Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Bouldering at Cucumber Falls

While the scouts, venturers and frontier girls were safely underground at Laurel Caverns with their professional guides and our willing adults, the scouting couple was off to nearby Ohio Pyle State Park (the scene of our May 2013 adventure) and spent most of our time at Cucumber Falls.  While the Autumn leaves were somewhat past the peak, the view was outstanding and the natural wonder that is Cucumber Falls made for a perfect Saturday playground.  Nothing says it better than the slides below.  It was nice to add to our collection of waterfalls. Enjoy them.  

Monday, October 22, 2012

October Nights, Hypothermia and REI

@REI Settlers Ridge, PA
Be Prepared...  

for a dirty and fun cavern exploration experience with clothes you can get dirty.  Check.
Have a change of clothes for after the shower and a bag to put all the dirty cloths in.  Check.
Make sure you have plenty of warm layers not counting the dirty ones. Not checked.
Make sure you are prepared for a sudden rain storm while you are still at the caverns.  Not checked!
Make sure you are ready to find your tent and sleeping bag blown over and soaked when you get back to camp.  Not checked!!

This can challenge even veterans, it is a tragedy for the inexperienced and under prepared.  With air temps in the 40s, soaked and shivering scouts had to be dealt with.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Scouting underground

Laurel Highlands in Autumn
2010 before the dirt...
Well we are off to Laurel Caverns in PA today four our almost always annual visit to do some spelunking. We will be staying at the Heritage Scout Reservation, but will spend most of Saturday at the caverns.  The leaves should be beautiful for our passion for photography and the youth are guaranteed to come out dirty and happy.  Those in the lower cave will be the dirtiest and possibly the happiest.  Check out their website for all of the adventures Laurel Caverns offer scouting. 

And for us, a highlight will be to have the troop and crew visit REI at Settlers Ridge.

Caving has an important place in scouting and we have a responsibility to care for the environment of these fragile places.  The BSA Field book has a great chapter on it (and it's free). Also at caves.org there is a great page on BSA and Caving.  Linked there is the Guide to Safe Scouting and policies about caving that any leader should be familiar with.  In particular all should know about the tragedy called white-nose syndrome and what the BSA's responsibility is to help not be part of the problem.

Will it be like 2008 or 2010?
Well scouts know how to stay warm ... 2010

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Area 4 Conference for Central Region BSA - What's in Store for Venturing?

Update: May 23, 2013 The Venturing program Announcement is official at the BSA Annual Meetings (see scouting.org/venturing).

On October 6, 2012 we attended the Area 4 Training Conference (Central Region, BSA) and spent time in the morning learning about recommended changes to the Venturing Program from a member of the task force recommending the changes.  Those of us in attendance got to also talk about and share the issues and challenges we each face.

Venturing will look different (probably starting in 2015) and we liked much of what we heard.  Much of the program we love will stay intact, but the recognition system seems like it will be much more ordered and easier to comprehend.  (read more after the following jump)