Monday, January 28, 2013

What do you mean you missed it???

A couple weeks back I was asked by the National Speleological Society to present a webinar on the NSS Youth Group Liaison Committee, and I did. You missed it??


Well, don’t worry. The NSS has it and other webinars on line for on demand so your in luck. Don’t wait too long because I don’t know how long it’s going to be there.

I’ve been asked to do another one on putting together a youth group caving trip. I have a lot of good stuff for that one. Some funny stories, too.

I’ve been thinking there are a few other youth caving topics I’d like to talk about. What would you like to hear about? Send me your suggestions and I’ll put something together.

What are you waiting for? Click that link and download that webinar. More is coming soon..


Please subscribe to the YOUCave email list. Tweet us at @youcave. Check us out on Face Book and Google+. And share us with your friends. If you ask a question in the comment section I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

Thanks,
Allen

“Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but well placed footsteps, kill nothing but time.” – cavers’ creed

National Speleological Society Youth Group Liaison Committee. The youth group’s connection to caves and caving.

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Big Trip

The Plan
I was setting up a trip for Dan from Philly Grotto to help introduce some people he knows to caving. Not a big deal to do, but I wanted to make a good impression on them in hopes to get them excited enough to join the Grotto and go on other trips.

A few of our friends from Dragon Breath Grotto had not been to this particular cave and where interested in going too. The caving party is growing.

We have people, we have a cave and we have a date. We have a caving trip.

A Plea for Help
A week later Kim made a desperate plea on the Commander Cody email list for help taking a Venturing Crew caving. Happens that it was the same day and the same cave we planned for our trip. Huumm… Light bulb appears over my head. How about we combine our trips. We’re going to be there with plenty of cavers anyway, right. Looks good on paper.

A week before The Big Trip Kim and I were emailing back and forth. It had been raining all week and rain is expected the next week too. The cave we are planning on using has a tendency to flood. We need a plan “B”. Huumm.. This sounds familiar.

So What's Plan "B"
Ok, so I send out another email and secure a plan “B” to go to a different cave just in case. The closer the weekend comes the least likely it’s looking like we’re getting into our first choice. Friday we decide that plan ”B” is looking better and better.
DBG 11-10-12
Saturday morning Dan and his group Swap, Vicki and Anna met me, Amos, Damian, Marcy and Evan in Morgantown. We figured out carpooling and headed out the Turnpike. One stop to pick up Gretchen and we kept going out to the Shippensburg Wal-Mart to met up with Kim and Venturing Crew 168. We all headed on over to the cave and met up with Tom Griffin and his two cavers who are helping for the day.

Finally in the Cave
Once we got suited up and inside, did the “in cave, cave talk” and headed up to the first break down room. Here we figured out who was who, break into three groups, and figure out who was leading which group.

I’m not going to go into the details of the trip. It was a lot of fun and Gretchen enjoyed her first caving trip. You can see all the videos to experience it from the comfort of your computer. Needless to say, we were the last group out and the others, except Kim and Tom were long gone.
Our group decided we were starved and were looking to demolish some pizza. Kim agrees and we said our goodbyes to Tom and his group as we parted ways.
DBG 11-10-12
Another great day underground accomplished. As we’re eating and talking we start planning and looking forward to doing this again real soon.

And Even More Pictures
The rest of the photo album can be found here. I hope you enjoy looking through them and the videos almost as much as we enjoyed the trip.

Do you want to go with us? Send me an email. allenmaddox@youcave.org





Please subscribe to the YOUCave email list. Tweet us at @youcave. Check us out on Face Book and Google+. And share us with your friends. If you ask a question in the comment section I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

Thanks,
Allen

“Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but well placed footsteps, kill nothing but time.” – cavers’ creed




National Speleological Society Youth Group Liaison Committee. The youth group’s connection to caves and caving.

Monday, January 14, 2013

So You Want To Try Caving

Ask Cavers: Which is the Best Wild Cave Tour?

Caving News asked cavers what their favorite “wild cave tour” is. For those Youth Group Leaders looking to try your first wild cave trip this may be a good resource to check out to see what others think of these commercial wild cave trips.


