Author Topic: Child friendly caving clubs  (Read 2160 times)

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.

Online 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. 

Online Brains

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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.

Offline menacer

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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.

Offline mikem

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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...

Offline Andy Sparrow

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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



Offline cavemanmike

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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: Yesterday at 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: Yesterday at 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?

Offline Badlad

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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #45 on: Yesterday at 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

Online JoshW

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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #46 on: Today at 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.

Offline Badlad

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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #47 on: Today at 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?

Online JoshW

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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #48 on: Today at 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.

Offline Fjell

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Re: Child friendly caving clubs
« Reply #49 on: Today at 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.

 

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