The Survival 101 Women’s Course, offered by Mountain Shepherd Wilderness Survival School in Catawba, Virginia is an amazing, and potentially life-changing, two-day excursion. The unique Survival 101 is geared specifically toward women, and helps develop keys to success that they already possess. Through the simulation, participants become familiar with wilderness safety, preparedness, and camping skills. They have an option to spend the night in a tent, a hammock, or the Mountain Shepherd lodge.
Dina Bennett, Vice President and Instructor for Mountain Shepherd Wilderness Survival School, was inspired to offer this opportunity by a survival course she took in 2006 with her now-husband, Reggie Bennett. Women who take her course will learn the basics like building a fire, wilderness first aid, communicating with rescuers, acquiring shelter, purifying water, and finding food.
“Knowing how to do things gives you more confidence,” Dina says. “That confidence will make you more likely to go out, explore, and do things.”
The course also offers many parallels to everyday life. Dina, who built a career in the corporate world early in life, speaks about the similarities and how spending time developing your self-confidence in the outdoors can change your mindset once you resume daily activities.
“If you can survive the back country, then you can survive the front country,” she explains. From assessing what is the most important first step to solving a problem and proceeding with confidence, to identifying your shelter (yoga, family, etc.), to seek in times of trouble, this is about cultivating a positive attitude in order to achieve your goals and live a fulfilling life.
“Fire is our passion. There is a process to building a fire where you start with a foundation and a platform. There is a big parallel here that relates to staying true to who you are. Signaling is about communicating, and how we are sending out our signals so they can be received. We all face stress, and the more that you know yourself and how you react and respond to stress, the better you are going to handle it,” Dina adds.
One of Dina’s favorite things about the course are the friendships that often result from it.
“I’ve built some life-long friendships from this course, which is priceless to me. Women attend from all over the country, so fortunately through technology and social media, we get to stay in touch that way,” she says.
If you would like to attend a Survival 101 Women’s Course, or any of the courses offered at the Mountain Shepherd Wilderness Survival School, visit . The next Survival 101 Women’s Course will be offered September 23-24.