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Survival Boot Camps Gain Popularity

By Danielle Niles, WBZ-TV
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WBZ-TV's Danielle Niles Danielle Niles
Danielle Niles is the Meteorologist for CBS Boston’s WBZ-TV Morning...
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BERKSHIRES (CBS) – Whether it’s fighting zombies or being trapped under a dome, the idea of surviving a catastrophic event is one of the most popular themes in pop culture right now.

Many people, however, are faced with a nagging thought:  What would they do in a situation like that?

It’s causing a growing number of people to go to survival camps to learn the basic skills they don’t use in their day to day lives today.

Mike LeFabvre, a business consultant from Leominster, is a product of our modern society.

But he decided to leave his comfortable life behind and hiked deep into the woods of the Berkshires.  The challenge was to live off the land.

An avid outdoorsman, LeFabvre said, “At the end of the day, I am just trying to get more confidence in my outdoor survival skills, and just continue my appreciation for nature and the outdoors.”

Going to a survival boot camp can mean real deprivation.  Most of the participants agreed to give up their food and sleeping bags.

They learned how to make fire without matches, and how to build shelters.

Toby Cowern lives above the Arctic Circle and teaches survival skills around the world.  “For me, it’s lessening the fear they might have of the outdoors.”

Popular shows with zombies and deadly plagues are fueling a lot of interest in the need to survive extreme situations.

But real life events like big storms are also prompting many people to learn how to protect themselves.

“Daily, weekly, monthly, we see stories of individuals or groups or communities that need to apply these skills because of situations that have happened, whether they be from Superstorm Sandy, or the Katrinas of the world,” explained Cowern.

“Everyone has a scenario that they are preparing for in their own minds, and if it’s zombies, good on that, but we’ve got far more tangible examples to draw from that we see in the news every week,” he told WBZ -TV

Preparing for the unknown and a love of the outdoors motivates Bob Ghika, a data processor from Malden, to test the limits of his endurance.

“It only takes one disaster for the supermarkets to close, and where are you going to eat? People don’t want to think about that.  They don’t want to be uncomfortable,” said Ghika.

Another attendee, Dan Frizell, is usually mixing drinks in the Back Bay, and not making a bed out of sticks in the Berkshires.

As he tried his new bed, he said it was relaxing to get away from the city, but that he did miss his bed in Brighton.

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