Thursday, April 22, 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 a fact, however, that the leaders of youth organizations change over time, requiring near-constant communication and reinforcement of the contacts between the NSS and the youth organizations regarding safe caving practices. Youth group caving liaison activities are an essential component of promoting safe and responsible caving, and educating the public about the value and special nature of caves.

We are in the midst of a very difficult financial situation, but one things we must support and perhaps even expand is our outreach efforts, not just for youth organizations but to all non-NSScavers. While other areas may have to suffer decreased support and activity, I do not want to see the key areas of outreach and education scaled back. I would rather see them expanded, because I believe in the long term they will benefit not just caves and caving, but the NSS as well, by increasing our member base.
Bill Putnam, NSS 21117 RL/FE

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