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Recipe for a Great Geocaching Event


Team GeoBlast
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:huh: FOOD!!! :( Actually you have to decide if you want a social event or a group hunt event. I have attended events where you show up and get a list of event caches, grab a bit to eat then hit the trails. I didn't get to visit with the newer local cachers much but did get a few caches. I have also attended events that hadn't placed caches for the event and it was more of a social event where you just get to visit and eat. It's also pretty cool to have a geocoin collector bring in some of their treasures to show off, it always seems to be a hit. Activities are also a must, our local group usually has a silent auction that's always fun. I went to one where a cacher brought her kayak along and was giving some basic instruction for that. Just remember when you are setting it up, that theres no set rules for a sucessful event, pick things that your local cachers enjoy, add your own flavor and run with it. B)
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Geocachers are a small piece of the whole of humanity. We share a secret among ourselves that most around us don't know and many don't want to know.

To have a successful event you just need to get us together to share this thing that has become such an important part of our lives. The format isn't important, it is the people.

To paraphrase, "Post it and they will come"

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I'd say a lot depends upon how many events have already been held in your area. If not many, I'd stick to a basic meet and greet - potluck FOOD: you provide name tags, paper plates, napkins, plastic utensils (and bring serving spoons and knives for carving up cakes and such). Possibly water or other beverages. And just let people mingle.

 

If there have been a lot of events, you might want to go for some geocaching games or hunts.

I prefer simple events, where the emphasis is on having time to talk, not a bunch of planned activities that break up the group. Some new caches in the area is bonus, but too many will pull people away from the event and out to the caches.

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Depends in some part on what type of event you want to host!

 

I am an event junkie, just love them, and have never seen a bad one, even when only a few showed up.

 

As noted above, we share a common bond in geocaching, so it's not like hosting a Christmas Party where you bring friends, family and co-workers together and hope they find something to talk about... put a few geocachers at a table and the party is on!

 

It really can be that simple - waypoint a restaraunt or a pavilion in a local park, create an event page, and they will come.

 

Doesn't much matter if you set up a grill for rollers and sliders (that's hot-dogs and hamburgers to you landlubbers!) or tell folks to bring pot-luck covered-dish, they'll come, meet and have a ball pretty much regardless of what you do as host.

 

We started having local events, advertised in our local forum but not listed on geocaching.com, which were so popular they turned into regular events that are now listed every month - we rotate volunteer hosts, who pick a restaraunt, and meet on the third Thursday of every month. Usually ~40 cachers show up. We usually will go caching in small groups afterward.

 

Then you have your day-long events, which usually include games, maybe prize drawings, geocaching-related challenges and / or geocaching runs through the area. You can't set up an event specifically for the geocaching runs, but you can include them before, during and after a social event.

 

My personal favorite is the weekend campout. That way folks can come when they can for the day Saturday, just for dinner, stay the night or come Sunday. I have many great memories of strangers hooking up around a campfire and having a ball, leaving with new GoePals and plans to cache together. Do this near hotels or cabins as some folks don't camp.

 

Silly games are fun no matter how you style the event!

 

Some of the fun things that I have done that folks still talk about years later are:

 

If the event is in a restaraunt get permission of the management and hide a cache or two somewhere inside. I usually hide something small that has a geocoin in it or maybe something coveted like the Jeep TBs. Tell the attendees that it is hidden somewhere in the restaraunt and watch the fun! The FTF gets to keep it (or move it, in the case of a TB). Watching folks casually and supposedly seruptitiously search a restaraunt full of diners is great entertainment for the staff who are in on it as well as the attendees!

 

Regardless of location, in a park or a restaraunt, hide some caches (I use stocked ammo boxes) around the perimiter. Gather attendees together before or after the meal (before is better - they tend to go caching after!) divide them into small 3-5 person teams (choose team-mates at random so friends don't stick together), and do something like blindfold one and have his team-mates lead him to the cache by voice commands... no touching. The blind-folded one has to find, retrieve and return the cache to the starting point. They get to keep the cache for a new hide. Doing this in a restaraunt parking lot with the whole world watching and wondering what those fools are up to adds to the fun! This is a wonderful way to get folks to interact.

 

A variation on this that can be done anywhere is hide the cache where its location can be seen from the starting point, give all participants an FRS radio but take their GPS. One person at the starting point has both a GPS and a radio, and he has to guide the cachers to the cache using only voice directions and the bearing/distance on the GPS.

