UK Caving

NEWS, NOTICES & THE FORUM => Caving Chat => Topic started by: David Rose on December 12, 2018, 09:02:58 am

Title: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: David Rose on December 12, 2018, 09:02:58 am
A very bright bunch of students present some compelling ideas on how to market caving and the BCA to young people using modern social media, and why the sport’s current efforts to make its pitch and become more diverse don’t hit the spot.

Worryingly, having been given assignment as part of their third year course work, none of them found their way from the BCA homepage to the New to Caving website - despite New to Caving having been an official BCA partner for more than a year. Many of their ideas seem to confirm points made by Jane Allen (Pegasus) and others at recent BCA meetings. Details here:

https://darknessbelow.co.uk/presenting-cavings-future/?fbclid=IwAR2bFVfiJvTyssx__OESupyBL66CYiiIJ-1eJ5OEVmWpKl8Sb9kVJ9dxjKQ

Title: Re: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: BradW on December 12, 2018, 09:47:11 am
That's a great article, David. It seems to me that although the BCA might one day have a working strategy, and that would be very welcome, ultimately encouraging engagement will come from active cavers in clubs etc. Every club should take this on board and do whatever they can.
Title: Re: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: PeteHall on December 12, 2018, 10:01:16 am
I was thinking about this last night...

If you ask any caver what they like about caving, one of the first things everyone says is the people.

Does caving attract great people, or does caving make great people? Or is it a bit of both?

You'll never look cool in an oversuit, covered in mud and totally exhausted after a long trip. Likewise, a cave isn't the right environment to grab that extreme selfie for Instagram (unless you want a massive increase in accidents, rescues and damage to caves).

Do we really want to be attracting adrenaline junkies off Instagram?

I agree that we need to improve how we attract new people to our great sport, but I'm not sure I agree with the students approach...
Title: Re: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: Laurie on December 12, 2018, 10:53:31 am
Caving is a great 'equaliser'.
Title: Re: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: David Rose on December 12, 2018, 10:58:25 am
I don't think Instagram would only attract adrenalin junkies. And if it did, they wouldn't stick around for very long. However, Instagram and other social media are simply the way younger people communicate nowadays, and if one ignores such means - as the BCA and its constituent parts generally do - then we don't tend to reach them.

But what do you mean, people don't look cool covered in mud and exhausted after a long trip! Of course they do!
Title: Re: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: JoshW on December 12, 2018, 11:13:58 am
I don't think Instagram would only attract adrenalin junkies. And if it did, they wouldn't stick around for very long. However, Instagram and other social media are simply the way younger people communicate nowadays, and if one ignores such means - as the BCA and its constituent parts generally do - then we don't tend to reach them.

But what do you mean, people don't look cool covered in mud and exhausted after a long trip! Of course they do!

In general the current social media platforms of favour for the younger generation is Instagram and Snapchat.

I was thinking about this last night...

If you ask any caver what they like about caving, one of the first things everyone says is the people.

Does caving attract great people, or does caving make great people? Or is it a bit of both?

You'll never look cool in an oversuit, covered in mud and totally exhausted after a long trip. Likewise, a cave isn't the right environment to grab that extreme selfie for Instagram (unless you want a massive increase in accidents, rescues and damage to caves).

Do we really want to be attracting adrenaline junkies off Instagram?

I agree that we need to improve how we attract new people to our great sport, but I'm not sure I agree with the students approach...

I went to Kendal mountain festival to watch the entries into the film festival and the main 4 subjects were:
1) climbing/mountaineering
2) skiing/snowboarding
3) mountain biking/cycling
4) paddlesports

All four of these have the advantage that anyone with a gopro is able to go and produce decent content to share, therefore the awareness of these are at an all time high, whereas with caving, it takes a lot more thought in order to put together content, and therefore there's a lot less of it about - a combination of fewer people doing the sport and even fewer able/willing to put the content together.

When you do see video's about caving on facebook/instagram it tends to be one of a few things:
1) Thai rescue - not necessarily the easiest thing to spin into an advert for caving
2) huge caves out in south east asia - not necessarily the easiest thing to spin into an advert for UK caving
3) caves of small squeezes in the UK - this only plays to the fear of people that UK caving is not type 1 fun

It's an identified problem, but one without an easy solution. I think the CHECC video competition had some fantastic videos that if they were shared around in the way that the above 3 are could definitely contribute to attracting people to our sport.
Title: Re: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: nobrotson on December 12, 2018, 11:32:56 am
When you do see video's about caving on facebook/instagram it tends to be one of a few things:
1) Thai rescue - not necessarily the easiest thing to spin into an advert for caving
2) huge caves out in south east asia - not necessarily the easiest thing to spin into an advert for UK caving
3) caves of small squeezes in the UK - this only plays to the fear of people that UK caving is not type 1 fun

It's an identified problem, but one without an easy solution. I think the CHECC video competition had some fantastic videos that if they were shared around in the way that the above 3 are could definitely contribute to attracting people to our sport.

Fully agree. Went to see Free Solo yesterday and if I had been a newcomer to climbing it would have put me off for life. This is the problem we have with caving videos. The CHECC competition had some really good quality content and we need to make it better disseminated. But we also need to keep making cool videos. The main barrier to this for students is not time, but money. They have the time to learn, but not the money to buy the kit. The exceptions to this were the ICCC video (richest student club in the UK by far) and the Plymouth video, which was produced by someone who makes money from filming and surveying. So maybe the BCA could set up a 'fund' for students/young people to apply to for outreach campaigning?
Title: Re: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: JoW on December 12, 2018, 01:06:01 pm
I don't think Instagram would only attract adrenalin junkies. And if it did, they wouldn't stick around for very long. However, Instagram and other social media are simply the way younger people communicate nowadays, and if one ignores such means - as the BCA and its constituent parts generally do - then we don't tend to reach them.

But what do you mean, people don't look cool covered in mud and exhausted after a long trip! Of course they do!

The BCA (and the BCRA) don't necessarily ignore social media, it's just that, as ever we need volunteers who are willing to take charge of such things...
Title: Re: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: Alex on December 12, 2018, 02:05:29 pm
Quote
Likewise, a cave isn't the right environment to grab that extreme selfie for Instagram (unless you want a massive increase in accidents, rescues and damage to caves).

