Author Topic: Child friendly caving clubs  (Read 2421 times)

Offline Katie

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Child friendly caving clubs
« on: September 06, 2021, 11:27:18 am »
Hi all,
I have been contacted in my role with BCA by a lady who has an 8 year old daughter who is mad about all things underground.
She is looking caving club in the Peak area they can both join to get caving!
They live on the East side of the Peak.
Any caving clubs that currently have a number of children involved or are very child friendly?
Let me have your recommendations please and I will pass them on!

(I have already pointed her at new to caving.com and mentioned commercial caving as a good route to have a go and work out if it is an adventure they want to pursue further)

Offline Jenny P

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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2021, 07:18:31 pm »
It is possible for under 16's to join a caving club but ONLY if their parent or guardian accompanies them on every caving trip.  This means that any club which is willing to take children under 16 caving has to ensure that the parent or guardian of the child is sufficiently competent to accompany a caving trip led by more experienced cavers.  This does create problems for a child whose parents are not interested in caving themselves.  BCA has a Child Protection Officer who can advise further on this.

Note that it is different for Local Authority or commercial outdoor adventure centres which have qualified staff and child protection precautions in place - they can take children caving.  The Peak Instructed Caving Afilliation (PICA) may be able to offer help or advice.

If Katie PM's me I can provide information about a club which may be able to help, given the limitations above.


Offline Katie

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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2021, 09:09:41 pm »
Thanks Jenny, I will pm you!
I have already advised her that if she goes down the caving club route she will need to be happy to cave with her daughter.

Offline JoshW

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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2021, 10:48:44 pm »
HiKatie and Jenny,

I’m currently out and so cannot respond fully, however the information Jenny has posted is just not correct. I will respond in full tomorrow with more accurate information in line with the BCAs safeguarding guidelines.

Thanks
Josh
BCA Youth&Development officer
All views are my own and not that of the BCA or any clubs for which I'm a member of.

Offline Jenny P

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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2021, 12:30:08 am »
If Josh has updated information I would like to see it because that's what my club has been working to and we were under the impression that it complied with the BCXA Safeguarding Guidelines.  I know it's a problem and we are doing our best to ensure that youngsters can go caving safely.

BCA does have a Child Protection Officer so I will also contact him for his take on thsi issue.  Presumably the Safeguarding Guidelines will be on the BCA website?

Offline Jenny P

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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2021, 01:35:28 am »
I have checked the BCA Safeguarding Guidelines and the BCA Good Practice Guidelines, both on the BCA website, and my comments were based on what I would expect to be the most usual club situation.  In other words this is what I would expect from most clubs which do not specifically encourage children to go caving but are happy to take them caving if their parents are also involved.  So my response was aimed at the case Katie raised: "... looking [for a] caving club in the Peak area they can both join to get caving ...".  So I agree it isn't strictly true to say that clubs could take children caving "ONLY" if they were accompanied by a parent or giuardian.

Children may also be involved in caving if they are part of a youth-based organisation, such as Scouts, where they are not expected to be accompanied by parents.  In addition there are a number of Local Authority and independent Activity Centres which take children caving.  However, in cases like this there is reliance on the organisers to take special precautions and to vet their personnel in a way which you would not expect an ordinary caving club to do. 

There are some caving clubs which specialise in taking young people caving unaccompanied by a parent or guardian but these clubs are not common and I don't know of one in the Peak area.  If Josh does know of a club like this in the Peak it would be useful to know about it.

Offline JoshW

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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2021, 11:55:31 am »
Hi Jenny,

The BCA guidelines state that there is no limit to an age that somebody can join a caving club and join trips.

One possibility as you've stated (and are possibly correct is the most common way), is that parents have to join and go along on trips. However your initial post stated

Quote
It is possible for under 16's to join a caving club but ONLY if their parent or guardian accompanies them on every caving trip

and this just isn't true.

Clubs are able to allow young people (under 18s - not sure where the under 16s thing has come from) to join the club and come on club trips, with the following guidance:
1) clubs have a youth officer
2) anyone who will be left in charge of the young person will have undergone a DBS check. BCA can arrange for this to be done free of charge.
3) clubs should vet the club trip leaders to ensure that they are happy that the person leading the trips: is suitably experienced and able to be able to lead trips, will represent the club appropriately and has the right personality to act as an introducer to caving for young people.
4) the rest of the BCA good practice & safeguarding guidelines are followed

It's a piece of work I need to do, but as a volunteer I've been struggling to get round to, but I'd like to do a survey of clubs to work out which clubs are set up in the most open way for young people, and then target clubs which are closed to young people to encourage them (for not only caving's interests but for the good of the club) to open up.

I don't know if there are any clubs in the peak who are set up in the above manner, hence why I didn't respond in the first place. The only reason I've stepped in here is to ensure that there isn't false information floating about that directly conflicts information from the BCA safeguarding officer.

