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Too Much Exposure?


Tally Dragon
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On one of our local geocaching forums a debate is raging. One group wants more people exposed to the geocaching hobby. They are advocating a recruitment drive that would include teaching classes in local schools, multi-media presentations to groups, booths at festivals, geocaching floats in parades, etc.

 

The other group fears these activities might attract some bad apples to the sport. A mischievous recruit could locate and vandalize or steal geocaches. This group reminds us that geocaching started out as a counter-culture, under-the-radar activity. And we skulk around using stealth to fake out the muggles!

 

A few years ago if you didn’t have a GPS, your chances of finding a cache were pretty slim. Now with Google Earth and a hint, you don’t really need a GPS to find ninety percent of them. Realizing that a bad apple could come along even if you didn’t advertise geocaching, why increase the chances?

 

So while some cachers want to tell the world, others want it to be a clandestine activity. We have one guy that has argued for both sides of the issue. Maybe he’s a politician. I personally like the idea of using geocaching to teach students subjects like navigation and geography. But I’m also leery of too much exposure ruining the secretive aspect of the hobby. What’s your opinion/experience with this issue?

Edited by Tally Dragon
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I think it's a bad idea to over promote this activity and an even worst idea to take it into the schools. Kids today are disrespectful at best.
That's kind of a sweeping statement. I think it's a perfect activity for kids in scouts. When my son was in Boy Scouts, the scouts really enjoyed looking for caches while out hiking. It enhanced the experience. So my suggestion would be to promote it, when it makes sense to promote it. :D Edited by TrailGators
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We have had to make a lot of changes due to the skyrocketing popularity of the sport. Some were deliberate, some were welcomed, some were not so good.

 

With increased popularity comes increased complexity.

 

it is good to have more caches to hunt, it is not so good that the "quality" caches are harder to define and difficult to find in the mess.

 

With more participation, comes more people who simply don't "get it." Among those people will be those who steal caches, put them back wrong, don't care about others, trade unfairly, spew micros and a whole host of other "sins."

 

There will also be those that place great caches, trade up, take great pains to avoid divulging the cache to muggles, look out for others' concerns, hide the cache just like they found it and in general become "ideal cachers."

 

As popularity grows, both groups grow.

 

I think it is more likely that the former group will grow faster if we "reach out" in extraordinary ways to get new members.

 

We have a HUGE entitlement mentality in this country. Me-ism is the biggest ism of all. A very substantial percentage of people just want what they can GET and think little about what they can GIVE. Caching depends on people who want to GIVE.

 

It is my thought that those who find the sport on their own are a lot more likely to fall into the second group (ideal cachers- "givers") than those who are "forced" into it so to speak by a group outreach program.

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I think it's a bad idea to over promote this activity and an even worst idea to take it into the schools. Kids today are disrespectful at best.
That's kind of a sweeping statement. I think it's a perfect activity for kids in scouts. When my son was in Boy Scouts, the scouts really enjoyed looking for caches while out hiking. It enhanced the experience. So my suggestion would be to promote it, when it makes sense to promote it. :D

I had a cache mysteriously disappear twice after a scout expedition found it. I found some interesting logs in the remains of the cache on the first occasion. Something like, "took army man, put cache up in tree."

 

I think one or more of the scouts went back to impress his friends with his new found "secret."

 

This is typical of my concerns with outreach. As I said, some don't get it.

 

In a typical class, most are not paying full attention.

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At the end of the day as any group expands it runs the risk of getting one or two individuals who will happily spoil it for others. There's no way to avoid that unless we hide all the info so no one can find it online or by word of mouth... yeah impossible . So all we can do is hope that too many idiots don't find time on their hands and the inclination to go for a walk.

 

In general though i think most people that hear about it either get hte idea and enjoy it or just discard the idea as a crack pot waste of time :D

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Now with Google Earth and a hint, you don’t really need a GPS to find ninety percent of them. Realizing that a bad apple could come along even if you didn’t advertise geocaching, why increase the chances?

 

That would be great! Those caches that can be found with Google Earth and a hint are probably not worth finding anyway.

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I think it's a bad idea to over promote this activity and an even worst idea to take it into the schools. Kids today are disrespectful at best.
That's kind of a sweeping statement. I think it's a perfect activity for kids in scouts. When my son was in Boy Scouts, the scouts really enjoyed looking for caches while out hiking. It enhanced the experience. So my suggestion would be to promote it, when it makes sense to promote it. :D

 

Agreed.

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I think it's a bad idea to over promote this activity and an even worst idea to take it into the schools. Kids today are disrespectful at best.
That's kind of a sweeping statement. I think it's a perfect activity for kids in scouts. When my son was in Boy Scouts, the scouts really enjoyed looking for caches while out hiking. It enhanced the experience. So my suggestion would be to promote it, when it makes sense to promote it. :D

 

Agreed.