Eh people do it all the time in caves. Well most of the times someone else takes the photo but it's people shots that win the prizes. I take selfies underground using tripod and a timer.
Title: Re: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: Pegasus on December 12, 2018, 03:57:22 pm
Already posted here: https://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?topic=24432.msg303759;topicseen#new

However will post again on this thread:

'The current BCA website, they agreed, was dull and old-fashioned, and as a shop window for British caving, mediocre'.  As reported, this is being actively looked at. 

'Worryingly, none of the students seemed to have found their way from the BCA homepage to the New to Caving website, with its stacks of useful information and alluring photos – although the site was designated as an ‘official’ BCA partner more than a year ago'.   :wall:  Google 'caving' and there's New To Caving - not that hard to find.

'As for social media – the critical means of communication for anyone under 30 – caving as a whole, caving clubs and the BCA might just as well be invisible'. Caving as a whole...might just as well be invisible - I strongly disagree, a quarter of the 2700 cavers who follow UKC on FB are under 34 and I'm sure there must be at least one person who's under 30 on the forum itself!  Caving is not invisible on social media - many clubs have twitter, FB and instagram accounts.

‘On the day we checked, the BCA Facebook page only had 841 likes!’  I post on the BCA facebook page regularly (as do others), support BCA and please like the page if you are on facebook. https://www.facebook.com/BritishCavingAssociation/

'‘The BCA doesn’t even have an Instagram account!’  True - and it's something I'm aware of, however there are only so many hours in the day and I do a lot of social media (on a voluntary basis) as it is - volunteers, please speak up now!

'Another common theme was the need to generate awareness that women both enjoy and derive great benefit from caving'. Perhaps if the students had found New To Caving they would have come across Adele's 'A novice caver's experience', seen the many photographs of women caving and spotted the UKC logo. 

'....caving really does have a lot of work to do to attract future generations – and at present, little understanding as to how this might be done'.  I disagree, understanding of the issue is increasing all the time, however implementing changes takes time...and help.

Title: Re: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: David Rose on December 13, 2018, 08:40:21 am
Pegasus, I hope your post doesn't indicate you took the article I wrote on Darkness Below as in any way critical of you, or indeed anyone else - that was not my intention at all.

What I was doing was reporting what these students said. I am deeply aware off the enormous effort you and Badlad make to promote caving, especially among young people, through the forum, CHECC, New to Caving, prizes for student expeditions, and indeed in your general day to day contact with many young cavers. No one could do more, and the caving community should be more appreciative  - and the last thing I would suggest is that on top of everything else, you shouldder the burden of running an active Instagram feed.

The problem is not the efforts you and others make. The problem is that despite these efforts, the message doesn't always get through.

I also know that important moves are underway to try to remedy this, including the BCA's attempt to refocus its vision led by Hellie and your own (Pegasus's) contribution to P&I. Your memo to the last BCA council was a significant document bursting with fresh ideas.

I back these initiatives totally. My intention with the article was to help foster wider awareness of why they are so necessary - and must not be allowed to run into the sand of British caving political inertia. As I did say in the piece, some of the students' thoughts were wide of the mark. And, frankly, they should have found New to Caving. But I do think, coming at this from a generally uninformed perspective, they said useful things which are worth bering in mind. 
Title: Re: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: al on December 13, 2018, 09:40:56 am
I attended the Caving session on the Friday night at the Kendal Film Festival - mainly to listen to Jason's "no holds barred" report on the Thai rescue. But I was very impressed by both the other speakers, Christine and Imo.

Their talks were on different subjects but both contained excellent descriptions of their introduction to and involvement in caving. In both cases, the subject touched on encouraging women to take up caving as am activity - but I thought both deliveries made excellent descriptive and encouraging commentaries on the sport which would appeal to prospective cavers of either sex.

The problem, of course, is that cavers probably made up (almost) the whole audience. The challenge is to get this kind of material "out there".
Title: Re: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: Badlad on December 13, 2018, 09:56:03 am
I agree that there were some interesting points to learn.  All of us at BCA need to take note and I think many of us are.

I did find it quite ironic though, bearing in mind where this article was published and, judging by the pictures, who else was involved in this event.  The article mentioned taking these young people caving - a trip down one of the Charterhouse caves perhaps  ;) ;D  :spank: :spank: :spank:
Title: Re: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: alastairgott on December 13, 2018, 10:11:43 am
I'm not a photographer, but I've been thinking of an image for a while. The basic premise being a caver in quite a sporting streamway, with several shots cut and photoshopped back into position.

I'm thinking of rectangles the same size all brought back into one image, so a little different from the attached image, but the principle is the same.

https://www.gettyimages.fi/detail/photo/montage-of-male-and-female-faces-high-res-stock-photography/107697750 (https://www.gettyimages.fi/detail/photo/montage-of-male-and-female-faces-high-res-stock-photography/107697750)

I have seen the imagery used before in technical clothing adverts for Gill. With the strapline "Friday 5pm, rush hour", I'd guess the image could be recreated in a cave passage.


If I can pull out the poster, I will do. but the image I have seen is not dissimilar to the one on this website, with spray coming out of the side of the boat. but with every segment being slightly different.

 https://coliesail.com/blog/ss3218/ (https://coliesail.com/blog/ss3218/)


I guess by doing this, you allow the imagery to speak for itself and have very few words. High impact imagery, a strapline and a signpost to who the advert is for, in our example BCA and Newtocaving.


This similar to the angle, https://www.yachtsandyachting.com/news/20697
but this is similar to the amount you can see Nick Thompson in this photo.
 http://www.sailing.org/news/39728.php#.XBIxa_Z2uP8
Title: Re: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: alastairgott on December 13, 2018, 10:29:59 am
A well framed shot in somewhere like climbing Dr Bannisters in Longchurn would probably make for quite a good image. Face covered with a buff to nose and head slightly angled so you can just see the eyes. but spray covering quite a lot of the image.

