Photos and story by John Boch
Click on the photos for larger images.
(Winamac, IN) – Live Free USA, the nation’s oldest survival and preparedness group, held its annual Camp Independence event at Tippecanoe River State Park near Winamac, IN on Saturday, May 16th.  It was a big success, as scores of families turned out to learn more about personal preparedness and independent living in 50-minute segments.

Live Free’s instructor Richard Rock was the opening speaker discussing food preservation and storage.  He encouraged folks to store some food for unforeseen emergencies ranging from storms to labor strikes to other problems.

Mr. Rock mused that it wasn’t raining when Noah started building the Ark.  “In a crisis, supermarkets will sell out of food in hours,” he noted.  “Food control is people control.”

George Lloyd demonstrates how to get out of a choke.
George Lloyd demonstrates how to get out of a choke.

George Lloyd, a full-time firefighter and Tae Kwon Do instructor from Nashville, Tennessee was on hand to teach a segment on unarmed self-defense.  He stressed the critical importance of physical fitness and its role in successfully fighting off an attack.  He also touted situational awareness of one’s surroundings and the avoidance of trouble.  When that fails, use your shoes to run like Forrest Gump.

George Lloyd’s presentation was interesting and lively.


Learning for the whole family.
Trying out some simple moves to escape a grab.
Trying out some simple moves to escape a grab.

For the times when running isn’t an option, he showed some simple techniques for escaping a grab (work against the thumb of the attacker) and chokes.



Dave Pappas.

Live Free’s Dave Pappas led a discussion and demonstration of “Bug Out Bags”, covering the basics and then showing one of his own.  John Boch joined in with a minimalist pack for a compare and contrast show and tell, with the audience taking away lots of good information about options they can choose from in making their own.

Patsy Clark.
Patsy Clark.

Following lunch and the fundraising drawing for three tables full of prizes, Instructor and retired professor Patsy Clark took everyone out on an Edible and Medicinal Plant Walk, pointing out plants in the wild that have been used for food and medicine for centuries.  She also explained how to make powerful tinctures out of herbs to treat all sorts of ailments.

Live Free survival instructor John Boch discussed the basics of armed self-defense.  Firearms, he noted, are not a magic talisman but merely one layer of a multi-layer strategy towards personal safety and security.   Nothing good comes of using a firearm in self-defense aside from living another day.  If you can avoid using the firearm with other strategies (like situational awareness, de-escalation or leaving the scene of an unfolding problematic situation), then you will avoid risking financial ruin, all sorts of personal problems and negative publicity from shooting a violent criminal attacker.

During his lecture, Mr. Boch mentioned that the George Zimmerman / Trayvon Martin case will be used as a case study for just how badly a justifiable use of deadly force incident can ruin an innocent person.

Mr. Boch covered gun and ammo selection, and gear selection and some strategies for home safety.

Larry Ch
Larry Chisausky led the medical segment.

There was a medical course, discussing treatment in emergency scenarios by the Live Free Survival Medical Group.

Two final mini-segments were held before the end of the day.  The first, with George Lloyd on Improvised Health and Safety, explored online resources and educational materials to help both health and public safety professionals and laypersons alike.

Lisa Kujawa.
Lisa Kujawa.

Lisa Kujawa did a bang-up job on fire-starting using commonly available materials found in any Midwest woods.  She had about a dozen “teams” pair off and race to build fires using a host of dead plant materials once they learned the basics.




Look for next year’s event to take place in early May at the same park in north central Indiana.  Cabins (with electricity service, which will sleep up to six) can be reserved from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, or you can tent or RV camp in the family campground at the park.  Modern restroom facilities are available at the site, and dirt cheap and tasty lunch is available courtesy of an Amish family.



It’s a family-friendly good time for all involved.  You’ll learn new things, meet new friendly people and have great time.


For more information, visit Live Free USA’s website:

One thought on “GOOD STUFF: Live Free USA’s Camp Independence”
  1. Thanks for sharing. Maybe I can talk my wife into going next year. For her, if she can’t shower, she’s not “camping” – even if it’s in a cabin of some sort.


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