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By:    On: 2010-06-16

 The Hug-A-Tree Foundation began as a result of the tragic death of a young boy during a family campout in San Diego County. The boy got lost on a popular trail and was found dead four days later. His parents and some searchers formed the Hug-A-Tree Foundation to help kids stay safe if they do get lost in the wilderness.

One of the biggest concerns of children when they get lost is that their parents or who ever is in charge will get mad at them and may not want to pay searchers to look for them. How many of you really think that your parents would want you to stay lost? While it may feel that way it is far from true. The answer is that your parents want you back no matter what. IN many countries there are rescue teams and volunteer search groups that look for lost people and they do it as a service to their communities.

Lots of people get lost in the wilderness – including adults! No one will be mad, and the rescuers are more than happy to help you. To them it is a fun challenge, something they want to do.

It is recommended that whenever you go on an outing to the wilderness you carry with you, in your pocket, a garbage bag and a whistle.

What I teach the Boy Scouts I work with is if they get bewildered to just stay put, hug a tree make it there best friend. They should talk to it, play games with it, and sleep with it. Then they of course remind me we live in the desert so I suggest they can hug a cactus – well they don't like that idea. From there I explain how Search and Rescue teams do a grid search to find lost people and if they move around they may move into a area already searched. As long as they stay put and do what they can to be found such as making noise blow a whistle, banging rocks and sticks, creating other kinds of signals such as with a mirror or fire. Anything that can be done to attract attention will make finding them easier and faster.

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