Survival Games for Pathfinders

These trail games I created with the help of my old Pathfinder Unit, the 31st Orleans Pathfinders. Each game is designed to teach Pathfinders, first hand, some of the skills required to survive in the wilderness if they manage to get lost or injured. These games are best played at a weekend (but non-emblem) camp. Some preparation is required beforehand. In the meetings leading up to the game, the girls should be assembling first aid kits and survival kits. Girls should come to the game with all the gear they would usually take on an afternoon hike: daypacks, survival kits, first aid kits, rain ponchos, some snacking food, something to drink, etc.

Leaders lay a trail for the girls to follow, using either trail signs, flagging tape or bright-coloured wool. If times allows, lay a trail for each team of girls. Along the trail the leaders place Situation Cards (see the links on the left); on each card is a situation the girls will have to think about and solve before moving on. Try to make sure that the last Situation Card is placed in an area which has suitable shelter-building materials available, and, if at all possible, is safe for lighting fires. Remember to practise extreme caution when using fire in the middle of the woods, especially in summer!

The Pathfinders are split up into groups of around 5 or 6 girls each. If you only have one trail, send the teams down the trail at around 15-minute intervals, and try to split the trail so that each team winds up in a different spot at the very end. Once the girls reach the end of the trail they must remain where they are until the leaders come and inspect their work.

During the game, the leaders tour the area, but remain as observers only. No commenting on the girls' solutions to the problems! After the game is over, everyone should sit down together and discuss the different strategies used, as well as what improvements could be made for surviving a real emergency situation.

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