The first weekend in March saw 1st St Leonard’s Forest Scout Group open up their Scout HQ to local Scouts and Guides to raise money for an artificial caving system to be installed at the Scout Campsite.
The event was led by Martin Dold, Assistant Scout Leader at 1st St Leonard’s Forest Scout Group and one of the driving forces behind the Paul Dold Memorial Artificial Cave Project. Paul, who sadly lost his life in 2016, was a keen caver. He introduced and encouraged many Scouts of all ages to try caving. It was his idea to build an artificial system to make caving more accessible and it’s his brother, Martin Dold, along with Peter Scofield, District Commissioner for Horsham Scouts, who have taken up the mantle to make this project a reality. Planning permission has already been granted for the bespoke artificial caving system. The cardboard caving weekend is just part of the fundraising they are doing.
1st St Leonard’s Forest Scouts put together the cardboard caves over night, using 2.3 Kg of parcel tape and many cardboard boxes to create 148 meters of passages. To make the cave more realistic, they built in a split level that you had climb up and back on yourself, along with artificial stalactites to be negotiated. To add to the fun, a ‘drop in’ spider was made from bin bags. Around 150 Cubs, Scouts and Guides were booked in over the weekend, but in the end, siblings and parents couldn’t resist the fun and joined in too. The youngest child through the cave system was 3 years old, who, once he’d donned a head torch, showed adults exactly how it should be done. The atmosphere was buzzing as the community came together to support this great cause.
14 year old Tamsin was one of the Scouts involved in putting together the cardboard caving structure and was there over the weekend helping lead younger children round the system. She said her highlight has “been taking other people through and showing them all around it, all the different areas.”
Martin Dold said: “Caving can be scary… but if you get young people into cardboard boxes, it suddenly becomes fun. They start creating games, their minds relax, they relax and it’s not so scary. It breaks down fears and builds team working skills; There’s camaraderie underneath there, along with the communication skills they need to negotiate (in the passage) to get past each other. These are some of the reasons for building the artificial caving system at the campsite. It doesn’t become caving, it becomes team work and breaks down the anxiety of being in tubes or dark spaces. It could be fun!”
“Seeing all the younger Scouts come in and they’re nervous, not knowing what they are going to expect in there and seeing them overcome their fears, getting in there and having a good time enjoying themselves. “ – Will Scout Leader 1st St Leonard’s Forest.
“My kids loved it and went back twice! One went from being extremely nervous of caving to absolutely loving it in the space of ten minutes! Brilliant activity for all ages.” – Caroline King (Scout parent)
“The Guides had such a great time and I loved the community atmosphere you generated too. All our parents stayed as well.” Helen 1st Harewood Guide Leader.
The weekend was seen as a great success with the original target of £250 being smashed. At the last count, £1,308 had been raised from the caving event alone. This means that, so far, with other initiatives, the money raised and pledged for the Paul Dold Memorial Artificial Cave Project is around a quarter of the total needed.
While there is still a way to go, the Scouting and wider community is getting behind this amazing project.
If you would like to find out more about the Paul Dold Memorial Artificial Cave Project, please contact Martin Dold at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you wish to make a donation, you can do so through the Wonderful.com donation website: https://www.wonderful.org/
fundraiser/ pauldoldmemorialartificialcave project-33f78d15