Jeremy’s Thank You
It is hard to put into words how the BOSS course has helped me. My journey started so far back I really cannot even begin to put a date on it. It started watching a TV show as a kid where the host learned a few survival skills at what appeared to be a BOSS course. It would have been in the early 90’s, but that memory has always stayed with me. Fast forward a few years and I am serving in the U.S. Army as an Infantry soldier. It is a misconception that military people all learn survival skills, however, at that time in the military…pre reality TV show survival personalities, we did learn aspects of survival. I was thankful to have a Platoon Sergeant who really loved to teach what he knew about the topic, though in the Army we tended to call it fieldcraft.
The subject of survival has thus been a favorite of mine. Between the multiple deployments overseas to both Iraq and Afghanistan, survival in its many forms (wilderness/combat) has been something I had tried to be prepared for. Then I separated from the military in 2012. Both the military and the toll war takes on a person and their families convinced me I didn’t need to re-up after my fourteenth year in. It was a tough choice, but a good one. I was able to use my GI Bill and get a degree in Pastoral Leadership and began working as a pastor and a Home Liaison in a semi-urban public-school setting.
The first few years separated from the military and in my new calling was great, until it wasn’t. Anxiety began to put a strangle hold on my life. Fears I’d never had before crept in, and I began to see my life take a turn I wasn’t expecting. Through the help with medicine, I was able to get it under control, but I gained unwanted weight, felt sluggish compared to my old self and lost motivation to work it all off. In 2019, I felt it was time to finally take on a challenge I had always dreamt of, which was survival school. I knew without a doubt I wanted to go to BOSS, however that had it’s challenges. So I got my best army buddy convinced to go with me, then 2020 happened.
I wasn’t sure if or when I would be able to get a chance to go. I ended up getting a hernia in my abdominal area, gained more weight, and with all that lost more motivation. However, the desire to go was really strong. I managed to start hiking more and [in 2021] re-signed up for a class. That’s when my buddy got a knee injury. Another setback. However, I was determined to go, even if I had to drive myself cross country to go by myself.
What an adventure, and that was just driving to get there. I managed to not die during the run, packed up all my gear with my classmates. Got probably the two best instructors currently teaching survival skills nationwide in Jeremy and Matt, and off we went wandering through the desert. The seven days flew by, the information I learned was fantastic, and our instructors went above and beyond teaching us so many things outside of the basic survival skills. The group of us students came together and had a blast working together. It wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t so hard that it was miserable, however, it was therapeutic.
Immersion into the wilderness in any form is fantastic, but when all the extra garbage found at major retail camping stores is stripped away and you have a few simple but useful items, that’s when you see one of the true benefits of a BOSS course. So we completed our time, we walked our walk back to basecamp, and we eventually departed the next day. I ate a ton of food, and then I detoured through the mountains of Colorado for a multitude of miles and that’s when it all sunk in. My BOSS course was complete, but both the information and the perspective of my journey will be lasting.
So, what to do with all my experience? Well as this new school year has begun, some of our students are getting back into a classroom for the first time since pre-pandemic. There are so many social and emotional aspects of their lives that have been affected, and their realities have begun to change once again. As I see them struggling, I reflect back on a lesson we learned on a mountainside, near a pond, sitting in a pasture of cattle manure, the first priority of survival is to be a rock: when in a survival situation, we have essentially three seconds to be a rock and try to prevent panic.
As I write this, and as I am reminded to be a rock, I want to say thank you to all the generous and gracious people who gave of their resources, so I could receive the life changing opportunity to be able to change the lives of the kids I work with daily.
Thank you for allowing me to be the rock for others’ daily survival journey.
– Jeremy S.