Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Facebook Live 4-25-17

In case you missed it, I did a Facebook Live video to talk about the kid in, almost, every trip that has a difficult time with what's going on during the activity, and how they rise above their fears and become a braver and more confident person.
If you have anything to share on this topic, please comment to this post. I'm looking forward to hearing from you.


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Caving With Boy Scout Troop 44

Troop 44, from Morristown, NJ, wanted to try a real caving trip. They’ve been to a commercial cave and did some studying of geology. They’re Scoutmaster, Mr. Morrison, contacted me and we started making plans. We batted around a few dates and finally arrived at one that was good for everyone.

His next problem was that a few parents were a bit nervous. I sent him a link to this website and where most of the current pictures were posted. This seemed to have helped a lot as the plans kept moving forward.


The day of the trip was great. We meet at a convenience store so everyone could get some last minute necessities. Took a ride over to the parking area for the cave, well, the rest is on the video.


Enjoy.



https://youtu.be/bWOkQ00WSfs

Questions?

If you want more information about taking youth groups caving, or you're just curious about what's involved with getting kids underground, visit the National Speleological Society - Youth Group Liaison Committee at www.caves.org/youth. Or you can email me directly at allenmaddox@youcave.org.


Get Involved

YOUCave can use your help. If you have a talent that you feel would be useful to YOUCave, or can fulfill an existing opening, please email me at allenmaddox@youcave.org.



Regional Coordinator

The purpose of an NSS Youth Regional Coordinator is to provide informational assistance to cavers, grottos, and youth group leaders so they may conduct safe and appropriate cave-related experiences. In addition to caving trips, these experiences may include presentations on ethics, geology, biology, techniques, and safety, as well as other topics of speleology.    
Regional Coordinators:
  • Monthly written report with:
             Progress - Accomplishments
             Plans – Projects To Do
             Problems and Challenges
  • adhere to all guidelines, policies, and requirements of the National Speleological Society (NSS).
  • adhere to all guidelines, policies, and requirements of the appropriate youth group organization.
  • treat all youth groups with equal consideration.
  • make themselves available to grottos within their region, to assist them in working with youth groups.
  • make themselves available to youth groups within their region, to assist them in conducting safe caving trips and learning about caves.
  • promote responsible caving practices for youth groups.
  • promote responsible caving practices by grottos and cavers when working with youth groups.

While not required by the NSS YGLC at this time, most youth organizations may require;
  • State background checks
  • FBI Clearances
  • Red Cross, or equivalent CPR and First Aid
  • Cave Rescue training


Regions needing a Coordinator;

·         Western Region which includes California, Oregon and Nevada.

·         Ohio Valley Region which includes Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky

·         Arizona Region which includes Arizona.

·         Northwest Caving Association which includes Idaho and Oregon.

·         Texas Speleological Association which includes Texas.





Journalist

·         Contact leads and conduct interviews in person, by phone or Skype, of people participating in youth group caving trips across the USA.

·         Create and post weekly articles.



Safety Education Coordinator

·         Provide and maintain a written “Best Practices” currently recognized by the National Speleological Society Safety and Techniques Committee, Vertical Section, and National Cave Rescue Commission.

·         Serve as a liaison for the Youth Group Liaison Committee to those committees.

·         Advise and answer Regional Coordinators with questions on this topic.



Geology Education Coordinator

·         Provide education material about cave and karst geology to Regional Coordinators.

·         Oversee development of curriculum on cave and karst geology for Regional Coordinators.

·         Advise and answer Regional Coordinators with questions on this topic.



Biology Education Coordinator

·         Provide education material about cave biology to Regional Coordinators.

·         Oversee development of curriculum on cave biology for Regional Coordinators.

·         Advise and answer Regional Coordinators with questions on this topic.