Planning Ahead
The commercial wild cave trip is an excellent choice for a first caving trip. They are easy to plan because they are already set up with guides and gear. These are usually in some of the best caves to see and experience. After all, that’s why they commercialize them. They have their own set of rules which are usually very easy to abide by. And sometimes they even have several trips of varying difficulty depending on age and/or ability.

Some thing to keep in mind when planning one of these commercial wild cave trips is to plan well in advance. Sometimes they are not open year round to protect hibernating bats. Sometimes the best weekends book up early. Either way start planning a year ahead of time. And ask the cave operator when you should make reservations by.

Review the rules of the cave with everyone going on the trip. If they want you to use their equipment, use their equipment. If they say no bags, then they mean no bags. If there is an age cut off, stick to it with no exceptions.

Get their mandatory equipment list and stick to it with no exceptions. I’ve had kids and parents say, “but what if I have a ….” or “ .. but I don’t have a ….”. If they ask for boots that cover the ankle, get boots that cover the ankle or don’t go. You don’t want to be waiting to start the tour and have someone called out because they are not properly dressed.

What about the non-cavers in your group?
Find out what other facilities they have. Sometimes they have camping and eating facilities that are great for your group. Get all the details and ask for their suggestions. They’ve done this before and know what to expect.

Find out if they have activities that others not participating in the wild cave tour can do. Some kids just don’t like caving, but they may like hiking or geology or some other activity provided by the commercial cave. Some commercial caves even offer advancement opportunities for Scouts and other youth organizations.

Brag about your conquest..
After you have done your wild cave trip, come on back and post your opinion. Let other group leaders know what you thought both good and bad. Be specific in telling what you expected and what happened and if you would recommend this trip for another group like yours.

Take plenty of pictures and post them. Sharing your experience with family and friends is a great way to show off how much fun you really had.

Uummm, Where??
Where do you find a commercial wild cave tour? The National Speleological Society Youth Group Liaison Committee has a web page for that http://www.caves.org/youth/Map.shtml. You can also ask other youth organizations in your area.

So go forth, plan, and get underground.

Please subscribe to the YOUCave email list. Tweet us at @youcave. Check us out on Face Book and Google+. And share us with your friends. If you ask a question in the comment section I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

Thanks,
Allen

“Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but well placed footsteps, kill nothing but time.” – cavers’ creed




National Speleological Society Youth Group Liaison Committee. The youth group’s connection to caves and caving.

Monday, January 7, 2013

STEM, Caves and Cookies

I'm going to wait right here while you click that link and read the blog. But please come back to join me here..

STEM
I read this article and was very impressed, but why. I wrestled with why this is so important to us, cavers.
When most Americans are asked what their first thought is of when we mention Girl Scouts, we think of cookies. REALLY??? Is that what we really think is the biggest contribution of the largest girl's organization in the United States? GSUSA is stepping up their game and we need to take notice. We need to spread the word. Girl Scouts of United States of America are strong supporters of girls in S.T.E.M. carreers.
While a large majority of STEM careers in the US are held by men, it's important to know that many contributions have been made by women. Google Gertrude B. Elion, Ann Druyan, Dian Fossey, Carol Greider, Grace Murray Hopper, Stephenie Kwolek, Rosalyn Yalow, and Sally Ride. There are many, many more women of science, technology, engineering and math you can learn about and their contributions.

Caves
What does this have to do with youth and caving?
Biology, geology, hydrology, cartography are some of the sciences we directly associate with caves, caving and cavers. The equipment that we use has been greatly enhanced, making caving safer, by science and engineering. LEDs for lights, balistic nylon for gear, helmet tecnology and new rope materials are just a few major improvments to caving safety. Just about everything we do has been effected by STEM in one way or another.
Cookies
The next time you buy a box of Thin Mints take a look at the girl who is selling them. Think of what the possibilites of her future hold for her and how those cookies will support her dreams. Those cookies will seem to taste a whole lot better.

Please share this post with your friends. If you haven't already, please subscribe to YOUCave to get all the posts sent to your email inbox. Your email address will never be sold or distributed. Feel free to comment below. I try to answer all coments.


Thanks,
Allen
"Take nothing but picture, leave nothing but well place footprints, kill nothing but time." - caver's creed




National Speleological Society Youth Group Liaison Committee. The youth group’s connection to caves and caving.