If any clubs see this who'd like to discuss further their options for opening up to young people my email is always open youth@british-caving.org.uk, and if I can't answer your question, I'll reach out to our safeguarding officer to get the response that you need.

Alternatively I'm contactable on here and Facebook for any quick queries.
All views are my own and not that of the BCA or any clubs for which I'm a member of.

Online Badlad

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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2021, 05:56:46 pm »
I wish the kids and family mentioned in the OP every success in finding a club which suits their needs.

When you consider the bigger picture of British Caving it doesn't take long to realise there is a big disconnect between the under and over eighteens.  Some very basic research i did a few years ago suggested that in the north alone some 50-70,000 individuals went on a caving trip each year.  The vast majority of these were under eighteen years olds on school trips, outdoor activity centre trips or cadets.  If any of these, heaven forbid, should want to take caving further the options are quite limited and in most cases the individual will get distracted by other exciting activities etc.

I was minded of youngsters that I know who have bottomed Juniper Gulf at fourteen and the Berger at sixteen - but these have had caving parents to encourage them.  What of those who may have had the same interest if the right encouragement had been there.  To me something was needed on a national basis which filled the gap between an under eighteen interest and where most adults can cave  -either when they go to uni or with a club.  Let's face it the majority of club are only set up to take adults. 

This is where the idea of an adventure academy came from.  it was a concept I posed to Yorkshire Dales Guides and BCA and a name which Steph came up with which was spot on.  In essence a club run by professionals with all the right safeguarding checks to encourage minors up to an age they become adult.  Supported by clubs - who should have a vested interest in recruitment - and part funded by national/regional organisations.  The trials with Yorkshire Dales Guides has been hindered by covid of course.  With support from Josh and BCA funding this is a model which could and should be repeated across the regions.  I really hope it does as it would be perfect for the family in the OP.

Offline Cap'n Chris

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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2021, 06:17:18 pm »
In addition to Badlad's comments I'd like to add that my considered views mulled from a couple of decades (or more) of caving here and abroad lead me to the belief that British caving is a long established and entrenched pub culture - and that's putting it mildly! - (and possibly even borderline sex-cult-like which attractive younger women currently enter at their own risk [and males too, historically, so I believe was the case] but CHECC event photos do kinda support such a view and the events even seem to celebrate such shenanighans, and words are being chosen cautiously), and one which was/is emphatically NOT suitable for under 18s; whereas European caving is the polar opposite. See:



Put another way... British Club Caving is an anachronistic basket case of C20th drunken, debauched, misogynistic smutty behaviour which is celebrated for "being traditional" yet I'd NEVER recommend any involvement in it to anyone under 18 or to anyone over 18, either. Through work I oversee thousands of people getting into caving each year and don't mention BCA/club caving to them for this reason. The best way for them to get further progression in caving techniques is undoubtedly to engage professional services of an instructor on a bespoke basis.

Delete if you think this has no bearing on current reality but keep it if you think it's not far off a version of some kind of truth.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2021, 08:15:48 pm by MarkS, Reason: approval of post is due to it not contravening guidelines and nothing to do with the last sentence. »

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2021, 08:45:43 pm »
If you are introducing people to caving as a job and you fail even to mention club caving, are you really doing your job properly? Club caving is a major part of caving and will remain so. If you pretend it doesn't exist you're failing your clients.

I don't know what clubs you're a member of but none of the ones I'm associated with is anything like the picture you paint above.

I think you should reconsider.

Offline Ian Adams

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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2021, 10:00:31 pm »
... British Club Caving is an anachronistic basket case of C20th drunken, debauched, misogynistic smutty behaviour which is celebrated for "being traditional" yet I'd NEVER recommend any involvement in it to anyone under 18 or to anyone over 18, either.


Exceptional.




The best way for them to get further progression in caving techniques is undoubtedly to engage professional services of an instructor on a bespoke basis. 


Exceptional.
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Offline PeteHall

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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2021, 10:32:54 pm »
... British Club Caving is an anachronistic basket case of C20th drunken, debauched, misogynistic smutty behaviour which is celebrated for "being traditional" 
I can think of one caving club, where this description might be fitting (not that I've been in there for nearly 10 years, so it may well have changed), but I'd say you are way behind the times Chris. Such behaviour is certainly not prevalent in any of the five clubs that I'm a member of, or have visited in the last decade.

Quote
CHECC event photos do kinda support such a view

CHECC - Council of Higher Education Caving Clubs.

I don't think university students, drinking too much and "partying hard" is unique to caving, nor is it in any way representative of the wider caving community.

Offline Jenny P

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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2021, 11:02:05 pm »
If you are introducing people to caving as a job and you fail even to mention club caving, are you really doing your job properly? Club caving is a major part of caving and will remain so. If you pretend it doesn't exist you're failing your clients.

