to learn something new every day.

 

 

Kevin Johnson

Founder of Midwest Woodcraft