Not my image but this shows an in cave shot
https://flic.kr/p/aQPyNi (https://flic.kr/p/aQPyNi)

but this one is more like it for a Gill Scrambling image.
https://goo.gl/images/itUKLR (https://goo.gl/images/itUKLR)
Title: Re: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: mikem on December 13, 2018, 11:45:56 am
That ghyll scrambling pic wouldn't encourage me...

The problem, of course, is that cavers probably made up (almost) the whole audience. The challenge is to get this kind of material "out there".
A couple of my kayaking friends were there & thought the rescue talk was fascinating, but weren't really interested in the others.

Mike
Title: Re: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: mountainpenguin on December 13, 2018, 01:31:36 pm
well this is a bit of trying to address the symptom rather than the problem.
There is a missing generation to caving.
I am only one of my friends who would have taken to the sport if it were not for the backwards feel.
you *have* to join a club you *have* to have insurance. You have to find a big book and follow byzantine rules to get to go to a lot of places.
We grew up with CROW access to crags. Want to take a friend climbing, just do it.
We grew up with trail centers. Want to take a friend mountain biking then goto a good trail center and they will be able to hire a bike.
We grew up being able to go for a wander on the mountains easily.
We grew up being able to go for a paddle in a canoe with friends.
Non of this has been possible in caving and we feel like we have been pushed out. We would be the ones volunteering for the social media.
I know so many who would have and have volunteered but have left due to the hard / impossible work of dealing with the "our way or the high way" old guard who control access and control clubs.
Title: Re: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: mikem on December 13, 2018, 02:04:03 pm
I'm not saying it's right, but it was the same for the previous generation - they formed their own groups & went caving in spite of the old guard - information is much more readily available now than it was then...
Title: Re: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: Alex on December 13, 2018, 02:44:49 pm
Quote
We grew up with CROW access to crags. Want to take a friend climbing, just do it.
We grew up with trail centers. Want to take a friend mountain biking then goto a good trail center and they will be able to hire a bike.
We grew up being able to go for a wander on the mountains easily.
We grew up being able to go for a paddle in a canoe with friends.

In the Dales, thanks to most entrances being open you can still just do it as other than the caves themselves there is no physical impediment. However, I have been out to a lot more climbing call outs, than I have cave ones, despite my side of the Dales not being known for having lots of climbing. We have Ilkly, Bringham rocks and Almscliff. Yes there is more people climbing, but if people just do it without learning the skills they are likely to get hurt, and it's that reason why I think there are so many more climbing accidents as it's so easy to just do it*.

Caving companies who train people to cave is a good club counter, but not knowing anything about caving and trying anything more than ribble-head could lead to issues as there is so much to consider that the uninitiated would not. Hence why clubs are needed at least early in the caving career, if say 12 months down the line you decide clubs are not for you then by all means go it alone.

* I recognise that lead climbing is more dangerous than most caving, which may account for some accidents. I for one would not do it as I have seen what happens.
Title: Re: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: alastairgott on December 13, 2018, 03:43:00 pm
MountainPenguin, we could argue with you, but we're talking about bringing people into the sport. From your previous posts I can tell you're not a lone wolf, liking to do thing by yourself, but you do seem to want to just get on with it whether your assisted or not.

This is a fine attitude, many have it. Some of the new generation of Cavers will come from your background, but others may come from a background where they need a helping hand. If you want to bring more people into the sport then any of us might be able to bring in small group of friends.
 One new caver per person a year might improve the numbers, but I don't think it's the "step change" in demographic this topic wants to move towards.

We're looking for ideas, do you have any ideas to pull new people in?

By the way Mountainpenguin, is the same not true for Climbing crags? "You have to find a big book" I don't think you'll find many at a crag without one! The BMC even herelded the "end of the dark ages" last year with a new boulding guidebook for North wales.
https://www.thebmc.co.uk/north-wales-bouldering-guide-review-guidebook
Title: Re: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: Cap'n Chris on December 13, 2018, 03:56:39 pm
Alastair's post(s) resonate many previous observations regarding the caving demographic which have been voiced over and over for years. Namely there will be insufficient new blood to sustain the organs of UK caving such as clubs, regional councils and the national bodies. Some may survive, but all will not.

However.

Caving will continue. The internet and easy access to specialised knowledge will see to it.
Title: Re: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: mikem on December 13, 2018, 04:34:48 pm
We have Ilkley, Brimham rocks and Almscliff.
Some classic crags there, relatively close to major population centres, but being gritstone, quite hard to protect when leading & known for strenuous routes. Accidents in climbing are likely to increase with indoor wall trained climbers not having lines of bolts to follow when they move outdoors (especially as walls are generally more akin to limestone, which is a totally different style).

Generations of cavers & climbers used to learn their skills outside of clubs, mostly with someone who had a bit more of an idea than they did - but there were more rescues of cavers then.

Mike
Title: Re: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: moletta on December 14, 2018, 11:37:16 am

Mountain Penguin -glad you get to do lots of activities at will. Why would it be so bad to do some trips with a club, gain some experience and, if you enjoy it, start doing some of the easier caves with friends? There are people out there caving outside the club system.

Just remember that rescue for the lost or injured is not an ambulance or helicopter, but is physical effort by experienced cavers over  many hours.
Also are the books the ones with the surveys in which give you a clue about where you are going?


Title: Re: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: mountainpenguin on December 14, 2018, 01:12:21 pm

Mountain Penguin -glad you get to do lots of activities at will. Why would it be so bad to do some trips with a club, gain some experience and, if you enjoy it, start doing some of the easier caves with friends? There are people out there caving outside the club system.

Just remember that rescue for the lost or injured is not an ambulance or helicopter, but is physical effort by experienced cavers over  many hours.
Also are the books the ones with the surveys in which give you a clue about where you are going?
thanks for the suggestion
I voulanteer as part of CRO already so well aware of whats needed for rescues thanks
Title: Re: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: Pitlamp on December 14, 2018, 01:19:32 pm
well this is a bit of trying to address the symptom rather than the problem.
There is a missing generation to caving.
I am only one of my friends who would have taken to the sport if it were not for the backwards feel.
you *have* to join a club you *have* to have insurance. You have to find a big book and follow byzantine rules to get to go to a lot of places.
We grew up with CROW access to crags. Want to take a friend climbing, just do it.
We grew up with trail centers. Want to take a friend mountain biking then goto a good trail center and they will be able to hire a bike.
We grew up being able to go for a wander on the mountains easily.
We grew up being able to go for a paddle in a canoe with friends.
Non of this has been possible in caving and we feel like we have been pushed out. We would be the ones volunteering for the social media.
I know so many who would have and have volunteered but have left due to the hard / impossible work of dealing with the "our way or the high way" old guard who control access and control clubs.

