I am a big believer in having the necessary skills to feel prepared for whatever I do. It took me a long time to be able to do an Eskimo roll in my kayak, but it has given me the confidence to paddle out in conditions I normally would not have gone out in. When I was rock climbing I learned skills to not only be safe, but to climb above my ability.
This past week I camped out in Jamul California to train and become certified as a Wilderness First Responder or WFR training. And while I was by far the oldest participant and it was a lot of work I really had a great time. The 20 other students I was with were great. We covered a lot of material about how to handle a myriad of issues in the back -country dealing with circulatory, respiratory and nervous systems. I took the course through Wilderness Leadership Institute (wildlead.com) Our instructors Daz and Hewett were amazing. It was a lot of fun as we got to act out a variety of scenarios. I felt I deserved a “Woofie” for playing the drunk driver covered in blood, who cut the arm off of one passenger, broke the back of another and through a drunk woman off the top of my car where she impaled her hand on a branch.
While I joke that what it really trained me for was to ask the important WFR question — “who is your next of kin? —the experience has given me the confidence that when I am teaching kayaking, out in the bush or elsewhere I know what to do in an emergency. And that is a great feeling.