I don't know what clubs you're a member of but none of the ones I'm associated with is anything like the picture you paint above.

I think you should reconsider.

I think many caving clubs used to be like this and really were unfriendly places if you weren't into heavy drinking or stupidly "laddish" behaviour.  Thankfully I find from my own observations that most clubs have long since grown out of this and many of them do want to encourage children to go caving.  My own club regularly receives enquiries from youngsters passed on from local Outdoor Pursuits Organisations who have recommended us as a club to contact.

The easiest way to arrange for children to go caving for most clubs will be to have their parents caving with the children and in fact many caving parents do introduce their children to caving via their own club.  It is the "easiest" because it avoids the complications of club members having to have suitable child protection qualifications when they joined a club to go caving, not to specialise in looking after young people.  (It's also easier for the child to get to the club or the cave if a parent provides the transport because they too are going caving.)  If the club already has people with suitable qualifications, such as teachers, youth leaders, etc. that does help to widen the the number of young people they can help.

There is excellent guidance in the 3 BCA documents available from the website which make things clear:
a)  the BCA Safeguarding Policy;
b)  the BCA Safeguarding Guidelines for Clubs;
c)  the BCA Good Practice Guidelines.

We have come a long way since a former BCA Legal & Insurance Officer stated publicly in 2009 that it was "not BCA policy to encourage children to go caving" ! 

I quite like the idea of Badlad's "In essence a club run by professionals with all the right safeguarding checks to encourage minors up to an age they become adult.  Supported by clubs - who should have a vested interest in recruitment - and part funded by national/regional organisations."  That would be the answer to the dilemma of clubs not themselves having suitably qualified people to deal with minors but it would mean the young person having to change to another club when they become adult - not quite sure how that would play out.  It will be really interesting to see if the Yorkshire version of this idea is able to get off the ground and to see how it works out.  It it works well it could well be a pattern for other regions.

Offline JoshW

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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #13 on: September 08, 2021, 12:11:05 am »
If you are introducing people to caving as a job and you fail even to mention club caving, are you really doing your job properly? Club caving is a major part of caving and will remain so. If you pretend it doesn't exist you're failing your clients.

I don't know what clubs you're a member of but none of the ones I'm associated with is anything like the picture you paint above.

I think you should reconsider.

I'm currently undertaking an apprenticeship as an outdoor activity instructor. As part of this I am completing an NVQ Level 3. The final assessment has certain criteria, of which one is 'signposting'. As part of a session, any outdoors instructor needs to signpost where and how participants can continue to do the activity if they so wish. This obviously would include returning to the same centre for further instructed sessions or going to other similar centres for instructed sessions, but most importantly should include information about how to pick the activity (or similar) up as a hobby (i.e. not commercial).

There are plenty of outdoors instructors who are able to see the bigger picture about this and the benefits it offers, it seems bizarre that Chris would have such a (frankly unfounded) vendetta against caving clubs that he thinks he wouldn't need to. Perhaps it's just pure selfishness and greed, and really doesn't help disprove the theory that some might hold about commercial cavers (professional or otherwise), that they're only going to look out for themselves. I know plenty of CIC/LCMLA holders who are not like this, but as with many things, it appears the vocal minority are tarnishing the reputation of the majority.

If this comes across as grumpy, it really is supposed to. I'm extremely unhappy at the 'shade' being thrown in CHECC's direction, who throughout this pandemic have organised themselves spectacularly, arranging events and online training far in excess of many other organisations I've seen. CHECC are at a point where, I believe, they've never had so much respect from the wider caving community, and I will fight tooth and nail to defend their reputation, from people who should know better. Chris, I'd encourage you to come along to the next CHECC training events that are being organised, and hopefully we can change your opinion - please feel free to reach out to me and I can let you know where and when such events are being held.

This has obviously detoured quite significantly from Katie's original question. I'm inclined to believe that there possibly aren't any Peak based clubs that have the option for young people to join on their own. If there are any Peak clubs reading this who do have this option, it would be great to hear from you.
All views are my own and not that of the BCA or any clubs for which I'm a member of.

Offline Fulk

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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #14 on: September 08, 2021, 09:26:35 am »
Well, I started caving ages ago – back in the 1960s – with the BPC, and the picture that Cap’n Chris paints is totally at odds with my experience of caving back then, let alone now. For what it’s worth, and based on my experience, the captain is talking complete f******g bollocks.

Offline Mrs Trellis

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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #15 on: September 08, 2021, 10:59:38 am »
On topic - I suggest that Katie refers her friend to the Masson Caving Group which fits both geographically and the level of skill required in some of their usual caves/mines may be suitable for youngsters. I have no idea whether they are "child friendly" but an enqiury may bring results.

