Would You Send Your MilKid to Survivalist Camp?


There are guns in my house. More are locked away in a huge safe in our garage. I know how to handle guns. My son knows how to handle guns. When my daughter gets a little older, she will learn how to handle guns. Gun safety and education are common topics of conversation in our family.

But despite my comfort level with guns and my belief that, if guns are going to be in my home, my children need to be educated on their proper use and safety, I couldn’t help but raise an eyebrow when I saw these pictures of children at a survivalist training came sporting AK-47s.

The photos were taken in December during a field training exercise run by the North Florida Survival Group. The group, founded by retired police officer Jim Foster, trains adults and children in survival skills, including the handling of firearms. They are staunch defenders of our Second Amendment right to bear arms, and according to their website, their goal is to help group members “Learn how to survive any catastrophe, keep your family safe and be prepared to defend the Constitution.”

It’s one thing to assemble groups like this and hold outtings for adults. But do kids, like 9-year-old Brianna (shown here carrying an AK-47 rifle) really need to attend a training camp to learn how to survive a catastrophe? How to keep their family safe? How to be prepared to defend the Constitution?

The issue of gun ownership in general is a hot topic for military families, as it was in my own household when I first got married. But reading stories about children handling AK-47s as they participate in survivalist training exercises extends that debate beyond simply owning guns as adults. We also have to consider how our beliefs will influence our children.

I think of my own son who will be turning 9 this week, the same age as gun-toting Brianna. He’s been around guns all of his life, and he probably knows more about them than most adults. But I’m glad that it was my husband who provided him with that education and not a complete stranger at a “survivalist training camp.”

Would you let your child attend a survivalist training camp like the one run by the North Florida Survival Group? How do you feel about your children handling guns? If you own guns, do you feel it’s important for your children to learn the fundamentals?

About the Author

Heather Sweeney
Heather Sweeney is an Associate Editor at Military.com, former Navy wife, mother of two, blogger, and avid runner. She’s the blogger formerly known as Wife on the Roller Coaster and still checks in every now and then at her blog Riding the Roller Coaster.
  • sabrinacking

    As a farmer by heart and nature…onceupona commercial farmer, and speaker at various homesteading events nationally…I have met a survivalist or Prepper, or a thousand in my day.
    Truth be told, I think your children are more prepared for any future catastrophe enrolling them in 4H and teaching them how to garden and preserve food than they are learning how to shoot assault weapons.
    Adults would be better prepared taking a Dale Carnegie course or attending a Mother Earth News fair than a survivalist camp.
    Survival is about two things in disasters: self sufficiency and resiliency. Not bullets and guns. And about how well you can initiate and function in small teams…not how you can shoot other people.

  • Heather

    I think Sabrinacking summed it up for me as well.

  • Roalex

    I would send mine for one main reason. Kids need to learn what guns are, how to use them properly, and most importantly to RESPECT them and realize that they are not toys. People or things do not get up when shot in real life like they do on television. The course would also teach them self control, self respect and discipline which are things missing in todays youth. I have never sent my son to this type of camp but I have sent him to several Ninja training festivals (I also attend) and he loves it. It is a great motivational tool for getting him to study. How does this relate to the topic? We also train with guns, swords, knives, staffs, and a long list of other weapons you probably would not recognize.

  • jenschwab

    Building skills, no matter what they are, is never a bad thing. I remember the summer I learned to shoot at the rifle range at my summer camp – and it was a blast. I kept going back every day, improving my skills and working hard to earn my marksman badge. I was very proud to receive that award at the end.

    But teaching kids to fear is never okay. Survivalist skills are useful and great to learn. But do it out of a sense of adventure and learning, not by teaching my kid to be scared of people and how to draw lines in the sand against others.