It All Started with Cub Scouts, Adventure and THE Beautiful Girl...
By: David - Founder & Chief Bottle Washer - Ultimate Survival Tips LLC. ________ I admit.
I was a bit of pudgy, geeky kid...
This was all before being a “geek” was cool. I was the last guy picked for any game during lunch break. So early on, I found little acceptance outside of my 1 or 2 other “geek” friends and my family. Have you been there? Then it happened.
I learned about Boy Scouts, well actually Cub Scouts, but hey, a little Boy Scout... a “Cub”or “little bear” ...close enough for a 7 year old! Man, I don’t remember much from those days. Maybe my mind has blocked out all of the abuse I took from other kids in that chapter of my life.
But I do remember 4 things from my Scout days, that have stuck with me and brought us full circle to eventually launching Ultimate Survival Tips.
4 Things I Learned from Scouts
- I loved being outside. Out in the open. In the woods and away from the Suburb of Pittsburgh, that was my childhood home. Out doing “man stuff” with the guys and our fearless Scout leaders... my dear long-since-passed father being one.
- There was acceptance and camaraderie as we Scouts worked hard together to do cool stuff in our town, for old folks and on camping trips.
- “Be Prepared!” The Boy Scout Motto. This one sunk deep and has become an integral part of who I now am.
- I loved adventure! I think it’s just the way little guys are made. Somehow in our childhood testosterone deprivation, we still like the color blue, make truck noises, play war and make any two trees we can find together, into a fort.
These early adventures became my mind’s playground as I would often escape, even as a teen, with my friends to a time and place where men were men, and the wilderness was their home.
Adventure Was Calling Once Again
During my first year of college, I became reacquainted with a grade school pal, Bill. Bill was sent by his parents to Valley Forge Military Academy for his last 2 years of high school.
Not sure why, just never asked. So Bill was back. Man, talk about “squared away!” This guy was “high octane” and totally “by the book.” Anyway, we tolerated each other long enough, early on, to become good friends again. I think it was his “can do” attitude and adventurous spirit that I really liked about the guy. Somehow, after months of persuasion, Bill unknowingly fed my yearning for adventure... and it was not long until he had talked me into going Parris Island, South Carolina for Marine Corp basic training, with him, for 13 weeks that summer.
So, for 13 weeks, I learned basic military survival skills, combat tactics, basic discipline. No doubt, it was an adventure that continued for several years afterward. And guess what? I only saw Bill once in our 13 weeks at PI. Gotta love recruiters.
Surviving the Rockies with a Bunch of Spoiled Rich Kids
Fast forward through my college years to my first, post-college job. My college roommate, Mitch knew of a job where we could travel across the entire USA for free. All we had to do was baby sit a group of spoiled rich kids from New York City for 6 weeks while we traveled.
Ah... my adventure antennae were at full mast again. Yep, it was an adventure alright. Most of these kids had no idea that milk came from cows, that there were people in the world who didn’t use blow dryers for 20 minutes a day and that there were people who actually lived on “dirt roads.”
Talk about culture shock for these kids. Most of them weren’t sure that there was civilization west of the New Jersey border. I can only imagine their snickering parents loading them on the plane fully knowing that their kids were going to be shocked when they realized they had no electricity and would be sleeping with the bugs and bears. I wish I could have seen it.
So these kids lived in large canvas 6-man tents and traveled throughout the rural Western part of the United States and Canada, starting in Denver, Colorado, in a stinky bus. They had to set up and tear down their own camp and do their own laundry. Mom and Dad must have had a great laugh following their first call from their little darlin’.
What an adventure! It was great seeing these kids grow, mature and teaching them some basic camping and survival skills, and believe it or not, I even got paid for it, which was kind of an inside joke. Guess what the pay was? Come on guess! Okay, the pay... “Fifty dollars a week, and all you can eat!” Yeah, even in 1986 fifty bucks didn’t go very far.
I Was Ruined for Adventure and Was Totally Broke Upon Returning Home
After mooching off of my mom for like a month and a half while I looked for a job... I came across a small classified ad in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette which said, “Wanted: Teacher- Counselors for Wilderness Camp. Call Tick at __________.” Tick? Are you serious? There is actually someone in the world named Tick? I just had to call.
And call I did.
After driving like 3 hours into the Mountains of southwestern Pennsylvania. I finally arrived for my overnight stay / interview at the 2,000 plus acre camp.
