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Showing posts from April, 2010

Caving With Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania Council 11-18-18

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Yes, they were at it again. This time there were two new Troops to introduce to caving. Eastern PA Council set this one up at the same time as the one in October. This trip originally had sixteen people, but one Troop backed out at the last minute. It’s a shame because they missed a very good time with these girls. Maybe they’ll come out again when they can. We have been having a tremendous amount of rain and unprecedented snowfall for this time of year. As a result the cave actually had a good bit of water in it.

I like to use this cave for beginner trips because it is stable. But I’ve never seen this much water in this cave. Parts that usually have a little sticky mud had water over the top of my thigh. I choose to avoid the lower parts of the cave. For most of the girls this was their first wild caving trip. I didn’t want to take any chances with them and I didn’t want anyone cold and miserable. But they all got very muddy, and had a blast. How could I tell? Watch the video. L…

BoG Candidate's reply on Youth Group Liaison Committee

The elections for the National Speleological Society Board of Governors is coming up. I sent an open letter to all the candidates asking them for their views on the role of the NSS Youth Group Liaison Committee and how they would support it if elected to the BoG. You an see in other post the reply from John Hoffelt, Bill Putman, Herman Miller, Jay Clark, and Gary Bush.

Even though I posted this invitation to comment on Cave Chat and emailed each candidate individually, I have not, as of the time of writing this post, heard from;
John LaMar Cole 35457RE
Debra Young 44886RE
Dr. Dean Wiseman 32690RL

I hope this has helped members understand the candidates position on youth groups and caving and will help you in your decision for electing the next Board of Governors of the National Speleological Society.

BoG Candidate Wm. Gary Bush's reply on Youth Group Liaison Committee

The elections for the National Speleological Society Board of Governors is coming up. I sent an open letter to all the candidates asking them for their views on the role of the NSS Youth Group Liaison Committee and how they would support it if elected to the BoG. I'm posting their replies in no particular order.

Your question about the Youth Group Liaison Committee’s role has special interest to me. One of your predecessors in the Chair position was my good friend, Jack Hissong. Jack passed away this past January. He had a very strong interest in working with and training youth groups in responsible caving. No doubt, his long association and efforts with the Boy Scouts fed his passion for the topic. Jack started the Youth Group training in the Greater Cincinnati Group and expanded its scope to lead scores of scout and youth group trips every year. Many were combined on matching weekends, so we could accommodate more groups. Jack recognized that the youth groups would be turni…

BoG Candidate Jay Clark's reply on Youth Group Liaison Committee

The elections for the National Speleological Society Board of Governors is coming up. I sent an open letter to all the candidates asking them for their views on the role of the NSS Youth Group Liaison Committee and how they would support it if elected to the BoG. I'm posting their replies in no particular order.

I see education and conservation as 2 of our main goals. Education starts at a young age and never ends. Proper education teaches conservation. Many youth groups have misconceptions about caves and the critters therein- that may have seen the descent and think there are creatures who reside there. I am in favor of starting cave education and conservation at a young age. I am the preserve manager for Tumbling Rock cave for the SCCi and we seen a great deal of traffic from young groups. I and the other manager work with each group to teach them about the cave and cave life. I am also in favor of trying to recruit new members from the ranks of weekend cavers who are not affil…

BoG Candidate Herman Miller's reply on Youth Group Liaison Committee

The elections for the National Speleological Society Board of Governors is coming up. I sent an open letter to all the candidates asking them for their views on the role of the NSS Youth Group Liaison Committee and how they would support it if elected to the BoG. I'm posting their replies in no particular order.

I feel that educating and involving our youth is paramount to our goals in the NSS and even having a Youth Group Liaison Committee (YGLC) should hint at such. I believe the YGLC should offer direction and advisement to the local grottoes whom ultimately either involve local youth or don't. At a national level I feel the YGLC could offer a voice to other organizations whose primary purpose is in getting our youth outside and away from the . If elected I would like to offer further support to both the YGLC and the JSS as I have already stated I feel our youth is our key to future success of the NSS and of our goals.
Herman Miller NSS# 55273SU BOG Candidate 2010

BoG Candidate Bill Putman's reply on Youth Group Liaison Committee

The elections for the National Speleological Society Board of Governors is coming up. I sent an open letter to all the candidates asking them for their views on the role of the NSS Youth Group Liaison Committee and how they would support it if elected to the BoG. I'm posting their replies in no particular order.