 

Nothing was said in the original post about scouts. He said teaching in schools. IMO reaching the ones that might show interest is not worth exposing the sport to what is bound to happen if this is done. Now if it can be done without using real caches and without mentioning Geocaching.com then that is a different story. Teaching the concept without exposing everything.Something like an advanced class that is taugh later where you would learn about the website.

 

You all think what you want or better yet do it in your area and report back and let us know how it goes. I bet it 's not going to be pretty. I mean you can't even get some of the adults that know about this to play right and you want to turn a bunch of 14 yr old loose on it.

Edited by CSpenceFLY
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I am "new" to this game and I can totally see the justification for concern. I think that caching will continue to grow, but I don't know about it becoming "mainstream".

 

I think people are too lazy. This sport still requires that you get off your behind and walk, observe and think. I believe that as long as we are passionate about producing a good hide, a good challenge, then this will continue to be an activity that many are drawn too but fewer stick with for the long term.

 

In the short time that I have lurked here, I have read several posts that sum it up pretty well. They usually say something like "I thought my GPS would take me right to it, I didn't know I would have to hunt for it, or that it was going to be hidden so well..."

 

Steve

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I don't think over exposing the hobby is a good idea for reasons that have been discussed previously. Snoogans linked to a good discussion about it. The reason still stand.

 

Creating just one maggot in an area can be devastating. They are mostly unstoppable as the best solution ever presented is to ignore them and hope they go away.

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While we learned of Geocaching from National Geographic Adventure Magazine we really don't consider that a "mainstream" way of finding Geocaching. It is a magazine that is read by people who already enjoy the great outdoors and all the "wild" has to offer.

 

We would be on the side of not promoting caching to the general public by advertising with the "big" internet sites.

 

Perhaps teaching to select groups who are already good stewards of the land would continue to be the way to grow this sport and evolve it into the future. Of course that is in a "perfect" world.

 

We think we are heading the way of trying to manage the fallout of too many people being aware of caching and not playing with ethics.

 

We are just noobs, that's our story and we are sticking to it.

 

edit: speeeeeling dahling

Edited by Team FIREBOY
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That's kind of a sweeping statement. I think it's a perfect activity for kids in scouts. When my son was in Boy Scouts, the scouts really enjoyed looking for caches while out hiking. It enhanced the experience. So my suggestion would be to promote it, when it makes sense to promote it. :D

I completly agree. Promote it only where it makes sense. In a way it seems to be almost self promoting as geocaching still continues to become inreasingly more popular without excessive promotion. When I first started I had to research a bit to find out what this activity was all about and consider that a good thing. I rather like the fact that it is not overly promoted like so much else in our materialistic and consumer driven society. I'll stop here :D

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I think that scouts and other outdoors enthusiast type groups can be the right groups to show our hobby to. But going overboard by presenting classes and telling everyone in the general population about geocaching is not a good idea.

 

For example: presenting our "hobby" to a, and i hate to say it, group of teenagers, is only going to result in a very small portion of that group who genuinely become interested enough to want to become dedicated to the hobby. Most will dismiss it as being something they aren't interested in and not give it a second thought, but i would certainly guesstimate that there would be those few who might find themselves "bored" and then come up with ways to mess with it and/or try to ruin it somehow.

 

The word is getting out just fine these days, by word of mouth, in newspaper articles, "how to" books, and other sources. We don't need to be mass marketing geocaching! :D

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I'll say this about that:

With more people playing the game there will be more plundering and abuse. However, the small percentage of evil doers will remain the same thus making the ratio of ruined caches in all likelihood remain a constant.

Plunderers are generally lazy so it will be the more accessible caches that will suffer the most.

Adding an element of cost could slow this down. Making players pay to play will reduce the abuse. Right now I benefit from this because it's free but I'm not the problem. Caches that are harder to get to and adding a cost to the game will save it from overexposure for a time.

To me caching is a game played with the same respect I give the outdoor playing field in which it takes place. If you recruit a bunch of people who don't have a basic respect for nature and the outdoors then don't expect them to have any regard for the game.

Recruiting players just for the sake of recruiting build value in neither the game nor the outdoors. Who's conducting these recruitment drives? I think we may just be dealing with a bunch of "know-it-all" types who want to be on a stage.

Edited by TopangaHiker
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I suppose it won't surprise folks that I take the opposite approach to many who have posted here! :D

 

I and many other of the geocachers of the AGA (Alabama Geocaching Association) promote the game at every opportunity!

 

We have given presentations at a number of high schools; maybe it's because I raised six kids, maybe it's a cultural difference here in the South, but my experience is that the vast majority of kids are great people and a true asset to the game! I have never found a game that is so healthy, educational and fun for families to play together. In my presentations I go hours before and hide four or five stocked caches around the campus, give them twenty minutes or so in the classroom discussing GPS technology and how to use geocaching.com, provide a box of trinkets for the students to grab something from to trade, then loan them five GPSr and take the whole class out to find the hidden (unlisted temporary) caches in groups.