Visit Our Store

Making a purchase at our store not only gets you a great t-shirt, it also helps get kids underground. Show some YOUCave love and get some swag. https://shop.spreadshirt.com/YOUCave/


Cave Safely, Cave Softly, Cave Often,
Allen


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Caving with Boy Scout Troop 191

Chris Aman from Boy Scout Troop 191 contacted Philadelphia Grotto looking for help to take his Boy Scouts on a caving trip. Philadelphia Grotto is my “home” grotto, so I had the pleasure of having this Troop passed on to me.

My conversation with Chris started back in July of 2016 and we didn’t get underground until March of 2017. These things take time to pull together. 


I did have a chance to visit the Troop at one of their meeting and talk to the whole Troop about caves and caving. They are a good size. But only a portion of the boys were old enough to go on this trip. Maybe next time we’ll get some more as they age up.


Watch the video and the look over the pictures. I hope they show you how much fun these guys had underground that day.



Questions?

If you want more information about taking youth groups caving, or you're just curious about what's involved with getting kids underground, visit the National Speleological Society - Youth Group Liaison Committee at www.caves.org/youth. Or you can email me directly at allenmaddox@youcave.org.


Get Involved

YOUCave can use your help. If you have a talent that you feel would be useful to YOUCave, or can fulfill an existing opening, please email me at allenmaddox@youcave.org.



Regional Coordinator

The purpose of an NSS Youth Regional Coordinator is to provide informational assistance to cavers, grottos, and youth group leaders so they may conduct safe and appropriate cave-related experiences. In addition to caving trips, these experiences may include presentations on ethics, geology, biology, techniques, and safety, as well as other topics of speleology.    
Regional Coordinators:
  • Monthly written report with:
             Progress - Accomplishments
             Plans – Projects To Do
             Problems and Challenges
  • adhere to all guidelines, policies, and requirements of the National Speleological Society (NSS).
  • adhere to all guidelines, policies, and requirements of the appropriate youth group organization.
  • treat all youth groups with equal consideration.
  • make themselves available to grottos within their region, to assist them in working with youth groups.
  • make themselves available to youth groups within their region, to assist them in conducting safe caving trips and learning about caves.
  • promote responsible caving practices for youth groups.
  • promote responsible caving practices by grottos and cavers when working with youth groups.

While not required by the NSS YGLC at this time, most youth organizations may require;
  • State background checks
  • FBI Clearances
  • Red Cross, or equivalent CPR and First Aid
  • Cave Rescue training


Regions needing a Coordinator;

·         Western Region which includes California, Oregon and Nevada.

·         Ohio Valley Region which includes Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky

·         Arizona Region which includes Arizona.

·         Northwest Caving Association which includes Idaho and Oregon.

·         Texas Speleological Association which includes Texas.





Journalist

·         Contact leads and conduct interviews in person, by phone or Skype, of people participating in youth group caving trips across the USA.

·         Create and post weekly articles.



Safety Education Coordinator

·         Provide and maintain a written “Best Practices” currently recognized by the National Speleological Society Safety and Techniques Committee, Vertical Section, and National Cave Rescue Commission.

·         Serve as a liaison for the Youth Group Liaison Committee to those committees.

·         Advise and answer Regional Coordinators with questions on this topic.



Geology Education Coordinator

·         Provide education material about cave and karst geology to Regional Coordinators.

·         Oversee development of curriculum on cave and karst geology for Regional Coordinators.

·         Advise and answer Regional Coordinators with questions on this topic.



Biology Education Coordinator

·         Provide education material about cave biology to Regional Coordinators.

·         Oversee development of curriculum on cave biology for Regional Coordinators.

·         Advise and answer Regional Coordinators with questions on this topic.


Visit Our Store

Making a purchase at our store not only gets you a great t-shirt, it also helps get kids underground. Show some YOUCave love and get some swag. https://shop.spreadshirt.com/YOUCave/


Cave Safely, Cave Softly, Cave Often,
Allen

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

WCU Outdoor Club Caving Trip Num 2

Last week I wrote about the West Chester University Outdoor Club. This week is a continuation. If you remember I told you that the groups was so big we had to break the trip into two different trips. Here's trip number two.

