Junior Survivor

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Junior Survivor YouTube Channel – https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCfh1h8Uhx0Ygk_SWFtbT-aA

From a young age my passions have been survival and helping people.  I’m now almost 14 and am starting up a project helping young people through survival, but before I say any more I will tell you a bit about myself.

My name is Evan Andrew Chick.  Since I was three years old I have grown up living on a farm in East Sussex. 

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My Dad loves the outdoors and has taught me to love it too.  

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I’ve also learnt loads from watching Bear Grylls on tv and at every opportunity I could be found off in the woods practicing the survival skills I’d learnt from either my Dad or Born Survivor and Survival Academy.

When I was about 7, me and my mates even started a club called The Bear Gorillas.  To start with there were six of us, I was the leader and would teach them what I knew.  All sorts of things from lighting fires, cooking and tyrolean traverse (a method of pulling yourself across a crevasse on a rope) Over the years more friends joined and we grew to ten members.

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My favourite thing we did was  pretend to have an injury, like a broken leg, and then the rest of the team had to build an emergency stretcher in minutes, put the casualty on it and walk through the woods to an opening and into the field where we pretended a helicopter picked them up!

Since the early days of playing ‘survival’ I have progressed in my knowledge and ability.  In 2018 I started volunteering for an educational bushcraft company as a Junior Instructor teaching the skills I know to school kids who came on camps, to businessmen who came on team building days and at kids parties.  

In February last year I was given the opportunity to go to Finland on an expedition.  It was amazing, we learnt how to build a snow cave and set up a base camp. We went on a 7km ski hike pulling sleds and kit, snow shoed up a mountain where we could see the Russian border and went dog sledding through the forests.  We slept out under the stars at -22 degrees and watched the Northern Lights.  

That particular night started out with about seven of us all keen to sleep out.  We were all pumped and uber excited to be sleeping under an almost white sky because there were so many stars.  

We all started to set out our beds and get ready.  In the arctic you don’t sleep in pj’s, you sleep in your clothes and your boots go in your sleeping bag otherwise they freeze solid, no joke.  Then I fell asleep just to wake up a 3am to see the rest of the team packing up their beds and going back to their cabins to have a warm bed for the rest of the night.  I was umming and ahhing about going with them but I didn’t, I was going to sit it out even though I was frozen and could not bend my hands and fingers. Then I remembered that we had a full days hike ahead of us and I wanted to have the energy to do that.  So I got up put on my boots that were frozen, even though I’d put them in my sleeping bag and went over to where the instructor was sleeping, or where he should have been sleeping.  

The snow grave where he was meant to be was empty, At 3am I imagined that he had been dragged away by a reindeer who had mistaken his hair for moss – leaving him to return bald in the morning!  At least the thought made laugh. It turned out he just got cold and returned to our cabin. I was proud that I was the last man standing.

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I absolutely loved it and it’s fuelled my passion to go on and learn as many survival and expedition skills as I can.

I also really want to inspire young people to believe in themselves, to help them overcome their struggles, build their self confidence and realise their full potential.

If I can bring these two passions together then this would be the ultimate for me.   For a 14 year old to set up a charity helping people through survival and expeditions is not really that simple but that’s what I want to do in the future and I’m working on making that happen.

I had no idea that something like this already existed!  I recently watched a BBC programme about a man called Craig Mathieson who started a charity called Polar Academy in 2013.

Craig was appointed ‘Explorer-in-Residence’ by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society and is also a member of the Explorers Club.  

Polar Academy takes young people, who they call “invisibles”, not the really smart kids and not the loud disruptive kids, but the ones who go unnoticed and usually have low confidence and low self esteem, on about a year long programme.  

The kids train for months to build their fitness and endurance levels and to learn the skills they’ll need during their ten day expedition to Greenland. 

When the kids return home they go into schools, youth clubs, Scout groups and any other place where young people are and use their experiences to inspire others.

They are able to say, “Look where I was and where I am now.  You can do anything if you put your mind to it”.

When I watched the documentary I was inspired and really excited as this is what I want to do and what I’m going to do.   

Craig has inspired me and is a great role model.  What he and his team are doing is amazing. 

Straight away I got in touch with Craig, really excited that someone shared the same passion as me, he was very interested in what I am doing and encouraged me to pursue my dreams.

So I’m starting a project called Junior Survivor.  

