Why Caves???

Share ideas and experiences, seek advice for leading youth groups underground. Also visit Youth Group Caving.

Moderators: amaddox, Moderators

Why Caves???

Postby amaddox » Dec 28, 2015 6:56 pm

I have another question that I would like the wisdom of this forum to ponder and offer the answer to. The question can be asked two different ways, and I'll ask both ways.
1 - Why is it important for kids and youth to learn about caves?
2 - What should kids and youth learn about caves?

They are just slightly different but could be answered the same way. Or different if you choose.

Allen
Allen Maddox
NSS Youth Group Liaison Committee, Chair

http://www.youcave.org/
User avatar
amaddox
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 221
Joined: Sep 9, 2005 10:42 am
Location: Pennsylvania
NSS #: 55464
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Philadelphia Grotto
  

Re: Why Caves???

Postby Caving Guru » Dec 28, 2015 10:42 pm

It sounds like you are asking something that you already have the answer to. I am sure that you are looking for the answer that we should teach kids to respect caves.
Caving Guru
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 350
Joined: Jun 21, 2012 2:57 pm
  

Re: Why Caves???

Postby GroundquestMSA » Dec 28, 2015 11:19 pm

amaddox wrote:Why is it important for kids and youth to learn about caves?

With respect for your right to ask your own questions, there are (as Mr. Guru may be hinting) a rather limited range of answers to this one. It might be better to first ask: Is it important for kids to learn about caves? The answer to this question is partly a geographical one, but the most basic answer would be: not necessarily. There is nothing intrinsically indispensable about cave education, and the need to educate kids about caves depends on their exposure or potential exposure to them. Obviously, if we are actively exposing kids (or anyone) to caves, it then becomes our responsibility to educate. To do otherwise could be to ignite an interest that cannot be responsibly pursued. If then we have created the need to teach...
amaddox wrote:What should kids and youth learn about caves?

Not to "respect caves". This is hypocritical and fallacious since caves are landforms and do not care what happens to them. Moreover, our unblinking destruction of other, more important natural features proves that the only reason we don't ruin caves is that they aren't in our way. Instead, teach kids to respect themselves and their own abilities and desires to explore, and teach them to respect their fellow man. If these lessons are well learned, they will be manifest by most of the same behaviors that the "respect the cave" crowd would preach, but they will be motivated out of real, valuable, heartfelt and intelligent convictions, not empty brainwashing.
User avatar
GroundquestMSA
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 1342
Joined: May 5, 2011 1:32 pm
  

Re: Why Caves???

Postby ohiocaver » Dec 29, 2015 9:15 am

In America, we typically respect only things we fear will harm us. Kids gleefully squish little bugs but fear tarantulas. We don’t worry about rabbits much but fear grizzlies. We fear humans we feel can do us harm (physically big people, financially powerful people, people with weapons). But we may not respect those people.
In the several talks I’ve given to school kids about caves, the way I’ve gotten them to think about respecting caves is to point out the harm caves can do to them if they do harm to caves and karst systems – harm by physical injury (falls in pits), by getting lost (and starving), by bringing them polluted water (if they toss trash into sinkholes), by causing them discomfort (since each mother bat eats twice its weight in those mosquitoes that bite them), etc.
Our society does not have a good ethic of respect. Ask any teacher. Or cop. And we do not respect caves…which, sadly, do get into our way: point of reference, the pipeline proposed through Sharps, My and other nearby West Virginia caves. The plan was to ignore the karst. Fortunately, caves have spokespeople. Us. And, with some luck, that “us” can be expanded by educating kids to respect, rather than fear, caves.
Learning about physical protection (how many karate studios and burglar alarm operations are in your town?), about financial affairs (a woefully lacking topic in our schools), about gun safety and gun control, are ways to learn to deal with potentially harmful situations. Ditto learning about caving…it will keep kids safe and, just perhaps, give caves some new advocates in coming years. :bat sticker:
[url=http://postimg.org/image/lex35gcbv/][img]http://s9.postimg.org/lex35gcbv/curt_Bryants_Cave_Indiana.jpg[/img][/url]
[url=http://postimg.org/image/eta4ctvar/][img]http://s21.postimg.org/eta4ctvar/cn_oh_isl_coils_cave_curt_sketch.jpg[/img][/url]
User avatar
ohiocaver
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 309
Joined: Mar 5, 2009 6:34 pm
Location: Ohio
Name: curt harler
NSS #: 22735RCL
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Cleveland Grotto
  

Re: Why Caves???