Please don't ask which trip was better. They both were a lot of fun. Both groups were very capable and fun to be around. Don't believe me? Watch the video. You can decide if you can pick the better trip. I can't.


Questions?

If you want more information about taking youth groups caving, or you're just curious about what's involved with getting kids underground, visit the National Speleological Society - Youth Group Liaison Committee at www.caves.org/youth. Or you can email me directly at allenmaddox@youcave.org.


Get Involved

YOUCave can use your help. If you have a talent that you feel would be useful to YOUCave, or can fulfill an existing opening, please email me at allenmaddox@youcave.org.


Journalist

This is a volunteer position, but can look good on your resume.
  • Contact leads and conduct interviews by phone or Skype of people participating in youth group caving trips across the USA.
  • Create and post weekly articles for the YOUCave blog.


Visit Our Store

Making a purchase at our store not only gets you a great t-shirt, it also helps get kids underground. Show some YOUCave love and get some swag. https://shop.spreadshirt.com/YOUCave/


Cave Safely, Cave Softly, Cave Often,
Allen

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

WCU Outdoor Club Caving Trip Num 1

West Chester University is a community college in Chester County, PA. This is the county I live in so it seemed to make sense to get students from WCU underground.

I have taken the WCU EARTH Club caving a couple times (http://www.youcave.org/2016/11/west-chester-university-caving-trip.html), but this was the first time with the Outdoor Club (https://www.facebook.com/WcuOutdoorsClub/).

Kara is part of the Dragon Breath Grotto. She’s a member of the Outdoor club and made the introductions. Heather worked hard to pull the whole thing together. One glitch we ran into was that there were way too many people interested in going caving. Solution for this was to have two separate trips on two separate weekends. This was the first trip. The second one is coming up soon.

These guys were amazing. They took everything I could throw are them and then some. Four and a half hours underground. For beginners they did very well.

Check out the video and see the fun.


We also did a Mannequin Challenge which was fun. Check it out, too.


Questions?

If you want more information about taking youth groups caving, or you're just curious about what's involved with getting kids underground, visit the National Speleological Society - Youth Group Liaison Committee at www.caves.org/youth. Or you can email me directly at allenmaddox@youcave.org.


Get Involved

YOUCave can use your help. If you have a talent that you feel would be useful to YOUCave, or can fulfill an existing opening, please email me at allenmaddox@youcave.org.


Journalist

This is a volunteer position, but can look good on your resume.
  • Contact leads and conduct interviews by phone or Skype of people participating in youth group caving trips across the USA.
  • Create and post weekly articles for the YOUCave blog.


Visit Our Store

Making a purchase at our store not only gets you a great t-shirt, it also helps get kids underground. Show some YOUCave love and get some swag. https://shop.spreadshirt.com/YOUCave/


Cave Safely, Cave Softly, Cave Often,
Allen

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Caving with the Girl Scouts of Central and Southern New Jersey

This started back in January of 2016 when Krizza Vilchas from the Girl Scouts of Central and Southern New Jersey (http://www.gscsnj.org/) contacted Philadelphia Grotto, through Andy Field, about taking Girl Scouts cave exploring. Andy forwarded the message to include me and off we went on trying to make this happen.

I have been taking Boy Scouts caving since 2004. Even though the offer was out there, no Girl Scouts had ever wanted to cave with us until now. We have had girls that were in Venturing and Girl Scout Troops that have gone caving as Venturing Crews, but never as a Girl Scout Troop. This was going to be a big deal for me. My goal was to prove that Girl Scouts do awesome outdoor adventure activities.


We had some great meetings and planning sessions, both in person and over Skype. When the day of the trip arrived we were all ready. Maybe a little nerves, but ready. 


The group of Girl Scouts was made up of three different Troops of Cadets (11 to 14 y/o).  Boy Scouts have a minimum age limit 14 years old. Girl Scouts have different age requirements. I don’t usually take kids this young caving, but they were prepared and ready for an underground adventure. 