Thanks for your thoughts Mountainpenguin, which I've mulled over carefully since yesterday. I think there's some useful stuff in there.

But - I couldn't help wondering whether you were really motivated to have a go at caving. If you'd have persevered even just a bit, I think you'd have found that things are different from the perception you gained. (That's not a criticism of you in any way.) I should add that my caving is done mainly in the Dales and Peak District; I can't speak for other areas (although I've been made very welcome on my own visits).

I take it you must still have at least some interest in caving, otherwise you'd not have taken the time to share your thoughts above. In which case - go on, give it a go. You might be pleasantly surprised.

In many cases, if you want to go caving, you and your mates can just go. You don't need to join a club. If you don't though, you'd miss out on so many other rewarding aspects of the caving scene, which you'd otherwise never have known about. Joining a club also normally gives you access to a bunch of folk who are probably going to do their best to avoid you coming a cropper. There are also any number of good instructors who you can hire to teach you skills - but I'd still suggest getting involved with a decent club anyway for the longer term, as you'll get more from it.

Anyway, this led me on to pondering to what extent we should pro-actively encourage folk to have a go. Or whether we should focus instead on making it as attractive as possible to anyone who shows interest voluntarily. I don't have an answer but I think these are factors perhaps worth considering.

Since typing this I just noticed your most recent post explaining that you're involved with CRO. Yet your words above suggest that you "would have" had a go had you not evidently been put off by your perceptions. Now I'm confused.  :shrug:
Title: Re: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: andrewmc on December 14, 2018, 02:15:15 pm
Since typing this I just noticed your most recent post explaining that you're involved with CRO. Yet your words above suggest that you "would have" had a go had you not evidently been put off by your perceptions. Now I'm confused.  :shrug:

CRO does the above-ground stuff as well... not everyone in CRO is a caver (most of the rescues are above-ground, after all...).

Caving really is the odd one out in many ways.
Title: Re: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: Pitlamp on December 14, 2018, 07:06:11 pm
Of course - thanks  - it makes better sense now.
Title: Re: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: nearlywhite on December 15, 2018, 12:47:46 am
I mean getting on my hobby horse, I was quite annoyed at the lack of a mention for BCA Youth and Development - which in terms of concrete results has made a real impact in British caving. Far more than any other initiative thus far.

I agree with Capn Chris (miracles do happen  ;)) and it's my main motivator.

I disagree with your article though David, because I think the BCA is in a really good place on this issue, publications and information are about to update its image but the civil service of caving, BCA's volunteers, that run some of the organs of caving are better supported than ever and there is a vision for the future - we're not all over 50.
Title: Re: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: David Rose on December 15, 2018, 09:57:00 am
Nearlywhite, I totally accept that the BCA is moving in the right direction here. At the same time, I do think the students' presentations make clear we need to take this seriously, and that there is no room for complacency.

Let me just throw one point back into the mix: diversity. Let's face it: the overwhelming majority of cavers are white, and most of them (not all - most) are male.

Are we worried about this? Should we be? And if we are, should we be trying to change things?
Title: Re: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: nearlywhite on December 15, 2018, 11:27:48 am
Oh the irony... Why's my name nearlywhite?

It's something CHECC and Y&D have looked at before - as have the BMC. I think the best we can do within caving is to support clubs that promote it, something that CHECC member clubs do very well.

The gender ratios in student caving seem to have improved massively over my decade in student caving, it'll take a while to filter up.

I'm not advocating complacency, I just don't think you have a good grasp of what certain sections of the BCA are doing - mainly because we don't publicise it as most of us would rather get on with it in the background. I feel the need to emphasize that we're in a positive place so more people feel like getting involved wouldn't be an uphill battle.
Title: Re: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: mikem on December 15, 2018, 11:31:16 am
But youth & development doesn't even have a page on the BCA website...
Title: Re: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: Cookie on December 15, 2018, 12:29:36 pm
That had been spotted by themselves.

I believe they are putting some info together.
Title: Re: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: flashheart on December 15, 2018, 02:47:51 pm
Perhaps the answer is to have 'clubs' where young people cave together, under the watchful eye of experienced and qualified leaders, and are encouraged to develop to the point where they can lead themselves or join an established club.  I think that the idea of caving with adults who are initially strangers is daunting to children and teenagers, who really just want to be around people of their own age and have fun.
This obviously present lots of logistical challenges to whoever organises such a club (funding, safeguarding, gear, transport etc) - one solution may be to work with local outdoor centres who have much of this framework already in place. Imagine if a young person who was introduced to caving on a residential could get dropped off with their mates at their local centre on a Saturday morning for a day of caving, for a small cost, in the same way that they might for football, swimming etc.
I'm aware that this sort of scheme may already exist within some clubs, and that organisations like the Scouts do a lot for youth caving. But lots of urban areas are withing striking distance of limestone, and what I'm describing (informal, fun regular caving for youngsters) doesn't seem to be 'a thing' yet.
Title: Re: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: nobrotson on December 15, 2018, 02:52:15 pm
Perhaps the answer is to have 'clubs' where young people cave together, under the watchful eye of experienced and qualified leaders, and are encouraged to develop to the point where they can lead themselves or join an established club. 

why not just join a student caving club, where you get experienced leaders, who are young, within an established club structure. If that's not your scene, I think Rostam has a good scheme lined up that he can describe much better than me...
Title: Re: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: flashheart on December 15, 2018, 03:02:33 pm
Perhaps the answer is to have 'clubs' where young people cave together, under the watchful eye of experienced and qualified leaders, and are encouraged to develop to the point where they can lead themselves or join an established club. 

why not just join a student caving club, where you get experienced leaders, who are young, within an established club structure. If that's not your scene, I think Rostam has a good scheme lined up that he can describe much better than me...
I can see lots of positives in this idea, if the student clubs concerned bought into the idea and could prove competence to the parents of their younger charges. There are other pressures on their time, however, and a stable arrangement would encourage young cavers to stay and develop as cavers.
Title: Re: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: mikem on December 15, 2018, 04:15:13 pm
Uni clubs had enough problems with insurance for experienced non-students forcing many to stop supporting them (which coincided with the start of decline in number of clubs), I don't think the student unions will allow younger non-students (for a variety of other reasons too).

