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Caving Elective at V-Week Chester County Council, BSA 2011

One of the best volunteer jobs I have is introducing kids to caving. One of the ways I get to do this is by helping out at V-Week, summer camp for the Chester County Council, BSA Venturing program. The Venturing Cave Exploring Elective requirements are a good outline for accomplishing this. Plus when they’ve completed the Elective they are one more step closer to earning the Ranger Award.
Like other activities that BSA is involved with the elective encompasses the “Learn, Do, Teach” method. I’ve covered this elective in more detail in other posts on this blog which I encourage you to look at. I’m not going to go into those details this time, but I wanted to talk a little about the elective itself.
Most of the kids, maybe all of them, thought this would be a hard class and difficult to earn this. But when you break it down, and you have good resources, it can be covered in a few days. There are some prerequisites that I encourage students to do ahead of time. But most of it can be done in two half-day sessions with some homework and a trip to a wild cave.
Now, yes, you can earn the elective without the caving trip, but that would be like taking a bicycle class and never get on a bike or a canoeing class without ever stepping into a canoe. Just not that much fun. Most of the class work can be done in the cave. And that is a much more suitable, and more fun, classroom for this type of course.
Also, I don’t like lectures. I so much prefer hands on type activities where everyone is engaged in what’s going on.
I hope all you who were there enjoyed it as much as I did. If you missed it, here's some videos to enjoy.
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Face Book and Videos are Good for Your Crew

What do you see common with these
 two pictures?
How are they different from this picture?

Parents are able to watch, and from a distance, participate in their child's sports and musical activities. It's difficult for a parent to be in the audience for their child on an outdoor high adventure activity. Scouting is built around outdoor high adventurer activities. Parents don't usually get to see their kids participate in the “meat and potatoes” of this program. Unlike attending the playoff games or the holiday concert, parents can't attend the 50 mile backpacking trip, whitewater rafting, or caving trip. It's difficult for parents to really experience what their children are experiencing on these adventures. Until recently.
Like other Venturing Crews we have a web site and email list. Mostly this is just information about what's going on and when things are happening. We have also taken advantage of creating a Face Book page. Our Face Book page is like our “front porch” Everyone can see what's there and they know you live there. They are all welcome to come sit and visit. I have posted pictures before on this page. The kids love this. They grab the pics and use them for profiles and bragging rights. I've recently started posting videos of our trips here, too.

With the ability of publicly “tagging” the kids in the pics and vids you automatically call attention to these kids from their friends and families with a big “this is what I do”. Now parents get to be in the audience of all our caving trips. I've even had a couple different parents from two different activities thank me for letting them see what their kids are really capable of doing and how much fun they have doing it.
The Face Book Page is a very useful tool that all outdoor activity clubs need to be using. It levels the playing field when it comes to letting parents know how well their kids are doing and how much they grow and enjoy our activities. The Face Book Page is a great way to promote your Troop, Crew, Y, or other outdoor club. Use it to it's fullest and see your program grow.

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Youth Protection in Scouting

The Boy Scouts of America have a document called, “The Guide to Safe Scouting”. The purpose of this guide is to prepare members of the Boy Scouts to conduct activities in a safe and prudent manor. Protecting the youth members is of paramount importance to the program. There is a section in the guide dedicated to “Youth Protection in Scouting”.
Just some of the topics covered are;
Mandatory Report of Child Abuse
How does BSA help prevent child abuse in Scouting?
Leadership Selection
Scouting’s Barrier to Abuse
Two-deep leadership on all outings required.
One-on-one contact between Scouts and adults prohibited.
Separate accommodations for adults and Scouts required.
Privacy of youth respected.
Inappropriate use of cameras, imaging or digital devices prohibited.
No secrete organizations.
No hazing.
No bullying.
Youth leadership monitored by adult leaders.
Discipline must be constructive.
Appropriate attire for all activities.
Members are responsible for act in accordance of the Scout Oath and Law.
Units are responsible for enforcing Youth Protection Policies.
There is a Frequently Asked Questions section that should answer all your basic questions.
This document also goes into more detail about;
Youth Member Behavior Guidelines
Digital Privacy
Leadership Requirements for Trips and Outings.
Coed Overnight Activities Policy
Internet Safety.

PICT0050 While Youth Protection Training is required for all BSA Leaders, you don’t have to be a member to take this training. You can go to and create an account and take the training for the Cub, Troop, or Venturing activity you will be attending. Print the certificate for your own records as its good for 2 years. It only takes about 20 minutes of your time. The Scout Trip Leader will be very appreciative of your efforts to help them have a safe trip for everyone.

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