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Advice and suggestions for event hosts


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We are looking at hosting an event in late March right in the back 40 (technically the lower mid 20, but I digress) here on the sacred grounds of Castle Mischief*. We're raising the drawbridge and draining the moat just to make room for parking. With any luck grass won't be growing by then and I can skip mowing the yard. This will be a mostly outdoor setting with BBQ/grill type eating. There will probably be a few event-only caches that will be hunted for millions in cash prizes or swag, whichever is cheaper. An opptional CITO event will be held in my sons' room to conclude the evening.

 

For those of you that have hosted events in the past and for those of you that have attended events in the past- what are some good, general purpose things to avoid. Did you keep a record of all trackables that were brought to the event? What was your take on seating provisions? Your thoughts on award ceremonies and certificates of accomplishments? Vinegar-type slaw or mayonnaise-type slaw? Any attendees ever dragged into the woods by local coyotes never to be seen again?**

 

Basically, what have you seen work really well and what have you seen go over like an ammo can in a lamp skirt?

 

 

 

 

 

 

*No actual castle.

**Poor aunt Susan...

Edited by Castle Mischief
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Food is good. Potluck.

 

Be prepared to provide serving utensils (buy cheap tablespoons at Goodwill to stick in dishes brought without). Warn people that their stuff is your stuff if they leave it. :cry: (bowls, serving dishes etc, folding chairs...) Be prepared to have a lifetime supply of chips 'n dips left behind.

 

Raffles are a pain. They occupy perfectly good talkin' time with reading of numbers for stuff. If you want to give something away besides the fun, food and fellowship, please keep it short and sweet.

 

Around these parts, forget the temporary caches, though if yer gonna stock them with million$ or cool keeper swag that's a cache of a different color.

 

Having a sign in sheet seems to be expected.

 

Having a designated TB/coin table with sheet can help a little on the travelers that disappear at events. More useful if manned. Won't really do anything about the forgetfulness of some.

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In this area we've taken to setting up a sign in/sign out sheet for TBs and geocoins so they just don't disappear.

 

I prefer events with no (or a very few) event caches and in parks without a lot of caches. Otherwise people are out caching all day and I miss meeting half the people who show up.

 

Any award ceremonies/raffles/speeches should be kept brief - 20 minutes is good. Once they start creeping over a half hour people seem to start getting antsy.

 

Both kinds of slaw are great (I actually mix vinegar and mayo). If you make it a potluck you'll probably have 5 kinds of slaw anyway. Which reminds me, have people note what food they plan to bring in their "will attend" notes. That way you don't wind up with 20 packages of buns and no hot dogs. You can keep a running list on the cache page of who is bringing what and what else is needed.

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For starters mayonnaise-type slaw is the ONLY type slaw. And white bread is a side dish, well so is mayo. :cry:

 

I usually have a quick drawing for something, I usually by a cheap hiking pack at Wally World and stock it with swag and things like Lock-n-locks or match tubes.

 

Then I usually have some kind of game/event. Either I have some cache splaced that will be listed on the site after the event and hand out the coords there, or if it were somewhere like my house, I'd have a find the pin contest. **

 

Stick a small metal pin in the ground somewhere, be sure to remember where or at least bring a metal detector. Give everyone a good set of coords for the pin and a little surveyors flag. Let them try to figure out where the pin is based on coords. Give prizes to the closest to the pin. Also, very comical to watch!!!

 

Also, have something for kids to do. Crayons and coloring books are CHEAP at the dollar store.

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{snip}forget the temporary caches{snip}

The only good reason for temp caches is local cache density is high and attendees will have most likely found them prior to your event.

Make 'em permanent and ask the reviewer not to release them till the day after the event and pass out coord print outs.

