I've been interested in survival skills for a few years now, and this summer I decided to look into some actual training schools. Most looked a little pricey (among other things) and I wasn't really happy with anything I came across until I found The Survival Training School of California. I did A LOT of research before choosing this school and I kept coming back to them. I'm glad I did. There's a ton of hype around these guys and their founder right now, but if you're lucky enough to make it out here to Cali to train with them you'll see why that is.
I wanted the "real deal" so I started with the weekend field course (pocketknife only-no food/water). It really opened my eyes to what an actual survival situation may be like. As advertised; there were no gimmicks on this course, there was no need for them. There was only pain, work, and training- that's it. It taught me that I had a lot to learn... so I came back for their 7 Day Multi-Climate with my girlfriend (this course was a little more "user friendly" and offered showers and regular meals). This course is expensive but still well under-priced for what you receive. We we're flooded with information and constantly training hands on.
It would take a small novel to tell you everything I learned on this course. How to find water in the desert, how use a map and compass, how to use wild plants for grub and medicine, how to turn a shiny rock into a knife, there really is too much to put down. Above all though- I made a fire with sticks. That's right, I walked through a riverbed, picked some dead branches and tree bark, and turned it into a fire. More than once, and I can do it again if I have to.
These guys take all the extra 1 on 1 time you need to get your skills down and they treat you as an individual. It's obvious they care about their clients well-being and learning experience, which is why I am now a student for life. Don't be afraid, go for it- these guys got your back.