& most outdoor centres can't afford to run sessions at the sort of prices that scouts offer - so you're still left with a lack of opportunities...

Mike
Title: Re: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: flashheart on December 15, 2018, 05:01:20 pm

& most outdoor centres can't afford to run sessions at the sort of prices that scouts offer - so you're still left with a lack of opportunities...

Mike
I agree Mike. Such a scheme would rely on volunteers and would have to be subsidised from elsewhere, rather than as part of the outdoor centre's business model. It would rely on the co-operation of the centre, as they would essentially supply gear, facilities and transport (during times when they were not required for 'paying customers'). Could the BCA help with insurance, subsidies, a support framework etc? I don't know. It just seems to me that the pieces are all there.
Title: Re: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: JasonC on December 15, 2018, 07:30:51 pm
Uni clubs had enough problems with insurance for experienced non-students forcing many to stop supporting them (which coincided with the start of decline in number of clubs), I don't think the student unions will allow younger non-students (for a variety of other reasons too).


This is true, but some Universities (especially Russell group ones) are under pressure to recruit from a wider range of schools and already run outreach programmes.  So a link-up with local sixth-forms could be spun as an effort of this kind and get the authorities actively supporting it, rather than trying to block it.

(I know, and pigs might fly too...)
Title: Re: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: andrewmc on December 15, 2018, 07:36:51 pm
It's probably one of those tragic ironies that, unlike most sports, you _have_ to join a caving club to cave. I know that's not actually true, yet every person who comes onto this forum gets told to join a club...

And yet in most sports where do young people start? Clubs, whether it be the local football club or whatever. And what do caving clubs do for young people? Very little... With a few exceptions, of course, but most caving clubs in the country don't want anything to do with young people.

If caving really wants more kids involved, then it needs people willing to a) jump through the child protection hoops (which is a lot easier if you have NGB support) and b) willing to take kids caving on a regular basis. Such people do exist, and are already taking people caving, and should be applauded, but I don't see queues forming to lead kids' trips... Not that I'm any better of course (although a very brief failed career in teaching suggests I'm not the person to make kids behave!).

Student clubs are absolutely the wrong answer to getting U18s caving (I actually wrote drinking instead of caving initially - Freudian slip!) for a variety of reasons.

(and since there is another reply, here are some of those reasons...)

Uni clubs often have enough trouble getting leaders to run their own trips, let alone others.
Taking kids caving requires adopting a very serious duty of care, leading trips appropriately and having sufficient experience and management skills to never end up in trouble. Essentially the same sort of management as commercial caving.
Student caving is all about personal growth and trying new things; 'normal' caving where you try things that are sometimes outside your comfort zone and previous skills. Its a group of peer or near-peers exploring the world of caving, not a leader and those the leader is caring for.
Student clubs are a place for people who have just become adults to express themselves - they've only just broken free of being U18, and now they have to start looking after them?
Also the drinking.
Title: Re: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: Chocolate fireguard on December 15, 2018, 08:09:49 pm


Let me just throw one point back into the mix: diversity. Let's face it: the overwhelming majority of cavers are white, and most of them (not all - most) are male.

Are we worried about this? Should we be? And if we are, should we be trying to change things?

Caving is an activity which at first sight has little to recommend it.
Not many people take it up, obviously fewer do it more than once and even fewer carry on year after year.  There will be many reasons for this.
Is it sensible to assume that people of different ethnicity, gender, upbringing and so on all attach the same importance to all these reasons?
In an ideal world everyone would have the same opportunities to become (or not) a caver.
But just playing the numbers game (and I’m afraid that’s what often follows a mention of “diversity”) ignores the valid reasons for people of different backgrounds wanting to do different things and does not prove that the opportunities are not there.
Title: Re: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: ian.p on December 15, 2018, 09:34:53 pm
I think there's an important point to be made that I think gets forgotten in the social media age, especially by the older demographic. It's all too easy to just accept the narrative that getting photos on social media is all that matters to young people it's just not the case.

At the end of the day social media is not really all that important.

Try not to gasp too loudly! I have been involved with student and children's caving groups for over a decade. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat - they might turn someones head and spark an interest and done well can help to signpost people to resources that will help to introduce them to the sport, but at the end of the day it's the people they meet and the communities they form that makes the difference. What is more, even if getting that photo on Instagram is the most important thing for 90% of the population that's not the 90% we are interested in and its not the fraction of a percent we need to create a long term caving community.

I think it's important to remember that throughout cavings history it has always attracted outsiders - those that don't fit in anywhere else and aren't really that "cool". These are the people for whom caving will become the most important part of their life, these will be the life long devotees and these are the children who will use that lifeline to survive their adolescence if they are thrown it.

We need to have a much broader discussion then just how to use social media if we really want to improve our sport for young people.

Things that really make a difference to youth caving:

-Scout leaders taking young people caving.

-Groups of like minded adults who think its important young people can access sports like caving setting up clubs (EECC /FSC) or groups within clubs (like the UWFRA outdoor club) that are geared towards taking young people caving.

-National and regional bodies taking clear and proactive stances in support of developing caving for children. The ongoing debacle with the Charterhouse caving company is a national disgrace.

Things that make a difference to student caving:

-If you are involved in a student caving club and you want it to grow think first about how you build your community. Create spaces for those people who want to be involved in your club but aren't stoked about getting boozed all the time. In ULSA we started having soup kitchens before training evenings. Some cavers raid the local supermarket bins a day or two before, it all gets cooked up, everyone piles round someones kitchen / front room has a good feed, natter and a catch up and it helps create a space where quieter folk and those that dont drink can come out of their shells at their own pace. I remember when I was a student SUSS had Sunday roasts and I think SUSS currently has regular film nights. If you have a community the caving will follow.