 

~~~Edit to add keep it at 3 or less~~~

Edited by Vater_Araignee
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The event caching that I was planning would be an unlisted cache available to the attendees only. Anybody that wants to look can and they can keep what's inside. Maybe even keep the container. The property is a 78 acre square that's 80% or better covered in woodland. I was thinking of placing it far enough into the woods to be interesting but no so far that people would be turned off by the mostly trail-free hike. I was thinking more of a letterbox style hide with hints and clues in addition to coords- with both released to all interested in the search at the same time in envelopes at the event.

 

This may be more than what folks are interested in doing. Maybe if the contents were worth the effort?

 

I like the hide-a-pin game idea. That would be great usage of the 5 acre pasture...

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The event caching that I was planning would be an unlisted cache available to the attendees only. Anybody that wants to look can and they can keep what's inside. Maybe even keep the container. The property is a 78 acre square that's 80% or better covered in woodland. I was thinking of placing it far enough into the woods to be interesting but no so far that people would be turned off by the mostly trail-free hike. I was thinking more of a letterbox style hide with hints and clues in addition to coords- with both released to all interested in the search at the same time in envelopes at the event.

 

This may be more than what folks are interested in doing. Maybe if the contents were worth the effort?

 

I like the hide-a-pin game idea. That would be great usage of the 5 acre pasture...

Maybe a "Find the cache race" with 3 legs?

3. The final

2. 5 different containers with coords to the final, some close to it , some not so close to it.

1. 20 Start containers with coords for three leg 2 containers explaining to the cacher they need to pic 1 set.

Put 3 leg 1 coord sets into an envelops and randomize and pass out.

 

Because of all the decision making it would level the field for less experienced cachers.

I'd do that race for for an unactivated coin/bug.

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Plan ahead and make sure everything is ready early.

Something always comes up at the last minute.

 

Raffles always add excitment and we make sure every kid wins that attends our events.

We let the kids run there own raffle and the adults can visit.

This is real exciting for the kids and we use names so they do not have to keep track of there ticket.

We also do adult raffles and use names.

I think the raffles are one of the most exciting things of the events and everyone enjoys them.

 

I learned if you place caches around the event that all the cachers go find them and have less time to visit and meet each other.

 

Try and have extra food for backup that you can save for later and eat if you do not need it.

Better safe then sorry and your family will need to eat later.

 

I try and have as much stuff for the kids as possible so the adults can visit.

Crafts, Coloring books, Tablets and etc.

 

Plenty of tables and chairs.

 

Coleslaw and vinager must be kept real cold or it looks real bad.

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We are looking at hosting an event in late March right in the back 40 (technically the lower mid 20, but I digress) here on the sacred grounds of Castle Mischief*. We're raising the drawbridge and draining the moat just to make room for parking. With any luck grass won't be growing by then and I can skip mowing the yard. This will be a mostly outdoor setting with BBQ/grill type eating. There will probably be a few event-only caches that will be hunted for millions in cash prizes or swag, whichever is cheaper. An opptional CITO event will be held in my sons' room to conclude the evening.

 

For those of you that have hosted events in the past and for those of you that have attended events in the past- what are some good, general purpose things to avoid. Did you keep a record of all trackables that were brought to the event? What was your take on seating provisions? Your thoughts on award ceremonies and certificates of accomplishments? Vinegar-type slaw or mayonnaise-type slaw? Any attendees ever dragged into the woods by local coyotes never to be seen again?**

 

Basically, what have you seen work really well and what have you seen go over like an ammo can in a lamp skirt?

 

 

 

 

 

 

*No actual castle.

**Poor aunt Susan...

 

 

 

Look at any of the events that Shop99er has done. This guy know how to get it done... http://shop99er.com/

Edited by Douglas_Clan
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I see from kitfox's linkage that I have already suggested geo-bingo. It's fun to learn a little bit more about the people you see all the time.

 

Speechmaking and raffle drawing should be kept to 3 minutes or less.

I mix a little cider vinegar and sugar or honey into the mayo for my slaw dressing. Julienned apples add an unexpected crunch and flavor too.

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I see from kitfox's linkage that I have already suggested geo-bingo. It's fun to learn a little bit more about the people you see all the time.

 