Postby GroundquestMSA » Dec 29, 2015 9:16 pm

Hiya Curt,
I think I understand the spirit of what you’re trying to say, but I either misunderstand or can’t agree with your logic. You say that we only respect things that we fear, that we should respect caves, and that you personally teach kids to respect caves through fear? That’s not good. Once those kids learn that caves aren’t very dangerous or scary, and that there are no scary repercussions for destroying them, then all of your training is down the tubes. Fear, especially groundless fear, does little to motivate right behavior. Your own example of kids squishing bugs is evidence of this... but when I was little I neither smashed ants nor feared tarantulas... No, I’m suggesting pretty much the opposite of fear-based training; if a kid has respect for himself and a healthy appreciation of his own abilities and opportunities, as well as respect for other humans, he will not need or want to destroy.

What I’m talking about is love. I believe that the world was born in love, and that our success here depends on it.

I’m glad you brought up the WV pipeline. That’s a good illustration of our pseudo-hypocrisy as cavers. While we fight and fight to protect what, in the case of Sharps, is little more than a beaten down playground, we resign ourselves to the ruin and disfigurement of mountains, forests, rivers, and topsoil, all of which should be viewed as more valuable than caves. I’m not suggesting that we care too much about caves, only that we appear to care too little about everything else. Again, skipping elementary devices and getting to work on an honorable foundation seems to me the best thing for ourselves and for whoever we decide to teach.

Fear might work, for a while, to protect the physical safety of cavers. But the most important safeguard is knowledge. Teaching kids what can go (and has gone) wrong and how to protect themselves is pretty easily accomplished. Has anyone ever suggested that Scouts prepare to go caving by reading some selections from ACA? Seems like someone could use past issues to put together a pretty nice little booklet that covers the most common hazards, accidents and analysis just for that purpose. Will it scare ‘em? Yep, for a while. But with experience that fear will turn into the comfort of understanding what is and isn’t dangerous. Then they’ll be “safe” :)
User avatar
GroundquestMSA
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 1342
Joined: May 5, 2011 1:32 pm
  

Re: Why Caves???

Postby ohiocaver » Dec 30, 2015 4:20 pm

I was more pointing out the irony of the situation you mention. And ironic it is.
Along the same lines, I wonder why Americans get so riled up over saving the rain forest that is 5000 miles away and do little to protect the forests right in their back yards...forests which turn to housing developments, strip malls, and highways at an alarming rate. Why don't we work on saving trees right in our own township? I suppose it's easier to tell someone else what to in their homeplace rather than to do it ourselves at home. And the US of A has a long track record of interfering beyond our borders politically, militarily, environmentally, fiscally, and a bunch of other ways. That scares me...yes, more than losing Sharps to a pipeline. However, two wrongs do not make a right.
[url=http://postimg.org/image/lex35gcbv/][img]http://s9.postimg.org/lex35gcbv/curt_Bryants_Cave_Indiana.jpg[/img][/url]
[url=http://postimg.org/image/eta4ctvar/][img]http://s21.postimg.org/eta4ctvar/cn_oh_isl_coils_cave_curt_sketch.jpg[/img][/url]
User avatar
ohiocaver
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 309
Joined: Mar 5, 2009 6:34 pm
Location: Ohio
Name: curt harler
NSS #: 22735RCL
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Cleveland Grotto
  

Re: Why Caves???

Postby amaddox » Jan 18, 2016 11:20 pm

I've been pondering these answers. They all are good. I'm trying to find the relevance of caves for today's youth.
User avatar
amaddox
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 221
Joined: Sep 9, 2005 10:42 am
Location: Pennsylvania
NSS #: 55464
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Philadelphia Grotto
  

Re: Why Caves???

Postby ohiocaver » Jan 19, 2016 9:51 am

Perhaps kids should not ponder what they can do in caves; but, rather, what being in caves does for them.
[url=http://postimg.org/image/lex35gcbv/][img]http://s9.postimg.org/lex35gcbv/curt_Bryants_Cave_Indiana.jpg[/img][/url]
[url=http://postimg.org/image/eta4ctvar/][img]http://s21.postimg.org/eta4ctvar/cn_oh_isl_coils_cave_curt_sketch.jpg[/img][/url]
User avatar
ohiocaver
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 309
Joined: Mar 5, 2009 6:34 pm
Location: Ohio
Name: curt harler
NSS #: 22735RCL
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Cleveland Grotto
  

Re: Why Caves???

Postby amaddox » Jan 19, 2016 10:52 am

ohiocaver wrote:Perhaps kids should not ponder what they can do in caves; but, rather, what being in caves does for them.