 

I have done the same at several Boy Scout Troops and church youth groups, and I conduct an Intro To Geocaching class at almost all of our AGA events.

 

The AGA coordinates with public events such as the Moss Rock Festival, a big yearly art festival featuring outdoor and natural art at Moss Rock Preserve

 

We work with several city's Chamber of Commerce to promote geocaching on their website as a city attraction... just last week the City of Decatur opened a new Geocaching Passport Trail.

 

I think that makes five cities in the area with such city-sponsored geocaching activities now.

 

I have introduced everyone from hunters and hikers I met in the woods to groups of teens hanging out close to an urban cache to the game with ZERO negative effect - I have never once heard of a cache being muggled after I took newbies to it, and in our group, believe me, I would have heard!

 

All that public effort has resulted in a large, vital, friendly and active geocaching community with amazingly little friction, a very low muggle rate, and geocaching as good as if not better than anywhere in the country!

 

I believe that the positive results of promoting our game far outweigh the negatives.

Edited by TheAlabamaRambler
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I suppose it won't surprise folks that I take the opposite approach to many who have posted here! :D

 

I'm going to agree with you.

It is different where you live compared to here in SoCal. People in the south are measurably more polite than they are in other parts of the country. But you have to remember that there's 4.6 million people in your state. There's almost 10 million people in my county alone.

Stats here

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I suppose it won't surprise folks that I take the opposite approach to many who have posted here! :D

 

I and many other of the geocachers of the AGA (Alabama Geocaching Association) promote the game at every opportunity!

 

We have given presentations at a number of high schools; maybe it's because I raised six kids, maybe it's a cultural difference here in the South, but my experience is that the vast majority of kids are great people and a true asset to the game!

 

Here in Southern California there is an abundance of selfish and materialistic people (especially kids) that are "all about" themselves. My opinion is that many these people would not be a benefit to the sport. Since CA is overrun with illegals we would have to do geo-promotions in Spanish to reach out to the new majority.

 

About a year and a half ago our local newspaper promoted geocaching. A large group of new cachers was born in our area, and new caches sprouted up all over the place. :D The problem (in my opinion) is that the majority of caches placed by new cachers were hidden in: Housing tracts, parking logs, or even in trashy areas. :D

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Bummer, I spent a decade (the '70s) on the left coast, stationed at San Diego, Long Beach and Mare Island, owned homes in San Diego on 35th near Balboa Park and in Woodland Hills off Topanga Canyon Boulevard and really enjoyed my time out there.

 

I suppose it has changed quite a lot... I went to the GeocoinFest in Temecula a few months ago and cached from the border up to LA, certainly that part has changed! Excellent geocaching however.

 

For a Southern boy the phrase "Living in California is like living in a granola bowl... what ain't fruits and nuts is flakes!" did have a certain ring of truth to it though! :D Not a bad thing, just... different!

 

I will be out there again next year for GW6 in Sacramento, can't wait to cache that part of the state!

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NASCAR hit the "Mainstream Event Horizon" and now it sux. I pray for a different future for geocaching.

 

Yeah, but NASCAR is categorically a spectator sport although I would argue that there is no athleticism involved in driving a car thus questioning it as a sport but I digress.

I don't see the comparison between GCing and NASCAR or even baseball for that matter.

What is it now about NASCAR that sux?

BTW- I'm no fan of NASCAR. I'm just curious.

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About a year and a half ago our local newspaper promoted geocaching. A large group of new cachers was born in our area, and new caches sprouted up all over the place. :D The problem (in my opinion) is that the majority of caches placed by new cachers were hidden in: Housing tracts, parking logs, or even in trashy areas. :D
That's why I don't do urbans anymore unless I hear about a good one. IMHO, as Geocaching hits this horizon (and it is happening in some areas), they REALLY need a way for their customers to identify the caches that many people really enjoyed much more than the average cache. If I was trying caching for the first time and I was taken to housing tracts, parking lots, or even in trashy areas on my first day; I would not continue caching. Tried it and didn't like it. The people that would continue after this kind of experience are the ones that like these areas and will hide more just like them. They are cheap and easy to hide. So it's obvious to me what will happen unless there is some other influence on the game like an awards system. Edited by TrailGators
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I think the comparison using NASCAR's evolution illuminates some folk's fear of geocaching going 'mainstream', and I have to admit I have seen a move in the game in that direction, especially in the last year.

 

NASCAR came from bootleggers outrunning the law in hopped-up cars, flying through the Southeast with the backseat space and trunk full of moonshine. This isn't ancient history - while it started in Prohibition it still exists today. Corn whiskey, hijacked cigarettes and unfortunately drugs are today being moved in cars the cops can't hope to catch.

 

Organized racing came from those old boys challenging one another, tracks were built, the cars they ran 'shine in on Friday were raced on Saturday night for pride and money.

