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Geocaching and Teenagers - do they enjoy it, or just endure it?


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As a relatively new geocacher (December 07 onwards) I have been enthusiastically extolling its virtues to all my friends and colleagues.

 

A few have suggested potential overlaps with my day job, which is encouraging teenagers (predominantly 11-16 year olds, with some older and younger) to walk more (specifically to school, but any walking is good in my book!).

 

Before I pursue this too much further, I thought I would ask the opinions of other UK cachers. What are your experiences of caching with teenagers (family members or otherwise).

 

Do they find it enjoyable and actively look forward to it, or are they just doing it because they "are being dragged on a walk"?

 

Are there particular types of caches, cahe locations, or aspects of caching, that appeal more to teens?

 

I don't quite know yet how this will develop, but lets see what the response is and we will go from there!

 

If you want to discuss it with me off the bulletin board get in touch through my profile.

 

Andrew (Talkscience).

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As a relatively new geocacher (December 07 onwards) I have been enthusiastically extolling its virtues to all my friends and colleagues.

 

A few have suggested potential overlaps with my day job, which is encouraging teenagers (predominantly 11-16 year olds, with some older and younger) to walk more (specifically to school, but any walking is good in my book!).

 

Before I pursue this too much further, I thought I would ask the opinions of other UK cachers. What are your experiences of caching with teenagers (family members or otherwise).

 

Do they find it enjoyable and actively look forward to it, or are they just doing it because they "are being dragged on a walk"?

 

Are there particular types of caches, cahe locations, or aspects of caching, that appeal more to teens?

 

I don't quite know yet how this will develop, but lets see what the response is and we will go from there!

 

If you want to discuss it with me off the bulletin board get in touch through my profile.

 

Andrew (Talkscience).

 

As in all things with teenagers, it depends on how it's presented. I know with my teenage daughter, if she is in control of the Garmin and can be the first one to the cache, she loves it. If I were to have her download the positions or plug them in, log the finds or do any other "menial labor" she wouldn't like it. Her interest really took off when she made her first hide.

 

Her boyfriend is lazy. He only will go if he gets to sit back and watch. His first experience with caching, though, was from an over zealous teacher who made it into more work than fun.

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James was 9 when we started caching. At the time, and for a couple of years afterwards, he was enthusiatic about finding "treasure". He's now 14 and says he'd rather go to school than go caching :) .

 

He comes with us occasionally, and I'm sure he enjoys some aspects of it. He especially likes caches with some unusual element that he can be involved in: climbing usually does it :).

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i agree with the idea that its how its presented to them.my teenage son thinks im a nerd for liking caching,he used to like it but not anymore.my eldest daughter loves it,and like the other reply she always likes having the gps and running ahead to be the first to find it.

involve them make it fun if its a puzzle cache let them have a go at working it out.

let them do something they want to do afterwards,so that your not taking over all the time.

have some fun on the way to the cache,basically involve them and dont take over.

place a cache with them as well.we let one of our daughters pick the place were it was to be hid,which she thought was good

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At 12 my son tolerated caching and would sometimes help look for the cache. At 14 he wouldn't look, but would stand and watch me with a pitying expression. At 16 he won't stand anywhere near where I am looking as caching is "weird" and "sad".

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Miss Jantac doesn't like caching, although once she's been dragged out of the house (by bribery or other nefarious method) she enjoys the walks. Won't look for the cache though.

 

We often take friends along and I'm often surprised by their reactions. The 'cool kids' who I predict won't like it at all seem to enjoy it the most. The more gentle and amenable kids who are happy to go along with most things don't seem to like caching too much. (maybe I shouldn't be so surprised given that teenagers are known for being contrary and unpredictable!!!!!)

 

Teenage niece loves caching but that's probably because she only gets to do it when we go and stay....... it's an occasional treat rather than a regular occurance.

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At 12 my son tolerated caching and would sometimes help look for the cache. At 14 he wouldn't look, but would stand and watch me with a pitying expression. At 16 he won't stand anywhere near where I am looking as caching is "weird" and "sad".

