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Youth Groups Liaison Committee

Many cavers have had poor experiences with youth groups encountered in-cave. Some youth groups take cave mineral specimens, contribute to cave graffiti, litter, are unsafe, and can be unpleasant to be around. Most of these problems are a result of inexperience and poor training.

In order to help prevent these problems, the NSS Youth Groups Liaison Committee (YGLC) develops programs and methods to assist youth organizations, their adult leaders, and experienced cavers who work with youth groups. The committee's goal is to provide appropriate and easily accessible information to cavers, youth group leaders, and to parents. To achieve this goal, the NSS YGLC hascreated a website for use by youth group leaders, parents, and interested cavers: www.caves.org/youth/.

  • written downloadable informational brochures, each brochure targeting a specific audience and purpose.
  • appointed NSS Regional Coordinators to assist cavers and youth group leaders in creating individual programs that match the capabilities and goals of the participants.
  • created a list, available on the Internet, of commercial caves that offer standard cave tours, wild cave trips, and special youth-oriented programs.
  • acted as a resource for national, state, and local youth organizations.

Plans for the future include:

  • writing a downloadable general waiver for cavers who work with youth groups.
  • working with commercial cave owners to develop youth-oriented programs.

  • creating an Internet forum to discuss issues related to youth group caving.
  • promoting active partnerships between cave conservation groups and youth organizations.

Caving with a youth group is not for everybody. However, everyone has some skill that can be utilized to benefit youth groups and the cavers who work with youth groups. Note that the accomplishments and goals listed above do not require any direct contact with youth. The NSS Youth Groups Liaison Committee is a national clearinghouse for all people who want to contribute to helping youth groups develop the appropriate skills, ethics, and attitudes needed to cave softly.

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