 

Stock car racing, in other words... you taped up the windshield and lights and took your stock (street legal) car to the races.

 

Like geocaching in a way, this was an underground activity that grew into a sport.

 

NASCAR evolved from those roots in the '60s but it was still primarily a Southern thing the rest of the world paid little attention to. It was rough... the phrase "rubbin is racin" epitomized the dirty tricks racers would pull to wreck or otherwise take out competitors. Racing greats like Earnhardt became winners because they were good drivers, but they became legends because they'd put you in the wall if you didn't get out of their way.

 

Crew chiefs became masters at cheating... you wouldn't believe the crazy stunts they'd pull to get a half-MPH or half-gallon endurance advantage! Using the hollow roll bars of the safety cage for a gallon or so of illegal extra fuel storage isn't a myth... it was done!

 

So, television discovered NASCAR, and NASCAR discovered the vast pools of money television introduced to the sport.

 

Like geocaching, when the world turns its attention on you political correctness isn't far behind!

 

Like Groundspeak with commercial caches, NASCAR became a business where everything was illegal unless they made money from it.

 

Notorious cheaters, some more famed for their cheating prowess than driving ability, had to tone it down. Wrecking your opponent became a bad thing. Templates were developed to measure cars down to the fraction of an inch to stop crew chiefs from building cars that looked normal but were just a tad smaller than their competitors.

 

Fast forward and look at NASCAR today. Drivers can't fight, cuss, take home the women presented at the winner's circle, can't knock you off the track or even drive down under you in the grass to pass in a turn! It's vanilla... the cars are all scrutinized down to the last detail. Innovative cheats, instead of winning, get fired.

 

The era of rednecks racing hot stock cars is gone from NASCAR; now it is multi-million-dollar businesses and the drivers are watched as closely as politicians. The cars have zero resemblance to a real production car except for the outside skin.

 

NASCAR, solely due to the attention it drew from being televised, became 'mainstream', and for those of us who loved the good old days it is ruined. Even the old drivers hate what it has become.

 

As geocaching has grown there have been many parallels. Everybody is watching everybody else. The forums are full of reporters... mention a cache that got archived and ten posters will jump in with "Oh yeah? Well what about this one?" as if TRYING to get the caches shut down.

 

Political Correctness is the order of the day - oh my, let's don't dare offend anyone!

 

Accusations of 'Lame' caches grow in number as our ranks swell... the fact that the folks who placed and hunt them don't think they are lame offends many old timers.

 

Cachers who once were known for innovative guideline-stretching hides are now reviled as cheaters, with any number of self-appointed cache cops dogging their heels.

 

So yes, the attention and publicity that has changed NASCAR will change geocaching as it continues to go mainstream.

 

On the other hand, NASCAR is bigger, more competitive, more profitable, safer and more fun for more folks than it has ever been, and those of us who remember and long for the 'good old days' are fading away like the memories we hang onto.

 

Growth and change is a good thing.

 

Such is life and such will be the future of geocaching.

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I think the comparison using NASCAR's evolution illuminates some folk's fear of geocaching going 'mainstream', and I have to admit I have seen a move in the game in that direction, especially in the last year.

 

NASCAR came from bootleggers outrunning the law in hopped-up cars, flying through the Southeast with the backseat space and trunk full of moonshine. This isn't ancient history - while it started in Prohibition it still exists today. Corn whiskey, hijacked cigarettes and unfortunately drugs are today being moved in cars the cops can't hope to catch.

 

Organized racing came from those old boys challenging one another, tracks were built, the cars they ran 'shine in on Friday were raced on Saturday night for pride and money.

 

Stock car racing, in other words... you taped up the windshield and lights and took your stock (street legal) car to the races.

 

Like geocaching in a way, this was an underground activity that grew into a sport.

 

NASCAR evolved from those roots in the '60s but it was still primarily a Southern thing the rest of the world paid little attention to. It was rough... the phrase "rubbin is racin" epitomized the dirty tricks racers would pull to wreck or otherwise take out competitors. Racing greats like Earnhardt became winners because they were good drivers, but they became legends because they'd put you in the wall if you didn't get out of their way.

 

Crew chiefs became masters at cheating... you wouldn't believe the crazy stunts they'd pull to get a half-MPH or half-gallon endurance advantage! Using the hollow roll bars of the safety cage for a gallon or so of illegal extra fuel storage isn't a myth... it was done!

 

So, television discovered NASCAR, and NASCAR discovered the vast pools of money television introduced to the sport.

 

Like geocaching, when the world turns its attention on you political correctness isn't far behind!

 

Like Groundspeak with commercial caches, NASCAR became a business where everything was illegal unless they made money from it.

 

Notorious cheaters, some more famed for their cheating prowess than driving ability, had to tone it down. Wrecking your opponent became a bad thing. Templates were developed to measure cars down to the fraction of an inch to stop crew chiefs from building cars that looked normal but were just a tad smaller than their competitors.

