Pre-Trip Cave Talk

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Pre-Trip Cave Talk

Postby amaddox » Mar 6, 2013 1:40 pm

All you folks who take youth groups on caving trips, do you give some kind of a "cave talk" before you take them? If you do, do you have a planned presentation or do you wing it????

Thanks,
Allen Maddox
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http://www.youcave.org/
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Re: Pre-Trip Cave Talk

Postby caveflower » Mar 6, 2013 6:04 pm

It all depends on the age and if they have been caving before. So I wing it most of the time. We talk about cave safety, conservation, team work, and caring and helping your fellow cavers. I like to do talks before their trips at one of their scout meetings. I do have a planned presentation with slides and movies. We talk about cave gear and safety then too. I bring in caving gear so they can look at it and see what cavers use. I always have a good time doing them.
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Re: Pre-Trip Cave Talk

Postby Grandpa Caver » Mar 6, 2013 7:16 pm

"The Talk" is mandatory on my group trips. I've given it so many times it always sounds prepared at the start but I do wing it depending on the group. We have two BSA Troops, one college group and one [all adult] geology group that return annually. With three different age groups a prepared cookie cutter spiel just won't hold everyone's interest every time. Whatever the group, I like to begin the talk stern and all business to get their full attention with the basic rules and precautions then transition to a comfortable Q&E session. I've found that ending the talk with a brief casual discussion can reveal individual strengths and weaknesses that may have a bearing on how the trip is conducted.
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Re: Pre-Trip Cave Talk

Postby LukeM » Mar 7, 2013 4:00 pm

With first timers I'm always sure to improvise some sort of talk. Topics typically include how to treat the cave, WNS/bats, how to operate lights, and what to do if you need to relieve yourself, if you're cold/tired, or if you're afraid to continue. Also, the need to yell ROCK if you dislodge something above others. Usually the ride to the cave involves enough crazy caving stories to give them an idea of what the cave environment is like.
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Re: Pre-Trip Cave Talk

Postby Mudduck » Mar 14, 2013 8:30 pm

Yeah I usually wait to start one until their all talking loudly then turn off all the lights and do the talk with a really crappy headlamp with bad batteries. I always have a hefty bag and an empty gatorade bottle to start on the table in front of me. Doesnt take long to ask what they're for, the parents are usually already cracking up about it by then.
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Re: Pre-Trip Cave Talk

Postby mgmills » Mar 16, 2013 10:29 am

Mudduck wrote:Yeah I usually wait to start one until their all talking loudly then turn off all the lights and do the talk with a really crappy headlamp with bad batteries. I always have a hefty bag and an empty gatorade bottle to start on the table in front of me. Doesnt take long to ask what they're for, the parents are usually already cracking up about it by then.


I like the crappy light idea. Great teaching tool.


I haven't taken a youth group in years but used to do it a lot. I focused on proper equipment and safety precautions. Since I am a female often the boys didn't have a lot of respect for my authority. I always gave a stern talk as Grandpa Caver stated followed by Q&A. I stressed to them that I was in charge and that once in the cave they should stop immediately and listen to me if I called "Halt". I said I would do this as a warning of a potential hazard. I rarely had problems with them.
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Re: Pre-Trip Cave Talk

Postby Grandpa Caver » Mar 16, 2013 3:48 pm

This discussion has reminded me of a memorable incident. We were in an easy walking cave with a large scout group. About halfway in we stopped for a break. The group was milling around and eating snacks. One of the scouts had brought me a fossil he'd found and as I was explaining it to him, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a boy sneak up behind a girl and poke her in the ribs as he yelled HEY! This caused her to fall forward on her knees. I immediately turned and realized it was two of the scout leaders. A husband and his wife. She was OK but still, I gave the husband a very strong reminder from "the talk" on the dangers of horseplay in a cave. When I looked around the room every kid was staring in wide eyed amazement as the realization that this was serious sunk in. I'd like to think each kid grew up just a little that day.
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Re: Pre-Trip Cave Talk

Postby buddyh » Nov 17, 2013 10:14 pm

I always have something before the trip. Since most of the of the trips I lead are with scouts I try to attend a meeting. There is a gear list that they down load from the site and we cover every item on it. I usually tell then they are going to learn to dress from head to toe and start there and work the way up the helmet and light. I take my pack and clothes as props. I pull everything out of the pack and discuss each items and multiple uses for each. As we hike to the cave I ask what out first through fourth goals are, Safety, Safety, Fun and to Learn something. Before we enter the cave they buddy up, talk about spotting each other, and a couple of demos. Once through a few tight holes I ask how they would get an injured person back out. This really drives home the safety aspect.
For those groups that are too far for a one on many, I send them a 45 minute video named Be Prepared for Caving. Covers the clothing and gear list.