Fwiw I too started caving the early 1960's and have experienced Eldon stomps, Belfry sofa rugby, the Castleton pub run, Three Stags pissups etc. etc. It seems to me that back in the day clubs who didn't have their own premises met in pubs - and some still do. Caving and Rugby Union share some traits of cojones being valued with success sometimes coming with bravery, pain and suffering. Imho RU boozing is now much less with everyone being more concerned with match fitness even at lower levels.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2021, 11:08:57 am by Mrs Trellis »
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Online Ian Ball

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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #16 on: September 08, 2021, 11:25:09 am »
And that beer is no longer twuppence a half

Offline Mrs Trellis

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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #17 on: September 08, 2021, 11:53:37 am »
....and that drink driving might cost you your licence - or worse.
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Offline badger

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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #18 on: September 08, 2021, 11:59:04 am »
I think Pete hall has summed up over 18's quite well. In fact you could say 18- 30 holidays were/are the worst proponents of partying to excess. so definitely not unique. As a whole I would say caving & checc are getting there act together better than they ever have, we just need to get the under 18's sorted.
Unfortunately there is still with many older cavers the mentality that caving is not for minors, and we should look to europe to see how their models work.

Online Fjell

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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #19 on: September 08, 2021, 12:03:37 pm »
Well, I started caving ages ago – back in the 1960s – with the BPC, and the picture that Cap’n Chris paints is totally at odds with my experience of caving back then, let alone now. For what it’s worth, and based on my experience, the captain is talking complete f******g bollocks.

It would be a pretty close description for the 1980’s at the BPC from experience, but I take comfort that this cannot possibly still be the case.

The attitude to children climbing and caving in places like France is historically very very different to the UK, but these days you see climbing clubs for children at climbing walls and our local rugby club has hundreds of children and takes it very seriously as a primary role for the club.

The teachers at out nearest school have taken 15 year olds on trips like Swinsto, County and Lost Johns. You can see the videos on Youtube. I have taken my kids on those trips (although I baulk at Battleaxe).

The legal risk/reality in the UK is such that non-instructors taking non-relatives under 16’s without their parents is not something I would do personally. You prob need DBS’s for starters.

Offline nearlywhite

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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #20 on: September 08, 2021, 12:32:00 pm »
You prob need DBS’s for starters.

Which you can get for free via the BCA if it's for voluntary work    ;D

Offline PeteHall

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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #21 on: September 08, 2021, 12:44:09 pm »
Unfortunately there is still with many older cavers the mentality that caving is not for minors

My Grandmother (now in her late 80's) was caving at 15 (along with her piers), so perhaps there is a lost generation in between?

Offline Jenny P

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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #22 on: September 08, 2021, 12:47:00 pm »
You prob need DBS’s for starters.

Which you can get for free via the BCA if it's for voluntary work    ;D

Probably not a lot of cavers know this or more would take advantage of it - so it's good that this is being highlighted. 

There are a number of clubs in Derbyshire, my own Orpheus C.C. is one, which are keen to encourage young people but don't currently have anyone with a DBS, so rely on parents being involved in order to comply with the BCA Safeguarding Guidelines for Clubs.  Realistically, it is also quite difficult for a young person without their own transport to get to caving meets unless they have a parent who is prepared to drive them there.  And the BCA Good Practice Guidelines do suggest that that you "Avoid taking children and vulnerable adults alone on car journeys".

Offline Ian Adams

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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #23 on: September 08, 2021, 01:28:46 pm »
Unfortunately there is still with many older cavers the mentality that caving is not for minors …



The legal risk/reality in the UK is such that non-instructors taking non-relatives under 16’s without their parents is not something I would do personally.



Fjell has it. Until and unless the legal risk to cavers/caving clubs is removed, some folk are always going to shy away from minors. We are (mostly) all volunteers and like to cave as a hobby. We don’t make money and we don’t want hassle. Whilst red-tape, additional risk and liability exists, some cavers will stay away from minors.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2021, 01:37:59 pm by Ian Adams »
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Online Fjell

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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #24 on: September 08, 2021, 02:19:59 pm »
The only person in my family who has ever been rescued was one of my kids at the age of 8 by CRO. I didn't even know they had gone until they were there. It was a day like today, but got slightly damper all of a sudden like as sometimes happens round here. I would not have gone there that day. The leader of that trip looked slightly green when I saw them, and I'm not in the least surprised.

The problem with caving (certainly in the Dales) is it is a water sport, and that adds significant risk of all sorts of things happening. If you stick to dry caves that don't fall down it doesn't matter. If you don't do SRT or ladders of more than 20 foot it will be even safer.

Luckily we have two and a spare to cover this sort of thing.

Offline Katie

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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #25 on: September 08, 2021, 02:25:37 pm »
Thank you for all the replies.
I have replied to the enquirer and she seems very happy with my reply.

She is very happy to accompany her daughter on caving trips should they join a club.
I know not all parents would be comfortable with it, but she seems happy.

