Hello everyone, I'm very excited to tell you about a project Jeff Cameron and I have been working on recently. It's still a work in progress and we would like all of your input in the final stages.

Basically there are different statuses that each member can progress through, and they can only have one at a time. The idea is that everyone starts off as Newbies, then progress up levels as certain skills are demonstrated (by video upload, showing the group at a get together, etc). Skills could be different types of firecraft, shelter building, knife skills, etc.

There are 3 levels to climb, which have temporarily been named level 1, 2, and 3. (So original!). There is also a Administrator status.

Questions to the group:

1) What should the syllabus of skills be at each level?

2) How should members submit the "evidence"?

2) What are good names for these three levels? Something bushcraft/outdoors/nz related.

Here is how you can see the member categories under the Members tab:

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I agree if you want to get specific training in wilderness travel skills, outdoor safety, navigation etc then say doing a MSC Intro or Intermediate 'Bushcraft' course is a really good way to go.

Folk will always look to buck the system if possible and will quote false credentials, make stuff up etc.

Attending say an MSC intermediate course does not confer that the Attendee has done anything other than attend the course hence the certificate of attendance when the course is done..

I'm not sure that following an online Syllabus is a bad thing per se.. One of the Skills over on BCUSA is to make some fishing hooks.. Now thats not something you'd get on an MSC course or is even in US 430 or anyone at Skills Active would have any idea about..Even the NZOIA boys might scratch their heads a bit...


Yet its an interesting and relavent skill withing the wider context of Bushcraft...

Yes John, If all you do is attend a weekend course then you get a certificate of attendance, but if you go down the instructor pathway there is Outdoor leader, Bush 1 & 2, Alpine, Abseiling, firearms. I think that while the fish hook looks good I do not think that it is that relevant in NZ. While it is definitely a skill I think that there are many other skills one should learn first. 

How about looking at the existing bush syllabus that are already around and use them as they are based on Unit Standards and if you can prove competency you have a recognisable qualification. They can still be done in ones own time. Even if the Unit Standards are not required they are a sound base description. By all means add to the list but for example, if one cannot make a fish hook or find enough plants to eat, does that mean they are stuck on newbie level?

This site will not be running any formal courses, unit standards, qualifications, anytime soon. There are already providors out there as you say. Perhaps we could better direct members to these. I think you are coming at "bushcraft" from a very bush survival angle, which is great but certainly not the majority of members. For most of us it is a recreational hobby about getting out and enjoying the outdoors, picking up some self reliance skills, campcraft, etc.

I tend to disagree with your opinion that people can't learn off videos. Back in 2008 before I set this site up I learnt most bushcraft skills from videos (and some books) then getting out and practicing, refining, etc. I think the fishhooks are awesome in themselves, they don't have to be lifesaving in a nz bush survial situation.

Hi Ryan...

Your reply clarifies the intent somewhat differently to what I interpreted from the first post. Yes, I was coming at it from a more formal (not necessarily survival) viewpoint.

My video learning skills comment was made based on me thinking you were going to offer something akin to a bushcraft type course by video. I had mentioned in the previous comment that I liked the idea of submitting video's to teach skills... But as individual stand alone items and not part of a syllabus.

Franks list approach appeals to me more than the levels system. I think that self checking (ticking) a list like Franks rather than having to submit video proof would be much more user friendly and as the rating would have no real value would be just as good. It would be easier than the moderators trying to decide which skill belongs in which level and how many do you need to progress.

P.S. I still do not like my leaf. ;-)

Hi John

Very interested in your point of view, and I think you are right and the idea needs more clarification. Firstly, this is by no means any form of qualification and will mean nothing at all in the real world as you say there are other courses out there if people want something for their CV.

It is targeted to the 40% of members who are "new to bushcraft" and somewhat to the 50% that are "moderate bushcraft experience". These members are always asking about skills they can learn and activities they can do related to bushcraft. This system gives members a structured learning process to develop bushcraft skills and abilities.

The terminology of the word "bushcraft" also needs explaining. Here in NZ there is a history of bushcraft being just about bush survival. The terminology in the UK, and spread elsewhere recently means a lot more than just survival skills (more info here).

I think we can tweak the default status to something other than newbie that is less insulting, especially as members such as yourself are far from novices. Maybe the default category is something neutral, and members can chose to ascend the levels should they wish?

Hi Again, and thank you for your comments. You have an excellent site and obviously spend some time & effort keeping it going. Cheers.

I agree that bushcraft is much more than about survival. I think my viewpoint was more about safety and looking after yourself in the bush and you are right in saying there is so much more to learn and enjoy in the outdoors. As a young lad I saw a TV program called "No Time For Sergeants." On it a city boy and a country boy were paired up to spend a week in the wilderness surviving. The country boy had their campsite looking like paradise, a bamboo stick in the ground made a fountain, thatched huts, armchairs, tables, etc, etc. Everyone else was making a really rough go of it. Over the top but it stuck in my memory and I am often looking for ways to make life more comfortable when out there. I have a couple of friends who when together usually try to out-do each other with a gadget or skill. Lots of fun and laughter, and sometimes envy. We even had a rotary clothesline made at one camp.

As the discussion continues I can see where you are coming from with your idea, I think that making a growing checklist of skills that could be filled out (in our profile?) and printed off for personal use to keep a check on our own skill base with the skills listed under levels rather than members could be useful. It would remind us all of the skills we have yet to acquire and remind us to practice the ones we already have, as unless one has gone down a formal path and keeps an up-to-date logbook most people probably do not know what they can do.

I think this is a very good idea. It could encourage more depth to our current skill levels.

My thought about this is that it's pretty hard to line up activities/achievements in a sequence and say that you need to have done say river crossing before you do fire lighting etc.

I would rather see an "achievements/skills" type of setup where it's a "tick the boxes" or "earn the badge" kind of a deal. So we would have a list of activities to aim for and we choose the ones that interest us most.

Could also ( with a bit of clever coding ) give us the capability ( I hope ) to find people who have experience in a certain area that we can network with. I.e. if we could search the members list for people with certain achieved skills.

Love this site. You guys are doing an awesome job !

I was thinking (fire starting wise)

Level 1 : Starting a fire with a lighter (bic or similar) with the aid of paper etc, and maintaining the fire for at least 5 minutes.

Level 2 : Starting a fire with a flint, using either moss, a cotton ball smeared with vasoline, or magnesium chips as tinder ,maintaining the fire long enough to boil one liter of water.

Level 3 : Starting a fire using a bow drill, using only natural resources (including naturally weaved string for bow) ...and cooking a meal for 2+ using only ingredients (meat / fish, vegetables, roots etc) sourced from the bush, and boiling one liter of water.

Hi Arron... Some extra skills to the list.

Level 3 Lighting a fire in the winter (when cold and wet) wood sourced from surroundings.

Level 3 As above but using tinder sourced from surroundings. (E.g. no use of paper or accelerant).

Level 10 Find some wood and submerge it overnight in a creek, then light a fire with it as above.

Hi John, regards to you last comment (level 10) it is actually possible lol, depending on type of wood, you can source this middle piece of wood once split for shaved tinder or kindling.

Yes, I know... Level 10 was tongue in cheek though. The trick is finding the right piece of wood.

Ryan... Do you want to do a video if this for us?


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