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Geocaching Recruitment


OttoLund
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Recruiment is an important issue. I've often thought of ways to make others interested and active geocachers, because the sport is a trill and is positive in so many ways.

 

The web is a powerful tool to do this.

But how shall I engage my children, friends, neighbours and colleges?

I've tried and I always will but the result is by now not very good.

 

Do you have ideas on how to recruite others?

Edited by OttoLund
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I have had similar results. I have gotten one friend interested but he already had a GPS. Another friend is going with me tomorrow and He has told me that if I buy him a GPS he would "get into this geocaching thing with me", His daughter really likes it. My nephew (10) and my nephew's cousin (12) will go with me just about anytime I offer. My nieces want to go when they spend the night. But their parents are not real interested in purchasing a GPS just to cache.

 

I have probably gotten better responses from strangers that I encounter while caching, so I always keep several brochures with me to hand out.

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Don't push it, is my advice.

 

People will either like the sport or think you're a strange person, hunting for boxes in parks.

 

When explaining geocaching to Muggles, I usually follow one of the these approaches:

  • Describe it to them as a puzzle with a nature-component
  • Describe it to them as a nature experience with a puzzle-component
  • Tell them a story about how you've visited location X which you would never had visited otherwise

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How about this? You bully and intimidate your way into high school lunch rooms, set up eye candy in front of handsome toughs, call everybody wussies for not geocaching, get all their personal data from the office (it's the law, they can't refuse) so you can badger them at home, offer them any impossible thing they want to go geocaching, set-up weekend indoctrination sessions ( . . . umm, GeoInfoCamps, yeah! that's it!) where in-your-face is par, convince them that they can't live without geocaching and they should just try it for 4 years. You could get the backing of multi-million dollar ad campaigns at government expense. Cajole, woo, threaten, intimidate, tease, sell, trick, muscle, subtlety court and spark young minds into thinking "Must . . . have . . . GPSr". Lie, cheat or steal. Tell them absolutely anything, promise them anything, guarantee them anything they want (legal, shmegal). . . if they will only go tupperware hunting.

OK. I'm better now.

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Don't push it, is my advice.

 

People will either like the sport or think you're a strange person, hunting for boxes in parks.

 

Yep, I find that when I explain geocaching to people they either think its the neatest thing they ever heard of, or look at me as if I have 3 eyes.

 

When I started this, I thought some of my friends would love it, particulalry one friend who generally has the same interests as I do. Brought him out on a few hunts and hides, but he has no interest in it whatsoever.

 

All you can really do is mention that you're into the sport and explain it to the unknowing. The ones who are interested, their eyes will light up and they will hound you for more information and beg to go out on a hunt with you. The ones who aren't, there is nothing you can do to recruit them.

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How about this? You bully and intimidate your way into high school lunch rooms, set up eye candy in front of handsome toughs, call everybody wussies for not geocaching, get all their personal data from the office (it's the law, they can't refuse) so you can badger them at home, offer them any impossible thing they want to go geocaching, set-up weekend indoctrination sessions ( . . . umm, GeoInfoCamps, yeah! that's it!) where in-your-face is par, convince them that they can't live without geocaching and they should just try it for 4 years. You could get the backing of multi-million dollar ad campaigns at government expense. Cajole, woo, threaten, intimidate, tease, sell, trick, muscle, subtlety court and spark young minds into thinking "Must . . . have . . . GPSr". Lie, cheat or steal. Tell them absolutely anything, promise them anything, guarantee them anything they want (legal, shmegal). . . if they will only go tupperware hunting.

OK. I'm better now.

Sounds like Greenpeace.

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While I'm still new to the sport, I've recruited 3 people already who now join me. Granted 2 are my parents (gets them out of the house, they love it) and my best friend (who at first thought I was a nut case looking for mctoys in the woods). My approach was merely:

 

"Don't think I'm a nut until you try it." They try it, they loved it, and now they're nuts too :rolleyes:

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I have several approaches, which have met with mixed success. Of course, I've dragged as many of my friends along on hunts as possible; but as has been mentioned here, they'll either love it or have no interest whatsoever. I've invited co-workers along during my lunch hour in search of micros.