As a parent myself (to children aged 7, 5 and 4) I suspect most parents would not expect volunteers to be able and willing to take an 8 year old caving unaccompanied by a parent. I suspect this may change as the children get older and more independent though!

Lots of interesting ideas being raised in this thread though  :)




Offline badger

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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #26 on: September 08, 2021, 03:24:44 pm »
luckily for some young people there is voluntary organisations like the scouts, who are happy to take young people caving. the rules & procedures I do not think are that arduous to follow, although some would call it red tape.
The one hope is that you can keep them interested enough to take up caving later once over 18.
also some young people are very lucky to have a parent who will take them underground, again trying to keep their interest up until over 18.
But it is a fact that there more activities now for young people than ever to get involved with. Some a lot easier or more accessible than caving is.
I am not sure on the insurance side of things or welfare see BCA for the advice, but there should be no other reason that a club could not get someone qualified with a LCMLA award and a DBS and run trips,

Offline 2xw

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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #27 on: September 08, 2021, 03:47:50 pm »
If anyone is interested in the foreign aspect, the Spanish run kids camps on a local rather than federal level. The parents sign a waiver that they accept the risks and the kids can handle it. The trips are supervised by qualified instructors who do it voluntarily. Most of the time it is free for the young people but some clubs have a scheme that charges €60 month.

Badger makes a good point mentioning the scouts and it's good that young people can be signposted to this - I guess we should be supporting scouts as much as possible in this regard.

As Badlad has pointed out the adventure academy in the Dales is a great idea, I feel, and I'm keen to see how it pans out post covid. Access restrictions make this difficult in other regions without significant negotiation.

I would certainly expect outdoor instructors to signpost interested young people to clubs, this requires said instructor knowing which club is happy to take youth and so perhaps we could push this clear route to caving for young people a bit more.

Anyways I'm supposed to be writing rather than doing caving stuff so I'll get back under my rock now

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #28 on: September 08, 2021, 04:55:11 pm »
There is a good tradition of scout caving in the Dales. I was in the fortunate position (along with a friend) to be able to make substantial gifts to two of the local scout caving groups, from the estate of a caver who passed away a while ago. The deceased - and both of us - have very long associations with clubs denigrated by yesterday's post which has caused such an angry response. These gifts paid for a quantity of new oversuits for youngsters and for several scout leaders to be put through their cave instructor qualification.

We are senior club cavers, I guess. We're delighted to have been in a position to support youngsters going caving.

I was very surprised when "captain chris" made such awful remarks yesterday with no evidence to support them. Perhaps readers will consider my post here as just one example of evidence that he was completely wrong.

Offline Fishes

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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #29 on: September 08, 2021, 06:39:13 pm »
Hi Chris

You seem to have a very negative experience of club caving. That has not been my experience in recent decades.

Maybe you need to meet with other clubs.


Offline Cap'n Chris

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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #30 on: September 08, 2021, 06:43:08 pm »
If you are introducing people to caving as a job and you fail even to mention club caving, are you really doing your job properly? Club caving is a major part of caving and will remain so. If you pretend it doesn't exist you're failing your clients.

Thanks Pitlamp; perhaps I should recouch things - for superkeenies who enquire, I'll say there are caving clubs and you are free to make enquiries but "be aware they don't run things the way you've done them today" etc.. I would add that I wouldn't recommend any. Contrary to your final sentence, though, I absolutely consider I am NOT failing my clients by swerving them away from clubs. The opposite is true. No-one seems to have nay-sayed my other observations so I'm presuming they still stand.

The thread was jogged by attending the CSCC virtual meeting on Monday evening and hearing from the training officer that an intended training event failed to occur due to people signing up for it not turning up after a night on the piss, which seems substantively evidential in supporting my view, does it not.

FWIW I've been in six or so caving clubs in +20 years and the overseas trips (permits etc.) are where clubs win hands down! - my decade-long membership of one Mendip club was entirely due to a string of fabulous Spanish jaunts. Big(ger) clubs have the international kudos/clout to get bureaucratic hoops jumped better.

Back to this country; there are too many personal anecdotes of caving trips being delayed to the afternoon by people still being half pissed in the morning that I've lost count. Personally I like to crack on and get caving on days off, so it's probably just a me thing.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2021, 08:27:09 pm by Cap'n Chris »

Offline Tseralo

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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #31 on: September 08, 2021, 07:51:54 pm »
Seeing as no one actually us. TSG has a safeguarding officer and has had in recent times 3 under 18-year-old members join. 2 are now 18 one is 16. I'm not sure most of our trips would be suitable for an 8-year-old though things can be arranged we are able to youngsters who can somewhat look after themselves with supervision.