I believe the YGLC is a critical component of the NSS outreach efforts. I began my caving career as a Boy Scout, and we had no input or guidance form the NSS. We managed, but we could have been safer, better equipped, and more conservation=oriented if we had had some guidance. The YGLC has waxed and waned in effectiveness over the years. Overall, however, we have come a long, long way. Bill Steele knows all about that, since he has been an executive with BSA. Many good volunteers have made this progress possible. There are also many other groups that need our guidance - schools, churches, and summer camps, for example, often feature caving trips in the summer months.

It is …

BoG Candidate John Hoffelt's reply on Youth Group Liaison Committee

The elections for the National Speleological Society Board of Governors is coming up. I sent an open letter to all the candidates asking them for their views on the role of the NSS Youth Group Liaison Committee and how they would support it if elected to the BoG. I'm posting their replies in no particular order.

I do thank you for your contact and concern for support to youth groups. As for all organizations, the future of the NSS lies with the youth and upcoming generations; otherwise, we stagnate, grow old, and wither away. It is critical that we support parents and group leaders that are interested in showing youth proper and safe cave techniques and appropriate conservation ethics. Literally, the efforts we expend and invest today are the dividends and future we reap tomorrow. These dividends, if invested wisely in our youth, will reap benefits far beyond yours and my tenure in the organization.

The NSS should continue to provide information and local contacts to youth grou…

The North East Region 6 Venturing Quest 2010 Caving Demonstration

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It actually turned out to be a pleasant day. A little chilly, especially in the morning, but the sun stayed out and warmed up a little in the afternoon.

This year it was at Horseshoe Scout Reservation which is part of Chester County Council, BSA. Back in the old days when I was a Scoutmaster, this is where our Troop went to summer camp. This weekend it was transformed to accommodate over 400 Venturers and their leaders. The theme for the weekend was “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”. There were a lot of activities for these high school aged people to do from a climbing wall, zip line, Velcro walk, rang shooting, cooking and a mess of other things to my little old caving demo. Of course I loaded up the squeeze box along with the “cave in a box”, my laptop, and brochures from the National Speleological Society and Bats Conservancy International.

As usual the squeeze box became a hit and the competition for the smallest squeeze was in full swing. Not to bore you with all the details here…

Vertical Caving Skills

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OK, so you’ve done a few wild caves. Belly crawled in the mud, squeezed through the keyholes, chimneyed horizontal cracks. What’s next?
Vertical Caving adds a whole new dimension to the sport. You’ve seen those drops. Twenty or 30 feet or more. There are no handholds to climb in and out. But if you could climb a rope, that would work. You’re going to leave your rock climbing skills behind and join in a new group of “pit bouncers”.
Vertical Caving is where you rappel down a on a rope and climb back on a rope. There’s special equipment and skills needed to do this safely and efficiently. While there are some BSA Climbing Instructors and Climbing Directors that are vertical cavers and they can teach you these skills, generally it is better to find and join a Grotto (local chapter of the National Speleological Society) that has a strong vertical training and practice program. They will teach you what you need to know and will give you opportunities to practice and hone these skills above …

BSA Climbing Instructor Course

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Anyone who is 18 y/o or older and getting involved with BSA Troops and Crews caving should consider taking the BSA Climbing and Rappelling Instructor Course. I know what you’re thinking; climbing and caving are two different activities. And I’ll add that they are similar and I’d like to explain my thoughts on this.
Those of you who have done wild cave trips understand that there is a fare bit of crawling and squeezing into cracks and holes. There is also a fair amount of scrambling over breakdown, climbing over boulders, and chimining through cracks. In climbing terms this may resemble “bouldering”. Bouldering occurs where you need to spot someone who is not climbing more than shoulder high. There is no need for a belay while doing this. Sometimes you’ll be faced with having to belay someone who is climbing higher than you can safely spot them. When belaying you must to be anchored so you don’t get pulled off balance and fall yourself.
The BSA Climbing Instructors Course teaches you …