Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

July 2, 2013

Teen readers learn survival skills at library

Amanda Browning
Greensburg Daily News

Greensburg —

GREENSBURG –The Greensburg Public Library hosted The Unofficial Hunger Games Survival Course with Creek Stewart on June 26 and July 1, with another planned for July 24 that is already full.

The course, which teaches many of the survival skills mentioned in the bestselling young adult book series by Suzanne Collins, is designed to take the survival skills from the book and bring them to life in a way that will leave a lasting lesson. Creek Stewart, owner of Willow Haven Outdoor, wanted to introduce teens to survival skills through the popular book series because it gave him an opportunity to provide valuable lessons to readers who wanted a more immersive experience.

Willow Haven Outdoor is located in Anderson and is dedicated to teaching "pri-modern" survival, which is a combination of primitive survival skills in a modern world. Willow Haven Outdoor features a 10,000 square foot lodge and 21 acres of wilderness, making it a premiere survival and preparedness training destination. A variety of courses are available, ranging from a few hours to a few days. 

During the class, which lasted six hours, participants were able to learn Hunger Games character Peeta's natural camouflage techniques and Rue's herbal bee sting remedy, and even how to identify and prepare katniss root. Students in the course were also taught how to build a shelter from materials found in nature, collect water from multiple sources, build a fire without matches and shoot a bow, among many other skills. "Things like knowing how to start a fire, how to build a temporary shelter, or even just sharpening your knife are all crucial skills to possess," Stewart said.

The skills taught during the course could all be used during what Creek calls "sudden and unexpected survival scenarios." Stewart, who has been teaching survival skills for 15 years, believes that many emergencies cannot be predicted or prepared for and that knowing how to survive in the wild is of vital importance. He decided to write his survival guidebook, "The Unofficial Hunger Games Wilderness Survival Guide," after noticing the success of the series and seeing an opportunity to relate to its readers. 

Lori Durbin, coordinator of the new teen section at the Greensburg Public Library, said the course was so popular that extra dates had to be added to accommodate all the teens who wanted to participate. Durbin is thrilled with the interest this year's summer reading program and all the associated activities have received. She said the library has been bustling with people coming in to attend events and borrow books and she couldn't be happier about it. Nearly every program planned had to have a second date added to allow everyone interested to attend.

Creek's assistant, Clint Jivoin, was featured on an episode of The Discovery Channel's show "Naked and Afraid," where he used his skills to survive after being dropped in an unfamiliar location with nothing at all, not even clothes. Jivoin demonstrated many skills during the course, including how to start a fire with two pieces of wood and a primitive bow. 

The Hunger Games themed survival course that Stewart and Jivoin offer has been very popular among libraries and the two have been traveling to Indiana, Ohio, Illinois and Kentucky teaching survival skills. Creek said they offer a number of themed survival courses at Willow Haven Outdoor, with many available as a whole-family experience. 

"Survival is not a question of if, but when," said Stewart. "I do what I do because it has lasting value and can truly make a difference. It is my hope that everybody, no matter their wilderness skill level, can have the tools and knowledge necessary to prepare themselves." 

Creek has several survival guides available online at Amazon. Anyone wanting more information is invited to visit www.willowhavenoutdoor.com. 

More photos from this event can be found at www.greensburgdailynews.smugmug.com.

Contact: Amanda Browning 812-663-3111 x7004