- Do not be elitist, only discriminate based on enthusiasm!
 
- If you've just graduated, stick around, don't move home and definitely don't get a proper job! They need you - just try and remember that the next years worth of students will have to reinvent the wheel. They will probably just resent it if you insist on telling them its round and goes on the end of an axle. You will fail at this because its to frustrating not to try but they do just need to f£ck things up themselves the same way you did a year or two ago... stick around anyway you're probably the only one with a car.

Now if only i could get this post down to 280 characters then it would make a real impact....

 
 
Title: Re: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: PeteHall on December 15, 2018, 10:48:05 pm
even if getting that photo on Instagram is the most important thing for 90% of the population that's not the 90% we are interested in and its not the fraction of a percent we need to create a long term caving community.

I think it's important to remember that throughout cavings history it has always attracted outsiders - those that don't fit in anywhere else and aren't really that "cool". These are the people for whom caving will become the most important part of their life, these will be the life long devotees and these are the children who will use that lifeline to survive their adolescence if they are thrown it.

We need to have a much broader discussion then just how to use social media if we really want to improve our sport for young people.

This is precisely what I was trying to say in my earlier post. Thank you for articulating it so much better!
Title: Re: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: kay on December 16, 2018, 09:10:33 am

why not just join a student caving club

Because more than 50% of the population do not go to university (and many of those who do go to "former polytechnics" who don't tend to have caving clubs).

If you're serious about increasing the attraction to young people, increasing diversity etc, you need to look beyond the conventional "university caving club" answer.
Title: Re: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: nobrotson on December 16, 2018, 12:46:08 pm
you don't have to be a student to join ULSA. We've had quite a few non-students join over the years, quite a few of whom have stuck with caving (and even gone on to join other non-student clubs). As for the more vocational universities, we try to recruit from Leeds Beckett and Leeds College of Art each year as well. Beckett have limited amounts of space at the freshers fair so its always a bit tricky but definitely worth trying to do. SUSS is another example of a student club which recruits from multiple universities and also has had success recruiting non-students.

Whilst student caving clubs might not always be the best way to attract young people to caving, right now they are probably the single best vehicle for introducing new people to the sport. Yes, there should be other things available. But realistically right now there aren't. What do you suggest as an alternative pathway for young adults to become involved in caving? I don't see many of the conventional clubs successfully attracting any young cavers. Unless those young cavers were formally members of a university club...
Title: Re: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: Goydenman on December 16, 2018, 12:53:12 pm
you don't have to be a student to join ULSA. We've had quite a few non-students join over the years, quite a few of whom have stuck with caving (and even gone on to join other non-student clubs). As for the more vocational universities, we try to recruit from Leeds Beckett and Leeds College of Art each year as well. Beckett have limited amounts of space at the freshers fair so its always a bit tricky but definitely worth trying to do. SUSS is another example of a student club which recruits from multiple universities and also has had success recruiting non-students.

Whilst student caving clubs might not always be the best way to attract young people to caving, right now they are probably the single best vehicle for introducing new people to the sport. Yes, there should be other things available....

Didn’t know ULSA and SUSS recruit non-students that’s good to know about...well done
Title: Re: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: andrewmc on December 16, 2018, 03:09:28 pm
Unless those young cavers were formally members of a university club...

Ignoring the fact that many university clubs have strict limits on non-students of their particularly University (yes I know there are exceptions, but for example Exeter aren't even allowed to have alumni members officially), what would make a student club any better than a 'conventional' caving club at taking U18s caving (or are you not talking about U18s)?

I used to be in a fencing club and did get an (extremely basic) coaching qualification. It was, I believe, a rule of the national governing body that you _must_ be CRB (now DBS) checked to operate as a fencing coach in any fencing club in the country affiliated to the NGB (which would be virtually all of them). This wasn't, in practice, a problem since the NGB did a lot of the work in helping clubs get the relevant boxes ticked off for child protection (it might even have been a requirement) and applying for a CRB check was easy and free (as a volunteer) through the NGB. Again, this all made sense since virtually every fencing club in the country has kids there who get dropped off by their parents and picked up two hours later (or whatever). I had to get CRB checked once to help volunteer at the UK School Games (I was doing computing things).

I assume most other sports operate in a similar fashion, probably including kids climbing clubs. Caving is, of course, not a sport...

Are there _any_ clubs in the country that have ticked all the relevant boxes to take U18s caving without parental or loco parentis supervision? There must be some, surely...

Of course, the _real_ problem with doing this is getting the volunteers with the sufficient experience or competence (LCMLA level 1 would be a good box to have ticked) who actually want to take kids caving every Tuesday evening for 2/3 hours...
Title: Re: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: ian.p on December 16, 2018, 04:05:26 pm
Quote
Ignoring the fact that many university clubs have strict limits on non-students of their particularly University (yes I know there are exceptions, but for example Exeter aren't even allowed to have alumni members officially), what would make a student club any better than a 'conventional' caving club at taking U18s caving (or are you not talking about U18s)?

There are ways around this sort of problem. At Leeds we actually have two clubs Leeds University Union Caving society (LUUCaS) and the University of Leeds Speleological Association. LUUCaS functions as the student wing of ULSA is part of the students union and receives the associated grants etc. ULSA has nothing to do with the uni apart from its name so we can have whoever we like in the club and the constitution states that members of LUUCaS are automatically members of ULSA. Rules are there to be got around, anyone with enough imagination and the will can find ways to include whatever demographics they want in there club worst case scenario don't make them join just go caving with them anyway!

Quote
Of course, the _real_ problem with doing this is getting the volunteers with the sufficient experience or competence (LCMLA level 1 would be a good box to have ticked) who actually want to take kids caving every Tuesday evening for 2/3 hours...

Yes this is the hard bit but its not as onerous as you think. Take LCMLA competency in FSC we have a number of people who do have LCMLA level 1 training and/or certification which mostly ticks a box for our insurance and helps us to ensure that our curent practice is inline with current good practice. The majority of our staff volunteers who assist with the running of caving camps do not have formal qualification but we have an internal processes that makes sure suitably experienced leaders take suitably capable children to appropriate caves, it works extremely well. There is no legal requirement for volunteers (or professional's for that matter) to be qualified in order to take children caving. What matters is that you can show you have taken sensible steps to ensure the safety of the children in your care and actually exactly the same duties of care apply to you if you are undertaking to take novice adults underground as a more experienced caver you are expected to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of those involved.

