The Zombie Survival Course is made for those who want to take their zombie prep to the next level. It is a course designed to educate you in the art of being prepared, and gives you a chance to test what you have learned. This isn’t just any course. You will be using live fire arms, and hand to hand combat techniques. It also gives you a chance to learn from instructors who can add to your bag of Zombie knowledge as well as test out your skills on “zombies”!
1. What made you create the course?
About 7 years ago, we were sitting around watching some Zombie movies with a friend who was way ahead of the curve regarding zombie preparedness. This was only a few years after The Zombie Survival Guide (Max Brooks) came out, but she already regarded this as her “bible.” She had a bug-out bag, and slept with a machete under her pillow (non-reflective, of course, so it won’t draw attention). We started debating whether anyone could actually survive a Zombie Apocalypse. We thought it highly unlikely, given the lack of preparation of the public in general. Zombies were kind of below the radar at that point, so people weren’t really thinking about how to survive a collapse of society. So, we looked around on the internet to see if anyone was running a camp on the topic. There were none to be found. The next logical step was to take advantage of the gap and create a zombie survival course. Our course curriculum developed from the skills we knew the general population would need to master in order to survive an apocalypse.
2. How long have you been teaching the classes?
We are now in our 6th year. We run camps during the spring and fall of each year (we try to avoid the extreme weather during the East Coast summers and winters). Little has changed since our first camp, except that we have refined the individual classes as we’ve received feedback from camp recruits.
3. What type of shape do you need to be in to complete the course?
Our camp is accessible to recruits of all levels of physical ability. There are some parts of the camp that will make you work up a sweat, but all classes are optional. A person of average physical ability can participate in all of the classes.
3a.How old do you have to be to attend?
Because we use live firearms and other potentially dangerous implements of destruction, we set the minimum age for the day class to 15 yrs old and they must attend with a responsible adult. The weekend class is limited to 21 and older (because we do have some adult beverages during the evenings).
4. How large are the groups?
The class size varies between the day camp and the weekend camp. For the day camp, we can accommodate about 24 people. For the weekend camp, we limit the class size to 15, due to the sleeping facilities. For the private or corporate camps we are very flexible and can accommodate much larger groups if we need to. During all camps, we break everyone out into teams of about 5-6 people per team. Everyone works together with their team members throughout the day or weekend.
5. What sets this class apart from other survival courses?
We are the original Zombie Survival Course. We focus on teaching the skills that people will really need in a range of emergency situations, from common emergencies like car accidents or house fires, to the more unexpected events, like a true apocalypse. Our motto is “The better prepared you are today, the easier tomorrow will be.” We’ve heard over and over from our recruits that they truly learned things that will help them be more prepared. We’ve also had recruits tell us that they were able to put their learning to practical use, especially in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Our camp focuses on building the basics of good survival skills, but we also give our recruits the information they need to continue expanding their skills after they leave the camp. Not only will you learn a lot of good survival skills at the camp, but you will also leave the camp with a plan to continue improving your skills.
6. How long are the classes?
We offer both day classes and weekend classes. The day class, usually held on Saturdays, starts at 8:30 am and runs until about 5:00 pm. The weekend class starts Friday evening about 6:00 pm and wraps up about 3:00 pm on Sunday afternoon. We also offer private classes for corporate team-building events, bachelor and bachelorette parties, or other events, and we can customize the length of the camp to meet the needs of the event.
There is not a lot of preparation that we recommend other than to show up with a great attitude and an open mind, ready to have some fun.
8. Who are the courses for?
The Zombie Survival Course is for anyone who recognizes the need to be prepared for a natural emergency or disaster or any catastrophic event. Our recruits come from a variety of backgrounds. Many of our recruits are couples, families or groups of friends who want to have fun while learning practical survival skills. We’ve had teenagers attend with their parents or grandparents, groups of people in the military and law enforcement, doctors and other people from the medical field, “preppers” looking to gain more knowledge, and of course zombie enthusiasts.
Will there be zombies? You will have an opportunity at the camp to test your skills against “zombies”.
9. What do you hope everyone who walks away from the class will learn?
We cannot expect that everyone who takes the class will become an expert survivalist in an 8-hour class, or even a 3-day weekend. What we do hope is that all our recruits learn some essential skills that become the foundation for future training. Our recruits leave our camp with a solid plan for increasing their survival skills.
10. Who are your instructors?
Mark is captain of the Zombie Survival Course and its founder. He was the creative force behind the development of the camp, including all of the course curriculum. Mark is an NRA-certified instructor in multiple disciplines, including pistol, rifle, shotgun, personal safety and range safety. Mark is also employed in the firearms industry by one of the top firearms manufacturers in the U.S. He has been an avid martial artist for over 20 years, and is a certified personal trainer. Mark leads the camp, and teaches classes on firearms, bug-out bag, shelter, and water.