 

But the most successful campaign to date is the media. I'm a regular guest on a local radio show called "Afield and Afloat", which covers topics from hunting and fishing to general outdoor recreation. So far we've talked about basic GPS navigation and geocaching in particular, on a couple different shows. I had great success self-publishing a short story on our local CIN (community information network) website. I gave a brief description and introduction to geocaching, then talked about how many caches are currently hidden within a 10-mile radius of our town. That peaked their interest, and has spun off several new members to the sport in my neighborhood. I posted that just a couple days after the site was launched; the people who run it have since suggested that I post the story again, now that the readership has increased.

 

Local newspapers are also always very receptive to doing stories like this, as it makes great filler that they can use any time. Just give an editor a call or send an email, stating that you're an avid local geocacher, and you'd love to give them an interview about the sport and how it relates to the local community. Due to my growing public exposure as a geocacher (wow, that sounded weird), our local county park has expressed an interest in having me put together an introduction to geocaching for the general public as part of their summer program. I like this promotion stuff!

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I find that there are not many natural "hunter and gatherer " people out there so even if they are exposed to this "sport" they are not going to get interested anyway. By hunter and gatherer I mean that there are definitely those that like to look for and hide things and those that have no interest in doing such a thing.

 

For example, I made a cache for my students to put travel bugs in and told each class that for $5.00 they could get a TB dog tag and attach it to a toy (bug) that may travel the world. I said we would make it into a contest to see which person’s “bug” goes the farthest. We would keep track of everybody’s bugs by using pins on a map. It’ll be a blast to see where they go, I told them!

 

I only got about a 20% response. How disappointing. :( Oh well, it’s fun watching the ones that are going places. Then again, maybe the nonparticipants might get interested once they see where the bugs are going. :)

 

-it

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Most folks I've told about it think I'm some kind of freak. However, one friend lit up like a little kid and thought it sounded like fun. He just got a GPSr and went out and found a few. I think he's at 14 finds or so. He will never do it as an addiction but he does have fun with it and that's what counts.

 

(He thinks I'm a bit fanatic since I'm currently at 212 finds with 20 FTF in under 2 months. I've told him that is pretty small time compared to the real fanatics. :( )

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I don't know if it helps or not, but I got interested in Geocaching through the game URU: Ages Beyond Myst.

 

Two years before the game was launched, Cyan Worlds (game company) ran this huge promotion where the Myst Community deciphered clues to obtain coordinates and we worked with members of the Geocaching Community to find those coordinates which contained spiral sculptures (Zandi Spirals to be exact...Zandi being a character from the game).

 

Ever since I've been trying to get involved and the Environmental Education Center did a seminar on it (there is a multi in the wetlands project here) I was hooked, I got a GPSr and try to cache as much as I can when I'm home.

 

So...I guess another way is non-traditional marketing. It's a tough find though becasue Geocaching fit perfectly with the backstory of URU, and a marketing team would have to think of in relation to their game/product/service. The good thing is, it's coming more into the mainstream of society (however slowly), so I think that could be a good thing.

 

 

Side note: Does anyone remember the URU cache hunts? They were all in the Western part of the country I believe, I'd love to hear any stories and do an interview with anyone who was part of those (probably back in 2001-2003) for Myst Obsession (website I work at).

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Recruiment is an important issue...Do you have ideas on how to recruite others?

I guess you are from Norway. It appears there are lots of caches and cachers in your country. My immediate question is why are you concerned about recruitment?

 

Geocaching is an appealing and growing phenomenon. And you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink.

 

Frankly, I don't see recruitment as an issue, but I do like the idea of bullying and intimidating, and calling everybody wussies for not geocaching. :blink::anibad:

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Don't push it, is my advice.

 

People will either like the sport or think you're a strange person, hunting for boxes in parks.

Hey GeoVet, did you not read the post by BigFurryMonster? :lol::ph34r::lol::DB):lol::ph34r:

Yup I read Big Furry's post and couldn't agree more. I think the sport sells itself. I just had to get some issues off my chest, I guess.

Edited by GeoVet
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Don't push it, is my advice.

 

People will either like the sport or think you're a strange person, hunting for boxes in parks.

 

 

I agree muchly with this statement. I never try to recruit anyone to anything, much less to geocaching. I am not in this world to be a zealot, nor to be a missionary or preacher for any cause or any pastime.