 

Fast forward and look at NASCAR today. Drivers can't fight, cuss, take home the women presented at the winner's circle, can't knock you off the track or even drive down under you in the grass to pass in a turn! It's vanilla... the cars are all scrutinized down to the last detail. Innovative cheats, instead of winning, get fired.

 

The era of rednecks racing hot stock cars is gone from NASCAR; now it is multi-million-dollar businesses and the drivers are watched as closely as politicians. The cars have zero resemblance to a real production car except for the outside skin.

 

NASCAR, solely due to the attention it drew from being televised, became 'mainstream', and for those of us who loved the good old days it is ruined. Even the old drivers hate what it has become.

 

As geocaching has grown there have been many parallels. Everybody is watching everybody else. The forums are full of reporters... mention a cache that got archived and ten posters will jump in with "Oh yeah? Well what about this one?" as if TRYING to get the caches shut down.

 

Political Correctness is the order of the day - oh my, let's don't dare offend anyone!

 

Accusations of 'Lame' caches grow in number as our ranks swell... the fact that the folks who placed and hunt them don't think they are lame offends many old timers.

 

Cachers who once were known for innovative guideline-stretching hides are now reviled as cheaters, with any number of self-appointed cache cops dogging their heels.

 

So yes, the attention and publicity that has changed NASCAR will change geocaching as it continues to go mainstream.

 

On the other hand, NASCAR is bigger, more competitive, more profitable, safer and more fun for more folks than it has ever been, and those of us who remember and long for the 'good old days' are fading away like the memories we hang onto.

 

Growth and change is a good thing.

 

Such is life and such will be the future of geocaching.

 

 

Interesting analogy. I used to watch Matt "The Brat" Kenseth race in Madison, WI in the mid 90s. It was a thrill to watch him. I used to love standing right next to the track when the fastest bracket would hit 150mph down the straightaway. It rocked your world. :D It's one of those things that you have to experience to really understand/appreciate. Anyhow, the thrill is what makes NASCAR and geocaching both popular.
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I think it is far too general to say that kids (or teens, as seems to be the children referred to in earlier posts) can't engage in this game/sport without ruining it. There is nothing wrong with publicizing it - look at how the website shows off any electronic form of this sport being publicized in the media right on the main page.

 

Working with teenagers, I know some of them would definitely be destructive in their approach to things. However, most would not, and some would definitely enjoy doing this kind of thing. I would have loved to have this start about 15 years ago, when I was their age, because for all of my wandering throughout the county I live in, I would have had a ball hunting many of the ones which are out there. A lot of the areas I used to roam now have them. It was fun to go back to those areas to get them, and go through some memories as well.

 

We need to be careful condemning the youth of today - they are the adults of tomorrow. Simply saying "they will ruin it" is probably a lot more general (and a lot less true) than is correct.

 

Also, think about the resources available to teens vs adults. An adult who becomes destructive or vindictive can do a heck of a lot more damage than a teen - they are much less limited in range (due to gas prices).

 

And I know as a kid I would have loved to have all of the little urban micros in our area that we do now, and still enjoy them myself. Sometimes a hard one to find, sometimes a quick smiley. Something for everyone. If you don't like it, don't hunt it - don't condemn a type of hide because YOU don't like it. Just ignore it - that's why there's that neat little "ignore" button at the top.

Edited by FireRef
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I agree to a point with FireRef. To say that "teenagers" will ruin the sport of geocaching is too big of a blanket overstatement. I have two teens, and they have been"raised" in the out of doors. They love to fish, hunt, camp, hike and absolutely love to Geocache. The difference between them.. and some other teens is that we have taught them from babies to be good stewards of the land passed on by the generations. We have spent time with them and taught them morals and ethics. Some people don't spend time with their offspring and sometime those kids are destructive because they don't know better.

 

I don't pretend to understand all the social ills that plague this nation that end up producing "hoodlums", but you can look at almost any generation and find kids of that generation doing something the adults would find offensive. It's like when we reach a certain age and we say.. "darn, these kids today don't know anything" Our parent's said it about us as theirs did about them. Just like teens don't trust anyone over 30.

 

My 17 year old daughter takes her friends to caches (our caches) during lunchtime at her school, and those friends end up going on caching trips with us. But, then again all of those friends do camp, fish, hunt, hike...ect. Birds of a feather flock together.

 

It brings me back to..... go ahead and spread the word of Geocaching, to select groups... not mass marketing to the "General population"

 

edit: i really need vinny's speel and gram mar chek pro Gram.

Edited by Team FIREBOY
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As I said, giving a basic presentation to a group is fine. Teach the basics and leave geocaching.com out of it. Then see who in the group is interested in more information. Sometimes we try to force feed people things thay don't want to know. If they are interested they will ask for more.

