Junior Militia Corps Kick Off August 2011
Jeff “LFB” Kindy
I arrived on Friday afternoon with two JMC Recruits, Mutt and Loudmouth, around 1630hrs. We established camp, set up a general gathering area and talked with other attendees. There were 6 others present from CCM when we arrived. Bear arrived shortly after we did. Friday nights are one of my favorite times before an FTX. I’m away from work, and can relax before a hard weekend of training. Before the sun fell we had 20 personnel in camp.
Around 2100 hrs we reviewed the SMVM S.E.A. Policy and established Camp Security Guards and Roster. I had one of the JMC members pick a number, and then we each picked one to establish the order of shifts. The one who was closest got the first shift, the furthest got the last. I got last. As we knew we had a big day ahead of us, some of us went to bed around 2300 hrs, which was the beginning of the first guard shift. Several folks, along with two of the JMC members stayed up. They were not practicing sound discipline very well, and is by the way how Loudmouth got her call sign.
0700hrs – Wakeup call came early. Wake up call saw many still in bed until 0800hrs. Bubba and I went out to the Confidence Course to establish a new route and set up the ropes. Support personnel were not available so we made our own breakfast and coffee.
0900hrs – We gathered the troops and performed the opening ceremonies of the Pledge of Allegiance and a morning prayer. Then Bubba briefed the Militia at Large on the day’s events. Meanwhile the JMC continued with their morning tasks. Once the Militia at Large was on their way to the E&E Course, the JMC gathered for their day’s events around the fire pit.
1000hrs – JMC Mission Statement was reviewed, from memory since I forgot to print one out.
“The JMC (Junior Militia Corps) is a program, developed by the SMVM (Southeast Volunteer Michigan Militia) to get kids ages 5-17, involved in a self preservation environment. We aim to teach woods survival, self-defense, self-reliance and knowledge of their God given rights as guaranteed by our Constitution and Bill of Rights. Through camping, Land Navigation, Basic Bushcraft Skills, Basic First Responder Skills, Physical Fitness and Safe Firearm Handling, JMC Members will learn to be self-reliant, respectful of Nature and Others and be able to make educated choices in life.”
If you do not pay attention, EVERYBODY does jumping jacks, okay?
The first business on hand was the Survival Class. What should we do, and how should we do it when we are in the woods or anywhere really. Here is the handout from that class:
1. Plan Ahead
2. Be Aware
3. Stay Put
4. Stay Bright
5. Stay Loud
Plan Ahead- Make arrangements with multiple friends or family members/guardians/hunting party , and tell them where you intend to start and end your journey, how long your estimated time out will be, and REASSURE them that if you get lost or turned around that you will stay put until someone comes looking for you!
Be aware of your situation- Do not fool yourself in thinking that you may NOT be lost. You either are on the correct path, or you are NOT! Stay Put- Get comfortable and go over your options and stay calm, as if you are reading this paper and you have made contact with friends/family, packed a survival kit, and you will be found. It just will take a small length of time to make your contacts aware of when and where to start looking for you.
Stay Bright- place your bandanna, rain poncho, space blanket, extra clothes, or tarp around something big and in the open so searchers will notice you better.
Stay Loud- Make sure when you have made the decision that you are lost, begin blowing your whistles in short blasts of three, as three of anything in a sequence is an international distress signal, so in your best interest, take your whistle out and hang it around your neck. Use your whistle. This is way under rated as if you start yelling you may find yourself running out of breath and risk hyperventilating or worse yet, passing out.
Do not be afraid. If you hear any noises loud or faint, just blow your whistle and make some notice by shuffling your feet or beating a stick against a tree, this will pretty much discourage most animals that may frighten you, besides it just might be a rescuer trying to find you! The only realistic fear you should have is …HAVING NOT PRE-PLANNED YOUR TRIP, OR PRACTICED YOUR INTENDED SURVIVAL PLAN. For most intended purposes a minimalist kit including these basic contents will get you home.
Bright Colored Rain Poncho
Of course in this day and age you could add a cellular phone, 2-way radio or GPS. If you will bring these kit items make sure you know how to properly know how to use them! And spare batteries or a solar charger would be a plus.
We passed out some gear donated by several members of the SMVM, water bottles and pouches to carry them in and first aid pouches. Then the JMC RAN to the well and filled the water bottles. In fact they ran everywhere they went, and did calisthenics throughout the day. Next on the list was some basic safety and first aid training. We talked about heat injuries, cold injuries and lacerations. One member was even so obliged to provide us with a small cut so we could show the proper way to clean the wound and apply a bandage.
Donated water bottles. They are high-visibility on purpose.
Teamwork. It's never to early to learn teamwork.
An easy improvised poncho shelter.
As the Militia at Large was returning to camp, the clouds rolled in and rained hard for about two hours. Luckily we had set up a tarp between some trees and had shelter. Just in time for lunch the rain stopped, but not before Mutt and MadKat painted their nails so that “their nails were pretty when they shot their guns”! D-Day was so kind to provide lunchtime support with hot dogs, Polish Sausage, BBQ Chicken, soda and water. A hot meal is always welcomed on a rainy day!
After Lunch Weapon M had the JMC doing laps around the campground and gathering firewood. We gathered all personnel for the brief on the Confidence Course. Five JMC Members decided to go through the course. We hiked about ¾ mile to the start finish line, and walked the entire ½ mile course. Across a Ravine on a rope, down a steep slope with the assistance of a rope, through a ravine, up some hills, under logs, over logs and finally up a very steep hill to the finish. The course was so tough that two of the JMC decided that they had had enough already. Three JMC Members did in fact run the course in good time. They had the help of Blackfoot and Kalcano throughout the course. Thanks guys for being there for the kids.
We returned to camp for dinner. Several folks had brought food to share, so we ate very well. Most traveled from site to site filling their bellies with the goodness of Brats, Pork Chops, Hot Dogs, Polish Sausages, BBQ Chicken and pudding! After dinner most of the JMC retired from a hard tiring day of training, as I prepared myself for a night time E&E Course run to mark the graduation of Sentinel Basic Training. When I returned to camp at 2300hrs all was quiet and peaceful. I guess the exercise had proved fruitful for the adults as well after all.
Sunday morning wakeup call came at 0800hrs with the call for Blueberry Pancakes! At least I made a mad dash towards Thumper’s Camp ready to fill up on hot blueberry goodness. Most of the JMC were still sleeping the prior day’s training off.
After breakfast we broke camp and policed the area for trash. We have a very strong belief in leaving an area better than we found it. This weekend was no different. On the way home Mutt, Loudmouth, Toad and I stopped off for a swim at Spring Mill Pond. That was refreshing! We sifted the sand for rocks and seashells, and even found a bracelet for Mutt. A tough game of chicken, in which I was dragged into water deeper than I was ready for, and we (at least I was) were ready to leave. All this and I was still home by 1500hrs.
I want to thank all the kids, their parents and Militia at Large who participated to make the kick-off of the JMC a success!
Don’t miss the FTX in September when we go to Camp D-Day for another great weekend of camping, learning, training and fun!