 

Pieman - have you thought about having him create caches that are really complicated to find? I am new, but I saw on ebay where people were selling things for cache containers that looked like climbing vines for in the woods and bolts for in town. If he can create something unique and make it a challenge for someone else, or perhaps create puzzle caches, it isn't sad any more - it's using his brain. Just a thought!

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I'm 19 and I love caching and have done since I started when I was 15 or so. I'm normally the one who drags my dad out to go caching! He doesn't seem to mind so much now as I can drive and I don't mind putting the co-ordinates in the GPS and planning the day. We don't do as many long walks as we might but I wouldn't say that's because I'm a teenager. I like to visit cache locations that I never knew existed and that are of interest. Unfortunately we don't cache as much as we used to because I'm at University now but I've managed to find some caches here. To me it's just a new area with caches that are closer! Emily

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At 12 my son tolerated caching and would sometimes help look for the cache. At 14 he wouldn't look, but would stand and watch me with a pitying expression. At 16 he won't stand anywhere near where I am looking as caching is "weird" and "sad".

 

Pieman - have you thought about having him create caches that are really complicated to find? I am new, but I saw on ebay where people were selling things for cache containers that looked like climbing vines for in the woods and bolts for in town. If he can create something unique and make it a challenge for someone else, or perhaps create puzzle caches, it isn't sad any more - it's using his brain. Just a thought!

 

Living in Florida, you won't have done a Pieman cache... If you had, you'd know his are the most mind bending puzzles, funny hides you'll have come across!!

 

:):)

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Pieman - have you thought about having him create caches that are really complicated to find? I am new, but I saw on ebay where people were selling things for cache containers that looked like climbing vines for in the woods and bolts for in town. If he can create something unique and make it a challenge for someone else, or perhaps create puzzle caches, it isn't sad any more - it's using his brain. Just a thought!

He actually helped in the creation of one of my caches that requires solving a simple musical problem at one of the cache stages. He sorted the tune out for the puzzle- something that was beyond me. Perhaps it's because he could do it in the house and out of sight!

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My son (19) tolerated and came along just in case he missed out on some treat or another :)

 

My 11 year old daughter however loves it and has turned into a bit of a FTF hound and has set a cache of her own (with a small amount of help).

 

:)

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Hmm my experiences with teens are totally mixed, my own 16yo thinks it's okay but not doing it ALL the time! And my 19yo thinks it dead weird and nerdy!!!

 

We took 16 students from 16-18 years old out caching for their first time a couple of weeks back, most moaned before we went out as they didn't 'get it', but once they found one they started to enjoy it, but then after finding 2 a lot decided it was pointless as there wasn't anything exciting in the caches when they found them (must admit they were full of kiddies tat). Out of the 16 I could see that about 3-4 may take it up in the future, almost half would go again at some point and the others wouldn't really bother again.

 

LMAO I should've done a questionnaire on them! :unsure:;):):D

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Well the Beds Clangers are now just me, and old single (for caching that is), Nick

 

Family comments follow!!!

 

Daughter, now 22, doing Master's at Lincoln, comment, Dad, you are very sad!!! :lol:

 

Son, now 19, gong to Uni in September, comment, Dad, you need a life!!!! ;)

 

Wife, now 30 ( well almost the truth), comment, the kids think you are round the twist!!!! :D:D

 

Cats, random ages, comment, just feed us you sad old git!!!!! :);)

 

Yep, think the cats know the truth. :unsure::)

 

Nick

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Our son and daughter tag along without complaints. Son (14yo) likes the 'secrecy' of it all and enjoys the final hunt but never asks to go caching nor expresses any real interest in deciding where to go or even having his own user id.

Our find count would be a lot lower if he wasn't helping the search and as such probably deserves greater recognition as part of the team.

 

12yo daughter can't usually be bothered to join in the search but is happy to keep look out though :unsure:

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WoW. What a response!

 

Thanks everyone for your thoughts. Keep 'em coming!

 

I found Jantaculum's comments especially interesting - one of the things I am finding (in terms of encouraging kids to walk) is that if "the cool kids" are doing something, the "less cool" kids are more likely to do it.

 

If cool kids are interested in caching I may have found a way in!