 

To the OP: Why are you concerned about recruitment? What does that do for you? What is it that you feel you need, that you feel recruitment will do for you?

 

As one recent poster said, you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink!

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How about this? You bully and intimidate your way into high school lunch rooms, set up eye candy in front of handsome toughs, call everybody wussies for not geocaching, get all their personal data from the office (it's the law, they can't refuse) so you can badger them at home, offer them any impossible thing they want to go geocaching, set-up weekend indoctrination sessions ( . . . umm, GeoInfoCamps, yeah! that's it!) where in-your-face is par, convince them that they can't live without geocaching and they should just try it for 4 years. You could get the backing of multi-million dollar ad campaigns at government expense. Cajole, woo, threaten, intimidate, tease, sell, trick, muscle, subtlety court and spark young minds into thinking "Must . . . have . . . GPSr". Lie, cheat or steal. Tell them absolutely anything, promise them anything, guarantee them anything they want (legal, shmegal). . . if they will only go tupperware hunting.

OK. I'm better now.

A simply great and funny post! Thanks!

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The OP has a valid issue and question.

 

There were very few caches in Alabama when four of the cachers decided to get together for a picnic meeting.

 

They created an Event at a local state park and maybe 15 people from all over the state turned up. Someone suggested that we stay in touch and form a geocaching association to build interest in the game and get more caches hidden.

 

Thus the Alabama Geocachers Association (AGA) was born, now 2 years old with 800+ members, a fantastic web site, thousands of caches in the state, monthly meetings and many member-hosted Events.

 

Our expansion and recruitment came mainly from articles in newspapers and magazines, from events and even moreso from our website.

 

Our events are always well attended, with members bringing new or might-be-interested friends and family, but the basic reason for our success is a website that is family-friendly, open, informative, inclusive and fun.

 

Our membership includes several cachers with now over 2K finds, at least a dozen with over 1K, and a huge number with anything from 1 to hundreds. The key, I think, is that we are all equal and there is no pecking order - a cacher with 5 caches is just as welcome as one with 1000.

 

We're all friends here and that is reflected in our forums - I think our forums are the key to a great geocaching life in Alabama. You will find nothing on our site to depress you, nor anything you wouldn't want your kids to read...and we have a lot of geocaching kids!

 

We do still have areas that are empty or nearly so of geocaches. Geocachers in these areas are finding great success in recruiting and building up their area by holding events and communicating through the website. An invitation for someone to come to an event or visit our website is often more successful to recruiting newbies than taking them caching!

 

Northwest Alabama had few caches until five months ago, when two families of geocaching friends, all newbies, began hiding caches for each other, becoming active in the AGA forums and hosting events. Their area of the state is now booming, with new folks becoming active weekly and dozens of new caches being placed.

 

One geocacher in a remote area of Alabama with no caches nearby placed a few, became active in our forums, and caches began to appear in the area. When there were a dozen or so placed, he held an event to draw cachers into the area and generate interest. New cachers are popping up and new caches being placed - he's still ina cache-poor area but his persistance and activity is drawing attention and building up the geocaching community around him.

 

I think the key to our success has been the people more than the caches. We were fortunate to have a core of very friendly and outgoing active geocachers at the beginning and that helped foster the development of a for-the-people attitude and environment in the AGA that continues to this day - to the vast majority of us it's all about the people, and I think that has attracted more families and kids than the geocaching itself.

 

Group caching is a staple of the AGA, where any number from two to twenty may go together on cache trips. This fosters the community aspects of geocaching, great friendships are formed and the quality of geocaches is kept at a fairly high level, as cachers want to please other cachers.

 

So, to recruit and build up interest in your area, get the word out by inviting a local news reporter to go with you (and a few friends if possible), hide caches in your area, hold events regularly, invite friends and family to go caching, and most of all become active in or create a web site that can form the hub of communications and sharing for your area!

 

Good luck,

Ed

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I agree with the concept that someone will be interested or not. Don't waste time on the "not's".