After one event that I attended one of the most common comments was how much they enjoyed a photo slideshow that was running throughout the event. The organizers had gone to lost of the local cache page listings, downloaded photos that were uploaded, and then annotated them to indicate who was in the photos.

 

Another nice addition was a 3-4 page printout that included announcement of group caching trips, future events, and a list of noteworthy local caches for those that were attending that might not have found as many as some of "the elders".

 

The other thing that could have been better was to try and get more of the local geocaching community involved during the event. It seemed that one of the event organizers spent all her time checking in/out trackables and never got to socialize with all the other attendees.

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Oh dear dear dear, these slaw recipes are a disturbing trend.

 

My slaw:

Head of cabbage shredded (not diced or chopped!)

Ample Mayo

Yellow mustard

Sprinkle of sugar

Sweet Pickle Relish

**Secret ingredient: half a cup of Dill Pickle brine.

Salt & Pepper

 

Mix in a bowl and let it sit in the frige for at least 48 hours.

Edited by ZSandmann
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The last event we attended had an Ammo Can Toss. You tape out a rectangular area (not sure of the dimensions) and make a line on the short side of the rectangle. The participant straddles the line with their legs apart. He/she takes a large ammo can filled with sand or dirt. Grabbing the handle with both hands, he/she would swing the can between his/her legs and toss it straight out aiming toward some target point. The farthest toss out of 3 tries is recorded. Any can completely crossing a side line would be a scratch for that toss. The best tosses at the end of the event would get prizes. You could have a kid’s category using a small can instead of a large. This was very popular. The lady who won this event got a good roll with her can. I think it went almost 30 feet.

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The last event we attended had an Ammo Can Toss. You tape out a rectangular area (not sure of the dimensions) and make a line on the short side of the rectangle. The participant straddles the line with their legs apart. He/she takes a large ammo can filled with sand or dirt. Grabbing the handle with both hands, he/she would swing the can between his/her legs and toss it straight out aiming toward some target point. The farthest toss out of 3 tries is recorded. Any can completely crossing a side line would be a scratch for that toss. The best tosses at the end of the event would get prizes. You could have a kid’s category using a small can instead of a large. This was very popular. The lady who won this event got a good roll with her can. I think it went almost 30 feet.

You can do something similar with empty film cans.

 

And keep all talks/raffles short, especially if there are lots of attendees. People sitting/standing far away will get bored and start talking, which spreads, until eventually the speaker is screaming and still no one can hear.

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The last event we attended had an Ammo Can Toss. You tape out a rectangular area (not sure of the dimensions) and make a line on the short side of the rectangle. The participant straddles the line with their legs apart. He/she takes a large ammo can filled with sand or dirt. Grabbing the handle with both hands, he/she would swing the can between his/her legs and toss it straight out aiming toward some target point. The farthest toss out of 3 tries is recorded. Any can completely crossing a side line would be a scratch for that toss. The best tosses at the end of the event would get prizes. You could have a kid’s category using a small can instead of a large. This was very popular. The lady who won this event got a good roll with her can. I think it went almost 30 feet.

 

Try that in my neck of the woods right now and you have an ammo can in a deep snowy hole. Might I suggest a film container toss instead?

 

edited to point that J-way was thinking the same way that I was.

Edited by NYPaddleCacher
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I see from kitfox's linkage that I have already suggested geo-bingo. It's fun to learn a little bit more about the people you see all the time.

 

Geo bingo is a great game for events because it encourages mixing. Any game that encourages mixing is good.

 

I'm not crazy about activities that send everybody off on their own or in small groups. What really disappoints me is attending an event, then watching the attended logs roll in and seeing name after name of people who were there but I never met because they were off caching, on a poker run or whatever else.

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I really like to see folks at Events wearing caching name labels. Just simple stick-on paper ones, provided by the Host, are fine. I know that maybe 95% of those attending already know each other but I think seeing familiar caching names helps new cachers to integrate and approach 'strangers' more easily...

 

"Oh, hi, you're The SoandSos. I loved your cache I did last week..." or whatever.

 