To say it was challenging and fun was an understatement. Just watch the video to see how well these Girl Scouts did on every challenge they faced. Spoiler alert: I’d take these girls caving any time.


Questions?

If you want more information about taking youth groups caving, or you're just curious about what's involved with getting kids underground, visit the National Speleological Society - Youth Group Liaison Committee at www.caves.org/youth. Or you can email me directly at allenmaddox@youcave.org.


Get Involved

YOUCave can use your help. If you have a talent that you feel would be useful to YOUCave, or can fulfill an existing opening, please email me at allenmaddox@youcave.org.

Journalist

This is a volunteer position, but can look good on your resume.
  • Contact leads and conduct interviews by phone or Skype of people participating in youth group caving trips across the USA.
  • Create and post weekly articles for the YOUCave blog.

Visit Our Store

Making a purchase at our store not only gets you a great t-shirt, it also helps get kids underground. Show some YOUCave love and get some swag. https://shop.spreadshirt.com/YOUCave/


Cave Safely, Cave Softly, Cave Often,
Allen

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Caving With Venturing Crew 76

Maybe you remember Ann, Raul, and Tara from the caving trip with Troop 619, http://www.youcave.org/2016/03/taking-troop-619-caving.html. These same adult Scout leaders also have a Venturing Crew they wanted to get underground. 

Crew 76 is a great group of kids with a sense of adventure. We’ve talked about this trip for a while now and finally got it off the ground, well underground. 

Instead of me writing more, how about we just watch the video.


Questions?

If you want more information about taking youth groups caving, or you're just curious about what's involved with getting kids underground, visit the National Speleological Society - Youth Group Liaison Committee at www.caves.org/youth. Or you can email me directly at allenmaddox@youcave.org.


Get Involved

YOUCave can use your help. If you have a talent that you feel would be useful to YOUCave, or can fulfill an existing opening, please email me at allenmaddox@youcave.org.


Journalist

This is a volunteer position, but can look good on your resume.
  • Contact leads and conduct interviews by phone or Skype of people participating in youth group caving trips across the USA.
  • Create and post weekly articles for the YOUCave blog.


Visit Our Store

Making a purchase at our store not only gets you a great t-shirt, it also helps get kids underground. Show some YOUCave love and get some swag. https://shop.spreadshirt.com/YOUCave/


Cave Safely, Cave Softly, Cave Often,
Allen

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Want To Engage Parents?

It can be difficult to get parents to fully buy into your program if they don’t see the full, true value you provide. You have to show them the value. And not just once, but over and over again.
I take pictures and video of kids while they are participating in our cave exploring program. These pictures get posted to Facebook, in email newsletters, and in hard copy newsletters. I try to find ways to show these pictures over again and again.


I also encourage the youth to take picture of the trip and post them on their social media pages. It’s interesting to see their point of view. They tend to catch things I missed and from a completely different angle and perspective.
Use your smart phone, buy a small point and shoot camera. Take lots and of pictures and have some fun with it.
This is just one idea. Do you have other ways to engage parents? Post it below and let everyone know what works for you.

Questions?

If you want more information about taking youth groups caving, or you're just curious about what's involved with getting kids underground, visit the National Speleological Society - Youth Group Liaison Committee at www.caves.org/youth. Or you can email me directly at allenmaddox@youcave.org.

Get Involved

YOUCave can use your help. If you have a talent that you feel would be useful to YOUCave, or can fulfill an existing opening, please email me at allenmaddox@youcave.org.

Journalist

This is a volunteer position, but can look good on your resume.
  • Contact leads and conduct interviews by phone or Skype of people participating in youth group caving trips across the USA.
  • Create and post weekly articles for the YOUCave blog.

