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Club trips

hannahb

Active member
I'm interested to know how other caving clubs organise club trips, if they have them, if they have "hut meets"/members-only weekends that are separate to social events, and if there is good attendance on club trips.

Thanks in advance :)
 

skippy

Active member
The CPC meets list is meticulously planned each year 🤣


The planning usually starts in August for the following year to press gang meet coordinators and to come up with an extensive program.
Our meets list comprises of 2 full weekends of meets per month.
The Saturday meet is usually a harder/classic/long trip.
The Sunday is an easier/ novice trip.
The meets also include digging meets, social meets, family friendly meets, walking meets, other 'outdoorsy' meets and training meets, cottage working weekends.
We usually have a handful of away meets ..be it camping or in a club hut.
We have one foreign trip a year.
We have monthly mid week cycling/walking meets for the retired members(Old Copers).
All the above are the officially planned meets that feature on the meets card.
Meets information at the time of the meet is updated via G mail and FB.

In addition, ad-hoc meets are planned via G mail/FB. These usually include Black Book trips, novice trips and other family trips .
GG always dominates August as you can imagine.

With regard to attendance, it depends on the trip. We have had in excess of 20 on some classic meets where by the team has been split into 3 or even 4 smaller teams with staggered start times.
Novice trips are always popular.
This weekend, we have had to limit numbers on our Easter weekend away due to limited bed space.
The CPC has always nominated a coordinator/SPOC for all meets. Although this can be hard work the club always comes up with willing volunteers to carry out the cat herding. This usually leads to a successful meet.

We still produce a paper meets card for all members(please do not start an environmental debate, some of member like the tactile feel of a meets card and actually keep them each year as a record of the club activity).
PXL_20240325_081810571.jpg


So, there you go...Bet you wished you never asked :)
 

Steve Clark

Well-known member
The FMC is a climbing club but we do go caving.

We have a WhatsApp group of regulars and potentials. Someone posts up that they want to go caving and suggests a day, people respond, we figure out where we’re going based on who wants to come. We try to be efficient with cars. The fylde guys drive to Lancaster and one of us will drive over to the western dales. It’s mostly weekday evening meets in the winter, out in time for a pint. Occasionally weekends. The whole Dales is considered local and closer to home than either of our climbing huts in the Lakes.

Our climbing and walking meets are more organised. Weekly evening cragging meets, weekend meets in lakes & wales, foreign trips, and weeks away to Scotland / Lundy / Cornwall etc. These are publicised on paper, website planned a year in advance. Final arrangements by WhatsApp.

WhatsApp makes the wheels go around now.
 

hannahb

Active member
The CPC meets list is meticulously planned each year 🤣


The planning usually starts in August for the following year to press gang meet coordinators and to come up with an extensive program.
Our meets list comprises of 2 full weekends of meets per month.
The Saturday meet is usually a harder/classic/long trip.
The Sunday is an easier/ novice trip.
The meets also include digging meets, social meets, family friendly meets, walking meets, other 'outdoorsy' meets and training meets, cottage working weekends.
We usually have a handful of away meets ..be it camping or in a club hut.
We have one foreign trip a year.
We have monthly mid week cycling/walking meets for the retired members(Old Copers).
All the above are the officially planned meets that feature on the meets card.
Meets information at the time of the meet is updated via G mail and FB.

In addition, ad-hoc meets are planned via G mail/FB. These usually include Black Book trips, novice trips and other family trips .
GG always dominates August as you can imagine.

With regard to attendance, it depends on the trip. We have had in excess of 20 on some classic meets where by the team has been split into 3 or even 4 smaller teams with staggered start times.
Novice trips are always popular.
This weekend, we have had to limit numbers on our Easter weekend away due to limited bed space.
The CPC has always nominated a coordinator/SPOC for all meets. Although this can be hard work the club always comes up with willing volunteers to carry out the cat herding. This usually leads to a successful meet.

We still produce a paper meets card for all members(please do not start an environmental debate, some of member like the tactile feel of a meets card and actually keep them each year as a record of the club activity).
View attachment 18875

So, there you go...Bet you wished you never asked :)

Do you re-advertise meets by email throughout the year or just leave people to refer to the list?

Thanks for such a detailed post!
 
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hannahb

Active member
The FMC is a climbing club but we do go caving.