Edited by CSpenceFLY
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Promotion of the sport, hobby or what ever you want to call it is out there. On the front page of GC.com, if you haven't noticed the last few months they've been talking about the GPS Maze. If you haven't had the chance to go to the one in Muncie Indiana tomorrow is the last day. I finally drove the hour to get there yesterday and it really was a wonderful experience. What does this have to do with this post. Well, it is open to the public and a lot of people walk through the maze. Plenty of stations that talk about the history of Geocaching what a GPS is etc. They even have GPS receivers that you can borrow to walk the property and try and find 3 caches listed on GC.com and 4 more that the Minnetrista center put out themselves. The issue here isn't about not publicizing the sport it is about educating this sport like you would educate someone about hunting or starting a camp fire. There are rules that need to be followed, you need to respect others, as in each cache (not destroy it, move it, or place a new micro in its place because you couldn't find the one that was there). I think the more exposure the better. Just teach everyone the right way to do it.

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The other group fears these activities might attract some bad apples to the sport. A mischievous recruit could locate and vandalize or steal geocaches. This group reminds us that geocaching started out as a counter-culture, under-the-radar activity. And we skulk around using stealth to fake out the muggles!

 

I don't think this statement is at all accurate. Particularly the parts about Geocaching starting out as a counter-culture, under-the-radar activity and skulking around using stealth to fake out non-geocachers.

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I think it's a bad idea to over promote this activity and an even worst idea to take it into the schools. Kids today are disrespectful at best.

 

As a homeschooler, I disagree. Gecocaching is part of our curriculum and my three kids (8,7, and 5) have a blast. They are also very respectable of the caches. I think the key is to start education at an early age. And not to forget the all important lesson of respect with whatever is taught. But no matter how much respect is "spoken of", it is better learned through example. That's what falls on us as adults to do.

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Bummer, I spent a decade (the '70s) on the left coast, stationed at San Diego, Long Beach and Mare Island, owned homes in San Diego on 35th near Balboa Park and in Woodland Hills off Topanga Canyon Boulevard and really enjoyed my time out there.

I would take Kit Fox's comments in the context of his personal preference (and his politics) and not a completely accurate view of geocaching in So. California. I do understand his preference to find a geocache in a nice park or even better out in the desert or in the mountains. However many cachers are now what I call urban caches. They like to hide caches in their own front yards or in the mall parking lot. They don't particularly want to go hiking every time they go cache and might prefer to ride around in their air conditioned car and jump out ever so often to look under a lamp post. Anyone who went to find a Kit Fox cache this weekend with temperatures in 110s and thunderstorms is probably wishing they stuck to the ones in their local subdivision that they could drive right up to.

 

NASCAR hit the "Mainstream Event Horizon" and now it sux. I pray for a different future for geocaching.

Yep. I the appearance of Google Ads on the cache search pages for non-premium members reminds me of NASCAR cars getting covered with more and more sponsors' ads and drivers becoming more spokesmen for their sponsors than race car drivers. :D

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I think it's a bad idea to over promote this activity and an even worst idea to take it into the schools. Kids today are disrespectful at best.

 

As a homeschooler, I disagree. Gecocaching is part of our curriculum and my three kids (8,7, and 5) have a blast. They are also very respectable of the caches. I think the key is to start education at an early age. And not to forget the all important lesson of respect with whatever is taught. But no matter how much respect is "spoken of", it is better learned through example. That's what falls on us as adults to do.

 

The part in bold changes your situation quite a bit. Yes I know I made a blanket statement but everything has it's exceptions.

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Becoming a popular fad is not the worst thing that could happen to geocaching. It'll go through a CB Radio adjustment and leave better cachers in the ranks when the fad fades.

 

Ultimately, exclusivity policies by any groups will not change the trend in any appreciably way. Best you can do is ride the wave or become increasingly irrelevant.

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Great post AR (ref #27)

 

It is not the commercialization I dread.

 

I surely hope my comments haven't prompted the argument that teenagers can't be trusted in caching. I work with teenagers a lot and I trust them quite a bit... but there are limits to that trust and it must be earned. The danger with kids is the "show-off" mentality... "look what i know that you don't..." This causes lost caches.

 

With one's own kids, this is easily kept in line (well may..be). With a non-homogeneous group like school and scouts, there is a lot less control of what the kids do when the class is over.

 

I can't believe anyone would actually compare the risk of introducing their home-schoolers to caching with that of introducing it in public schools. talk about apples and oranges!

 

I like the idea of doing a general "caching" trip, using specially placed "event" caches and then having an "advanced" class for those who are interested in joining our ranks. that's a good way to go.

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Here's a lesson from the amateur radio service, which used to be composed of a fairly select group of individuals with generally high levels of intellectual function and respect for others. The mere fact that a fairly high level of knowledge (of electronic theory, Morse code, and regulations) was required to even get a license to operate placed the bar too high for the average schmuck to consider becoming involved. Most of the schmucks got into mischief on Citizens' Band, rendering that radio service of questionable practical use, certainly in any relatively populated area.

