AUBURN — When Pamela Albert started an Instagram account documenting her family’s adventures a few years ago, she had no idea it would eventually land them on a reality television show, trekking through Mexican backcountry with nothing but their packs, wits and each other.

But in the fall of 2021, her account (@onefamilyfrommaine) caught the eye of a casting director for an adventure competition show on the BYUtv network. A few months and a couple of interviews later, they got the news: Pamela, her husband, Keith, and their sons, Caleb and Breccan, had been cast for season three of “Survivalists.”

“All we knew going into it really was that it was a show about being challenged as a family, being taken out of our comfort zone but having to come together to work together as a family,” Pamela, an epidemiologist at the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention and an Auburn School Committee member, said Friday.

“I think during the pandemic we had all gotten very used to, you know, kind of being on our phones and social media and kind of retreating to our own spaces,” she said. “And communication maybe became a breakdown for us. So, that was really something that we were trying to work on throughout our four days, you know, hiking through the backcountry of Mexico together.”

The Albert family of Auburn, from left, Breccan, 14, Caleb, 17, mother Pamela and father Keith, sit around a fire April 5, 2022, during filming for season 3 of the BYUtv show “Survivalists” in Baja California Sur in Mexico. BYU Broadcasting/Steve Olpin photo

The show, hosted by extreme adventurer Colin O’Brady, takes two families out of “the comfort of their own homes” for a four-day race in the “rugged wilderness” without any phones or other technology. The $10,000 prize awaits the family that completes the race first.

Filming took place last April a few hours outside of La Paz, the capital of the Mexican state of Baja California Sur. The show provided everything they needed — tents, compasses, a steel and flint, for example — but things got off to a rocky start.


“During our travels there, we got severely delayed, almost missed our connection to Mexico. And our luggage didn’t arrive. We actually showed up in Mexico with nothing that we had packed,” Pamela said.

Without any of their clothes, personal belongings or hiking essentials, like the new boots that sons Caleb and Breccan, now a senior and freshman at Edward Little High School, respectively, had carefully broken in, the crew had to take the family to Walmart the night before filming began to get everything they needed.

Despite that, though, the family felt prepared. Besides their annual “adventure-type travel trips,” the family are also avid outdoors enthusiasts, and the boys are three-season athletes in soccer, hockey and baseball.

“We obviously weren’t accustomed to the backcountry of Mexico, hiking through it for four days. But here, like we’ve been on travels and hikes through, I don’t know, all types of terrain before. So not much was new for us going onto the show but we were definitely challenged throughout the show,” said Caleb, who was 17 at the time of shooting.

While the family can’t reveal much about the challenges before their episode airs later this month, “taking care of your body while hiking and biking and trekking and bouldering in 90- to 95-degree heat at a time, it definitely wears on your body,” Keith, a scientist, said.

The Albert family, of Auburn, from left, Caleb, 17, Breccan, 14, Pamela and Keith, listen to “Survivalist” host and extreme adventurer Colin O’Brady. BYU Broadcasting/Steve Olpin photo

“It’s really a push on your communication skills, how you want to solve these challenges to get where you want to go, these checkpoints, without kind of rearing your frustration with the heat or with each other or with the conditions,” he said.


“So, it was really a good exercise in all-around communication when the chips are down kind of against you,” he said.

Looking back, Caleb said he would do it again “in a heartbeat.”

Breccan — who was 14 at the time of shooting — didn’t exactly feel the same.

Keith joked that his youngest son’s favorite part of shooting was “when we finished” — and it definitely wasn’t sharing a tent with his brother for three nights.

But he “never complained,” Keith said, and the experience “brought us together in a lot of ways that I think will help us going forward.”

The Alberts’ episode premieres Sunday, Jan. 22, on BYUtv. Viewers can stream it at or on the BYUtv app.

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