Mid-Appalachian Region of
the National Speleological Society
HOSTING A FIELD MEET
The first step in hosting a MAR field meet is to advise MAR that your grotto, or yourself (in certain cases), is interested in hosting an event. It is preferred that contact be made to the officers on the MAR Board of your intent so that it can be on the agenda for the MAR Annual Business Meeting held each February. During the business meeting, the topic of field meets is always discussed to see who will be, or are interested in, hosting a future MAR field meet. It is also preferred that a representative of the interested grotto or host attends the MAR business meeting to express their intention and any known information.
Hosts are always needed for future field events. Check the Calendar of Events and see if your time is available. Hosting a MAR field meet is an excellent way for your grotto or yourself to become actively involved with MAR, publicize for your grotto, or even generate income!
Make an estimate of the number of cavers you expect to attend. This estimate is the "key" to the success of the event. Use past events as a guide. Attendances at past events can be viewed in parenthesis next to the event location on the "Past Field Meets" page. Both pre-registration (if available) and total registration numbers are given.
Consideration should be taken into account in whether it's a Spring or a Fall event (as attendance varies). Generally, the Spring event brings a larger attendance than a Fall event, however other factors such as a special event or recognition of a grotto's anniversary can significantly contribute to whether or not the event will be well attended.
Consider whether it's a special event besides the MAR meet (Anniversaries usually attract more attendees). Consider how much publicity you will be providing - early and sustained publicity increases attendance. Field meets can be publicized through means of the MAR Breakdown, MAR web site, MAR listserv, the NSS News, social media, and others. Send pertinent Field meet information to the MAR Breakdown editor and MAR web site administrator for posting.
Consideration should also be given to whether or not a "pre-registration" will be offered along with the standard registration. The number of pre-registrants can provide an idea of who well the event will be attended. A conservative estimate for determining a total number of registrants is 2X the number of pre-registrants, based on more recent field meets. After you decide on the number you expect, then have a contingency plan if you find you are going to exceed that number as time for the event draws closer (as stated before, Pre-registration can help to determine final attendance and for PCC Breakfast planning purposes).
Prepare an event budget by using your initial estimate of the number of attendees. Some budget items to consider are:
| ||Saturday evening meal. To include food, and utensils; |
| ||Saturday evening beverages. (If you are providing "good" beer, then the non-alcoholic beverages (sodas) should be brand name also); |
| ||Optional coffee, tea, donuts, and/or bagels for Sunday morning; |
| ||Any site fees; |
| ||Port-a-potties if needed; |
| ||Publicity costs, printing, mailing, etc. (note that the publicity in the MAR Breakdown, website, and listserv are free); |
| ||Registration costs (paper, pencils, name badges, etc.); |
| ||Costs associated with direction signs; |
| ||Guidebook expenses; |
| ||Any other anticipated expense; |
Using the figures, determine a cost per attendee. Set your initial fee at this amount plus a little extra for a safeguard.
Plan on a discount for children: For example, under 6 - free; 6 to 12 - half price. Please note that the MAR considers an "Adult" an individual 17 or older.
You must also collect $1.00 (updated 2/22/14) from each adult registration to be submitted to the MAR general fund. This amount MUST be added to your initial calculated fee to arrive at the final registration fee.
A concerted effort should be made to keep the fees in line with past events; even if that means making a few extra dollars.
Open the meet on Friday night and stay open until the wee hours. Many attendees arrive late due to various reasons. Open again early Saturday morning.
Collect the registration fee plus the name, full mailing address (must include zip code), email address, and emergency contact information for each attendee listed on the registration form.
A Registration Form template is provided "here" for you planning convenience. Many MAR field meets have used registration forms very similar to the "template". Please remember to provide an address and email lines for each registrant listed on the registration form.
MS Word Format (43kb)
Field Meet Site:
Publish a clear, easy to follow map showing how to get to the field meet site, if needed. Typically, clear directions to the site are enough.
Post clearly marked LARGE signs along the route to the site. (Make sure they will be visible at night. Neon colors work well. Take into consideration of possible inclement weather.) Flagging tape helps to draw attention to the signs. Note: Large signs were made in the past for various field meets. These are available from the host of the previous Field Meet and are generally passed down from meet to meet. One usually has to ask around where these signs are being stored between events.