 

I think there's more of a need to recruit current geocachers to place traditional regular size caches, not micros, so our kids have something intersting to look for. They don't buy in to the "log only" thing no matter how great the view is. ;)

 

BTW, I bought my first GPSr before I knew about GC. I started doing this to justify the money I spent. B)

 

John

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I am not very keen on recruiting strangers that I meet on the trail. I enjoy saying hello to people who also like being outdoors, but until you get to know someone, it's hard to judge whether they'll be among that small percentage of people who say "omigod, that is so cool" and get hooked immediately like so many of us did.

 

I have better luck publicizing the sport through working with reporters so that their news articles are positive and accurate, and through talking with people that I already know from other activities. I've converted two families who have kids that take lessons at my daughter's Irish Dance School. There's lots of time to kill, talking about other hobbies and such, while the young ones are dancing. One of those families approached me after seeing the GC.com license plate holder, GC.com window cling, oval GPS sticker and Signal the Frog antenna ball on my cachemobile. One of our area's best parks for geocaching is across the street from the dance school, so it was very easy to say "let's go find one, there's a cache 600 feet away, you'll be back before practice is over." Oops, I forgot to say there was a 200 foot elevation gain in those 600 feet. ;)

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we are just starting to get organized and i tell everyone i work with about it so far no takers but some of the neighbors let there kids go with me and my daughter so maybe they will convince there parents our group is up to about 81 members. i found out about during the summer when the paper wrotean artcle

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The hard part is getting everyone to take the time to log their finds. Six of my co-workers have started caching since I started nine months ago, and every Monday morning starts out something like this.

 

“Did ya find any Tupperware this weekend?”

 

“A few”

 

Strange looks ensue from others. “Huh?”

 

And another conversation starts about finding Tupperware in the woods.

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When responding to this topic, I am reminded on how I got interesested in geocaching. It was through reading a short article in Scientific American. So, why not buy a subscription to a magazine like Geocaching Today and donate it to your public library. Presentations can also be made to local community groups like Rotary, Kiwanis, etc. These groups are always interested in new programs because their meeting are held on a weekly basis. Just a few ideas:)

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This is like anything else - there are people who "get it" and people who don't. I can usually tell who is going to like it and who isn't when I introduce people to the sport. Kids in the age range or about 8 - 11 or so really seem to like it. I tell people they have to like two things to enjoy this sport - (1) electronica and (2) the outdoors. Actually the number of people who like BOTH these things is not that great. I have found that people who already have a GPS they bought for some other reason, seem to take to it a lot quicker than people who have to go buy one. Many people are intimidated by a GPS.

 

If you can get someone's spouse/family interested there is a greater success ratio.

 

I like Wheresgeorging too and it's the same thing. But the tools are a lot cheaper.

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Don't push it, is my advice.

 

People will either like the sport or think you're a strange person, hunting for boxes in parks.

 

Yep, I find that when I explain geocaching to people they either think its the neatest thing they ever heard of, or look at me as if I have 3 eyes.

 

When I started this, I thought some of my friends would love it, particulalry one friend who generally has the same interests as I do. Brought him out on a few hunts and hides, but he has no interest in it whatsoever.

 

All you can really do is mention that you're into the sport and explain it to the unknowing. The ones who are interested, their eyes will light up and they will hound you for more information and beg to go out on a hunt with you. The ones who aren't, there is nothing you can do to recruit them.

Exactly. Never "sell' it. It is not for everyone. Explain a little, and if they are interested in learning more, they will ask. For example, my father knows about it, but doesnt seem to have much interest, but he explained it to a co-worker, and he is now a regular cacher. Let them know about it, and if they are interested they will "seek" out info about it much like you and I would "seek" a cache.

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I've been caching less then a month and I've already inspired several new cachers. I guess I didn't even think about having to recruit people. One guy I work with got himself a GPSr and started hunting just a couple days after I took him to a cache by our work. And my sister and her two kids have re-written their Christmas lists after I took them out over Thanksgiving weekend. They now want their own GPS units!

 

But I think its pretty obvious who is interested and who is not after about a 30 second explanation. You either get that blank stare or you get probing questions.

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I just started geocaching on 11/23/2005 and I have one definite recruit and probably 3 more. I haven't been actively recruiting, just talking about it around work. I did take 3 coworkers on a cache hunt when I discovered a cache was less than .1 of a mile from our front door at wook. They talked to other coworkers and I now have about 8 people at work asking me about the sport !

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