Who exactly goes to “survival school?” Normal people? The kind of people you’d want to hang out with? Well, if you’re anything like our alumni, you’ll be happy to know that the people who go to BOSS are normal, healthy people looking for an adventurous experience and you’ll probably fit right in.
BOSS students come from all walks of life. Over the past 40 years, we’ve had everything from idealistic students to powerful moguls to Hollywood celebrities on the trail with us. We’ve had doctors and nurses, engineers and mechanics, firemen and policemen, attorneys and judges…. the list goes on and on. If there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that BOSS does not attract a demographic as much as a psychographic. The people who choose to go to BOSS are adventurous, open-minded, and inquisitive. They appreciate the wilderness and are hopeful to learn an ancient way of walking in it. They aren’t afraid of being pushed out of their comfort zone (on some courses) and they’re willing to explore — both the wilderness and themselves.
Historically, BOSS students have come primarily from the USA, although a considerable number of people each year travel to BOSS from Canada, Mexico, the UK, the Netherlands, Germany and Japan.
While BOSS allows people as young as 18 on its courses, our average student is roughly 34. (The oldest student in recent years was 73.) Average age on longer courses, like the 28-day Field course, is usually a bit younger – around 27. We care more about a person’s maturity and willingness to learn than his or her age.
Consistent with trends in wilderness education and outdoor travel, BOSS courses often have more men on them than women — roughly 60% male / 40% female. However, this changes based on the exposure BOSS receives from the media in a given year. In years when more female-oriented magazines have profiled the school, we’ve had courses with more women on them. And our staff at the school is 50-50. So if you’re a woman and you’re curious if you’ll fit in at BOSS, the answer is yes.
One last consideration that some people raise is how much prior camping experience or wilderness expertise people must have to attend BOSS. While some BOSS courses have prerequisites, most don’t. In fact, a lot of people with absolutely no camping experience at all have come to BOSS and had a great time. Don’t let your lack of “trail time” prevent you from joining us at BOSS. Our instructors look forward to teaching you how to walk lightly in the wilderness.