Visit Our Store

Making a purchase at our store not only gets you a great t-shirt, it also helps get kids underground. Show some YOUCave love and get some swag. https://shop.spreadshirt.com/YOUCave/


Cave Safely, Cave Softly, Cave Often,
Allen












Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Caving with Crew 28


I met Jenna and Jasmine at the 2016 NER Area 6 Phenomenon. They had a great time playing with the squeeze box along with many other Venturers. http://www.youcave.org/2016/05/playing-with-squeezebox-at-phenomenon.html

Jenna was one of the two youth who made the smallest squeeze at 5 ½ inches. Do you want to see what that was like? See it here. https://youtu.be/c0K8bhbKP8Q
Jenna invited me to a Crew 28 meeting to talk about caves and safe caving practices. Everyone was interested in trying a real caving trip, so we set a date in January to go.

As the date grew closer we had a rare opportunity offered to us. Clevesburg Sink is usually a flooded cave, but the water receded and for the first time in almost a decade, was dry enough to explore.

Mike Shank, a caver and Scouter friend who knows Clevesburg Sink, offered to guide us for the trip. Jumping at the chance, we took him up on his offer.

Amos Mincin and Andy Field met me at our normal place and we drove to New Holland to meet up with the Crew. We all went out together to the cave and met up with Mike there. This trip was going to be a rare privilege. Check out the video and pictures on the Facebook page to see what happened.


As of writing this article, Clevesburg Sink was filling back up and should be under twenty feet of water again for another decade. I’m glad we had the opportunity and took it. I know Crew 28 has a great stories to tell and pictures to prove it.

Questions?

If you want more information about taking youth groups caving, or you're just curious about what's involved with getting kids underground, visit the National Speleological Society - Youth Group Liaison Committee at www.caves.org/youth. Or you can email me directly at allenmaddox@youcave.org.

Making a purchase at our store not only gets you a great t-shirt, it also helps get kids underground. Show some YOUCave love and get some swag. https://shop.spreadshirt.com/YOUCave/


Thanks,
Allen

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Venturing Crew 851 Caving Trip


by Jeff and Katie Burt
 
Venturing is a co-ed, youth-run division of Boy Scouts, through which members have the opportunity to participate in a variety of high adventure activities. One such activity is the annual caving trip. Of course, for Crew 851, this does not involve your typical tourist-friendly cave with audio devices and hand rails. Instead, for a number of years, our adventurous bunch has preferred to crawl through damp, pitch-black tunnels and stumble through dusty caverns throughout MD and its surrounding states.

Thus, in the fall of 2016, Crew 851 embarked on yet another caving trip, this time, in the Cleversburg Sink Caves of Pennsylvania. After appropriate planning, involving permission form and tour plan creation, location selection, guide contacting, and gear briefing, our Crew was ready to go. So, on the morning of October 22nd, we drove to what, at first glance, appeared to be a deserted lot, featuring a disheveled garage and assorted debris. There, we met our experienced guides, who had led us on past trips, and together, we hiked a little ways to the hatched cave entrance. It is fortunate that our Crew members enjoy adventure, as our first challenges involved navigation down a few ladders with only the aid of our headlamps.

We then began exploring the often tight, steep, or muddy passageways under the direction of our guides. They led us to some remarkable spectacles such as the sand room and pipe organ, so that we could appreciate the cave’s naturally formed beauty. They also did a ‘lights off time,’ enabling us to experience true darkness.

A few hours in, we began our journey out of the cave, which was no less challenging or fun than the trip in. All the while, we practiced safety through our three points of contact and alternate sources of light. The adventurous youth often took alternate, more difficult routes, while some of the adults and first time cavers could opt for a less challenging options if they so desired. Therefore, it was a thrilling and incredibly fun experience for everyone.  Finally, we emerged from the underground wonder, covered, head-to-toe, in mud, but glad we had embarked on such an adventure nonetheless.


Questions?
If you want more information about taking youth groups caving, or you're just curious about what's involved with getting kids underground, visit the National Speleological Society - Youth Group Liaison Committee at www.caves.org/youth. Or you can email me directly at allenmaddox@youcave.org.

Thanks,
Allen


"Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but well placed footprint, kill nothing but time." - cavers' creed.