I do find chris's comments a bit odd or at least no where near my own experience. Yes we do on occasion go to the pub but misogynistic behavior would not be accepted or any other xphobia for that matter. Ive had many a trip where we outnumbered the boys some where there were none at all. 

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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #32 on: September 08, 2021, 08:11:50 pm »
The "accompanied" bit is a bit of a red herring in that it is there to assume the parent knows best BUT in a novel cave situation this cannot be deferred from the experienced (!) leader to the novice parent. Proper leaders in appropriate venues are the way ahead. Qualifications are an asset but not the whole story or a get out of jail card.
Fun for one minor is abuse for another, and knowing the difference is vital.

Offline PeteHall

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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #33 on: September 08, 2021, 09:23:17 pm »
The thread was jogged by attending the CSCC virtual meeting on Monday evening and hearing from the training officer that an intended training event failed to occur due to people signing up for it not turning up after a night on the piss, which seems substantively evidential in supporting my view, does it not.

As someone who actually has kids, I have absolutely no problem with some places being child-friendly and others being child-free.

It is perfectly reasonable for adults to have a drink with their mates in the right environment. I wouldn't take my kids to any pub on a Friday night, but that's no criticism of the pub, or the clientele, it's just not the right place for kids.

As long as there are options for family-friendly caving clubs, I'm very glad that there are also clubs where adults can let their hair down and enjoy themselves in a child-free environment.

It's the Cave Diving Group 75th Anniversary dinner this weekend. It'll be my first night with no childcare responsibilities for over 18 months and I expect to have a few drinks and catch up with friends I haven't seen for ages. I don't expect to go caving the next day. Is this the kind of thing you are against Chris? If so, perhaps you should direct you criticism at the wedding industry as I'd be sure a much higher percentage of weddings result in hangovers than nights at a caving hut!

Offline Cap'n Chris

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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #34 on: September 08, 2021, 09:30:50 pm »
It's the Cave Diving Group 75th Anniversary dinner this weekend. It'll be my first night with no childcare responsibilities for over 18 months and I expect to have a few drinks and catch up with friends I haven't seen for ages. I don't expect to go caving the next day. Is this the kind of thing you are against Chris? If so, perhaps you should direct you criticism at the wedding industry as I'd be sure a much higher percentage of weddings result in hangovers than nights at a caving hut!

Not at all. You're not going caving with a hangover/while still drunk/suffering.

To quote an Association of Caving Instructors pamphlet, "Cave Sober: (Having a hangover is akin to caving while still drunk) - does this really need mentioning? Anyone who considers, or encourages, engaging in a hazardous pursuit while under the influence or after affects of alcohol is someone you're definitely better off avoiding".

If getting hammered the night/morning before a caving trip is part and parcel of a caving session/day/weekend then I'd imagine sensible people avoiding that like that plague, and anyone championing such a notion being outed as an irresponsible arse. Anecdotally I understand there are instances of partying cavers deciding in the small hours that caving naked while drunk is a great idea and they do precisely that. Or perhaps it's an urban myth.

Offline badger

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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #35 on: September 09, 2021, 07:34:11 am »
To back Chris up a bit, not to say I agree with everything he has said, and this not knocking lets say 18 to 25 group.
 I would say most of us could point to an event where nights entertainments have got very boisterous, influenced by alcohol, and when I was a young person could say I would have been there.
Young cavers are no different to a Friday night out on the town with your mates, or like I said club 18 - 30 holidays. If as a parent that was your experience of a cave club then you might think that is the norm. And some clubs do have that reputation, whether you think that founded or unfounded is down to you. some clubs you can say the complete opposite mates having a nice drink & and socialising as you might at home.
But I think we are jumping way ahead of ourselves. Running a trip on a day event, for YP, there should be no issues if you follow certain rules/guidelines. Or having them as youth section to your club. Having YP stay overnight is a separate issue.
Also Scouts is not the only Youth organisation, only one I know rules/guidelines.

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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #36 on: September 09, 2021, 08:05:40 am »
Generally, I think it's down to momentum.
All clubs go through peaks and troughs largely driven by interested people.
If several young families where to join the same club the momentum would be there to take responsibility for the roles because there is a self interest. ( Especially if they are your children)

As there are so many clubs, I guess there's never enough families in one club at any time for the momentum to develop.

Maybe parents with young children could consider making a virtual club, to be joined, whereby they could get their policies and red tape in place and travel around the country using any club because they have the red tape in place themselves as one organisation.

I know nothing about any of it by the way, red tape puts me off everything, so I'm prepared to admit, I could be talking of my arse.

Chaos, panic, and disorder - my work here is done.

Offline menacer

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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #37 on: September 09, 2021, 08:09:57 am »
Ps Apologies for cap n Chris being a bit of a grump bag, I'm currently overseas having missed a flight home, was not there to talk through his thoughts before he posted 🤪😂 X
Chaos, panic, and disorder - my work here is done.