 

Drawings take forever and have been done to death, but still seem to be an integral part of most events. I don't do them at mine.

 

GPS Target games are fun and educational. Choose a spot, any spot that's not obvious, and waypoint it. Give attendees the coordinates and have them place a numbered flag or slip of paper as close to the waypoint as their GPS can get them. You will be amazed at the accuracy spread and participants will learn something about their GPS! Good for newbies and gurus alike.

 

The underlying theme of all these games, for me, is twofold; give them something fun and memorable to do and reward them with ready-to-hide geocaches! Sure, there's some cost involved in giving away 10 stocked ammo boxes, but that's 10 that you'll soon get to go find and folks will always remember your event!

 

Poker runs are great fun and can be done anywhere: Hide seven caches, each with sealed and numbered (as each cache is numbered, 1-7) envelopes that contain a playing card. Give attendees the seven waypoints. They find as many as they can and take one envelope from each cache, so if they find them all they return with one each envelopes numbered 1-7. Have them all open their envelopes at once (no swapping!) and make the best 5-card poker hand they can of their 7 cards, and award prizes in order of the hand quality.

 

Have fun, hope that helps,

Ed

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Drawings take forever and have been done to death, but still seem to be an integral part of most events. I don't do them at mine.

 

I really really really don't like drawings - the take forever and have been done to death. Oh, TAR just said that.

A one time door prize - fine. Drawing and call a bunch of numbers.... you've killed the conversation and crowd dynamic to focus on mere stuff. Bad idea.

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I've only attended one event cache but I had the best time of my life. It started off with everyone signing in (around 100). Then receive the list for the event caches, around 7 i believe. The caches were set up on a poker-run for the grand and 2nd prizes. It's hard to talk about everything that happened to just check out the pictures and logs.

 

GCXGAE Cache Slash Fest 2006

http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_detai...c4-e3f3ebc942d1

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I really really really don't like drawings - the take forever and have been done to death. Oh, TAR just said that.

A one time door prize - fine. Drawing and call a bunch of numbers.... you've killed the conversation and crowd dynamic to focus on mere stuff. Bad idea.

 

As a newbie, I gotta say that the very first event I went to had a small raffle or drawing. About 15 things were given away, short enough not to be too much of a conversation killer. Mostly importantly, I won the grand prize and it will stick with me forever that all I did was show up, got a free ticket, and won a beautiful 2006 gold compass rose coin! (Oh and met a great bunch of people!) Many swaggies (Australian for geocacher) brought their personal coins for the drawing and that’s how I managed to get hooked on the coin thing. Also, the organizer of the event donated the compass rose coin and I’ve been trying to think of a way to “pay it forward.” He’s hosting a CITO in January and, yes, having another drawing with donated stuff. I think I’ll bring a couple of ammo cans that will be good to go, thanks for the ideas. :(:huh:

 

Cheers,

nooks

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We are going to be hosting our first event and want to make it as fun and interactive as possible. We are interested in hearing about anything that you have experienced at an event that made it stand out.

 

You're getting some GREAT advice on this thread so far.

 

If you find a recipe that works make it a TRADITION.

 

A truely great event idea can't be done to death if you want to start a tradition of your own.

 

In Texas, we have several local and state traditions for geocaching events.

 

The first to really get started was the Texas Challenge in 2003. March 17, 2007 will be the 5th such event. The entire state of Texas became an organized geocommunity around this event.

 

Beaumont, Texas has its First Mondays in Beaumont event that has been held the first Monday of the month for nearly 2 years.

 

I followed Beaumont's example with Any 'Ol Monday in the Armpit of the Universe ('cept the FIRST!) which I hold every 6 to 8 weeks on a Monday that doesn't compete with the Beaumont event. The next one will be the 4th time around for this recipe.

 

I have an annual event called The White Elephant Exchange that has grown by at least 50% every year. 100 Geocachers, or just shy of that number attended this year. We took up better than a third of the entire restaurant. Next year I'll need my company's amphitheater to hold the event.

 

We are in our third year of Safe from the City New Years Eve where we all get together at a State Park to camp, geocache, and celebrate the New Year.

 

We tried to start a freeze your butt off campout tradition in November, but the dang Texas weather wouldn't cooperate. :huh::(

 

The DFW area has a semi-regular breakfast event and the Austin folks do the dinner thang quite regularly as well.