Secure adequate camping to service the size of the group you expect.
Running water or some form of potable water, such as a water tank, are necessary and a must.
Showers are always nice. (Hot water is wonderful!)
A first aid station should be considered at the registration site.
Accessibility to a public phone is always helpful.
Food and Beverage:
A meal should be planned for Saturday evening. Please consider vegetarians in your planning as a alternative meal. This is where pre-registration is very helpful.
Have plenty of beverages available, including quality non-alcoholic ones (diet and regular). These should be available Saturday evening. Friday night beverages are optional.
Coffee and tea on Sunday morning is a plus and should be considered. Note: Generally, the Pennsylvania Cave Conservancy (PCC) hosts a pancake breakfast on Sunday morning prior to the PCC meeting if the hosting grotto of that field meet wishes for the PCC to host a breakfast and if there is NO food establishment available at the event location.
Here are some ideas for activities at the field meet. You may have others depending on the time of year and the specific location of the site chosen.
| ||Have guided cave trips. These can be personally guided or have good cave maps and directions to the caves. A Guide Book is a major plus! and becoming more common at events; |
| ||Cave cleanup, survey project, or a dig; |
| ||Surveying orienteering; |
| ||Speleobiking or Surface orienteering; |
| ||A geology field trip of the local area; |
| ||A slide program; |
| ||Invite an equipment vendor(s); |
| ||A guest speaker on cave related topics; |
| ||Door prizes are always a nice touch;|
| ||Auction of speleo items for conservancy fundraising;|
| ||Squeezebox activities or contests|
Have information available for laid-back or non-cavers. Consider one or more of the following activities:
| ||Hiking; |
| ||Biking; |
| ||Canal Walking;
| ||Canoeing or Kayaking|
| ||Fishing; |
| ||Rock Climbing;|
| ||Antique Shopping; |
| ||Regular Shopping; |
| ||Commercial Caving; |
| ||Historical Interests;|
| ||Visiting other local interests and attractions, etc.|
Vendors are usually willing to pay the registration fee for the field meet. However, they should not be required to pay a set-up fee.
Many vendors are happy to provide a door-prize if they are treated well.
If you have a commitment from a vendor, make it known in YOUR publicity. It may draw more attendees, and not only is it fair to the vendor, but shows good relations and may help with future vendor participaion.
Consider a vendor site in a highly visible area and let them know about the availability of amenities such as electricity, etc
If you're hosting the Fall Meet, make provisions for MAR elections. It is nice to have pre-printed ballots, however, at a minimum, have pieces of paper and writing utensils available to attendees. The registration table at the event is a good place to have attendees fill out their ballots.
The sponsor of the field meet does not have to provide the names of nominees for the election; a list from the MAR Nominating Committee or write-ins from event attendees will be sufficient.
Profit and Loss:
Careful planning is the "key" for a successful event. However, some fieldmeets are not aways a financial success. If you lose money, the sponsor or host MUST absorb the loss. If you make money, twenty-five percent (25%) of the profits are to be remitted to the MAR. (This is in addition to the $1.00 fee you collected for the MAR, which is automatically handed over.) (See above message under "Budget")
After the Event:
1) Please have someone write a brief report about the event to include total number of attendees, menu, events/activities held, unusual happenings, weather conditions, etc. Publish this report in your local grotto newsletter. Whether it is published locally or not, please send a copy of the report to the editor of the "MAR Breakdown" for publication.
2) Send two things to the Treasurer of the MAR.
A) MAR fee collections plus 25% of the profits.|
B) An accounting summary of the funds.
PDF Format (28kb)
3) To the keeper of the MAR addresses, send the following:
A list of the names and full addresses (including zip code) of the attendees for which you collected the $1.00 MAR fee. You may send the actual registration forms as long as it is clear which attendees are adults. The forms will be returned if requested.
*Credit is given to Carol Tiderman et. al., for originally providing the above information which was originally published in the MAR Breakdown, Vol. 6, No. 1, March 1991, and than re-printed in Vol. 13, No. 3, January 1999 with a few additions by the editor. Keith Wheeland and Bette White have added additional Information. In addition, a few ideas and comments have been added by the MAR Webmaster for the online version.