One of my biggest holdbacks in life is my attitude, I often see things in a negative light and it ends up with me getting really frustrated and agitated.  Having a negative attitude is a pain in the backside and so I want to change it.

I can see that to become an expedition leader I need to change this and that is what Junior Survivor is all about. 

I have challenged myself to change and hope that other young people who have similar struggles to me will join me on my journey.

Half the reason I’m doing this to help myself but also because I care about my generation.

I hope to help myself and others beat the negativity through survival challenges.  I see that it is a great way to change attitude.  

The challenges will all be based around survival, the outdoors and expedition skills.

I love making little films and so I will present the challenges in short videos. 

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My dad always says to me that “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger” and so that’s Junior Survivor’s motto. 

What Is Attitude?

 

This first chapter in my project is all about attitude – what it is, how I struggle with it and how you and I can change it together.  

So to help us both tackle attitude I thought we’d start by asking the question, “What is attitude?” 

It might sound like a complicated question, but my thoughts on the answer are really simple.  To me attitude is how you react to a situation. I don’t mean acting like a stroppy teenager, but reacting positively or negatively.  Negative thinking is a huge problem and is a big part of society’s problems.  

Sometimes it’s hard to relate to adults rambling on at you telling you this and that, so I thought I’d write this from a young person’s viewpoint for a young person.  

Attitude is very important in whatever you do, whether at home, at school or when you’re working. 

I want to become an expedition leader and having the right attitude is key.  

There are a number of reasons that I am writing about this.  The first thing is because part of my character is that I often see the cup half empty which means I see things in a negative light.  I am also a person who likes to live by a plan, I like to know what and when I’m going to do.  In life I can see that living by a plan is good until it goes kaput. Then we have to adapt.  Like my friend and round the world skipper Danny Watson said. “Everyone can work well when the plan is being followed,  however it’s when something interrupts it, that’s when we need to be decisive.”  Basically meaning CHOOSING to have the right attitude. (How we react).

I have had these struggles for as long as I can remember but they have never really hindered me until recently.  Now I know what I want to do and am trying to work towards my goal they are starting to become a pain in the jacksey!!! 

Negativity may seem like your friend but as I know, that’s a flipping lie. 

I have decided I am going to change this and turn these struggles into my strengths.   If you struggle too, join me in my journey and let us overcome them together.

How We Can Change Our Attitude 

 

Attitude is a choice.  

It might not be easy to change your attitude but it is possible.  But how can you change it?  I’ve got a great way, and it’s super simple – start setting yourself challenges.  

You’re probably wondering how doing challenges can change your attitude? Well, here are some stories of people who did either something they don’t like doing, tried something they thought they never liked or did something completely different.  

I am a very avid cook (I’d like to say chef!!!) and any opportunity I get I’m in the kitchen cooking up a feast, probably Indian. So when my family arranged a communiTea event, bringing people together over a meal to sow the seed of rebuilding community, I enthusiastically volunteered myself to cook.   At our event there was a lad who for years told everybody he didn’t like curry.  He even made his mum cook him something different if the rest of the family were eating curry for dinner.

I spent forever trying to persuade him to give it a go.  He eventually tried some, ended up eating two bowls and asked me for the recipe.   As you can probably imagine I was so happy, I had helped change this kids life long disgust for curry and I thought how great it was for him to have tried something new.  His mum was happy too as she no longer has to cook him separate meals and he said he’ll now try other things he didn’t think he liked.

I have loads of other stories like that from a friend who grew up in a broken home, had a really tough upbringing and had depression from the age of ten.  They would never leave their bedroom and for ten years lived on chicken nuggets and toast.  My friend then went on a programme to help them and they decided that they would try something nine times before they decided they didn’t like it.  There is not much my friend doesn’t like anymore, except maybe kiwis!!!

The lesson learnt from these two stories is that trying new foods is a great way to challenge your attitude. Whether it’s something you’ve never tried or a food you thought you never liked 

Another way is to challenge yourself is with disappointment.  

Now we all face disappointment but some of us react in a negative way.  Disappointment has always been a massive trigger for me but I am working really hard on it and am getting there, most of the time.

Now here is a story of how reacting to disappointment in a negative way in a survival situation can lead to having a fatal injury.  It was my second time climbing the three peaks and we were just descending Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England.  From the beginning of that climb I really wanted to descend via the Corridor Route and down past Sty Beck Tarn, a very steep and hard route.  I’d got a bee in my bonnet and was like a dog with a bone,  I’d become pretty fixated on it.  Some of the other people on my team didn’t want to take that route because they thought it sounded scary and past their ability.  I was really disappointed.  