 

It just goes to show ya that good recipes will grow and last.

Edited by Snoogans
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Drawings take forever and have been done to death, but still seem to be an integral part of most events. I don't do them at mine.

 

I really really really don't like drawings - the take forever and have been done to death. Oh, TAR just said that.

A one time door prize - fine. Drawing and call a bunch of numbers.... you've killed the conversation and crowd dynamic to focus on mere stuff. Bad idea.

 

I sort of agree. I could care less about free junk and prizes.... But:

 

Drawings are good if they are filling time between event activities and are handled properly.

 

This year at GW4, the TB prize drawing took place while the serving line was being set up. It served TWO purposes. #1 was to reward the folks who brought TBs in and coded them in our new TB coding system to help TBs move toward their goals in the chaos of TBs at a mega-event and #2 to draw folks away from the food until it was ready to be served.

 

The trick to a GOOD drawing is to not have tooo much stuff to give away and to PAY ATTENTION to the crowd.

 

As soon as you start to lose their attention, double and triple up the items you have left to bring the drawing to a close as quickly as possible. 10 Minutes MAX.

Edited by Snoogans
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I can tell you what I don't like about certain events. Events that are located in cache rich parks, or when numerous temporary event caches have been placed for the event (or both).

 

I go to events to meet people and it's hard to do that when everybody is off caching. I've been to events where when the "attended" logs start rolling in, I see logs from person after person who were at the event and I never got to meet.

 

I prefer events events that have a central focus (food is always good) that keeps people together and any organized activities that encourage people to mingle, rather than head off to all corners of the park.

Edited by briansnat
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Wow, Snoogans beat me to it! I tossed out the idea of A white Elephant exchange to the local cachers on the groups site. Personally, I thought it was a great idea! I suggested that the gifts be either cool cache containers, somthing related to geo-caching, or the worst swag ever.

While I was looking forward to the idea, I did not receive ONE reply.

Doesnt mean that I wont try it next year though!

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Wow, Snoogans beat me to it! I tossed out the idea of A white Elephant exchange to the local cachers on the groups site. Personally, I thought it was a great idea! I suggested that the gifts be either cool cache containers, somthing related to geo-caching, or the worst swag ever.

While I was looking forward to the idea, I did not receive ONE reply.

Doesnt mean that I wont try it next year though!

 

Feel free to use my event page as a template if you want. All the rules are spelled out pretty clearly. You can add or change whatever you like. ;)

 

We have been planning a geocaching related White Elephant style event for the hottest time of the summer (July-August) here in the Armpit of the Universe, when no one feels much like being outside. I'm sure that will become an annual event as well. Everyone looks foreword to White Elephant and now we'll have an excuse to have one every 6 months or so...... :)

 

It's a genuine recipe for a good time. :)

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I can tell you what I don't like about certain events. Events that are hidden in cache rich parks, or when numerous temporary event caches have been placed for the event (or both).

 

I go to events to meet people and it's hard to do that when everybody is off caching. I've been to events where when the "attended" logs start rolling in, I see logs from person after person who were at the event and I never got to meet.

 

I prefer events events that have a central focus (food is always good) that keeps people together.

 

I'll second your opion Brian. Events are FOOD & CACHERS not organized hunts.

 

My last Cache Event that I hosted was done in the hills. We did a hike and hid a cache then I took them on a tour of the area just to find the caches that are up there and see some of the sights.

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We are going to be hosting our first event and want to make it as fun and interactive as possible. We are interested in hearing about anything that you have experienced at an event that made it stand out.

 

You're getting some GREAT advice on this thread so far.

 

 

I'm so thankful too.. this is so helpful everyone.

Edited by Team GeoBlast
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We have been planning a geocaching related White Elephant style event for the hottest time of the summer (July-August) here in the Armpit of the Universe, when no one feels much like being outside. I'm sure that will become an annual event as well. Everyone looks foreword to White Elephant and now we'll have an excuse to have one every 6 months or so...... ;)

 

hmmmm, Christmas in July???