 

Fast forward to pressure from amateur radio equipment manufacturers (and others) to lower the entry bar by eliminating the Morse code requirement and dumming down the license exams by removing much of the electronic theory. Enter lots of schmucks who want to play (horseplay) radio, and all the old hams who made the group a rather elite hobby leave for more purist pursuits. When I tuned around the hambands the other day, I was amazed at the relative wasteland that it has become (albeit partially I supposed because of the popularity of the internet--which may be another source of "lessons" about the effect of the profit motive on activities that originally involved a relatively select group of generally respectable individuals.

 

So, IMHO, let the hobby expand slowly without large recruitment efforts to water down the participant base.

Edited by sotto2
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Here's a lesson from the amateur radio service, which used to be composed of a fairly select group of individuals with generally high levels of intellectual function and respect for others. The mere fact that a fairly high level of knowledge (of electronic theory, Morse code, and regulations) was required to even get a license to operate placed the bar too high for the average schmuck to consider becoming involved. Most of the schmucks got into mischief on Citizens' Band, rendering that radio service of questionable practical use, certainly in any relatively populated area.

 

Fast forward to pressure from amateur radio equipment manufacturers (and others) to lower the entry bar by eliminating the Morse code requirement and dumming down the license exams by removing much of the electronic theory. Enter lots of schmucks who want to play (horseplay) radio, and all the old hams who made the group a rather elite hobby leave for more purist pursuits. When I tuned around the hambands the other day, I was amazed at the relative wasteland that it has become (albeit partially I supposed because of the popularity of the internet--which may be another source of "lessons" about the effect of the profit motive on activities that originally involved a relatively select group of generally respectable individuals.

 

So, IMHO, let the hobby expand slowly without large recruitment efforts to water down the participant base.

By "wasteland", do you mean there were loads of schmucks, or do yo mean there was nobody? If the latter, why aren't the enthusiasts getting back into it?

 

Add my kids and all their friends to the exception list....

Same here. I'm very sorry some people don't know any good kids. I don't agree with the generalization at all. Even if I did, I don't think writing them off as hopeless is the correct approach to the problem. Education and involvement is.

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I think it's a bad idea to over promote this activity and an even worst idea to take it into the schools. Kids today are disrespectful at best.

 

As a homeschooler, I disagree. Gecocaching is part of our curriculum and my three kids (8,7, and 5) have a blast. They are also very respectable of the caches. I think the key is to start education at an early age. And not to forget the all important lesson of respect with whatever is taught. But no matter how much respect is "spoken of", it is better learned through example. That's what falls on us as adults to do.

 

The part in bold changes your situation quite a bit. Yes I know I made a blanket statement but everything has it's exceptions.

 

Certainly, homeschooling is MUCH different than a public education. And, because of this, children often approach situations differently. But, even homeschooled children can have their moments. Just come check out my two boys :anicute:

 

Great post AR (ref #27)

 

I can't believe anyone would actually compare the risk of introducing their home-schoolers to caching with that of introducing it in public schools. talk about apples and oranges!

 

I was, in no way, trying to compare homeschoolers to those in public schools. I mentioned I was a homeschooler to give everyone some background as to why I made my statement. My point was that ALL children learn by the example we adults give them. And my second point was that teaching these children to show respect, in ANYTHING they do, at an early age will foster the same response at an older age. I agree that there may be problems with introducing this activity to an average group of teenagers. However, I do think that making an actual class, that interested teeenagers could sign up for, would be an effective way in weeding out those who aren't truly interested in taking this activity seriously. I do think that introducing geocaching to a younger audience would be no risk at all.

 

 

Same here. I'm very sorry some people don't know any good kids. I don't agree with the generalization at all. Even if I did, I don't think writing them off as hopeless is the correct approach to the problem. Education and involvement is.

 

I agree wholeheartedly. The only way children will grow up and behave in respectable manner, is through education. You can easily see several adults on this forum and many others who have been denied that crucial lesson in their own lives.

 

Oh, and CSpenceFLY: I think that's a great idea. The rating system on here has no actual set of rules, and therefore can vary a good bit. I know that we have talked at great lengths as to what to list our one single hide as. In addition, I also think that it would be handy for the caches to have a check box type system when you are listing a cache that would "describe" the type of cache you are posting, such as: urban, trail, roadside, etc. It would be a great way to make a quick glance at a cache listing and see if it's something that you are interesting in looking at further. Our family is more inclined to participate in caches that require hiking. However, there are times that we have free time between errands and would enjoy doing and urban cache or two. We just got back from a 2 day trip caching where one cache was in no described as a hike (and infact listed by a local hiking club in our home town), and appeared in every way to be a roadside cache. Even the maps suggested that it was right on the road. However, when we got there, we found that it was 1.5 miles in one direction away. We simply didn't have the time to do a 3 mile hike with our kids (cause that takes ALOT longer than adults would hike it) and had to leave. I would have thought that a hiking club would know to post such info in the content of their cache, but they did not. So, a simple option like what I suggested would be a great way to help people determine the proper cache for the situation.

