Intro to BSA Caving

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Intro to BSA Caving

Postby amaddox » Aug 28, 2011 9:17 pm

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.

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.

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??
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Re: Intro to BSA Caving

Postby DeanWiseman » Aug 29, 2011 9:25 am

That's an outstanding resource, Allen. Thank you for sharing! :kewl:


-Dean


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Re: Intro to BSA Caving

Postby caveflower » Sep 15, 2011 4:53 am

Allen that is awesome. Not only a great read for scouts, but can be usefull for any caving group dealing with new cavers. :clap: :clap:
Caving is fun but people are always more important.
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Re: Intro to BSA Caving

Postby NZcaver » Sep 15, 2011 9:55 am

Thanks for sharing the link. Some good generic information there. I hope the author doesn't take offense, but I have a few constructive comments/suggestions.

Right away I noticed a glaring typo right there in the second page bullet points, "take nothing but carefully places footprints." She probably means placed, and I suspect the list is supposed to be 3 bullet points not 4.

Although I have no direct personal connection with the BSA, I've assisted/facilitated with Scout trips and given talks to Scouts in several states over the years. I know of the no-serious-caving-under-14 rule, but the wording used here intrigued me.

All caving, other than simple novice activities, should be limited to adults and young people 14 and older—members of Venturing crews, Learning for Life Explorer posts and older Scouts in troops, and teams. "Simple novice activities“ means commercially operated cave excursions.

Perhaps this is a rule specific to Utah, but I'm aware of numerous cases elsewhere where BSA leaders have deemed "simple novice activities" (with people under 14) to include non-commercial, novice-appropriate wild caves with adequate supervision. Also non-cavers may not be aware that some "commercially operated cave excursions" include strenuous wild cave tours which may not be appropriate for younger novices. But hopefully common sense will prevail there.

On the "what to take into a cave" page it states "To learn what is appropriate, ask your trip leader what is needed for your particular trip." But isn't the guide written for trip leaders? Or is there some distinction between a cave-specific trip leader and the type of leader the guide is written for?

Overall, I think this is a good effort. I like that it includes information like cleaning your gear (and why) which is often omitted in basic intro to caving guides. (Incidentally, I spotted a small typo on that page too - "west ward" should be westward.) Maybe I'm just nitpicking but I know when I make the effort to create a document like this, a little peer-review feedback can be a good thing.
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Re: Intro to BSA Caving

Postby amaddox » Sep 15, 2011 11:22 am

NZcaver wrote:Thanks for sharing the link. Some good generic information there. I hope the author doesn't take offense, but I have a few constructive comments/suggestions.

Right away I noticed a glaring typo right there in the second page bullet points, "take nothing but carefully places footprints." She probably means placed, and I suspect the list is supposed to be 3 bullet points not 4.

Although I have no direct personal connection with the BSA, I've assisted/facilitated with Scout trips and given talks to Scouts in several states over the years. I know of the no-serious-caving-under-14 rule, but the wording used here intrigued me.

All caving, other than simple novice activities, should be limited to adults and young people 14 and older—members of Venturing crews, Learning for Life Explorer posts and older Scouts in troops, and teams. "Simple novice activities“ means commercially operated cave excursions.

Perhaps this is a rule specific to Utah, but I'm aware of numerous cases elsewhere where BSA leaders have deemed "simple novice activities" (with people under 14) to include non-commercial, novice-appropriate wild caves with adequate supervision. Also non-cavers may not be aware that some "commercially operated cave excursions" include strenuous wild cave tours which may not be appropriate for younger novices. But hopefully common sense will prevail there.

On the "what to take into a cave" page it states "To learn what is appropriate, ask your trip leader what is needed for your particular trip." But isn't the guide written for trip leaders? Or is there some distinction between a cave-specific trip leader and the type of leader the guide is written for?

Overall, I think this is a good effort. I like that it includes information like cleaning your gear (and why) which is often omitted in basic intro to caving guides. (Incidentally, I spotted a small typo on that page too - "west ward" should be westward.) Maybe I'm just nitpicking but I know when I make the effort to create a document like this, a little peer-review feedback can be a good thing.

Thanks for the input. I think Debbie is monitoring this and will be making corrections.
In the past there were disagreements on the definition of a "simple novice cave". The definition was added this year to the BSA National policies. Most commercial caves and outfitters have their own insurance and that is their qualifications which supersede BSA insurance.
In the BSA Caving Policies it does say that a caving trip must be lead by an experienced caver. I take it that this is the person they are referring to as the "trip leader". Perhaps the slide should be clearer about that.
This does have to be taken into context of the BSA/NSS Caving Policies that was posted earlier this year.
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Re: Intro to BSA Caving

Postby NZcaver » Sep 15, 2011 7:43 pm

Oh yeah... insurance. :doh: That ugly word didn't exist when I was a young Scout. I can't imagine missing out on so much of life because of "liability concerns." C'est la vie, I suppose. :shrug:

Guess they're not allowed to lock the naughty kids in the dark, scary cave any more either. :tonguecheek:
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Re: Intro to BSA Caving

Postby amaddox » Sep 15, 2011 10:20 pm

NZcaver wrote:
Guess they're not allowed to lock the naughty kids in the dark, scary cave any more either. :tonguecheek:

I don't think it says that...... :rofl:
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