The Point Of Training And Testing From The Junior Maine Guide Text

These two quotations from “The Art Of Outdoor Living” jumped out at me because what they say about experiential education and a realistic assessment of skill through a practical exam apply directly to our new Journeyman Bushcraft Instructor & Wilderness Guide Certification Program. Scroll to the bottom for full bibliographic information.

“The training and preparation in this program should be in the form of actual living experience through wilderness trips, out-post camping, and such other related experiences and projects as may be planned by the various instructors and camp leaders, to provide necessary experience and practice.

A further purpose of the training should be to develop abilities that permit the youthful persons to perform their tasks as naturally as possible, as though this is what they do all the time in daily living in the open. There should be NO emphasis upon skill acquirement for “test” purposes only. The true purpose is to learn and acquire skills and abilities that become a natural way of one’s doing things.”

Art Of Outdoor Living, p. 19

“Their (practical exam staff) prime purpose is to enable the candidates to demonstrate that their knowledge and skill is sound and secure. In short, that the candidate can capably and safely conduct himself or herself in a wilderness environment and care for others as well. The ultimate criterion is: Could the candidate handle the mechanics of planing and leading a trip safely and efficiently? Such a standard of accomplishment is implicit in the word “Guide”.

The demonstration of skill and wilderness “know-how” should NOT be viewed as a perfunctory test before a mentor, but as an honest, straight-forward opportunity to show someone that one is truly capable, knowledgeable, and resourceful in the ways of the woods and wilderness travel.”

Art Of Outdoor Living, p. 39

From: Whiting, Robert M., Ed. The Art Of Outdoor Living: Basic Junior Maine Guide Text. Gardiner, ME: Maine Camp Director’s Association, 1977.  It’s a great book if you can find a copy.

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