11. Sue is the resident crossbow expert. She also happens to be Mark’s wife. She is a certified personal trainer and was a competitor in the fitness industry for a number of years. Her day job includes disaster planning for the corporate environment. At the camp, Sue teaches classes on crossbow, building and leading your team, and post-apocalyptic wellness, and assists with firearms training.
12. Jonas is our hand-to-hand combat expert and one of our core instructors. He has been with the Zombie Survival Course since the beginning and was an essential contributor to the development of the course curriculum. Jonas also created Zombitsu, a defensive fighting style that focuses specifically on how a zombie would attack. He has over 25 years of martial arts training in a wide variety of styles, including some of the lesser-known combative styles. In short, he can fight with just about any object and often demonstrates this at the camp. Jonas is also an NRA-certified instructor in multiple disciplines, including pistol, rifle, shotgun, personal safety and range safety. At the camp, Jonas teaches classes on firearms, advanced first-aid, and Zombitsu.
13. Sam is one of our newer trainers and is the bladed-weapons expert. He has an exhaustive knowledge of medieval weapons, and is convinced that after the apocalypse, society will revert to the Dark Ages once all of the ammunition runs out. Sam is also a black belt in Tang Soo Do. At the camp, Sam teaches classes in crossbow, knife and ax throwing, firearms, and melee weapons.
14. We also have several auxiliary instructors with expertise in various topics, who are brought in as necessary depending on the class size.
15. Should I bring anything the day of?
There isn’t a whole lot that you need to bring to the class. We recommend that all recruits wear comfortable clothing to move around in, suitable for the weather. All classes are held outdoors regardless of weather conditions, so recruits need to be prepared for rain if it’s in the forecast. Long pants are strongly recommended, and closed-toe shoes are mandatory. We also ask that recruits bring eye protection for shooting, as we use live ammunition. Sunscreen and bug spray are also recommended. We do have a rule that recruits cannot bring their own firearms or alcohol to the camp, for safety reasons.
16. Where are you located?
The camp is located on a sixty-acre facility tucked away in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. The camp is about an hour from Philadelphia and New York City, and accessible from major airports in Philadelphia, Atlantic City and Newark, NJ.
17. How far in advance do you have to sign up for the course?
We generally post camp dates about 3-4 months in advance. Classes do usually sell-out prior to the camp date, so we would recommend that you sign up as soon as you see a date that is convenient. While we hold multiple day camps during the spring and fall seasons, we usually hold only one weekend course during each season.
18. How do the private events work?
We offer private classes for corporate team building events, bachelor and bachelorette parties, and other events. We do require a minimum of 18 people for a private day class, and a minimum of 12 people for a private weekend class. All participants must meet the minimum age requirements for the type of class (15 for the day class, 21 for the weekend class). We do offer a discount off the regular per/person charge for private classes. While most classes take place on weekend days, we can also accommodate one-day classes mid-week if desired.
19. Do you use real firearms and live ammunition?
Yes, you will be shooting a variety of firearms using live ammunition. We shoot 4 different pistols, including revolvers and semi-automatics. We shoot 3-4 different rifles, including semi-automatic, lever action and bolt action, all with a variety of optics. We also shoot shotgun during the weekend classes, using both static and moving targets. You’ll be shooting a variety of calibers with all firearms.
20. What is the difference between the day and weekend camps?
The day and weekend camps are similar in content, except that during the weekend camp we have the opportunity to spend more time on the classes, allowing more trigger time for firearms and crossbow and more time for questions and discussion. We also cover additional topics during the weekend camp. The fun part of the weekend camp is the down-time on Friday and Saturday nights, when we watch zombie movies, play some games, and sit around the fire pit enjoying a few beers.
21. How do you register for a camp?
You can register on the website, www.zombiesurvivalcourse.com, and put down a deposit for the camp you want to attend. All recruits must also complete the registration form on the website. We also offer pre-paid options which are great gift ideas if you are not sure of the date your gift recipient wants to attend.
The creators of the Zombie Survival Course have decided to give one lucky person a taste of their course! You’ll get to test your skills, and learn some new ones in one of their fantastic classes! If you would like to get the chance to be part of their class please follow the link to the contest:
Disclaimer: The winner will receive a one-day camp at the Zombie Survival Course usable only for the June 21, 2014 camp date. The camp is located in Central New Jersey, and the winner must provide all travel to and from the camp. The prize cannot be exchanged for money. Winner must meet age and eligibility requirements for the class. Prize is transferrable.