MrsB :angry:

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I see from kitfox's linkage that I have already suggested geo-bingo. It's fun to learn a little bit more about the people you see all the time.

 

Geo bingo is a great game for events because it encourages mixing. Any game that encourages mixing is good.

 

I'm not crazy about activities that send everybody off on their own or in small groups. What really disappoints me is attending an event, then watching the attended logs roll in and seeing name after name of people who were there but I never met because they were off caching, on a poker run or whatever else.

I have to agree with Brian. We throw our events as social events and folks can cache before and after them.

 

Our only exception is one event which is co-thrown with Mr Grubstake every year involves a hike to a cache placed on the cliffs above his restaurant and usually a few other temp caches placed in the area. It can be hard to get everyone together for talking when they are all out chasing caches so we always set a time for the hike to the On The Edge cache and then an beginning time for dinner and it works out decently well.

 

Geo-Bingo is alot of fun, other fun we have done was speed solving for ROT-13 readings and puzzle solving for real puzzle caches local to the event. (with their owner's permission and participation)

If the event ends at dark we always try to plan a group night-caching trip as well.

Jennifer

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Back on the subject of food; two items that will always be gone at event end: homemade brownies and deviled eggs. Never saw a plate of either that wasn't clean. Store bought brownies and cookies will be only be eaten after the homemade are gone, and maybe not then. Apparently geo-nation isn't worrying much about cholesterol levels.

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Geocaching Event Games, other than closest to the pin

 

Challenge to see who can remove, sign, and replace a nano log the fastest.

 

Challenge to see who can decrypt a rot 13 encrypted message fastest.

 

I had an idea I've only told a couple of people about, but I'm going to give it to you right here now. Bobbing for film canisters.

 

bobbing200.jpg

 

You know, you could put like prizes in some of them and stuff. Great idea, eh? <_<

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Geocaching Event Games, other than closest to the pin

 

Challenge to see who can remove, sign, and replace a nano log the fastest.

 

Challenge to see who can decrypt a rot 13 encrypted message fastest.

 

I had an idea I've only told a couple of people about, but I'm going to give it to you right here now. Bobbing for film canisters.

 

bobbing200.jpg

 

You know, you could put like prizes in some of them and stuff. Great idea, eh? <_<

 

I am totally going to steal this idea.

 

(PS: your img link is broken.)

 

Last night we grabbed a bag of gummy smiles to "test run" before purchasing a larger quantity for the event.

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Geocaching Event Games, other than closest to the pin

 

Challenge to see who can remove, sign, and replace a nano log the fastest.

 

Challenge to see who can decrypt a rot 13 encrypted message fastest.

 

I had an idea I've only told a couple of people about, but I'm going to give it to you right here now. Bobbing for film canisters.

 

 

You know, you could put like prizes in some of them and stuff. Great idea, eh? <_<

 

I am totally going to steal this idea.

 

(PS: your img link is broken.)

 

Last night we grabbed a bag of gummy smiles to "test run" before purchasing a larger quantity for the event.

 

Picture seems to work for me (I cut it out of this post though). I really had the idea, but I was just sort of kidding. I guess it's funny to me, because some would call me an anti-micro extremist. I'm not, but some would call me that. :( Go for it!!

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Lots of great ideas that I am going to use in the future... thanks.

But something that has not been asked or answered (I have also asked this in another thread but thought I would ask here too).... where or how do you get the prizes for the games without having to pay for them out of your own pocket?

 

Thanks in advance!

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We did a really nice camping event last summer at our local lake. The lake has a latrine, some picnic tables, a camping area for campers (no utilities) and a tent area. It's 1 mile, 1.6km from our house, so nice and close.

 

The event lasted from Friday night to Sunday whenever you wanted to leave, although some folks came only for Saturday and some even left on Saturday night, their choice.

 

Friday night was a meet and greet, we all got together, grilled our own food that we brought with us, the lake had a grill, we also brought our grill from home and there was another grill and a couple of campstoves there. Everyone brought their own blankets to sit on or folding chairs. There isn't a problem with fire ants here, so sitting on the ground was safe :yikes:. Someone made a KILLER hot drink with milk, brown sugar and spiced rum that we all enjoyed that night, nights in July can be chilly here in Sweden, so it was a hit.

 

