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New here - Tips for Teaching Cub Scouts about geocaching?


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I signed up for a geocaching account last year but until now, haven't really had time to do much official geocaching.  That is about to change though -- I'm helping our cub scout pack put together some geocaches that we are planning to hide for the summer, and would love any tips you can share to help make this a fun and exciting experience.

 

I've ordered some trackables, and have been advised by a longtime enthusiast to write the trackable number on an item rather than including the trackable itself in the cache.  We're planning on including some scout patches and other scout-related items too.

 

Any tips for someone new to geocaching... at making a successful cache?  Any other tips to help make this a success for the kids?

 

Thanks!!

 

ETA: My official geocaching record is as limited as my profile suggests.  That being said, we do have other leadership in the pack that has been geocaching since 2004, and still does it regularly.  They will be helping with this but are tied up this week with work.... so I figured I would ask here in the meantime. 

 

ETA (again): Based on advice given below ....I'm contemplating a new thought process for this. 

1. Teach the scouts about basics of geocaching and etiquette as per recommendations

2. Hide some unofficial caches for them to practice finding during our event

3. Have scouts vote on a travel goal for TB.... and drop a couple in different existing caches around the area.

4. Maybe create one or more scout-maintained caches at a future date - assuming enough scouts show continued interest in helping me and the other adult maintain them.

 

Edited by SpartanHope
added revised thought process to original post
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Biggest thing I would do is to teach responsibility - the boring "keep looking after it and remove it if you stop playing" aspect tends to get glossed over.

 

I know of a few GeoCaches set up in the front carparks of scout / guide / cub halls, which I assume is for ease of maintenance. If you went this route, I would strongly suggest aiming for something a bit more complex than "container in a bush". Many of WV Tim's gadget caches are easy to build and maintain, and if some jerk comes along and trashes it then that can be a resilience teaching opportunity at re-building, building a new different one or already having a spare under construction.

 

For a cache to have lots of finds, it should be D/T rated less than 2/2 so it shows up on the Official App to Basic members. To get more favorite points, it should have a bit of effort and be a little bit quirky. A well decorated container (example: an ammo box painted with camo design is "meh", while an ammo box painted like the telephone box from Dr Who can be "wow" for about the same effort / cost) can be enough to grab people's attention. Just keep in mind that "lots of finds" is not always a good thing, because it also means new people, inexperienced players, lazy and just plain jerks also show up.

 

You can also tie in different hobbies into the one cache by setting it up a little more elaborate and making it a GC GeoCache, a competing service's geocache, a Free Little Library, a Letterboxing cache and other competing GPS-based game services which use QR code scanning. Or you can have all those as separate projects across the front of the building and they can be right next to each other since they are competing services and don't need minimum spacing from each other.

 

For TB's, yes - what you are referring to is a "proxy" - where the original metal tag stays at home and something else goes out into the wild. This can also tie in to other hobbies / patches by using woodwork, rock carving, metal working or some other hands-on activity to create the tag by hand. Some art places sell bags of aluminum dog tags dirt cheap, and some hardware stores sell number and letter punch sets pretty cheap. One set across a number of different cubs would make it a cheap enough investment to make a few TB tags, and then be available for other projects.

 

The golden rule for TB's is "assume you'll never see it again". Setting a mission of going from central US to Europe and back again is quite the tall order, especially as many go missing after only a month or three. 

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53 minutes ago, SpartanHope said:

I signed up for a geocaching account last year but until now, haven't really had time to do much official geocaching.  

That is about to change though -- I'm helping our cub scout pack put together some geocaches that we are planning to hide for the summer, and would love any tips you can share to help make this a fun and exciting experience.

 

Did you go out with another at some time ?  I see no finds. Curious what "official" geocaching was.      Thanks.  :)

No offense, but I feel the leader of this group should have a little more experience before taking kids out.

Good information can be gleaned from Geocaching 101 and the Help Center.

Are all the "caches" going to be maintained by you

Most caches here that "scouts" have placed weren't maintained. Seems (to me) to be a poor representation of scouts in general...

