Caving Specific Venturing Crews: Part 2 Creating a Caving Venturing Crew

Part 1 of this series was an intro to caving focused Venturing Crews and how to join one in your BSA Council. But what if there is not one one in your Council. Are you just out of luck?
Those who can't find a Venturing Crew with a specialty registration 1020 Spelunking / Caving still can form one with a little Internet research and the desire and passion to get underground.

How do you go about forming a caving specialty Venturing Crew? There is no one single good way. You have a few options. I’ll try to outline a few different directions you can try.

But first you need to talk to your friends. See if there is an interest among them to form a Crew to do this type of adventure on a regular basis. You’ll need at least five youth members to form your Crew. You may have to go outside your current circle of frineds to find people interested. Check with your Council's Venturing volunteer. It could be a Venturing District Commissioner, VOA (Venturing Officers Association) Advisor, or other volunteer position. They may have leads of other people interested in joining your Crew or have resources to find people. This is what they do. They are there to help with these things.
Next you will need a few adults to help out and cover all the aspects of Venturing and caving that the youth members can not. Look to your family, adult friends, and community. Even if they are not experienced cavers you should have someone comfortable with high adventure type activities and willing to learn caving skills. Find at least two and your on your way.
You need to understand what you will need to know and have to develop a safe and fun caving program. A good place to start is on the National Speleological Society Youth Group Liaison BSA caving web page http://www.caves.org/youth/bsa_caving.shtml. There are several links there with specific information regarding BSA, Venturing, and caving. Read through them and understand them. This is going to seem overwhelming. It’s not all that tough. If you need help understanding any of it, please send me an email nssyouth@caves.org and I’ll help with that. I'll go into some of these documents in a later article.
You and the adult leaders should go out and visit as local chapters (grottos) of the National Speleological Society. You can find them on the NSS web site at http://www.nssio.org/Find_Grotto.cfm. Not all grottos are the same. Go to their meetings. Talk to the members. Go visit as many different grottos as you can to find the best fit and interest. When you find one you like, join it. Become part of the caving community. Let them know what you are trying to do and ask for help. There are a lot of people in the caving communities that use to be Scouts. A few had their first caving experience through Scouting. When they see you are serious about the caver’s creed, they are more likely to help you. You may get a caver to sign on as an adult leader in your Venturing Crew.
Get all your adult leaders through BSA training. It’s not really all that hard or time consuming. All introductory training is on-line at myscouting.scouting.org/.

If you want you can send me an email at nssyouth@caves.org. I would be happy to help you through the maze of information. I can also help you network with other Venturing Crews that are going through the same process to exchange ideas and information. I have done this. I am the Advisor for Dragon Breath Grotto Venturing Crew 9 in Pennsylvania (http://www.dragonbreathgrotto.org/).

Next well look at what equipment you will need, your program planing, and the “do's and don'ts” of BSA and caving.

Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but well placed footprints, kill nothing but time.” Caver's Creed.

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