Hawkeye Training: a week-long skills camp for boys ages 12–18
In 1987, at the request of many parents who were seeking an initiatory experience for teenage boys, we created Hawkeye Training, a wilderness camp for young men. Grounded in the truthfulness of hard-ground tracking and the reality of survival skills, Hawkeye Training offered the boys a deep skills-based experience to help them move from childhood into young manhood. Many of our early campers were from Native communities and our teachings followed traditional training patterns where young men would spend sometimes several years with a group of “uncles” who would school them in the lessons of survival, tracking and nature awareness:
“Study the animals unobserved, learn their secrets. Wolf knows how to endure under the severest conditions. Deer can teach how to withstand thirst for a long time. The hawks give lessons in how to strike with accuracy. The elk teaches gallantry, the frogs watchfulness, the owl night wisdom and gentle ways, the bears strength, the foxes cunning and the coyotes how to elude capture.” (from Mystic Warriors of the Plains by Thomas Mails)
Long, full days at Hawkeye include: early morning runs, greetings to the day, martial arts training, dream circles, shelterbuilding, firemaking, tracking, natural movement, camouflage, toolmaking, traditional hunting techniques and other traditional skills, together with music, comedy and traditional games. Up to 30 campers a year take part and these young men are given first preference for returning the next year, allowing the boys to stay for as many years as they choose. (Some have stayed with us for 15 years!)
There came a time when we would have up to 60 boys on a waiting list for 5 free places in the next year’s Hawkeye camp! We responded to this situation by creating Hawkeye Scout.