BCA public liability insurance covers adults taking children caving, Education in the Environment Caving Club (EECC) has used it for years. organisations like the scouts and FSC that undertake other activities and have large non caving memberships cant use it because of the requirement that all members of a club take out cover but for caving specific childrens clubs its an excellent potential resource.
 
Having a child protection policy in place if you are going to provide an activity for children is important but it doesn't actually have to require DBS checks especially not if you aren't providing a residential stay. Again you just need to have sensibly thought out common sense processes that to ensure the safety of the children in your care DBS can form part of this (and volunteer DBS checks are still free) but they aren't the only and shouldn't be the only solution to creating a safe environment for children.   
Title: Re: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: PeteHall on December 16, 2018, 04:16:34 pm

Of course, the _real_ problem with doing this is getting the volunteers with the sufficient experience or competence (LCMLA level 1 would be a good box to have ticked) who actually want to take kids caving every Tuesday evening for 2/3 hours...

Is it the real problem?

Do we really think the way forward is to have kids being taken caving by volunteers every Tuesday evening for 2-3 hours? Personally, I think not.

Is there any caving region in the country (or world for that matter) where parents could drop their kids off at the club hut and where there are sufficient kid-friendly caves within range for a different trip every week? It wouldn't be much of a caving club if they went to the same cave week after week after week (mind you people kick the same ball across the same pitch week after week  :shrug: ).

In my view caving is not well suited to guided kids trips on a weekly evening basis (unless we can get the kids digging; now there's an idea!). A more appropriate approach would be caving as an occasional activity in other youth organisations, such as scouts, cadets or schools. Alternatively, what about caving during holdiday camps?

Guess what though (or ask any outdoor instructor), these things already exist and happen. There are loads of kids adventureous activities during the school holidays, or as part of school trips. And guess what else, it's generally the commercial caving (/outdoor) instructors who run these activities. EECC and FSC excepted, but again, this isn't "tuesday evening for 2-3 hours" it's occasional camps.

This isn't the real problem. Kids do what their parents/ schools give them to do and many, many kids get a go at caving, some like it, some don't.

The real problem is reaching out to young adults who are free to choose what they want to do for themselves. Translating the "been caving as a kid and enjoyed it" into becoming a caver. Like it or not, if you live in a caving region, or happen to go to a university with a caving club, this will be much easier.

Universities provide a social space where young people come together in one place, free and trusting to meet new people, new ideas and new activities. This is the perfect environment to introduce young adults to caving.

In a caving region, people will see cavers, meet cavers and hear cavers chatting in the pubs, another great environment for nurturing an interest. I recall getting a funny look off a young bloke in the pub on the edge of Mendip once; we were covered in mud after digging, he asked what we'd been up to, said he'd been caving as a kid and next thing we knew, he'd joined the club and was a regular on the digging team as well as sporting trips in the area and further afield.

For those outside a caving region, or university environment, I guess the internet is the next best thing and I guess the debate here is really about how best to use the internet to reach out to potential cavers and that is basically what the PR students were trying to do.
Title: Re: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: nobrotson on December 16, 2018, 04:48:25 pm
The real problem is reaching out to young adults who are free to choose what they want to do for themselves. Translating the "been caving as a kid and enjoyed it" into becoming a caver. Like it or not, if you live in a caving region, or happen to go to a university with a caving club, this will be much easier.

Universities provide a social space where young people come together in one place, free and trusting to meet new people, new ideas and new activities. This is the perfect environment to introduce young adults to caving.

In a caving region, people will see cavers, meet cavers and hear cavers chatting in the pubs, another great environment for nurturing an interest. I recall getting a funny look off a young bloke in the pub on the edge of Mendip once; we were covered in mud after digging, he asked what we'd been up to, said he'd been caving as a kid and next thing we knew, he'd joined the club and was a regular on the digging team as well as sporting trips in the area and further afield.

For those outside a caving region, or university environment, I guess the internet is the next best thing and I guess the debate here is really about how best to use the internet to reach out to potential cavers and that is basically what the PR students were trying to do.

Spot on. Peachey's comment earlier about not being elitist is key to involving young adults who are not at university, and I feel that this attitude is very strong amongst student cavers.

People outside of caving regions that want to start definitely have it more difficult these days than they might have done 30 years ago. My parents were in a caving club based in Northamptonshire in the late 80s and early 90s (before I was born), and despite the distance to caving regions for them at its peak the club had a lot of experienced cavers and was actively caving at least once a month. The club had people with a range of ages and professions, but was primarily working people who hadn't been to university. My parents were exceptions to this, having both been to university. I don't really know the exact reasons that it was easier for them to do this in their 20s and 30s than it is today. Maybe understanding this is a way toward getting young people outside of caving regions involved again?
Title: Re: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: Cap'n Chris on December 16, 2018, 05:52:25 pm
Guess what though (or ask any outdoor instructor), these things already exist and happen. There are loads of kids adventureous activities during the school holidays, or as part of school trips. And guess what else, it's generally the commercial caving (/outdoor) instructors who run these activities.

Pete is correct, I believe.

Everyone can stop worrying. There is PLENTY of under 18s caving occurring in this nation; masses of it.

However, in many instances if a young participant wants to progress and take things further in a structured way there is little on offer for them - exceptions being the Scouts and similar bodies. Clubs by and large are not seeking unaccompanied under 18s, and even if they were they would probably not be equipped to emulate, free of charge, the professional sector, which I guess most of their potentially concerned parents would expect, furthermore BCA's own Youth and Development had hitherto appeared to be focused on CHECC (which is adult, 18+, by definition) although I understand there are very significant good moves being made with regard to under 18s; all of this is unsurprising considering BCA and Regional Councils are mostly comprised of (and focus their attention on) caving clubs, and British Caving Clubs are historically pub-centric groups and that doesn't really help. Many European organisations are not like this.

