Rick's Journal

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Earth Skills Seven Day Challenge: Final Report!

Well, we finished up the Seven Day Challenge on Saturday (it was from June 1-7, 2014), and we all learned a ton.   I was thinking of posting all of the different things I learned and did in this blog, but I will spare you ALL of those details, and give you the important points!

First of all, this whole thing was conceived and started just a few weeks ago.   I put it together in a few days with an announcement on the Wolverine Way newsletter, as part of my Strategy for Nature Connection venture, and then put together an event on Facebook, that rapidly filled up with almost 150 people!     I created a Facebook Group so the rest of the group could continue on past the event posting, and we had 125 people actually switch over to that group, too.   Heck, there are still people joining in the group, even after it's over!

Second, I put together some videos about it, and how people might get the most out of their skill practice.   I released them on Facebook and my newsletter, and I made up some documents for planning and journaling their skills and posted them in the Facebook Group.   After all, support is everything in getting success.

Then, we started on our challenge, and everyone did 15-20 minutes of skills practice or learning each day for seven days.   I was practicing cordage, for a teaching display, so I started making some short strands.

What happened next was incredible.   

Participants started posting their results.   Photos.  Videos.  Stories of what they did, and what they learned.   Questions started being asked, and suggestions offered.   There were lots of Facebook 'Likes' and comments going all over the place!  It was great!

Each day, new postings were happening.    There were people practicing hand drill, bow drill, cordage, tracking, wild plants, wild edibles, trapping, basketry, bird identification, and tree studies.  People were learning with their kids, too!

And, once they started posting their results, new people got inspired to jump in on the action.   And they reported about how other people in their own friends network were commenting and reaching out, inspired by their studies and posts.

It was amazing.   I saw a lot of people who helped each other, and offered suggestions and resources whenever someone got stuck.  It wasn't just the usual talk, talk talk like so many other Facebook groups, with the usual knife postings, again and again!  (Not that I have anything against knives!)   We were actually doing and actively practicing skills.  Wilderness skills, for real!   And it wasn't other people's YouTube videos, either!

Here's what the participants said:

"Thank you Ric for putting this together, your support and enthusiasm!  I learned to be consistent with putting some time everyday into exploring, practicing and thinking about all these skills and challenges.  It also helped me expand my mind to consider other skills I have not yet learned."

"I learned about a bunch of new plants, but I also learned to be more aware of my surroundings and how being outside each day makes me feel better!   I have to make more time for being outside."

I learned that you can commit 15 minutes a day to earth skills, even if you're sick in bed, wiped out for a week.   Reading about nature, cordage, watching videos on skills, knots, drawing and best of all, sit spot!"

"I have learned that I can be consisted, albeit inconsistently, and that spending 15 minutes, 3-5 times a week gets me much further along than waiting for a whole hour or two to magically open up in my schedule.  Also, that the support of strangers with similar interests feels more supportive than family and friends who are just politely interested.  It was a pleasure interacting with all of you.  Thank you, Ricardo Sierra."

"I used the fire I created to light my earthen oven, and make a little feast for friends and family.  I also decided to stay by it's side until midnight.  Watched the stars and contemplated the knowledge that comes from fire.   Overall, a wonderful way to celebrate."

and much, much more!   

(You can read all their posts first hand in the Facebook group, and see all the pictures there, too.)

I am not sure what is next for the group, as I am not sure what they all want to do next, but whatever it is, we have all seen the power of just 15 minutes of nature and skills time can do for us!

I will post more of my actual skills journals and photos in my other blog, the Trailhead, so check that out!   I should have that up soon!   

In the meantime, GREAT JOB, everyone!   I mean, seriously, I couldn't be prouder of everyone who took part or helped cheer us all on!   Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. This was a great way to spend a week and grow together.   You are all awesome!

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