This Place Was a Step Back in Time... Like Living in a 1800s Logging Camp
The interview was an overnight stay with a group of emotionally disturbed boys. Oh, I forgot to mention that. The reason the camp existed, was to help messed up kids deal with their problems and get it together.
So, to see if you could cut it, upon arrival, they stick you with a group of kids and their counselor (A.K.A. "Chief") and have you live with them for a day. Each group was named after a famous Indian Tribe - which was in itself was an interesting twist to this place.
The Only Two Responses I Ever Saw From Potential "Chiefs" Was Love or Hate
You either loved life at the camp or you ran like the dickens and hightailed it out of there without looking back! Well, you guessed it. I loved it and spent the next two years of my life essentially living in the wilderness with my name firmly established as "Chief Dave."
In the winter we lived in very rustic non-electric cabins, and in tarp tents in the Summer, that the kids built with our supervision. No walls. No doors. No windows... and the cries of wild animals and the noises of the night resounding through the night air.
Most of these kids were from the city. Pittsburgh. Scranton. Allentown. And to add a little flavor, we had a few backward kids from impoverished Appalachian areas of West Virginia where Dad, on more than one occasion, used his chain saw to cut through the cabin wall when mom locked him out of the house for drinkin’. And for about 3 weeks of the summer we took the boys canoe-camping down various remote rivers for 7 to 10 day stretches, hoping that we could help these kids learn the life skills they needed, through intense wilderness situations designed to set them on the right track for the rest of their lives.
Now to the Best Part - The Beautiful Girl!
Through a friend and the wilderness school, I got to know the most beautiful, witty, tough-minded and intense young lady that I ever experienced. Her name is Carin, and she got a job at the Wilderness school about 6 months after I had.
Honestly, I was smitten.
I had never seen a woman, command such respect from these messed up boys who were brought up in an environment where women were often exploited, abused and ignored. She was from rural Pennsylvania and her father was a State Trooper Sergeant. That explained a lot.
Carin seemed to literally have no fear, AND most importantly, she had an adventurous spirit. Ahhhh! She would rather go for a 10-hour hike in the uncharted wilderness with a bunch of little hooligans than go out to a fine restaurant and have to get all gussied up. My kinda girl!!!
You’ve Probably Already Guessed What Happened
Carin and I did eventually get married, had two kids and have been learning and using homesteading and practical survival skills together ever since.
We’ve made it through good times and bad. Times of little and times of plenty. And we’ve been really blessed to have great friends who were there when we needed help. We’ve lived on the side of a mountain in Vermont (sweet days those...) and have now lived in the Endless Mountains of north central, Pennsylvania for over 15 years.
The Adventure Continues
But you know how life goes. I needed to make some real money to support my family and found a job with a local “Mail Order” company in our region. I progressed through the ranks and ended up being there for around 13 years.
Honestly, I thought that I would be there for a year or two max, and that our young family would shortly be off on an adventure as missionaries to some unreached tribe deep in the Amazon jungle or in a far corner of Africa.
]The Years Quickly Passed, and Our Kids Grew Up All to Fast
We had an amazing life together livin’ in the sticks, serving in our church and trying to help our neighbors as best as we could. And for the record I want to say that I have NO regrets!
Our daughter (who is a nut that didn’t fall far from the tree), married not long ago and is a traveling missionary. My son has a vision to be a missionary pilot (and is in the process of getting his license), has a heart for slum orphans in Africa and recently married a wonderful, like-minded gal who is very supportive and willing to stand with him in his calling.
My wife and I realized not long ago that we were approaching a new chapter in our story called “Empty Nest.” We also realized that we still had a great desire for adventure and a heart to serve in some sort of capacity as missionaries, even though our bodies have aged a bit and we take naps from time to time now.
SO, What’s this All Have to Do with UltimateSurvivalTips.com?
Well you see... I never intended to start Ultimate Survival Tips. It was a bit of a happy accident. A few years ago I met Stephen Beck. Stephen left a very successful business behind to go to Bible School. He needed to generate some income to support his family, but it had to be something that he could pick up and lay down as he needed.
So he began developing little Internet-based businesses. He encouraged me that I could do the same. It was great meeting a man of integrity who was providing quality online resources to people and making a reasonable living online so that he could pursue his calling and dreams.