Saturday we met up at 9 am and Micke and I handed out printed sheets with the caches that were set up for the day. There were 21 of them. That was part of the fun of the event, finding good places for good caches in the weeks before. Our local reviewer worked with us and didn't release them until 5 pm that day for the rest of the world to find, but the folks at the event had first chances to get them. Inside every cache we put a couple of numbered tickets, the FTF had the option of taking both or taking one and leaving one for the next person. There was one high difficulty/terrain cache that we put more tickets in because of those factors. Everyone had until 5 pm to go cache to their hearts' desire. It was great to watch, they took their papers and headed to their cars and started putting in numbers, hehehe... ohhh, the concentration, the intensity, the competitiveness!! You should have heard the comments, hehehe! And off they went! One of the caches was in front of my in-law's place, they sat out all day and watched folks hit it and giggled, hehehe.

 

Everyone came back roughly 5 ish, we all laughed and talked about the caches and which they liked and didn't like, etc., had snacks and just relaxed together. After everyone had wound down I brought out the goodies. I had collected more than 30 geocoins, pathtags, signature items and so on, as well as having a 'grand prize' of a small backpack filled with geocaching snacks and candies and such. I had gotten enough donations that everyone was able to leave with a geocoin of their own to release or collect, up to them. It was cool because those who won more than one were giving up their winning to someone who hadn't won, and even the kids ended up going home with a gift of some sort!

 

The cool thing about this was that Saturday Mr Mousekakat, Mini-Mousekakat, Baby-Mousekakat, a couple of the older kids that didn't want to go caching, and I hung out at the lake all day, swung in the hammock, relaxed, picnicked, ate some junk food and drank cold beer/soda and just took it easy. An event can be really tiring on the organizers, so it was a great break!

 

Sunday was up to everyone what they did. We headed back to the lake around 9:30 and there were still a number of folks there, they are going out again after more caches (ohhh, how they love a good cache, hehehe) and then taking off from there.

 

We provided a grill, a cheap tent pavillion, the one you can get for like 20 bucks at Waly World, brought all the folding chairs we had and a couple of blankets to sit on and a hammock. We also provided trash bags, plastic utensils, and paper plates for those who needed them. There was enough ketchup, mustard and things like that that everyone shared them. We also provided a container for cans to be recycled.

 

It was a very successful event with more than 30 people showing up. It was a lot of fun, we even had people camping in our back yard under our apple trees, 2 in the guest room, and a family of 4 in the little cabin we have in the back yard, as well as a family of 3 staying at the bed and breakfast at the stables next door.

 

We're looking forward to doing it again this year with the exception of ONE little "bump" in the road... We did it the last weekend of July last year.... and the last week of July this year we're expecting a new Baby-Mousekakat the second, so looks like we may end up skipping this year and just doing it bigger and better next year!

 

Events are great, have fun!

 

Naomi

 

edited to add... The caches were all stocked out of pocket from us, we hit dollar store for most, but it still cost a bit to put out 21 fully stocked caches. The geocoins and signature items and pathtags were all donated, I put up a post asking for donations and people were great about sending them. You can also contact Groundspeak and see if they would be willing to donate a couple of items, they are wonderful about things like this normally!

Edited by mousekakat
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We did a really nice camping event last summer at our local lake. The lake has a latrine, some picnic tables, a camping area for campers (no utilities) and a tent area. It's 1 mile, 1.6km from our house, so nice and close.

 

We're looking forward to doing it again this year with the exception of ONE little "bump" in the road... We did it the last weekend of July last year.... and the last week of July this year we're expecting a new Baby-Mousekakat the second, so looks like we may end up skipping this year and just doing it bigger and better next year!

 

Events are great, have fun!

 

Naomi

 

edited to add... The caches were all stocked out of pocket from us, we hit dollar store for most, but it still cost a bit to put out 21 fully stocked caches. The geocoins and signature items and pathtags were all donated, I put up a post asking for donations and people were great about sending them. You can also contact Groundspeak and see if they would be willing to donate a couple of items, they are wonderful about things like this normally!

 

Congratulations on the expecting of the Mousekakat the second! :yikes:

 

And thanks for the tips about the prizes. Much appreciated!

Edited by brendah
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