Youth Groups and Caving
Many cavers began their caving careers as part of a youth group (e.g.
scouting groups, church groups, schools, etc.) and some continue to be
involved with these
groups, providing training and leadership for caving and other activities.
Unfortunately very few youth groups interested in organizing a caving
trip will find they
such resources within their own organization.
Some national organizations may provide specific guidance for their
leaders on conducting caving and other outdoor activites, such as the
Boy Scouts of America (BSA) Publication 19-102A. Many other groups, however,
do not have any such formal guidance.
Local caving clubs often receive requests from youth groups
for assistance, but many are either not set up to handle such requests
or do not have the resources to respond to all the groups that might
contact them. At the same time, many cavers who might otherwise be
willing to help hesitate due to concerns about liability or a previous
experience. Contacting a
local caving club
is not a bad
idea, just don't expect them to provide a leader and itinerary
for the trip
have already scheduled for next weekend!
In response to the general shortage of information and assistance available
to youth group leaders, the NSS has established a
Youth Groups Liaison
to help address some
They are working to establish a network of regional youth caving coordinators
and have produced
several useful publications that are available from the
Youth Group Caving
National Speleological Society
web site. These include:
- Information for Youth Group Leaders and Parents -
Compiled by the NSS Youth Groups Liaison Committee, this publication
addresses the dangers and risks of caving, selection of a qualified
and a variety of before, during and after trip considerations when
planning a trip.
- Caving Equipment: A Discussion forYouth Group Leaders
and Parents - This publication by the Youth Groups
Liaison Committee describes the basic individual and group
equipment required for a safe and comfortable trip. There is
- Legal Issues and General Information for the Experienced
Caver - This publication by the Youth Groups
Liaison Committee is written for experienced cavers who want
to take youth groups
It highlights some
considerations for organizing a trip as well as potential problems when working
with youth groups.
- A Guide to Responsible Caving - This
NSS publication, while not written specifically for youth groups,
provides a valuable perspective for anyone planning a caving trip.
It's focuses on how to preserve the cave environment, strengthen
caver-landowner relations, and make your visit to a cave a safe
- Other resources - such as listings of wild cave tours and sightseeing
trips available to youth groups in different areas of the country, and
video and slide programs that are available from the NSS.
Some other resources that address the subject include: