A week of growing and learning prepares mentors for a great summer of 2023  

New and Returning staff took part in Primitive Pursuits’ camp training this past week. This in depth training looks at many aspects of our camp environment from games and activities to conflict resolution and safety. The training is a growing and evolving week-long course originally designed by Jed Jordan meant to prepare mentors in all aspects of primitive pursuits camp life.

The week begins with some compass orientation and to the 4H acres site of Primitive Pursuits camp for most of the summer. New staff get to visit the camp sites where they will be taking campers for all the fun activities they will be participating in over the summer. Camps like Raccoon Hotel and Trillium Camp are iconic spots in the landscape perfect for a range of activities. At these camps there is always the fire circle and staff revisited how to build a fire and fire safety. 

On Tuesday, activities centered around leadership and leadership styles. One of our camp mentors Melissa led a group of leadership staff through an exercise examining the emotional and spiritual aspects of leadership. Melissa then led the larger group in a fun activity aimed at identifying our leadership styles. Mentors placed themselves along two lines. One line classified mentors as either wind or water. The other line classified us as hot tamales or cool cucumbers. This created four groups with different leadership styles. Mentors then moved to the leadership style which is a challenge for them to work with and they shared why this leadership style was difficult for them. 


Fionna McSweeney approves of the opening game of camp training. Photo: Ally True

Calendula Dulle dumps the remains of a bag of water on her head as Lyla White and Toby Hansom-Jr look on. Photo: Ally True

Wednesday, Lila and Shawn led the new staff through conflict resolution using the peace hoop. New staff took willow and constructed hoops using birch bark fashioned into cordage to tie the hoops at four points. These four points represent four aspects of conflict resolution. Using the hoop Mentors can lead campers through a process of recognition of emotions and conflict to help when egos clash at camp. 

On Thursday camp leaders set up stations on many aspects of camp activities and safety. Trainees went through stations such as archery, carving, hiking, fire making, and plant identification. We also got our new shirts for 2023 and donned them for a group photo. 

The week concluded with a great group of mentors in training joining the larger group for our opening fire as each staff member got a small bit of birch bark to process and add to the duff that is used to make a fire in the bow drill style. This is the first fire of camp emphasizing the fire lies within all of us. The fire encourages us to look within and visualize the magical experience which will be Primitive Pursuits camp in 2023. We then got a serious bonding experience as we all participated in a big game of capture the flag, allowing all of us to feel the joy of playing at camp.

Camp Founder Jed Jordan munches some romain at snack time during camp training. Photo: Ben Bookout

A mentor shows their strength during a game of capture the flag. Photo: Ally True