Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

July 25, 2012

NSU campers learn basic survival tips

TAHLEQUAH — Using the popular Suzanne Collins novel “The Hunger Games” as the premise, the Northeastern State University Second Century Survival Skills for Kids Camp has been orienting participants with basic survival skills, while promoting the brain-tempering activity of reading.

The original idea was to offer a reading camp. But Survival Skills for Camps Instructor April Quiett, who teaches sophomore English for Tahlequah Public Schools, knew participants would need some enticement. That’s why the teen survival story was selected to provide context for the week’s activities.

“The ‘Hunger Games’ is a big deal right now,” she said. “It is a story of survival. It’s basically kids fighting to the death, but we’re not going to emphasize that. It’s a story of survival where kids ages 12 to 18 are thrown into an arena. There are 24 of them all together, and only one survives. It involves a lot more than just kids fighting each other. You have to find food. You have to find shelter. You have to find water. We’re going to talk about things like if you don’t know what a berry is, don’t eat it because you could die. We’re going to talk about how to find water and things like that, because that’s how they survive in the book.”

According to online descriptions of the book, “The Hunger Games” is about a 16-year-old girl who lives in a post-apocalyptic nation where the countries of North America once existed. A highly-advanced metropolis known as the Capitol rules with imperial dominance over this nation. In the story, the Hunger Games is the event where one boy and one girl, aged 12 to 18 and chosen by lottery, are taken from each of the 12 districts that surround the Capitol to compete in a televised battle to the death.

“I really like the Hunger Games’ message because I could see America being like that a few years from now,” said 13-year-old camper Braelyn Haile. “You’ve got 24 people in an arena and you try as hard as you can to win, but in reality, only one person can be at the top. That’s kind of how our country is.”

Fellow 15-year-old camper Caleb Eutsler provided insight on why the children in the novel were being forced to participate in a televised game of death.

“The reason they do the Hunger Games is because the adults rebelled against the Capitol, and so the Capitol now sends their kids into the arena,” he said. “They’re like paying for the adults’ rebellion.”

Eutsler said use of the futuristic survival story helps to set the stage for scheduled activities like archery and “Tracker Jacker” extermination, but also noted how TV programming viewed by kids and teens today holds similar qualities to the televised arena fighting portrayed in the novel.

In the story, “tracker jackers” are genetically-altered wasps, which were used as weapons, created in labs run by the Capitol.

“If you look at all the television shows that kids and teens are watching now, if you think about it, they’re kind of like the Hunger Games because the Hunger Games is a broadcast,” he said. “It’s reality TV like Jersey Shore. Stuff seems like it is leading to stuff like this.”

Quiets said most of the camp’s activities are being held indoors due to the current heat trend in the area, but participants will receive basic instruction on wilderness survival, as well as some hand-to-hand combat techniques.

“I’m going to have one of my friends who is a karate instructor come in on Wednesday and teach them a few basic moves,” she said. “If somebody were to grab you from behind, and we’re going to go over basic survival tips like if you get lost in the woods. We’ll talk about directions, and you know go to an open area and lie down to make a snow angel on the ground so somebody can see you overhead, if somebody’s flying over or something. We will hit on survival skills, but basically we’re surviving the heat this week.”

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