Offline Speleofish

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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #38 on: September 09, 2021, 08:42:25 am »
I think Menacer's idea is a good one. It's essentially what happened to me - I was first taken caving by my dad and subsequently caving friends with mud-minded sons would take groups of us caving as there were no clubs willing to take on 10 year olds.

I was then lucky to join ACG when I was 13 or 14 (I forget which). They had a group of half a dozen active cavers who were keen to encourage youngsters when most of the other clubs locally wouldn't take people below 16. There may have been ACG members who got uproariously drunk after caving trips but I never saw evidence of this and the early start-time of many meets suggested an absence of hangovers. Even their Annual Dinner was fairly restrained (though the presence of many, many archaeologists may have helped).

Later I joined other clubs and my behaviour deteriorated....

Offline menacer

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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #39 on: September 09, 2021, 08:59:10 am »
If a meets list were booked in advance, it could make great cheap affordable bank holiday, summer and Easter holidays for caving families in the UK.
They could run trips every month if there's enough families and momentum.

Chaos, panic, and disorder - my work here is done.

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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #40 on: September 09, 2021, 08:55:59 pm »
Funnily enough, kids don't often stay in the same club as their parents, once they don't have to...

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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #41 on: September 12, 2021, 02:24:17 pm »
It's long been my opinion that British caving would benefit enormously by clubs and professionals working harmoniously.   I've been introducing young (and older) people to caving for decades and it's apparent to me that to the novice who will progress to being a caver is probably one in a thousand.  It's not that people, young and old, don't thoroughly enjoy their first caving experience - the vast majority do.  They also enjoy their first taste of surfing, mountain biking, kite-surfing and a host of other activities that didn't exist in my early caving days.  Most people don't want to specialise in one activity when there are so many amazing things to do!  Clubs can spend a considerable amount of time introducing novices, time they might prefer to spend on more challenging trips.  I say let the professionals do novice caving, but let's create a pathway from instructor to club.  We don't need to encourage people to go caving - we need to facilitate them to carry on caving!

Here's my suggestion...  Firstly clubs need to decide if they are in or out when it comes to novices.  I think clubs feel obliged sometimes to claim to be novice friendly when in reality they'd rather spend their time in other ways.  So, first things first, be realistic as to whether or not your club has the commitment and resources to run beginners trips.  If the answer is yes then prepare an induction program.  I would advise that clubs only offer one or two trips before requiring some commitment from the novice in terms of membership and/or investing in their own equipment -  have a cut off to make sure that your novice is not coming back multiple times, expecting to be lent kit and getting the services of an outdoor centre for free!  Clubs that make these commitments should the be listed in a new BCA leaflet specifically aimed at those who have had a caving experience and want more.  This leaflet should be distributed to centres and caving instructors ready to be handed out to anybody who expresses an interest.   

Andy Sparrow



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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #42 on: September 12, 2021, 08:27:47 pm »
Our club offers noobies /novises 3 user friendly trips before we ask for full membership, we also make sure we send them a membership welcome package to encourage them on board

Offline adep

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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #43 on: September 15, 2021, 09:04:44 am »
Masson CC have child members , my 12 year old daughter has been a member for 4 years, although currently she is the only child in the club

Offline Jenny P

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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #44 on: September 15, 2021, 01:12:58 pm »
My club, Orpheus, receives a number of enquiries every year and these can vary tremendously. 

Some are from people who have never tried caving but want to have a go - so we are able to lend them kit and take them on a relatively simple trip, ensuring they have Temporary BCA Membership (which lasts for 3 months and up to 4 weekend/trips) and we also give them information on how they can go on to join the Club.  A few of these do stay on and join but most seem to be trying a number of different "adventure sports" and after just one trip decide caving isn't for them.

We also have an increasing number of people referred to us who have tried caving with a local Outdoor Pursuits organisation and want to do more: these we find do tend to want to stick with it and join as Prospective Members within their 3 months' trial.  Some of these are young people and, since the Club decided a few years ago that we could allow under-16's as Junior Members, we have been able to help them.  However, we do expect that their parents will be involved in all caving trips as we don't currently have any club members with appropriate CRB checks or other qualifications.  (All but one of our Junior Members has now progressed to become an adult Full Member but we are still happy to take on juniors.)

We are also finding a number of older people contact us to say that they were cavers in their youth, or at university, and dropped out but now have more spare time and want to take it up again seriously.  These come with a definite idea of rejoining the caving scene and most become Members fairly quickly.

In the past we have found that many people who joined as older teenagers lasted only two or three years as keen cavers, specialising in the hardest and deepest caves, and once they'd cracked all the really tough trips, dropped out of caving altogether as they acquired jobs which took up more time, got married, etc.  One or two of of these have now returned to the fold, retaining fond memories of their time as active cavers.

