Sunday, August 28, 2011

Intro to BSA Caving

Debbie Spoon is the Chair for the Caving Committee of the Utah Parks Council, BSA. She is also the Vice Chairman of the Timpanogos Grotto as well as a member of Utah County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue. She was tasked by the Utah Parks Council with devising a way to introduce Boy Scouts of America Volunteer Leaders to safe and ethical caving. Following the current BSA training platforms this was approached as a web instruction that the individual leader would view.
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This was not intended to teach the leaders to be qualified cave guides, but introduce them to the issues and suggestions to planning a safe, ethical, and fun caving activity for their Troop, Team, or Crew. After they view this and decide that they would still like to take their BSA Unit caving they must go through some more training that is being devised by the Utah Parks Council Caving Committee.
Peiper Cave with Crew 7 3-29-08 003
While it’s only required for BSA leaders in Utah, I think it would be helpful to all BSA leaders. It is also good for cavers to view to help them to be familiar with BSA policies and understand what the BSA Leader is facing and can use help with while planning their caving activity.
Here’s the link;
http://utahscouts.org/openrosters/DocDownload.aspx?id=96853
What do you think??

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Caving with Brandywine Valley Association Summer Camp Adventures High and Low

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Brandywine Valley Association has a very good summer camp program for kids of all ages. Each week is a different theme for different age groups. This was the “Adventures High and Low” week and we took them caving for one of those days. We don’t usually take this age group caving, but BVA always seems to attract kids that are exceptional when it comes to a sense of adventure and curiosity. They did visit a commercial cave earlier in the week. It gave them an understanding of the basics of caves and caving. But they were eager to try a little wild caving.
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Amos, Keri, and I met them at their campsite early on Friday morning. They were all dressed and in the van and ready to go. When we got there we got all the helmets and lights out and distributed. We talked a little about what to expect and the basic safety rules of caving. We walked up the trail to the main entrance and they enjoyed the cool air breathing out of the cave. After one more helmet and light check they divided themselves into two groups. Amos led one and I led the other. We proceeded in and went in two directions.
In my groups were six kids, one councilor, and Keri was sweeping to make sure no one was left behind. Without going into too much detail on the cave we saw just about every part of it. These kids did all kinds of squeezing and climbing. They adventured into every place they could. A few of them kept asking to do the chimney. It was getting late, but they kept bugging me so we went to one of the other entrances so they could do the chimney passage. Even the ones who were hesitant did it and did it well.

They seemed to enjoy the trip. They were all tired and were probably going to sleep well that night. I hope the last side trip didn’t get them home too late.
Again another great group of kids from BVA went caving with us. Maybe some of them will come back next year. Maybe we made a good impression on most of them and they look us up when they are old enough to join Philly Grotto. The rest of the pictures can be found here. Enjoy...