And what does being in a cave do for them?
Allen Maddox
NSS Youth Group Liaison Committee, Chair

http://www.youcave.org/
User avatar
amaddox
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 221
Joined: Sep 9, 2005 10:42 am
Location: Pennsylvania
NSS #: 55464
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Philadelphia Grotto
  

Re: Why Caves???

Postby ohiocaver » Jan 21, 2016 12:59 pm

Well, if they're from Philly, it gets them out of the snow and away from the misery of being Sixers fans :-}
I think that is a good topic to ask each young or old caver who comes along with you. Have them write 100 or 500 words for the Grotto newsletter on the subject. Here in Cleveland, that's the "fee" we extract from every newbie (whether 15 or 50) we take underground...they owe the editor an article for the Cleve-O-Grotto NEWS about their experience -- how they felt, what surprised them, why mud feels icky, the campout on the trip, anything. But make it a requirement and have them start jotting notes on the way home on their tablet or smartphone so they don't "forget". You retro types can use a pad and pencil!
[url=http://postimg.org/image/lex35gcbv/][img]http://s9.postimg.org/lex35gcbv/curt_Bryants_Cave_Indiana.jpg[/img][/url]
[url=http://postimg.org/image/eta4ctvar/][img]http://s21.postimg.org/eta4ctvar/cn_oh_isl_coils_cave_curt_sketch.jpg[/img][/url]
User avatar
ohiocaver
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 309
Joined: Mar 5, 2009 6:34 pm
Location: Ohio
Name: curt harler
NSS #: 22735RCL
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Cleveland Grotto
  

Re: Why Caves???

Postby amaddox » Jan 21, 2016 4:09 pm

ohiocaver wrote:Well, if they're from Philly, it gets them out of the snow and away from the misery of being Sixers fans :-}
I think that is a good topic to ask each young or old caver who comes along with you. Have them write 100 or 500 words for the Grotto newsletter on the subject. Here in Cleveland, that's the "fee" we extract from every newbie (whether 15 or 50) we take underground...they owe the editor an article for the Cleve-O-Grotto NEWS about their experience -- how they felt, what surprised them, why mud feels icky, the campout on the trip, anything. But make it a requirement and have them start jotting notes on the way home on their tablet or smartphone so they don't "forget". You retro types can use a pad and pencil!

This is a good idea. Some kids it's like pulling teeth to get them to write. With a smart phone they can record it.
I have asked a few of the kids who cave with me. I get vage answers like, "because it's fun".
Allen Maddox
NSS Youth Group Liaison Committee, Chair

http://www.youcave.org/
User avatar
amaddox
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 221
Joined: Sep 9, 2005 10:42 am
Location: Pennsylvania
NSS #: 55464
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Philadelphia Grotto
  

Re: Why Caves???

Postby ohiocaver » Jan 24, 2016 1:50 pm

Many people are antsy when writing about themselves (Jonah excluded!). So have them write about something funny they saw another person do on the trip, or who seemed most interested in bats, what I'll be sure to bring along next time (kneepads!), or what they learned from watching Mr. Maddox fix his headlamp. I've also gotten a couple of great drawings contributed by newcomers on trips. They don't like to write (hey, writing's hard work) but they will draw something that can be used on the newsletter cover. Anything to make them think, recall, and muse over their experience.
[url=http://postimg.org/image/lex35gcbv/][img]http://s9.postimg.org/lex35gcbv/curt_Bryants_Cave_Indiana.jpg[/img][/url]
[url=http://postimg.org/image/eta4ctvar/][img]http://s21.postimg.org/eta4ctvar/cn_oh_isl_coils_cave_curt_sketch.jpg[/img][/url]
User avatar
ohiocaver
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 309
Joined: Mar 5, 2009 6:34 pm
Location: Ohio
Name: curt harler
NSS #: 22735RCL
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Cleveland Grotto
  

Re: Why Caves???

Postby amaddox » Jan 24, 2016 4:01 pm

ohiocaver wrote:Many people are antsy when writing about themselves (Jonah excluded!). So have them write about something funny they saw another person do on the trip, or who seemed most interested in bats, what I'll be sure to bring along next time (kneepads!), or what they learned from watching Mr. Maddox fix his headlamp. I've also gotten a couple of great drawings contributed by newcomers on trips. They don't like to write (hey, writing's hard work) but they will draw something that can be used on the newsletter cover. Anything to make them think, recall, and muse over their experience.

I like this. Gives me some ideas to try..... Thanks.
Allen Maddox
NSS Youth Group Liaison Committee, Chair

http://www.youcave.org/
User avatar
amaddox
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 221
Joined: Sep 9, 2005 10:42 am
Location: Pennsylvania
NSS #: 55464
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Philadelphia Grotto
  


Return to Youth Groups Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users