Caving is not under threat by a demographic transition, as stated in previous comment(s), it will continue to exist, but in a different manner so perhaps a way forward is to seek a visionary future for caving rather than hand-wringing about how things can be made to repeat golden decades from another century. The framework organisational bodies are under threat, for sure, though, and the alarm bells have been ringing loudly for more years than I care to recall; the surprise is that they are only appearing to be heard now.
Title: Re: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: NewStuff on December 16, 2018, 06:39:03 pm
You *have* to join a club you *have* to have insurance.

Largely gone here (N.Wales) now, and from what I read/hear, other places are doing a similar thing. We just go out and do what we want. There is some common sense needed about some of the more sensitive places, but that's word of mouth rather than "You will do it our way!".

A lot of the old boys that just refuse to change are becoming less and less relevant as time goes on.

Just take your mates caving, you don't *need* a club if you don't want one. Unless you're on Mendip, then you're probably shit out of luck.
Title: Re: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: Pitlamp on December 17, 2018, 08:19:27 am
In the Dales at least, it's very different from the picture you paint above, NewStuff. The two clubs I belong to here are thriving. One has junior membership and the other encourages younger cavers in all sorts of other ways. Both clubs recognise that youngsters are the lifeblood of our community.

It could be an oversimplification but I get the impression you're not very keen on clubs. Maybe you've been unfortunate in those you've been associated with in the past?

I try to look at it this way; you can do all the things you want to, whether a member or outside of a club. But you get so much more by being in one.

Title: Re: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: nearlywhite on December 17, 2018, 07:05:13 pm
...furthermore BCA's own Youth and Development had hitherto appeared to be focused on CHECC (which is adult, 18+, by definition) although I understand there are very significant good moves being made with regard to under 18s;

Unsurprisingly I disagree with you again on this topic. CHECC isn't 18+ by definition, if it was we'd all have fewer headaches. However I believe the reason it may seem like there has been more of a focus on CHECC related issues is largely down to engagement - they're really easy to work with so progress is made faster. It's been a lot harder to make headway with Scout type stuff because the bureaucracy is a lot more intransigent and there's more safeguarding to be done. There are also fewer volunteers with as much time.

The reason we have one Youth and Development Group is that benefit to one of the components tends to be of benefit to the others and they share similar problems. An FSC caver that becomes a scout leader and runs a university club is not atypical. What I have really wanted to do is engage the membership of normal clubs with an information campaign about the actual legalities of taking children caving but we had to wait on first the safeguarding policy and secondly on the legality of consent. We did make BCA membership free for under 18s as this was restricting the number of trips that they could be taken on before having to pay to be members, so we do focus on all the aspects. We're actually in a good place to support projects and clubs now - we just need engagement.

I've really enjoyed this thread so far, so please do comment and get in touch. I'm sure the rest of Y&D are reading too.
Title: Re: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: NewStuff on December 17, 2018, 07:13:49 pm
In the Dales at least, it's very different from the picture you paint above, NewStuff. The two clubs I belong to here are thriving. One has junior membership and the other encourages younger cavers in all sorts of other ways. Both clubs recognise that youngsters are the lifeblood of our community.

It could be an oversimplification but I get the impression you're not very keen on clubs. Maybe you've been unfortunate in those you've been associated with in the past?

I try to look at it this way; you can do all the things you want to, whether a member or outside of a club. But you get so much more by being in one.

I don't have an issue with all clubs, I actually formed one. Just the ones that flat refuse to modernise and move with the times. Funny handshake, old boys network and all that. Insistence you join *that* club before you're allowed in *their* holes. They do exist, and I get the impression that in some places, they're the norm. I also have issue with those that insist that joing a club is a mandatory prerequisite to any caving at all, which is a surprisingly common attitude. Thankfully, those particular types of club are dwindling and becoming less relevant. I understand that other clubs without attitudes like that are doing far better.

I caved/explored without club or insurance quite some time. The sole club I was in (UCET) before helping form this one (Deep Dark Dirty Wet Holes), was just fine, cracking bunch of people. However, I'm known, quite rightly, for being a gobby type I'm quite prone to telling other clubs or individuals being silly to "feck off" or other, rather less polite phrases, and go right ahead with what I was going to do anyway. I didn't want that rubbing off on the good reputation of UCET, so I left. We're still on good terms, but I'm not a member. There are a few like me around here, so we got together and formed the least clublike club you could get away with. I have to stress that at no point did, nor would they, ask me to leave or not renew my membership. It was soley my decision.

I imagine DDDWH's constitution made a few people giggle or snort coffee. We've also dropped the BCA, as we want no association with a body that panders to the wishes of a minority. We accept it's changing, and that there are some sterling efforts to help it do so, Tim Allen and David Rose being notable. However, we feel there is still a ways to go. We will not be members again until it is sorted. Once the few individuals and clubs that were deliberatly obstructive are sorted out, we'll happily join again, as we've said all along.

We do take a fair few noobs out, despite not being the "type" of club to cater for it. We do try to nudge them UCET's way for a gentler introduction to the underground, rather than straight into a dig or a stomp round a slate mine with dodgy ceilings. We also make it very clear that it's entirely at their risk, and we are not in any way, shape or form, insured for anything at all. If someone is still game, we take them out, see what they make of it, and us. Some are just as daft and opiniated as us, and so continue to explore with us. Some don't like it at all, expecting showcave type stuff is common, and I think I may have sucessfully nudged a few into other clubs. Several of our members are teenagers, or where when they joined.

Hope that helps clear up my views on clubs. Soem are excellent, some are awful, and a lot are somewhere inbetween.
Title: Re: Students tell the BCA how to attract new, more diverse adherents to our sport
Post by: Pitlamp on December 17, 2018, 09:17:10 pm
Thanks NewStuff; that goes quite some way to explaining.

I do think things are different here in the Dales though (and also in the Peak District, where I've caved a lot too).

Between me and you, I've always been aware of how lucky I am to have started caving when things were far simpler for youngsters. The circumstances of my own caving initiation made me (and the mates I caved with early on) very independent and self reliant, in a way that must be more difficult these days. But despite this, I really enjoy being a member of the various clubs I'm in.