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What a great Scouting Event! (Long - Descriptive)


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Since my self, BD, and my three harmonics are all into GeoCaching, what makes more sense then to try to bring about 100 friends in.

 

One of the harmonics is the Senior Patrol Leader of the troop I work with. Some of the newer scouts needed activities to advance to their next rank so we decided that a walk around one of the wildlife preserves in the area, Lincoln Marsh, would fit the bill nicely.

 

An area GeoCacher, DogDoc,has several in the area and six in Lincoln Marsh. We tend to like them because his humor is at least as warped as ours while remaining "family rated".

 

The SPL called around to the patrol leaders who in turn called their patrols (we really are a boy run troop). Out of the 80 or so boys in the troop, there are about 40 really active on a week to week basis so I expected about 6 or so to turn out. If you are in scouts, you will understand how I calculated that.

 

To my surprise, about 14 showed up right at 9:00 am. With the my three, BD, myself and 1 other parent, we had quite a turnout. We split them as evenly as possible into teams with one of the "instructors". Two of the boys even brought GPSr's they had borrowed from relatives. One was an older unit but one was the Rhino with the FRS and GPS. I have to be sure to thank that relative for forcing me to go out and buy another toy. icon_rolleyes.gif

 

After a short instruction period on what GPS, what GC was and how it worked nicely into orienteering, as well as why it was important to bring the compasses that only one of the harmonics (actually, one in our whole group including me) had remembered to bring, we started on our trek.

 

We had printouts of all the caches as well as aerial photos I got off Microsofts TerraServer and decided that one that has a 2 1/2 star terrain would be eliminated since these were new GCr's and younger scouts. The first one my team had was number 5 in the series.

 

Sure enough, the two boys I was with tried to bee line to the cache. When we came to the reason this is called a marsh, I reminded them of some of the orienteering we had covered on campouts and that sometimes you had to go the long way around an obstacle to reach the destination.

 

After they got on track, we met up with another team who for some reason started on the same one we did. The team was headed by BD, so it weren't too bad. icon_wink.gif It was a tough one that was well hidden and slightly off according to her III+ and my V. It took us 45 minutes but when we were done, we had the boys hooked.

 

We could not have picked a better series. Every type of hide and container was used in these 5 caches. Pill bottle, film cannister, butter tub, etc. Everything but an ammo can, which from finding some of DogDocs others I don't think he uses much.

 

I didn't have much to do except answer the occasional question. The two scouts on my team took to it like they had been doing it for a while. In fact, I found myself trying to keep up.

 

We had decide since number 1 was soo close to where we parked and did the orientation, we would meet there. Several times we had crossed each other during the morning, always asking "How many?" or "Any no finds?". Everyone appeared to be having a good time.

 

As we went to our last one, we happened to pass thru the parking lot where a father had showed up to pick up his son in a little bit. What could we do, we dragged him along.

 

It was a good thing because the boys tried and tried to find it, when the father said "Is this what they look like?".

 

Off to the meeting cache. The boys now had an idea that the coords got you there but you had about a 10 yard radius you should look at. When we got there, it was like being with the crew from CSI. They stood, took in the surrounding and looked in two or three obvious places and found it in no time.

 

When we got back to the site, we found the SPL had got a litlle full of himself and his team found number 4, the one we thought would be too tough (I still have to go back for that one).

 

We sat and asked the normal "Did you have fun?" (Yes) "What did you learn?" (Wear long pants and bring lots of bug spray) we found out how everyone did. A few had to try a cache once or twice, but all were found and not one scout seemed to not have a good time.

 

All in all, it was very successful. At the JLT (Junior Leaders Training) this last weekend we had our planning conference for 2004. Not only did they plan a whole campout centered around hiking and GeoCaching, they decide the troop would use GeoCaching as a backup for other campouts and as an "extra" activity during free times.

 

Get your kids out there. Show them that you can have fun with electroncis that you don't "shoot back" with.....Wait a minute.....I think my V does have games....."Hey Billy, remember when I said you couldn't bring your gameboy? Guess what?".....

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