I had been confidently carrying all the kit for everyone and had never tripped up on the rocky and uneven track.   I allowed my negative mindset to get the better of me and all of a sudden I kept tripping up and fell behind everyone else.  Then the rucksack started getting really uncomfortable and I was taking it off and repacking it.  I also got agitated and grumpy.

Fortunately I stopped my negative attitude before it was too late, but if I hadn’t then I could have really injured myself.  I could have fallen, hurt myself or got separated from my team.  So the thing we need to learn is if you find yourself in a negative mindset we need to find a way to snap out of it. But the whole point of this is to stop ourselves from getting to that point in the first place.

So practice being disappointed on purpose and see if it makes a difference. 

Me and my friends used to have a survival club called the Bear Gorillas (a take on Bear Grylls), which we started when we were young.   At first we had an old bus as a clubhouse but then we built a treehouse in the woods. We also made a canoe out of half a tree trunk which we paddled down the river.  But this wasn’t any old mates club, we were the elite of the elite (that’s what we thought!!) because to get in you had to eat a worm and drink your own pee.  That’s right, and it was really gross. 

Now this is a great challenge to set yourself,  when your mum does her next Amazon order ask her to buy you a pack of dried bugs like scorpions, crickets, mealworms or big fat locusts, but make sure you get ones for humans not for birds!!! Then when you go to your mates house give them a try and see how everyone reacts.  Do they just pop them in their mouth, chew and ask for more, do they go into a panic and won’t even touch them? Or do they eat them but make loads of fuss beforehand?  

Do it and see how you all react because it tastes the same no matter who’s eating it, the only difference is the attitude of the person eating it. It’s definitely mind over matter.  

I find eating bugs easy. For other Bear Gorillas they found it really hard, but they still did it.   So why not try it, you’ll feel on top of the world for doing something you never thought you could do!

So moving on from bugs and grubs here’s a story my Dad tells me about choosing to have the right attitude.  

My dad was in Cambodia in 1999, he’s in an average family sized car with nine people in it, (four in the front, five in the back), it’s 40+ degrees and he’s regularly travelling 100 miles along dirt tracks.  He’s squashed, everyone smells, it’s pretty uncomfortable.   He said everyone is crammed together and you can’t possibly move.  But if you try to wriggle and fight it to get comfortable, it’s impossible and it only makes the discomfort worse.  

This is where you have a choice to choose a positive or negative attitude.  You can get it in your head that you’re uncomfortable, you fight it and start wriggling or just accept it and put up with it.  This is a battle that is definitely won in the mind.

Dad said that he took this journey every two weeks for seven months and the lesson he learned is that sometimes you can change the situation, and if it’s possible, do it, but sometimes you can’t and you’ve just got to put up with it and overcome.

This was such a valuable life lesson Dad learnt and he still puts it into practice today.  

One of my foibles is that I really don’t like wearing wet socks, that migt sound strange but I just don’t like it.  Going for lots of walks and currently travelling on the road I often get wet socks and I haven’t got a drier.  So Dad tells me the best way to dry them is to wear them.

It’s about discomfort, the same as my Dad’s story of the car journey in Cambodia.

Discomfort is not bad to be in, I’m learning that making yourself uncomfortable is a great way to change your attitude.  So maybe I’ll start dunking my socks in a bucket of water each morning before I put them on!!!

Another small discomfort is if you’re on a walk and have uncomfortable shoes that are rubbing on your feet and causing blisters, you have three options of how you can react.  You can go home, you can moan all the way and cheese everyone off or you can accept the situation and enjoy the walk.  

Next time you walk those soft areas will have formed hard skin and they won’t hurt as much. One of my mottos I try to remember is; What Doesn’t Kill Makes You Stronger.

A big part of Junior Survivor is all about changing the negative way you and I react to situations, they’s no easy fix, it’s not like a light with can switch of like that.  It a long journey and that negative mindset never goes away fully you just learn to control it.  Its hard but I know that it’s worth it so come with me and let’s take on the challenge together and overcome that hold back, negative attitude.   

Below is my channel trailer and the link to Junior Survivor YouTube channel.

https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCfh1h8Uhx0Ygk_SWFtbT-aA