What Can I Expect?


Teachers and artisans in primitive technology are invited by Backtracks to attend these gatherings in order to share ideas and methods as well as spread the arts through hands-on workshops to people such as yourself. You can expect skills instruction from some of the nation's top primitive technologists and artisans.

20 - 30 classes are held from 9am to 5pm daily. Lecture/ Discussion Sessions are information oriented and cover a broad subject. Demonstrations are a how to presentation with some practical instruction. Hands-On classes will provide you with instruction to actually complete a project or practice a new skill. Displays illustrate the breadth to which a subject may be taken. Symposiums are intensive sessions led by multiple instructors that focus on one topic, they may go for one hour to all day.

Some workshops may have a materials fee that will be collected by the instructor. Limits to class size are controlled by the instructors and sign up sheets will be made available. Dates, times, limits, costs etc. of the classes will be posted on bulletin boards and announced at morning meetings.


CLASSES MAY INCLUDE
 
Braintanning
Primitive Pottery
Felting
Useful Plants
Bows & Arrows
Flintnapping
Traps & Snares
Basketry
Altatls & Darts
Birch-bark Crafts
Drumming
Fire by Friction
Pecking & Grinding
Food Gathering
Netting
Knife Making
    Primitive Games
Knife Sharpening
Finger Weaving
Tule / Cattail Crafts
Shelter Building
Shoe and Sandal making
Drop Spindle Spinning
Stone Axes
Willow Crafts
Earth Pigment Paints
Blow Guns
Wholistic Medicine
Gourd Crafts
Backstrap Weaving
Cordage & Fibers
And Many More



CAMP GUIDELINES
 
Check In:
*Please follow the printed event schedule you received and do not arrive too early.
* All fees must be paid prior to the event's opening.
* All Participants must check-in and obtain an ID tag. This tag will be your meal ticket and class access badge, so don't lose it.
* Everyone who registers will be maintained on the Backtracks mailing list.

Food:
* We have an open hearth / family style cook area and we'll need you to lend a hand, serving at meal time and helping to clean-up afterward. Volunteers will be solicited.
* Meals will be simple, common menus. Both carnivore and vegetarian fare will be provided for breakfast and supper, you are on your own for lunch. If required, a "Staff Only" line may be set up to help staff stay focused on teaching near meal times.
* Meals will be served from dinner on Sunday through breakfast on Saturday. If you arrive early or stay late, plan to provide your own food.
* Bring extra food and beverages as needed. Food items may be obtained at nearby, (6 miles) convenience stores.
* You need to supply your own utensils.

Fire:
* No ground fires are permitted in camps. Bring a fire pan if you need a fire.
* Do not gather natural firewood from the site. A central pile of wood will be provided. (firewood in Arizona is extremely expensive, so please conserve.)
* Do not leave charcoal or ash in campsites. Move all residue to the central fire pit.

Garbage:
* Place all garbage in proper receptacles and not in the fire pit.
* Please take responsibility for your own trash as much as possible by taking it to town or otherwise disposing of it yourself.
* Recycle bins will be provided. Please do not put other trash in them.

Camps:
* Our camps are primitive sites and have no RV hook-ups. Plan to camp in tents, tipis or vehicles that will remain parked.
* Events are held on private land. Please respect this fact by keeping the sites clean and orderly. Please keep your camp clean and remove all trash and signs of fire when you leave.
* Please keep camps within the designated areas and well away from the weapons range.
* Do not cut local plants for temporary needs.
* Please leave pets at home. No one loves your dog as much as you. Unsupervised pets left in camp can be very hazardous to others and noisy / uncontrolled pets are a nuisance.
* Staff will camp in the central instructors area only if they plan to stay through Saturday's Demo Day. If you will be leaving prior to this, please set up on the fringes of this area so as not to disrupt the day's activities. Participants will camp in the main camping areas.

