The Fort Smith
Mountain Men program is designed to provide a safe environment for
everyone on our trips. Here’s how we do it !!!
Our travel bus is a factory customized school bus designed specifically
for the purpose of travel camping. The body is the safest, structural
bus body available on the market. Our bus has a ten-speed, dual
rear end to provide ultimate engine control, traction and safety.
maintenance records are perfect on our vehicle. Before and after
each trip our bus is inspected by an expert mechanic. Our mechanic
knows this particular bus as he has been taking care of this vehicle
for several years. We don’t leave unless everything on the
bus has been checked to best of our ability and found to be in perfect
In addition to our travel bus we drive a modern day “Chuck
Wagon”. Back in the old west days John Chisholm, of the Chisholm
Trail fame, designed the first chuck wagon for the long cattle drives
up north. The idea was to take food and supplies to meet the needs
of the cowboys on the trail. Well, that’s exactly what we
do today…except….we drive our Chuck Wagon! We carry
complete supplies of food and cooking equipment which allows us
to be set up and cooking in less than ten minutes!!
this setup provides incredible convenience and luxury to the group
to cook wherever we want to, driving the Chuck Wagon also serves
another very important role. This role is one of safety through
transportation redundancy. This means if we should ever have an
issue with our travel bus or if a boy needs rapid attention or we
just need to go get some fresh groceries, we can use the Chuck Wagon.
We are never in a situation where we can’t get somewhere fast
either for convenience or necessity.
staff of the Fort Smith Mountain Men is hand selected for our trips.
We run a low 1:5 Staff to Camper ratio on all of our trips. This
means that boys always have access to and supervision by an adult
staff is selected on the basis of experience with boys, leadership
knowledge, outdoor camping experience, personality and interest
and knowledge of the outdoors.
trip has an adult leader who serves as medical officer. This person
is trained in CPR and Wilderness First Aid. We
carry a fully stocked medical kit with us at all times. This means
we are able to handle all minor medical issues on-the-spot should
staff members are required to undergo a criminal background history
evaluation and clearance. In addition, each staff member must provide
personal and professional references which attest to their character,
integrity and suitability for a staff role. These references are
verified personally by Ron Smith
prior to confirmation as a staff member for Fort Smith Mountain
staff your boy will enjoy is able to provide significant knowledge
of the West from history to geography to ecology to geology to Indian
cultures. Beyond the background, character, knowledge and experience
checks of our staff, Fort Smith hosts a required pre-trip training
session for all staff members. In the session we cover; trip itinerary
and camp locations, cultural sights and history, safety and emergency
procedures, communications procedures, cooking and camping procedures,
story telling and campfire entertainment and of course leadership
concepts and assignments. This training ensures that everyone is
both knowledgeable in the set procedures as well as committed as
a team to carrying out all aspects of the program to deliver a top
quality experience for the boys.
Our team uses the best equipment available. While your camper needs
to bring some personal things along like a sleeping bag, we provide
all other equipment which is of top quality and reliable. We have
a power converter on our travel bus that allows us to do many things
from watch a video movie on the road to charge our cell phones to
providing back-up electrical power.
goal is a safe travel camping experience. Communications is a very
important aspect of the overall safety plan for our program. One
way we ensure that this goal is accomplished is through excellent
communications. Our bus and Chuck Wagon communicate
through a CB Radio. We are in constant communications during travel
we reach camp, each of our staff members have two-way radios that
remain on until the boys are asleep. This means supervision
is direct and communications uninterrupted throughout the day.
In addition, we have both a Cellular Telephone and Global Positioning
System on our travel bus. This allows us to send and receive phone
calls if necessary (in most areas) and allows us to precisely locate
In addition, another really, really fun way to communicate
is through mail call during our trips. We usually have one
or two mail calls depending upon the duration of the trip.
Mail (in the form of care packages) can be sent to the boys
while we are out on the adventure.
in to a Post Office that we have set up ahead of time and
the boys pick up their mail. This is really neat for the
boys and for the parents too and is another way we “keep
in touch” while being out on adventure.
the summary of our communications strategy is that “we
are never out of touch”. This provides
the ultimate in safety for our camp experience.
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