On Saturday August 13th, forty young girls from the Treasure Valley spent a fun-filled day at Wild Skills Boise. The Jim Hall Foothill Learning Center provided the perfect backdrop to teach girls ages 6-12 year-old the basic skills in four areas: Navigation, Shelter Building, First Aid, and 10 Essentials/Leave No Trace. Each of these stations was led by local expert volunteers.
At check in the participants were given a “I speak Girafficorn” t-shirt and a Wild Skills Journal to take home. They then broke into four color coded teams. The team leaders and members used duct and flagging tape to identify themselves as team pink, yellow, green, or orange. This time allowed for the girls to meet their leader and get to know one another while using the tape to make headbands, tutus, bracelets and many other creative ideas to decorate their clothing. After the teams were fully color coded, and led through a dance party warm-up, we were off to learn!
The first station was Navigation. This station was lead by volunteers from Outdoor Exchange; a female owned outdoor store in Boise. Four volunteers from the store touched on topics including how to read a topographic map and how to use a compass. The girls applied their knowledge by playing a game finding North, East, South, and West under a giant parachute and using their compasses to find hidden treasures on a hike.
The next stop was Shelter Building. The teams we greeted by volunteers from Idaho Mountain Search and Rescue (IMSR). In this station the girls learned shelter building basics and how to properly construct shelters. We went for a walk and looked at possible natural shelters; places that could be used for protection from rain and wind as well as what could be used for insulation on the ground. After exploring some natural shelter options we discussed how to make a shelter using supplies you may have packed. IMSR used materials such as garbage bags, tarps, tents, and rope for each shelter demonstration. The team then was given freedom to build their own. It was amazing to see the teamwork and creative ideas bursting from the girls. In the end they had created multiple shelters; each would have been suitable for a safe night in the wilderness.
Next on the list was First Aid where 3 female volunteers from St. Luke’s Health System lead the girls through the basics of first aid for yourself or your buddy on an outdoor adventure. The group leads began with a review of some essential first aid items to pack for an adventure. They then asked the girls what items they might have with them, besides actual first aid supplies, that might be effective in treating a wound. The girls enjoyed getting creative with their answers and sharing stories about injuries themselves or friends suffered in the past. Everyone’s favorite part of the First Aid station was being able to draw injuries on their friends with red markers and use the skills they learned to treat them. We saw cougar bites, head lacerations, and broken arms. While the girls had a blast and acted as silly as possible, we saw them correctly applying many of the technical skills they had learned.
Finally, the 10 Essentials/Leave No Trace station, lead by the Girl Scouts, showed the girls how to prepare themselves for an outdoor adventure. They did several fun activities that covered appropriate clothing, proper campfire etiquette, and essential items to put in your pack when going into the outdoors. Next, the group went outside where the leaders hid some garbage among the local trail system. The goal was to find and pick up as much garbage as possible. In most cases, the teams found additional garbage that wasn’t hidden by the group leaders.
In addition to the people and organizations who volunteered their time to lead and teach our participants, Albertsons donated an amazing lunch to the more than 30 volunteers. We are extremely thankful for Albertsons, Idaho Mountain Search and Rescue, the Girl Scouts of Silver Sage, Outdoor Exchange and St. Luke’s Health System for making Wild Skills Boise possible. Judging by all the laughs, smiles, hugs, and high fives the day was a huge success!
Learn more about these organizations and all the good they’re doing:
Idaho Mountain Search and Rescue: http://www.imsaru.org/
Girl Scouts of Silver Sage: http://girlscouts-ssc.org/
Outdoor Exchange: http://www.outdoor-exchange.com/
St. Luke’s Health System: https://www.stlukesonline.org/
Photos from the event can be seen at: https://christypelland.smugmug.com/Wild-Skills-Boise-2016/Wild-Skills-ALL-IMAGES/