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We usually have closest to the pin contests to spark Maggie vs. garmin bragging rights. In the past, we have planted little flags with our names on them. At the last BAGO HOTDOG BASH I changed the rules, in that everybody had ten minutes to zero out, than at a prearranged time, I would blow the whistle and everybody had to put their thumb on their ground zero. What a hoot watching from the hill that was!! :mad::o:huh::huh:

 

P.S. Garmin users get a three foot handicap to even up the odds of winning against Maggies, otherwise they won't even compete because they know they can't win, especially if it's in the woods...because everybody knows Garmins can't receive signals thru leaves. :laughing:

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We have been planning a geocaching related White Elephant style event for the hottest time of the summer (July-August) here in the Armpit of the Universe, when no one feels much like being outside. I'm sure that will become an annual event as well. Everyone looks foreword to White Elephant and now we'll have an excuse to have one every 6 months or so...... :laughing:

 

hmmmm, Christmas in July???

 

Nope. Nearly the same trading/stealing rules, but with a geocaching theme instead of Christmas presents.

 

We discovered that the most stolen/locked items at all the WEEs almost always seemed to be geocaching related, so I suggested the altered format on our local website and folks jumped at the idea. :mad: The game is much loved among my local geofamily and it seems that another excuse to play is most welcome. I have free access to an amphitheater, so I can handle a very large group. :huh: (Ya might wanna make the trip from Austin. I'd be willing to bet that a few others from Austin that attend my WEE events would be there.) :huh:

 

I plan to post it about 50-60 days ahead, so folks that want to will have enough time do do something creative. :o

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GPS Target games are fun and educational. Choose a spot, any spot that's not obvious, and waypoint it. Give attendees the coordinates and have them place a numbered flag or slip of paper as close to the waypoint as their GPS can get them. You will be amazed at the accuracy spread and participants will learn something about their GPS! Good for newbies and gurus alike.

I would like to see this done sometime. :laughing:

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Cache runs before or after make a great recipe ingredient!

 

To wit this log by RangerRob entitled

 

The Ballad of Team Herd-o-Cats

Ok, it's not really a ballad because... well, just because. Think of it as the "Short story of Team 'Herd-o-Cats'" ( T.A.R., Stephanie2427, her twins Princess Sweetpea and The Cache King, TazDevil091102, WheresDiB, ~tasia, BetaMan, and myself)

 

It all started after the 30 December event in Irondale. A group of like minded folks got together - while waiting for Triple A - in the parking lot of Ryan's and decided to tag along with one who needed a mere 10 (or 14, I forget) to reach a milestone. Once Triple A arrived (and departed - this guy was too fast!) the caravan formed up and went to Ed's house where we were greeted by a very cheerful and plesant Mrs. Ed (geoRose). "Two hours" says I, "then I *have* to head home". "Ha ha, yeah right" say they. "You've never been on a cache trip with Ed before!". And they were right, I never have - well, not one he was leading- but I had heard stories. They tended to have common elements like cops and multiple state line crossings and traveling into the wee hours of the night. Chelemybelle, who bailed after doing the cache on Ed's porch, just laughed and laughed as she drove off towards wherever she was headed. "I'll have him back in 2 hours!" says I, to the lovely and cordial Ms. Rose. "Ha! I'll believe it when I see it!" replies she, who after years of this foolishness obviously knows much, much, better. And so the quest for smileys began. 2-way radios are distributed and the starting point determined - that was my fault, sorry. I don't know what I was thinking - and we loaded up and drove to Hoover, Patton Creek to be precise. There were a few people there and they all came in separate cars, or so it seemed. Cache #1 for tonight, GCR4NA, one of my favorites because it's hidden so well. I'd found this one in January of this year and it was fun watching other people scratch their heads and look in the obvious (though wrong) places. Re-group. BetaMan joins the fun at this point as well. This place is way too crowded. Where to next? And that's where things began to come apart. Be it faulty communications, too much technology, or something else, it took a few laps around Patton Creek to get everyone together.

Tangent Time! I don't know who did the roadway design and layout for Patton Creek, but if they weren't the same people that came up with the Hot Wheels "Criss Cross Crash!" play set in the 70's, they played with it a lot and thought it was the coolest thing ever. Now, having reproduced it in asphalt and concrete must be pretty proud of themselves.

