Leading Newbies

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Leading Newbies

Postby buddyh » Nov 23, 2015 9:51 pm

I recently saw some pictures of youth and adults going caving for there first time. As is often the case, they were not properly prepared. I could not see any that carried water, food, batteries, First Aid Kit, much less a pack to put it all in. I see this with almost all the Pay to Cave outfits. But when a Grotto, The Experts, does not introduce newbies properly, what example is being presented. What will these newbies take home with them? What rescues will be needed? Grotto members have to set the best example, not just when they lead a group of newbies but all the time. Especially when they go into popular caves and those that just might be used by newbies. I carry extra packs to hand out to newbies. Often small, not much more than a phone bag, but it is something for their possibles. They then have a truer caver experience on which to build on. Some do complain a little, but most just accept it and do not even question it. As a matter of fact, they tend to ask those with out a pack why they are so unprepared. I do occasionally let them explore a short dead end but most times, they here me say, are you sure you want to be separated from you gear?
Is this wrong or is it correct.

What really sets a bad example is when guides leave their packs at the mouth of the cave. Have you seen this? What do you think?
buddyh
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Re: Leading Newbies

Postby amaddox » Nov 24, 2015 9:36 am

Buddy, I do appreciate you setting a good example. I encourage newbies to carry a pack. Sometimes, for the simple caves, I'd rather carry what is needed so they have one less thing to think about. I have also found that if a buddy pair share a pack, they find how beneficial teamwork is underground.
What bothers me more than no pack are the ones who carry stuff in their hands. Mostly water bottles. Next are the ones who carry stuff in their pockets.
I, myself, feel "naked" without my pack.
What kind of extra packs do you have to loan out? How do you feel about those string bags?
BTW, This is a great topic. Thanks for bringing it up.
Allen Maddox
NSS Youth Group Liaison Committee, Chair

http://www.youcave.org/
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Re: Leading Newbies

Postby buddyh » Nov 25, 2015 7:19 pm

I have some old school packs that I have collected. Plus a small pseudo army surplus radio back. Radio back hold a camera, water, small first aid kit, some food, candles with lighter and a bandanna and maybe a little more. As for the string packs, it is their shoulders. but then half the time the packs are being passed, pulled or pushed. I don't allow them to hand carry anything! They seem to want to hold a flash light in their hand. I always have to explain that they have lost the use of a hand when they are holding a light. About the only cave I do not make then keep their pack with them is River Cave. You basically walk in 200 feet and then turn around. Though there is a short area to crawl into at the back.
As for team work, it is just like swimming, boating, etc. We use the buddy system and periodically I call a buddy check which as we all know means the buddys have to pair up and be counted. They also have to be a team to spot each other.
I drag my pack almost everywhere, even when I know I do not need to because it is only a few feet away. I always get the question, Do I need to take my pack? My reply will then always be, I am taking mine. Then I ask them, are we coming back this way? Of course they don't know so they take it with them. Sometimes I ask, how do you know you won't need it. At some point after having them drag their packs through a tight squeeze into a dead end, we take a break to eat a snack and light a candle. This puts a different light on the cave and reinforces why they pack goes every where with them.

We need to do it right so they never do it wrong.
buddyh
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