Edited by elmuyloco5
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Something as simple as the way we rate our own caches to publish them would work. Only the system would take an average of the responses.

 

So would that be something like 1 thru 5? With 1 equaling? Our caches are rated on two dimensions: Terrain and Difficulty, perhpas size/type also. What would be the 'people' rating dimension(s)?

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I don't want to speak for him, but I think a rating system just like they have for the owner to list, should be available for the caches to use as a review. Not, to review the quality of the cache (not promoting bashing people here) but just a review of the terrain and difficulty. This is how I think it would work well (may be the same as CSpenceFLY is suggesting): The average answer would show up and then the "potential" cachers could use this rating to get a better idea whether that cache is what they want to do. It could even be made where the owner posts the original terrain and difficulty levels and then everyone's answers from then on would be averaged into the owner's rating to determine a better overall rating (and save some screen space too).

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Something as simple as the way we rate our own caches to publish them would work. Only the system would take an average of the responses.

 

So would that be something like 1 thru 5? With 1 equaling? Our caches are rated on two dimensions: Terrain and Difficulty, perhpas size/type also. What would be the 'people' rating dimension(s)?

 

I have not really put that much thought into it. I don't think it will ever happen because a large percentage of caches IMO would get a poor rating.

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Here's a lesson from the amateur radio service, which used to be composed of a fairly select group of individuals with generally high levels of intellectual function and respect for others. The mere fact that a fairly high level of knowledge (of electronic theory, Morse code, and regulations) was required to even get a license to operate placed the bar too high for the average schmuck to consider becoming involved. Most of the schmucks got into mischief on Citizens' Band, rendering that radio service of questionable practical use, certainly in any relatively populated area.

 

Fast forward to pressure from amateur radio equipment manufacturers (and others) to lower the entry bar by eliminating the Morse code requirement and dumming down the license exams by removing much of the electronic theory. Enter lots of schmucks who want to play (horseplay) radio, and all the old hams who made the group a rather elite hobby leave for more purist pursuits. When I tuned around the hambands the other day, I was amazed at the relative wasteland that it has become (albeit partially I supposed because of the popularity of the internet--which may be another source of "lessons" about the effect of the profit motive on activities that originally involved a relatively select group of generally respectable individuals.

 

So, IMHO, let the hobby expand slowly without large recruitment efforts to water down the participant base.

 

Being one of those people who put a lot of work into learning morse code and 2 levels of electronics knowledge to get the original tech license from years ago, I have to disagree. I don't believe this hobby has any more or less schmucks (to use your term) than any other, amateur radio, geocaching, or any other group.

 

I think the codeless tech opened it up to a lot more people, and those that wanted to be schmucks will come and go, but those who are interested seriously in any hobby will stick around.

 

And of those purists, there are always a few schmucks left anyway - I had one well known ham operator that questioned my use of an autopatch (phone call from a ham radio) to let my parents know I went on a call (for the fire department). I turned the radio off after signing off, since I had just about reached the fire house, but apparently this guy went ballistic on the radio about me using "codes" (him not knowing what a call was), to the point that the guy in charge of the repeater turned it off for a while.

 

We have our share of schmucks right now in geocaching... if we get more players, we get more good ones and more schmucks... but the ratio is likely to stay about the same.

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I'd like to point out that our hobby is fairly unique compared to most. Our hobby is completely dependent on the charity of others who might know the location of our game pieces.

 

So what if someone on channel 19 gets mouthy. Change the channel. It only robs you of the use of the channel for a short period. So what you tick someone off on the CB. What are they going to do? They can't stay on the channel forever, much less steal it. Tick someone off in geocaching and that's what they could do, steal your caches.

 

Sure, chumps can screw things up for everyone in some other hobbies--offroading, for instance. It could be you never know who screwed things up for you. The same thing can happen in geocaching as it causes the land stewards to force us to stop using their lands.

 

The uniqueness partly comes in the stealth in which the damage is wrought. Someone who simply goes around stealing caches does so without anyone outside the hobby having to get involved. It's extremely hard to catch them. It's not as if you can vector in on their transmissions or catch them on their ATVs on a prohibited trail. By the very nature of the hobby it's harder to observe someone retrieving a cache. Add to this the mere seconds it takes from retrieval to putting it one's pack and you've got a very, very small window in which to catch someone in the act.

 

Then, what are you going to do? Go to the authorities? This would only make sense in the tiny fraction of caches that are property of a few entities. You going to out them? Many wouldn't care as they aren't really part of the community anyway. Ban them? What about the listings they already have in their possession?

 

Sure, chumps come and go. In geocaching, though, the aftermath could be considerable.

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