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my 19yr old only really likes caching when it is extreme so we look for the 3-5 star terrain difficulty. If there is a river to jump, ladder/cliff/tree to climb, cave to go in etc. His friends love it too as they get competitive, they are out of the car and dangling over the edge of a bridge over a sream etc before i can even park sometimes! We have had a number of discussions about quality of life etc

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There are three of us that normally go caching; me (17), my girlfriend (17) and our friend (16).

We're relatively new to caching and did the first few with our TomTom for the car. About a week later we decided to take it up as a proper hobby and we've now bought a Garmin etrex to help us B)

 

Most people of the same age we mention geocaching to give us strange looks, as if the whole thing is just plain weird. We're not bothered though, its fun and gets us out the house!

 

Stuart

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When we started the eldest of our 4 was 13 and always thought it a bit lame while the other three fought over who's turn it ws to seek and find.

 

Only the 10 year old will take part now and announced this morning 'only when it is not raining' Guess I'm not going out today then B)

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The younger half of the team tend to moan before we leave home and in the car, but if the cache is on the hills, out in the wilds, involves climbs, stream jumping, a long cycle or making your own path, then they are up for it. ANything with a bit of adventure in it is right up there street.

 

Our 13 year old has a few token moans but as long as he has his MP3 and is doing something he likes he is usually ok. he still likes a rummage through a well stocked box, but don't ask him to hunt for it if there are other people around and he might be deemed as uncool.

 

Our 10 year still loves the challenge of the hunt and often puts his parents on a ban from hunting for a few minutes to let him find the box himself. Although he is willing to let his brother rummage through the box first occasionally, he is very competitive of getting the best swap possible.

 

Neither boy, like their parents can find any enthusiam for micros and nanos or urban caches, so we don't do them.

 

On the other hand if we are hiding a box our eldest will spend ages planning the hiding place and cammoflaging the box itself.

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My youngest son is 21 and has never shown any interest in joining me for the hunt, but will get very animated when coming up with devious places I could hide caches and what I could make them from.

 

I agree that with teenagers, or kids of any age, you have to sell it to them. Let them get involved. My grand daughter is 9 and she has her own account (~*Tinkerbell*~) and her own series of caches. She has to have the GPS and be in front ALL the time, leading the way, and she HAS to be the one to find the cache.

 

For christmas she was very excited to get her very own GPS. I laid a cache trail especially for her and she borrowed her parents' GPS to find the clues, which led her to her present. Now Mum and Dad have their GPS back but with the price of petrol (but thats another topic!!) they dont get out much.

 

Some schools use caching for teaching various subjects and even have their own coind and TBs which they can track on their travels.

 

My friends think I am mad when I talk about it, but if I can get them to come out with me they always enjoy it.

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Thanks everyone for your comments on this.

 

As I said before, my work is encouraging teenagers to walk more - specifically in urban environments (I work for the Walk to School Campaign at the charity Living Streets).

 

We are looking at creating a sort of reward scheme for walking, but one of our big challenges is how we can "prove" that teenagers are walking.

 

One idea we had was to place something which teenagers would find on their walk to school (and which wouldn't be visible from cars). These would be similar to caches (in that they are located in a geographical location and take a bit of finding), but we would not expect teens to have a GPS to find them. We were toying with the idea of coded stickers stuck to street furniture. They would then enter the code to a website to prove they had walked, and would be able to leave comments associated with a particular spot.

 

From everyone's posts, it sounds as if we may need to rethink a little bit. The key themes I feel are coming out of this discussion are that the "urban" and smaller caches are less popular, and the fun (for teens) is in the finding, the swapping and the cache contents, rather than the logging and collecting as many as possible.

 

There is also a fair amount of fun in the "secrecy" aspect (which is encouraging) but there is also a risk that caching can be seen as weird or "uncool".

 

Thanks everyone for your help - it is greatly appreciated. I love the fact that everyone I have met through geocaching (virtually or actually) has been so friendly and welcoming! :laughing:

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I'm 20 years old, and my "better" half is 18. We've been caching for however long it says in our profile (a couple of years I think haha) and we're still going strong, I like the caching, and she likes the walking. And that's that! But then again we might just be weird :)

 

That's great...

 

But what I want to know is - What do other cachers call you when you meet them? Or how do you introduce yourself? :D:)

 

MrsB

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