By Katelyn Kenedy
Nov 16, 2017

Program Feature: Caving

An Adventure Underground

Beneath the earth’s surface lies a magnificent realm darker than a moonless night. Just as climbers are tempted by summits that rise far above familiar ground, cavers are drawn into a subterranean wilderness every bit as exciting and remarkable as any place warmed by the rays of the sun.

In this article we are featuring the program module for caving from the Program Features for Troops, Teams and Crews Volume 3.. (You can also read this article for more information on how to plan using the program resources.)

This program resource with a months’ worth of meetings and activities will take you into this hidden world of caving. Whether you tour a show cave or explore a wild cave, you will come to appreciate a part of the earth that most people will never experience.

Volume 1 Volume 2 Volume 3

MEETING PLANS & IDEAS: CAVING


Printable PDF file of Meeting Plans and Ideas for Caving

OBJECTIVES
This month’s activities should:

  • Teach Scouts the safety rules for caving.
  • Help Scouts understand white nose fungus and how to avoid spreading it.
  • Demonstrate proper clothing for caving.
  • Help Scouts understand the importance of a caving expert.
  • Teach Scouts proper caving techniques.
  • Enable Scouts to practice good caving ethics.

LEADERSHIP PLANNING
As a leadership team, you may want to discuss the following items when choosing caving as your program feature during your planning meetings.

Troop Meeting Planning Form
Click above for fillable troop meeting planning form.
  • How do we locate a caving expert?
  • What is our group’s previous experience and skill level?
  • Which nearby caves are appropriate destinations based on our skill level?
  • How are we going to practice outdoor ethics?
  • How will we acquire needed equipment?
  • What advancement opportunities are available with this activity?
  • Will there be a cost for cave access?
  • Can we do a service project in conjunction with the activity?
  • What changes should we make to the sample meeting plans that would fit our needs better?

PREOPENING IDEAS

Preopening Ideas on Troop Program Resources

  • Show caving videos or parts of a movie, such as Cave of Forgotten Dreams.
  • If a Stalactite and Stalagmite Contest was begun during the previous meeting, judge the growth of the stalactites from the previous week, and determine which patrol has won.

OPENING IDEAS

Opening Ideas on Troop Program Resources

GROUP INSTRUCTION IDEAS

How Caves are Formed

Caving Equipment

  • Discuss the importance of light sources in caves. Explain the importance of secondary light sources.

Caving Safety

  • Have an experienced caver discuss the dangers of caving, emphasizing why it is important to avoid injury.

Ethics and Caving Techniques

  • Discuss Leave No Trace principles as they relate to caves. Review cave ethics.

SKILLS INSTRUCTION IDEAS

3 Categories

How Caves are Formed

  • EssentialDiscuss the different kinds of caves: solution, tectonic, lava, ice.
  •  Learn about stalactite and stalagmites and how they    are formed.

  • ChallengingReview the above information.
  • Learn about cave collapse and the difficulties in moving in wild caves.

  • AdvancedReview the above information.
  • Discuss the dangers of vertical caves.
  • Practice caving knots.

Caving Equipment

  • EssentialLearn about light sources, helmets, proper clothing, and pads.

  • ChallengingReview the above information.
  • Discuss how to deal with food, water, and waste.
  • Discuss how to deal with water in underground lakes and rivers.

  • AdvancedReview the above information.
  • Discuss vertical caving.
  • If available, compare the equipment used for rock climbing and caving.

Caving Safety

  • EssentialReview cave maps. Learn terminology and symbols.

  • ChallengingReview the above information.
  • Examine advanced cave maps of famous caves.

  • AdvancedReview the above information.
  • Learn how to map a cave. Practice by diagramming the building you meet in.

Ethics and Caving Techniques

  • EssentialDiscuss white nose fungus.
  • Learn how to decontaminate caving equipment to prevent the spread of the fungus.

  • ChallengingReview the above information.
  • Review equipment for human waste management.

  • AdvancedReview the above information.
  • Discuss how climbing protection can affect a cave.
  • Practice the placement of climbing protection that leaves no trace.

BREAKOUT GROUP IDEAS

Getting Ready for the Main Event

  • Menu Planning
  • Duty Roster Planning
  • Patrols discuss what special items they will need for the main event

Preparation for the meeting’s game or challenge

GAME AND CHALLENGE IDEAS

Library of Games and Challenges on Troop Program Resources

  • Stalactite and Stalagmite Contest
    – Materials: For each patrol, a tray, two glass jars, a saucer, woolen thread, and baking soda
    – Method: Place both jars on the tray. Fill the jars with hot water and dissolve as much baking soda as you can into each one. Place the jars in a warm place and put the saucer between them. Twist several strands of thread together before dipping the ends into the jars and letting the middle of the thread hang down above the saucer. (The ends can be weighed down with various small, heavy objects to keep them in the jars.) The two solutions should creep along the thread until they reach the middle and then drip down onto the saucer. Place the experiments in a place that can be undisturbed for the next week.
    – Scoring: Wait until the next week’s preopening; then judge each entry on shape, size, and awesomeness. The best entry wins.
    – Notes: Discuss how stalactites and stalagmites are formed in caves. How long would that take?
  • Blindfold Battery Exchange
    – Materials: For each patrol, a flashlight with extra batteries and a blindfold
    – Method: The goal is to be able to replace batteries completely by touch in case of power failure. The flashlight and extra batteries are placed on a table in front of a blindfolded patrol member. When directed to do so, the blindfolded Scout in each patrol races to be the first one to replace the batteries in his flashlight. An even number of Scouts from each patrol take turns.
    – Scoring: The patrol with the most Scouts who finish the quickest, wins.

CLOSING IDEAS

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