The thing which most parents will want to know is whether it’s safe to let my child go caving. The answer is yes, providing it’s done properly which is the only way we ever cave, be it with novices or on the more challenging trips underground we do as Team members. The Scout Association would not allow caving as a scout activity for young people if that were not the case.
The reason the Scout Association is exempt from the Youth Activities Licensing requirements is precisely because it has a robust scheme for ensuring that Scout Caving Permit holders are competent and suitably experienced to take young people caving safely.
The thing that Leaders will want to know is do I have to accompany youngsters in my Troop or Unit when they go caving. Many will be relieved to learn the answer is ‘Not with us they don’t’. We’ll provide above ground training, take them caving and bring them back to Essex afterwards. You don’t have to come with them. If Leaders want to come caving with the youngsters from their Troop or Unit, they can providing they have current CRB clearance and there is sufficient room in the accommodation we use for adults to sleep apart from young people.
Parents and Leaders are welcome to contact us at any time if they wish to reassure themselves that we know what we’re doing. The Teams Safety Policy is included in the Application Pack which can be downloaded from this website. It is also available as a separate download.
The caving itinerary we use for our caving Badge Courses has been developed and refined over many years so we’re most unlikely to come across a problem we don’t know precisely how to deal with – we really do know the caves we use like the back of our hands.
We have risk assessments for every cave we’ve ever used and these get reviewed after each trip underground and updated if anything in the cave has changed or we’ve come up with a better way of doing something.
Unusually, we have an extremely good self-rescue capability if the need should ever arise. That’s because more than half the Team belong to various cave rescue organisations and are trained in cave rescue techniques. Every party that goes underground carries sufficient equipment to facilitate self-rescue, including medical equipment to immobilise a sprained ankle which is about the worst injury we very occasionally have to deal with. It’s easy to manage out the risk of serious injury but the silly accidents like sprained ankles are very difficult to manage out completely!
On the Friday evening of the Caving Weekend everyone meets at he location detailed in your Joining Pack at 7.15 pm. Departure is at 7.30 pm sharp. Pickups can also be arranged at slightly later times outside the Marriott Hotel, Waltham Abbey just off Junction 26 of the M25 and also the South Mimms Services off Junction 23 of the M25.
For the return journey on Sunday evening, your child will telephone you to let you know when you need to pick him/her up at the collection point. It’s impossible to judge exactly how long the return journey will take on the Sunday evening and telephoning when we haven’t got that much further to go avoids parents having to wait too long at the pickup point. We would ask you to collect your child promptly because Team members still have a lot to do after candidates have been collected.
The age limit of 12 is because we tend to find that for younger people everything tends to be slightly out of reach, they find it very tiring and don’t enjoy it. We don’t believe in scouts doing things they won’t enjoy. Those over 12 are fine and will have a thoroughly good time doing something exciting that most people never get to do. However if somebody under 12 has previous caving experience, or is physically mature enough to cope with a physically demanding weekend, then we will consider allowing them to attend.