So, I did a pile of research, decided on an online business model of providing product reviews. I did extensive research and found that there was some opportunity and “room” for another website or two to review survival knives... Ahhh, right up my alley, I thought. I built a few websites to give it a go and get my survival knife reviews out to the world.
A few days after the launch of my first site, I woke up in the morning and saw that I made my first 53 cents. I was hooked. After only like 200 hours of work (no exaggeration), I made over half a buck. Not quite enough to pursue the vision of following God wherever He might call us. But I kept the vision before me. I blindly continued... and the hours stacked up... hundreds of hours. Days and days up until 2 AM as I worked a full-time job and tried to build these sites. All with very little in the bank to show for all my effort.
Then a wise friend said, “Dude, you have done a ton of videos for other companies.
You have written reviews, developed training courses and planned seminars. You know what you are doing. But, you need to do video reviews on YouTube. You NEED to be on YouTube!” I was coming to the end. I was about to quit and give it all up... at least for now. But you know how dreams can get away from you.... so I was afraid to let it go...
So in a Last Gasp Effort, I Decided that I Would Give it a Go and Do a YouTube Survival Knife Video Review
I grabbed the content off of one of my online reviews to use as an outline and went up in the bedroom with my cheap headset mic and computer and stammered out my first review. I posted it on YouTube and put links in the video review to my websites.
It Was Like the Light Switch Had Been Turned On
People liked it and folks started visiting my websites. Shortly after this I received an encouraging email from an executive at a major knife brand whose knife I reviewed in the video. We emailed back and forth and kinda hit it off.
This company liked our unbiased, authentic and high-quality approach and offered to send a few gear samples for me to review. So, out of the dust of the Internet, this website was born, as the “Home Base” for everything: Ultimate Survival Tips.
Our vision has now expanded to share the practical preparedness skills that we have learned (and continue to learn), used and applied throughout our lives, with you, on this site as we continue to do quality gear reviews and survival training on YouTube.
It’s funny how things come full circle and all of a sudden, out of nowhere you almost seem to stumble on what you should have seen all along. That’s pretty much how Ultimate Survival Tips, the YouTube Channel and this website came to be. Call this luck if you want, I call it Providence... God’s Sovereign hand, surprising us with what we would have otherwise not heard, seen, or experienced.
So for now, we feel called to share our lives and experiences (as we learn more every day) with you in order that we may in some small way help you and your family better prepare to survive - and even thrive - whatever may come your way.
And to Think, It All Started with Cub Scouts, Adventure and “The Beautiful Girl.” Go figure.
I hope and pray that you enjoy our site, YouTube Channel, Facebook and Twitter pages - and come back often. We exist to serve YOU. So PLEASE comment often and let us know what we can do to help you - "Be Prepared - Because You Never Know..."
Have a Really Blessed Day,
Founder & Chief Bottle Washer of Ultimate Survival Tips and Tiny Survival / Producer - CoHost of The Survival Show Podcast / Designer - MSK-1 Knife System /
David's Bio: David served in the US Marine & Army Reserves he has enjoyed being a Wilderness School Teacher, Homesteader, Die-Hard Entrepreneur, Marketing Executive, Product Developer, Online Consultant, Writer and Worship Leader at his church.
Most importantly, David loves being a Father, a Husband and a Friend to those around him. As the leader of Ultimate Survival Tips LLC, David's goal is to help folks gain the practical skills they need to prepare for, survive, and even thrive in an urban, wilderness, emergency or disaster situation.
David loves the outdoors and prefers mountains over any other terrain. He lives in the sticks on a forgotten cow path, in the middle of nowhere. The Fed Ex guy doesn't even want to drive to his house anymore because he's afraid of getting stuck or being attacked by the neighbor's shepherds. Before David got tired of cubicles and corporate America, he spent many moons working as a Product Developer, Marketing and Creative Director (for an INC 500 Company) and has attained a boatload of other useless titles. Before he needed a "real" job to support a family,
David spent some time serving as a Reservist in the US Military while going to College, Traveling the U.S. and working at a really cool wilderness school helping troubled boys who wanted a second chance.
With Ultimate Survival Tips, David has synthesized two decades of outdoor, prepper and practical survival experience with over 15 years in the corporate world to develop a "New Breed" YouTube Education Channel that is focused on delivering high value, premium, broadcast-quality content to those interested in prepping, homesteading & practical survival.