We have a WhatsApp group of regulars and potentials. Someone posts up that they want to go caving and suggests a day, people respond, we figure out where we’re going based on who wants to come. We try to be efficient with cars. The fylde guys drive to Lancaster and one of us will drive over to the western dales. It’s mostly weekday evening meets in the winter, out in time for a pint. Occasionally weekends. The whole Dales is considered local and closer to home than either of our climbing huts in the Lakes.

Our climbing and walking meets are more organised. Weekly evening cragging meets, weekend meets in lakes & wales, foreign trips, and weeks away to Scotland / Lundy / Cornwall etc. These are publicised on paper, website planned a year in advance. Final arrangements by WhatsApp.

WhatsApp makes the wheels go around now.
Thanks Steve, very useful.
 

skippy

Active member
Do you arrange the meets coordinators at the start of your year (August) or ask for volunteers as each trip comes up?

Do you re-advertise meets by email throughout the year or just leave people to refer to the list?

Thanks for such a detailed post!

Yes, meet coordinators are lined up at the end of December(before the list goes to print/on line).
Traditionally, pre internet, it was a hard fast rule that the meet leader(as it was referred to) was expected to lead the meet no matter what. These days, the coordinator can be changed last minute due to the wonders of modern communication. We still nominate a coordinator as in most cases they chivvy things along and the meet goes ahead.. Rather than sitting around drinking tea pondering where to go. Its also a re assurance for new members to have a point of contact.
Re advertising the meet, the full meets list is on the CPC website. The coordinator usually send a mail out the week before to advise on what the trip involves and to firm up any meeting arrangements. Its also good to gauge who may turn up.
 

pwhole

Well-known member
WhatsApp is evil, IMO. and is ruining my life. Plus unless everyone is on the group and committed to using it, it doesn't work as a planning system. Plus it's owned by Meta, and if it goes down, or they pull it, all those plans are vapour. And they share your data with the authorities if they ask for it. Just ask everyone at the COVID inquiries.
 

wellyjen

Well-known member
CreweCPC plan a day trip, or weekend, roughly every other weekend. Done in advance by the meets secretary, up to a year ahead. We disorganise things by email list. Currently use groups.io, who imported all our users and data from the Yahoo group we had been using since 2003 when they shut down. This is set up to automagically email every one in the club with a reminder five days before the trip. We then get an idea on who is planning to go. Travel and gear arrangements are then made using the mailing list and the trip goes ahead. If there is no enthusiasm in the run up to the day, or the weather forecast is vile, it is either rearranged, or sometimes cancelled.
Email lists are very old fashioned, compared with whatsapp and other social media, but they suit our membership. Some are getting on a bit, but still active cavers, They are fine with email, but not with phone based apps. Having every one on the same system means we all get to hear about trips and are involved. Helps prevent cliques forming, where people are on different systems. If some one wants to advertise an extra trip, perhaps at short notice, they can email the entire club. We see no reason to change yet.
 
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wellyjen

Well-known member
Thanks wellyjen. Do you generally get enough people attending to make the whole thing worthwhile?
Generally yes. Numbers on trips vary from two, or three to low teens, with an average of five, or six. Members and guests. This is out of a membership of over 40, with maybe a dozen most regularly active. Having a reasonable idea of numbers in the run up, we can alter plans. Perhaps scaling back the trip, if the numbers are low, or expanding it with a second trip, or splitting in to a rigging and derigging party if a popular trip is going to be mobbed. It's rare to cancel a trip from lack of interest, rather than weather. If we do it is perhaps something obscure, short and muddy that coincides with several of the usual suspect's summer holiday plans.
 

thehungrytroglobite

Well-known member
At BPC, every other weekend (ie. once a fortnight) is usually a meet weekend. Saturday trip is usually a trip aimed at competent / experienced cavers, while Sunday trips are more novice friendly. The benefit of this is that every meet weekend caters to a wide range of people - I never go on the Sunday trips but often go on the Saturday ones, likewise, there are some that do it the other way round.

Personally I'd prefer a harder option on Sunday too, but it doesn't really matter. In reality, the planned trip often doesn't go ahead due to weather forecasts, water levels, or people wanting to do a different trip instead. In these situations, we still cave as a club, meet at the dump at 9am as planned, and go to do a different caving trip together. The benefit of the meet weekends is that you know pretty much for certain when there will be other members at the hut. So you can turn up at the hut on these occasions, knowing there will be people there to socialise with, and to cave with the next day. The only times this is different is when there is a club trip to a different caving region, but those don't happen particularly often.