Anyhow, another lap or two around Patton Creek then it's out to the highway and over to GCY1A4. This has to be the most unique hide type I've seen to date. A little hint: Bring at least 2 friends and a couple liters. 36 ounces may not be enough. This cache taught me something. I learned that I really need to invest in a hat mounted digital video camera and that Ed is not at all afraid to stand back and laugh at you. Next we're up the hill where GC's XQTW and R4K1 live. Again, it's dismount time. A quick charge up the really steep hill and Stephanie's twins are left standing there wondering where everyone else is. The older folks were along... shortly. Did I mention at the beginning of the story that it's dark? No, I didn't. Up to this point we've been in well lit parking lots or fairly well lit alleys. It's dark and these two caches made me glad I had a light with me. There's not many lights I've found that are brighter, lighter, or more convinient than a Surefire X200, that is until you lose it. That's when the $2 Wally Whirled special reigns supreme. Fortunatly I didn't lose my light, though I think I blasted DiB in the eyes inadvertantly a few times. Sorry about that, buddy. We eventually found the box despite the coordinates being off by 50 or 60 feet. Taz, Stephanie, and the kids were standing at ground 0. DiB, ~tasia, and I were coming along toward them when I swept the ground with my light and saw the container. Everybody signed in and back we went. Down is not always easier than up. I'm not complaining, I'm just sayin'. Off to the other one (exactly 0.1 miles away - more or less). The GPSr's were acting wierd, the needle pointed one way but the numbers went down going the other. 180 deg out. Heh, no biggie. Nice view of the Gallaria and Patton Creek from here. Had the kids sign us all in and back to the cars. Again, down isn't always easier than up, is it Stephanie? (who I might add made it without falling or resorting to sliding on her keester) Load 'em up! Another loop through Patton Creek, wrong turn... oops, but we did get GCZ619 out of it. Fuel for Taz and Ed (in the form of coffee for Ed) and we're off again. Goofy GPS directions and a U-turn andwe're heading in the right direction. GCJFET was a DNF, rather surprizingly. Seems it was here about a week ago according to the logs and like Taz saif in his DNF log, we all but disassembled it looking. No biggie, 510 ft away is GCTRNH and it was there. Stephanie found it and signed the remaining crew in (DiB and ~tasia had to bail and get ready for the party they're hosting tonight). On to what was to be the final cache of the evening and though it too was a DNF, I can say, we looked!

 

So, in a nutshell, about 4 hours, 7 caches, 5 finds, a quart of coffee, a lot of fun, and NO COPS, we called it a night.

 

Edit: Hey, anyone have a pen?

Now that's fun stuff, I don't care who you are!

Ed

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After talking in great length to our local Conservation Officer we've decided to have an event possibly in the spring at the County Conservation Area. We might hide up to 10 temporary caches to be found during the day but we'd like to have guest speakers and experienced cachers speak. One of the guest speakers will be the conservation officer himself. One topic he would like to talk about that we hadn't thought about it then transfer of unsavory plants from area to area. (Have you ever thought about it?? What unsavory plant seeds could be hanging on your pants?) We are also talking using C.O.'s monthly advertising space in the local paper to interest new people in the area. Our C.O. says he can get 20 GPSr from the state to use during an event.

 

Anyway, we're not sure how well it will be over but it is worth a try.

;)

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One of the guest speakers will be the conservation officer himself. One topic he would like to talk about that we hadn't thought about it then transfer of unsavory plants from area to area. (Have you ever thought about it?? What unsavory plant seeds could be hanging on your pants?)

 

Thats awesome! I was thinking along similar lines with gues speakers. I work with the Cooperative Extension, and I have contacted the Land Grant College (Cornell University in this case) to see if they would be willing to send a speaker from the College of Ag and Life Sciences, Mapping department to talk about big-picture application of GPS and GIS mapping technologies. I also have asked a couple of 4-H'ers out in the Buffalo area that have presented nationally about GIS to see if they can come in.

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I am hoping that you all can share your opinions on this one... I am planning my first event, but here's the catch. I work for a 4-H Camp and I want to hold it on my park land, and in order to do it "on the books" it needs to be done as a "camp program", which really doesn't mean much, except that I will need to bring an educational twist to it. So here is my though. I will hold many of the typical event activities, but in addition to all that, I am planning some guest speakers, and also openning to event up to the general public, advertising in the local papers and such. I will hold some "how-to-geocache" types of sessions aimed to introduce new people to the game.

 

In your opinion, will the invitation to non-cachers to attend the event diminish the value of the event to cachers? I don't want to upset the caching community.

 

Thanks for your input!

 

Boots...

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I know I'm going to try and include the non-caching public to our event in the spring. My conservation officer wants it that way and I can't see why not. I know for myself, it would not bother me a bit to have someone tag along to find a couple of caches. They just might spot it quicker than me and that wouldn't bother me a bit.

 

GO FOR IT !!!

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