Dan O'Canna (ocanna@ALPHA.CAER.UKY.EDU)
Mon, 5 Aug 1996 15:48:37 -0500
>I hate to burst the boy's bubble, but caving is not a troop activity.
And quotes the Guide to Safe Scouting's:
"Cave exploration, other than simple novice activities, should be
limited to high school-age or older scouts and explorers"
I disagree that excludes caving as a troop activity. It certainly limits
the caves that could be used, however. In our part of the country (Central
Kentucky) we are blessed with some of the most varried karst (cave bearing)
stratta in the USA and IMHO the world. Within an hour's drive we have
thousands of holes to visit.
Here are some thoughts on how our toop goes caving:
Our troop has at least one trip annualy and we are lucky to have one of the
more experienced members of the local Grotto of the National Speileologicla
Society who volunteers as a guide. The caves visited are "wild" caves, and
would be considered to be novice level or as they are referred to locall
"church group" caves. The are well above drainage, have little change in
elevation, require no rope work or technical climbing and have sound roof.
ANY cave that does not meet those specifications would NOT be suitable
for novice caving. Nor would these caves be suitable for novice activities
without a guide who is quite familiar with the cave. The only problem with
these caves is that they are usually highly decorated, by man not nature.
On occasion they offer a vocabulary lesson or two.
Since the cave ecosystem is the most fragile one in our area it gives
a chance to stress the low impact concept and view what impact the
insensitive actions of others can have.
We have caves that would challenge any caver in the world's abilities in
the area, but even our most jaded Scouts find the caves we visit exciting.
None of our guys have shown a strong interest in more advanced caving, which
surprises me. If any of them do we are lucky to have the knowledge and
skill available to encourage them. I agree strongly with Drew that this
could be an excellent incentive to start a venture crew.
Before each cave trip our guide gives presentation on caving, caving gear
and what the upcoming trip will be like. We require specific permission
forms, which outline the planned activites and locations, to be signed by
parents. Safety is heavily stressed.
Caving can be an excellent troop activity if done carefully, safely and
within BSA guidlines. And if you remember the first two rules of caving:
1. Never go first on a belly crawl Let someone else go first to soak up
some of the water.
2. Never let the fat guy go last. If he gets stuck someone must pull
him out by the legs, since you can't push him back out. I never
get to go last. 8-(
Yours in the spirit of Scouting,
Dan O'Canna [firstname.lastname@example.org] Lexington, KY
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City