Since March 12, 1912, girls of all ages have come together through Girl Scouting to step beyond traditional roles. They have stretched their imaginations and explored the world around them. They have sought out great adventures and, above all, have looked for ways to give back to their community. Caving encompass all of those things while building girls of courage, confidence and character.
It takes courage to carefully step, or maybe climb, down into the world underground, to overcome the fear of the dark unknown and to get dirty crawling your way through wet passages where the only light is the light you bring. Yet, many girls turn this fear into triumph. Sometimes, just once is enough. They come out saying "I did it." They stand proud, knowing they faced their fear and won. Some girls come back trip after trip and year after year. They can't get enough. They are adventurous and seek out more challenging caves. Eventually, these girls come back as leaders, paving the way for younger girls.
Girls build confidence as they discover the world underground. As they face the challenges underground, such as crawling through tight spaces, climbing over rocks and maneuvering between jagged rock formations, their confidence in their abilities grows. A girl may wiggle through a tight space, emerge up a chimney and say, "Wow! I made it through!" The caving group will work together as they make their way through the cave. They watch as the person in front confronts a challenge, and they learn how to maneuver through the same tough spot. They use spotting techniques to help each other over a difficult area, ensuring everyone is safe, and they encourage others facing a challenge they themselves have already conquered, building confidence in both girls.
Through caving, girls build character - whether it's through helping each other in the cave or by embracing the fragile ecosystem found underground. Girl Scout Cavers take pride in ensuring the ecosystem remains in tact today and for future generations. They realize they are guests in these caves. They strive to ensure they do not disturb the animals, insects and formations they encounter, all the while reveling in the beauty they find underground.
Girl Scout Cavers embrace the "Leave No Trace" philosophy where every person is responsible for taking out of the cave everything they brought in as well as carrying out items that others may have left behind. Girls do not remove formations or artifacts found in the cave; they leave them for future cavers to enjoy. Girl Scouts always leave the cave in better condition than they found it. The Girl Scouts have adopted the caver's motto, "Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but carefully placed footprints, and kill nothing but time."
They reflect on what they have learned while caving and take this information back to other troops. They share their knowledge, encourage other girls to join in the fun and protect the caves they visit.
Caving is a fun and rewarding high adventure sport. Girls build courage, confidence and character as they learn about the world underground. For more information, read the sections within the National Speleological Society (NSS) web site under Information for Youth Group Leaders and Parents. If you still have questions regarding Girl Scout caving, please contact Theresa Wiggs, Girl Scout Volunteer Coordinator for Girl Scouts of Colonial Coast, at Theresa.Wiggs@cox.net.
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