Yes, we know. We’ve been uncharacteristically quiet for nearly a month now. It’s not because we no longer want to influence how people cave dive. Far from it. It’s just that, for the past month, we’ve found an even more effective way to do this. It’s by helping to breathe new life into a venerable organization.
It’s not “just an organization.” It’s our home.
The National Speleological Society Cave Diving Section (NSS-CDS) has played a major role in the development of cave diving, almost since the beginning. For many of us who’ve been doing this for the past several decades, the CDS has been our cave diving home, providing both our initial Cave Diver certification and our first Cave Instructor rating.
The good news is, the Section itself is doing better than ever. Membership is at an all-time high and there is money in the bank. We can attribute much of this to the fact many divers join this CDS to get a year’s free access to Cow Spring. Cow is not only an incredible dive site, when compared to the cost of diving most other places, it’s a bargain.
The NSS-CDS Training Program, on the other hand, hasn’t fared as well. Over the past two decades, the Section has lost instructors to attrition and other organizations. This loss was preventable, but no one took the steps needed to do so.
This didn’t sit well with us. While those of us at CaveDiving.com certify through multiple agencies, the CDS has always been our primary Cave Diver certification organization. It means a lot to us. So we decided to step up and take action.
The right team makes things happen
The process began early this year, when CaveDiving.com instructor Reggie Ross ran for and was elected NSS-CDS Training Chairman. Reggie’s first act was to appoint a Training Committee he knew shared a commonality of purpose and a willingness to work hard and make things happen.
Not surprisingly, this committee includes the other two CaveDiving.com instructors, Chris Brock and Harry Averill. Harry is also a past CDS Training Chairman and has worked at or created training materials for nearly every major US-based training agency. But the Training Committee includes several other vary experienced and extremely talented individuals. Among them:
- Lamar Hires (past CDS Training Chairman)
- Paul Heinerth
- Max Kuznetsov (CaveMax)
- Ken Sallot (University of Florida)
- Ted McCoy
Suffice it to say, this group gets things done. Here are some examples.
We wrote about this two weeks ago but, if you missed it, the Section has adopted a new set of entry-level training standards designed to:
- Better reflect how today’s instructors teach.
- Better match the needs and qualifications of today’s students.
- Ensure better quality training and more capable divers.
To learn more, click the link below.
For years, information on the NSS-CDS Training Program was enmeshed in the main CDS website. This sometimes made this info difficult to find and, when users did, what they encountered was out-of-date or woefully inaccurate. With the help of CDS Board member Brett Floren, we’ve fixed this.
visitors can now find an entirely separate website devoted solely to the CDS Training Program. The new site is actually a subdomain of the regular CDS website at training.nsscds.org. Both sites link to one another. The new website makes it easier to:
- Choose a course
- Find an instructor
- Replace a lost card
- Contact the CDS Training program directly
NSS-CDS Instructors will like the fact they can now register and pay for student certifications in one location.
It’s hard to project the image of a modern training organization when your logo dates from the 1940s…and looks it. To solve this problem, the Training Committee proposed adoption of a brand-new logotype to be used either by itself or in combination with the old circle logo.
You will see the new logo appear in several places, including our DEMA booth and our newly-designed NSS-CDS certification cards.
More to come
The Training Committee is just getting started. Current projects in the works and moving forward on schedule include:
- Further standards revisions designed to modernize and strengthen requirements for NSS-CDS Specialty and Leadership certification.
- Brand-new entry-level Cave Diver training materials, available in both eLearning and traditional formats.
- Training program representation at the 2019 DEMA Show in Orlando.
- A day-long CDS Instructor Workshop help in conjunction with the Hart Springs Winter Workshop, December 8.
It’s never been easy to become an NSS-CDS Instructor and we don’t plan to ask for any less from candidates in this regard. Nevertheless, the time commitment required to achieve Instructor status has been wholly unrealistic.
As we see it, the fact we don’t want it to be easy to become a CDS Instructor doesn’t mean it can’t be more convenient. If you would like to qualify to teach Cave Divers or you are already teaching cave diving for another organization, we’d like to hear from you. Contact us using the link below.