Attendance at club meets varies, I'd guess it's usually between 15 - 30 people but that is a wild estimate and might be wrong. We have a Facebook messenger chat for young BPC members which we use to keep in touch about when others will be at the hut, which weekends we'll be at GG, plan caving trips and collaborate on group meals.

These days because I live 5 mins away from the hut it's easy for us to 'turn up and see who's there'. But when I lived further away it was nice to have the meets calendar available online (which I *think* is available to everyone if you'd like to check it out).

We occasionally have special event nights, like the Electric Picutre Show and Diggers Dinner, but these aren't super frequent due to the extra time it takes to plan them etc.

Hope this helps, and happy to answer any other questions too.
 

zzzzzzed

Member
At BPC, every other weekend (ie. once a fortnight) is usually a meet weekend. Saturday trip is usually a trip aimed at competent / experienced cavers, while Sunday trips are more novice friendly. The benefit of this is that every meet weekend caters to a wide range of people - I never go on the Sunday trips but often go on the Saturday ones, likewise, there are some that do it the other way round.

Personally I'd prefer a harder option on Sunday too, but it doesn't really matter. In reality, the planned trip often doesn't go ahead due to weather forecasts, water levels, or people wanting to do a different trip instead. In these situations, we still cave as a club, meet at the dump at 9am as planned, and go to do a different caving trip together. The benefit of the meet weekends is that you know pretty much for certain when there will be other members at the hut. So you can turn up at the hut on these occasions, knowing there will be people there to socialise with, and to cave with the next day. The only times this is different is when there is a club trip to a different caving region, but those don't happen particularly often.

Attendance at club meets varies, I'd guess it's usually between 15 - 30 people but that is a wild estimate and might be wrong. We have a Facebook messenger chat for young BPC members which we use to keep in touch about when others will be at the hut, which weekends we'll be at GG, plan caving trips and collaborate on group meals.

These days because I live 5 mins away from the hut it's easy for us to 'turn up and see who's there'. But when I lived further away it was nice to have the meets calendar available online (which I *think* is available to everyone if you'd like to check it out).

We occasionally have special event nights, like the Electric Picutre Show and Diggers Dinner, but these aren't super frequent due to the extra time it takes to plan them etc.

Hope this helps, and happy to answer any other questions too.
The YSS do roughly the same thing. The meets list is organised a year in advance with easier trips on Sundays.

Changes due to weather etc are discussed on WhatsApp or in the Helwith Bridge pub.

Digging trips are organised via WhatsApp.

Attendance varies depending on the weather, the trip and unknown other factors.
 

Steve Clark

Well-known member
I should add that we did have some problems initially with WhatsApp for forward planning, as described by pwhole above.

This has vastly improved this year now we have put some structure to it. Ours now works like this :

We have a master group (a WhatsApp 'Community') that all club members join. This has its own normal Whatsapp group, but we only allow a handful of organisers to post to it and replies are not allowed. This effectively becomes the one-way Announcements group. Only one or two messages per week. We encourage everyone to leave group notifications on.

FMC Announcements

Inside this master community group we have a number of sub-groups for each club activity. By being a member of the master group, each member can pick a choose the sub-group's to join and they can dip in and out however they wish. This helps avoid cliques forming and people being concerned about whether they'd be welcome to join in with something. Once they're a club member they can join, see and post to everything.

We currently have :

FMC Cragging
FMC Indoor Climbing
FMC Walking
FMC Caving
FMC Family Meets
FMC Chat (just general conversation etc.)

Whenever a big trip is planned we create a group for that, so the advanced planning can be seen by anyone interested. Recently we've had :

FMC Lundy
FMC Scottish Meet 2024

Whatsapp is quite tidy in the way the groups visually nest on a mobile device so you don't have to be searching for some old group that you hardly post to.

From our experience, once a group grows beyond about 25-30 members, it starts to need some moderation. We quickly divert any general waffle or banter over to the Chat group so people can actually see the meet arrangements.

By tradition, all FMC meets have a post-meet pub assigned in advance at the start of the season by the organiser. Pre-vetted to ensure they're likely to be open and have good beer. That removes at least half of the debate.
 
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