Vehicles:
* Cars are allowed in the camping area if you need to camp in them. Please leave cars parked during the event. Otherwise, please park in the main parking area.
* To eliminate traffic through the teaching area, access will be blocked from 9am to 5pm daily.
* Please do not park cars and trucks in the instruction area. This detracts from the primitive flavor of the site. Please unload and park in the designated parking area.

Activities:
* Make sure that you follow all safety rules and use protective gear as recommended during any events that might require it. Parents please keep children away from or properly supervise them in hazardous areas.
* A map of the site will be provided with teaching sites numbered. These will be listed on class schedules along with limits, fees etc. We will re-announce class sites each morning.
* Please participate in the Sunday morning blanket fair. Sunday morning will be a sales and sign-up time. Instructors will sign up limited enrollment classes at their blanket. Please do not ask for teaching materials until classes begin.
* Please make a point to support evening events. Campfires have consistently begun at 9 or 10pm, giving you 4 hours to relax after a hard day's work. Please refrain from electric noise. No radios or generators in camp.
* Saturday's Demo Day will be open to the public. expect to participate and compete at your own level. Staff will be demonstrating some skills of interest to the general public an selling items related to this demo (fire kits, bows and arrows, atlatls etc.)

Staff:
* to qualify as staff, you must be scheduled in advance to teach approximately 20 hours (including campfire activities) during the week. Do not show up at the gate expecting to be scheduled as a teacher. Notify us of your intent to attend in advance by returning an application card. We will contact you if your schedule is approved.


WHAT THESE EVENTS ARE:       WHAT THESE EVENTS ARE NOT:
They are models that facilitate the gathering of people interested in the teaching and learning of primitive living skills. They are now copied nation wide.

They are temporary communities that request people, from varied backgrounds, to come together and comply with guidelines that may require them to temper their behaviors and excesses for a short period so everyone might enjoy the event and learn from one another. These are family events

They are a homecoming/reunion of teachers, practitioners and students of primitive technology. Many people have been attending since the beginning and come each year to spend a short time celebrating with the "Family."

They are noisy, active events. This means we encourage an atmosphere of (controlled) late night celebration. intense instruction an discussion and all around good times. Get used to the action or camp well away from the main fire.

They are a time for teachers and practitioners to test teaching models, unselfishly share their knowledge, rub elbows with peers, market wares and programs and generally give back to the field. Forums, symposiums and open discussions occur regularly throughout events.

They are a time for teachers,practitioners and participants to spend time together and be part of a truly unique event. The idea is for all of us to share, not only hard skills, but insights, talents, friendships and lifestyles.

They are a chance for the novice to jump-start the learning of primitive skills; for the journeyman to polish old skills and discover new ones; for the master to enhance his/her teaching ability and challenge assumptions about what they know about primitive living skills.
They are not a naked drunken orgy of bush hippies, freaks, rednecks, derelicts, wanna-bes and ner-do-wells gathering in the woods for a free for all. Intrusive behavior that threatens the peace and solidarity of the event is not tolerated, nor do we expect parents to relinquish their responsibility for their children.

They are not a source for hermit training. We encourage all participants to live in this community and practice the skills of caring and decency that were required for bands and tribes to survive. temper excesses and outbursts. If you don't like being around crowds of people, this is not the place for you.

They are not dress-up and pretend events. The main focus is hands-on participation and learning. Even though handmade buckskins, clothing, shoes and accessories are a common sight, they are not necessarily the daily dress for most of attendees.

They are not a "police state" that forces you to behave decently by imposing penalties for your weaknesses. Grow up and learn to control you own appetites and behaviors. For those who like to complain, learn to deal with problems yourself. If a problem is not a direct threat that needs to be handled by Backtracks staff, handle it yourself.

They are not a livelihood, but we do our best to facilitate the efforts of staff to make a living. It has been our experience that through charging a reasonable amount for materials supplied for classes, the sale of wares, recruiting for classes and programs etc. staff recoup enough to cover their costs or even gain a profit from being with us. We encourage participants to support staff enterprises.



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