Teens Find Inspiration in Wilderness Survival Classes

Share Article

The Children of the Earth Foundation (COTEF) offers summer courses for teens teaching them the ancient skills of survival, tracking and nature awareness.

The Children of the Earth Foundation (COTEF) offers summer courses for teens teaching them the ancient skills of survival, tracking and nature awareness.

Teens travel from around the world to attend this unique program which teaches the skills of living in the wilderness with a close connection to the Earth. When many people consider survival living they think of the television version of hardship and constant struggle. What Tom Brown Jr., founder of COTEF, teaches, is that if you are living in harmony with the Earth, living in the wilderness is a carefree walk in the Garden of Eden.

The programs at COTEF are designed from the skills and philosophies passed down to Tom Brown from Stalking Wolf, an Apache elder who dedicated his life to preserving the physical and spiritual skills of not only his own people, but all the indigenous cultures he encountered in his decades of journeying in North and South America. The courses not only help preserve these skills for future generations but provide a wisdom and perspective to teens who live in a world dominated by technology and consumerism.

Courses offered include the introductory Teen Experience in which participants learn the fundamentals of survival including building shelters, fire without matches, finding and purifying water and finding and preparing food. They are introduced to skills such as animal tracking, hide tanning, stone tool making and the philosophies which allowed indigenous people to live in harmony with nature, being good stewards of the land, for countless generations. From this course teens can then venture into more specialty classes including advanced survival, tracking, philosophy, Teen Quest and a class which introduces the philosophies and skills of the ancient Apache scouts. There is also a summer long Intern Mentoring program in which teens experience all of these skills while developing leadership skills and providing service to others.

So how does learning these skills impact the lives of teens? One teen shared, “I’ve never felt so alive, like living a real adventure in a world that has also come to life. Living so close to nature has made me appreciate everything more, from where my food comes from to the smell of the dirt and debris as I fall asleep in my shelter. It's changed how I want to live my life.” Another teen commented, “I can’t describe the change in how I feel. Whether I use them or not, knowing I could walk into the woods with nothing and still survive has made me really confident and secure. I know I could take care of myself and my family and that makes me feel really good”.

Information on specific 2011 teen programs, programs for children age 4-12 and for groups such as homeschool associations, schools and Scout troops is available on the COTEF website, http://www.cotef.org.


Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Debbie Tremel
Children of the Earth Foundation
(609) 971-1799
Email >
Visit website