As a rule my groups are fairly well prepared compared to other groups they encounter. They are quick to point out deficiencies when asked. A always warn them they are likely to meet people not a prepared or down right breaking the rules of safe caving. This past weekend they pointed out that the other groups did not have packs with first aid kits, food, water, pee bottle, etc including there guides. My groups asked all kinds of why don't you have this or that, even the guides had left their packs at the cave entrance. Then there was the solo caver that after a short polite chastising, decided not to rappel into a drop. What was really nice was two Scouts volunteered to show him they way out when he returned asking. You know you are doing it right when your group takes control and does the correct thing.

I was really disappointed in the guides of the adventure company. They charged a lot of money and did wrong. It does not matter how easy the cave, when ever introducing newbies, lead by example and teach them the correct way, no short cuts allowed. I am removing them from my possible sources for guides that I hand out at Powder Horn and other Scouter, Venture Crew training events.
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Re: Pre-Trip Cave Talk

Postby SpartanCaver » Jan 3, 2014 3:27 pm

Ever see this book before?
Image
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Re: Pre-Trip Cave Talk

Postby SpartanCaver » Jan 4, 2014 8:17 am

I never took a youth group, school or Scout, caving without a pre-trip talk.
Topics were:
Cave environment - Wet / Dry
Wildlife - Snakes - Bears - Bats - Crawfish - salamanders etc... :bananabat:
Formations - Don't touch or I'll kill you. :down:
Rescue will be hours, not minutes away.
Physical aspects - How to move about - walk - crawl - belly crawling - To illustrate: I point to a typical folding chair and tell them we will encounter crawls no bigger than that chair. That usually weeds out the claustrophobic.
Clothing - wear the stuff you wouldn't give to charity. Bring an extra shirt in vacuum packed Zip Lock.
Shoes - canvas and plastic not allowed
Lights helmet plus two.
Snacks
First Aid supplies in zip lock or closed container
Canteen with WATER! You can't wash mud from an eye with Kool-Aide.
Camera in a zip lock

If you want a further breakdown of my topics, please e-mail me.
SpartanCaver 23453 :bat sticker: Author: Venture Caving and Licking the Ceiling
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Re: Pre-Trip Cave Talk

Postby danwern » Jan 5, 2014 3:28 pm

I've gone caving with kids (mine and a few others with dads) a couple times in the past month. Spartancaver covered most of my pre-cave chat. I also explain hypothermia, why cotton is horrible, don't touch/wake a sleeping bat. I also had assigned everybody a number (grown-ups paired with kids), and we were to cave in that order unless we all agreed to shift the order, someone wanted to explore a side passage (with the knowledge of everyone else), etc. I found most kids like to be first. Having a set order avoided the race to nudge kid caving comrades out of the way, which can be hazerdous on breakdown climbs, etc. I would periodically should out "ONE" and the cavers following me would shout their numbers in order... a good way to keep track of folk. This may have been over the top, but the kids were horseplaying outside the cave (throwing rocks at each other) before we went in. I spoke to the instigators individually and told them people die in caves if they aren't focused. They were perfect in the cave!

Finally, I urged the kids to ask questions and to have fun (the death via cave warning notwithstanding); my goal in the end was for them to enjoy responsible caving and to want to do more of it... in all, a huge success on that front.
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Re: Pre-Trip Cave Talk

Postby ohiocaver » Jan 17, 2014 4:39 pm

We always do a pre-trip chat ranging from equipment to caving gently, as above. It's done in the meeting before every newbie trip, when the new caver picks up his/her gear (Cleveland grotto has a well-managed equipment cache run by an experienced caver), again in the car on the way to the cave, at the cave entrance (when we do a gear check) and then is reinforced as we cave. And it's not always (or even usually) the same person who gives "the talk." That way the newbies are hearing the same things from many experienced cavers -- activity chairperson, cache chair, cavers on the trip -- before and during the trip. The biggest shortfall we find is people absent-mindedly and unnecessarily touching formations...not breaking them off, just touching. Second biggie is failure to drink and eat while caving which hurts the caver more than the cave.
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