As Andy points out, there are many more adventurous activities for people to try out which simply didn't exist even a few years ago.  Many of these are high-profile, involve brightly coloured clothes or equipment and are very "visible" to spectators - these attract young people in a way that caving never can.  The other point is that those who stick with caving often go on to take an interest in a particular aspect of caving which adds to their enjoyment: surveying, digging, amateur research, photography, etc.  They almost always take a keen interest in cave conservation because they are in it for the long term and have seen the damage that can be done by thoughless behaviour or sheer pressure of numbers.  So some might consider it's in our own interest not to attract too many new cavers?

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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #45 on: September 15, 2021, 04:29:39 pm »
When you say under 16's do you mean under 18's or are 16-18 year olds in another category?  I remember this distinction was made at Charterhouse but I didn't like to ask them what it meant.  I am a little confused by some of the other comments made above on the matter.

Cheers

Offline JoshW

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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #46 on: September 16, 2021, 09:12:10 am »
When you say under 16's do you mean under 18's or are 16-18 year olds in another category?  I remember this distinction was made at Charterhouse but I didn't like to ask them what it meant.  I am a little confused by some of the other comments made above on the matter.

Cheers

I very much tried to correct people on this in my post early on this thread, but as with all things, people don’t read the whole thread just the last few posts, hence why this has gone around in circles a little bit.
All views are my own and not that of the BCA or any clubs for which I'm a member of.

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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #47 on: September 16, 2021, 12:30:35 pm »
Yes, that is what I was trying to get straight myself.  As I read it there is no distinction in law that makes anyone 16-18 and different from an under 18.  Or is there?

This is then just a distinction made by a club or ACB?  Which I guess they are entitled to do or is that discriminatory?

Offline JoshW

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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #48 on: September 16, 2021, 01:23:01 pm »
Yes, that is what I was trying to get straight myself.  As I read it there is no distinction in law that makes anyone 16-18 and different from an under 18.  Or is there?

This is then just a distinction made by a club or ACB?  Which I guess they are entitled to do or is that discriminatory?

I am of the same understanding as you are.

It's not a can of worms I'm willing to open in public. As I understand it there is some work being done on that front, but being aware of the quantity of bad blood over the issue I don't want it clogging up what could be a very informative post (provided people stop spewing stuff as the gospel truth without having actually looked at it, or spoken to people who know about it).
All views are my own and not that of the BCA or any clubs for which I'm a member of.

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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #49 on: September 16, 2021, 02:29:50 pm »
There is a difference between 16/17 year olds and under 16 in many areas, particularly child protection and autonomy. My kids went from being unable to do work experience at 15 because they were too young to needing a DBS at 16 because they were suddenly a threat.

Teachers in our family will not touch a child in school in almost any circumstance due to the ramifications and all too prevalent legal issues.

If you follow this logic to the bitter end then sixth formers should have DBS’s to be at school. It’s nonsense. My kids have already done multiple DBS’s without reaching 21.

I would focus on colleges and universtities for long term caver supply. Half of school leavers now go.

Offline JoshW

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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #50 on: September 16, 2021, 02:47:41 pm »
There is a difference between 16/17 year olds and under 16 in many areas, particularly child protection and autonomy.
With respect to looking after 15 year olds and 17 year olds legally there is no difference (as I understand it), they are both 'minors' and so the relevant safeguarding measures should take place.

Quote
My kids went from being unable to do work experience at 15 because they were too young to needing a DBS at 16 because they were suddenly a threat.
these two points seem unrelated? I'll answer the point I think you're getting at? At some age DBS' need to start to be a requirement, and it makes sense to be the age at which you can start working and being in charge of young people.

Quote
Teachers in our family will not touch a child in school in almost any circumstance due to the ramifications and all too prevalent legal issues.
This isn't a new thing. It's always been advised not to touch children unless required. It's common sense.

Quote
If you follow this logic to the bitter end then sixth formers should have DBS’s to be at school. It’s nonsense. My kids have already done multiple DBS’s without reaching 21.

Generally DBS's are only required for those likely to be in charge of young people or left 1 on 1 with young people. Obviously not the case at schools, so this argument is nonsense. The DBS system is a bit shit anyway to be honest, but it's the only system that there is. It would be good if an employer/similar could do a check at any time (with no cost) so that you can get live updates, instead you've got a system where someone can have an active DBS check that all it really means is the person hadn't been caught at the time of the check.

Quote
I would focus on colleges and universtities for long term caver supply. Half of school leavers now go.
By the time someone is at college 16/17 they've had access to plenty of other activities and caving gets left either as a side hobby, or tried once but never returned to as there are other hobbies there. Climbing and other sports are able to hook people from a young age so why shouldn't caving.

This is all my understanding of things, but I'm no legal expert, and will happily be corrected on any of these points (except for that last one).
All views are my own and not that of the BCA or any clubs for which I'm a member of.

 

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