One relatively new one is still more than 70 feet off, and on the opposite side, and up from a creek you now (by the hint) have to cross. 

 - No one has a NM on it yet, so when I finally get out, I'll again have to be the first...

 

We had a series once that a scout pack went through.  We thought that was cute.  They included pics too.

A few weeks later, some of those same scouts stopped by with their "friends" (first couple included pics again) ... and let's just say I'm not a fan.

Good luck.

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1 hour ago, SpartanHope said:

I signed up for a geocaching account last year but until now, haven't really had time to do much official geocaching.  That is about to change though -- I'm helping our cub scout pack put together some geocaches that we are planning to hide for the summer, and would love any tips you can share to help make this a fun and exciting experience.

 

I've ordered some trackables, and have been advised by a longtime enthusiast to write the trackable number on an item rather than including the trackable itself in the cache.  We're planning on including some scout patches and other scout-related items too.

 

Any tips for someone new to geocaching... at making a successful cache?  Any other tips to help make this a success for the kids?

 

Thanks!!

 

With 0 finds and 0 hides on your account I recommend a little experience before teaching the scouts how to hide a geocache. Will they all be traditionals? Who will be responsible for maintaining them? Are the scouts learning to be responsible for the geocaches they hide? 

 

Once you put a TB out in the wild, have no expectations of ever seeing it do anything. You may get lucky, or it can be stolen right away. Be prepared. 

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When I have taught kids that age geocaching, I've spent about half an hour explaining the basics of geocaching to them, with lots of hands on props. For example, I pass around containers of various sizes, I pass around examples of trackables, and I pass around examples of trade items.

 

Then I take them out to practice geocaching. For a one-hour class, I will have set up a couple dozen hides in a small outdoor area near my classroom, and then I have the kids stay behind a line and raise their hands when they've spotted a hidden container. If I have more time for an actual geocaching hike, then I take them to a park or open space some distance away from home so we can find actual caches there. (The half-hour talk can happen at the trailhead right before the hike, or it can happen beforehand with a brief reminder of the rules before the hike.)

 

I specifically DO NOT take them to find urban/suburban caches in the neighborhood. Even if I trust all my kids completely, I don't necessarily trust their friends and classmates who hear about hidden treasure in the neighborhood.

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9 minutes ago, niraD said:

When I have taught kids that age geocaching, I've spent about half an hour explaining the basics of geocaching to them, with lots of hands on props. For example, I pass around containers of various sizes, I pass around examples of trackables, and I pass around examples of trade items.

 

Then I take them out to practice geocaching. For a one-hour class, I will have set up a couple dozen hides in a small outdoor area near my classroom, and then I have the kids stay behind a line and raise their hands when they've spotted a hidden container. If I have more time for an actual geocaching hike, then I take them to a park or open space some distance away from home so we can find actual caches there. (The half-hour talk can happen at the trailhead right before the hike, or it can happen beforehand with a brief reminder of the rules before the hike.)

 

I specifically DO NOT take them to find urban/suburban caches in the neighborhood. Even if I trust all my kids completely, I don't necessarily trust their friends and classmates who hear about hidden treasure in the neighborhood.

That's what I've done with almost all the classes I've taught: hide containers just for the class. 

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7 hours ago, niraD said:

I don't necessarily trust their friends and classmates who hear about hidden treasure in the neighborhood.

 

Also one of the reasons I don't advertise GeoCaching as a treasure, I try to only describe it as a "worldwide game of hide and seek". I'm not a fan of how GC advertise it as a treasure hunt, sets people up right away to expect to find things they can keep. 

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5 hours ago, Unit473L said:

Also one of the reasons I don't advertise GeoCaching as a treasure, I try to only describe it as a "worldwide game of hide and seek". I'm not a fan of how GC advertise it as a treasure hunt, sets people up right away to expect to find things they can keep. 

Thanks for that reminder. I use the term "scavenger hunt" rather than "treasure hunt" myself, because there is nothing of real value (treasure) and the point of the game isn't the value of what you find, but the adventure you have finding it.

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5 hours ago, Unit473L said:

Also one of the reasons I don't advertise GeoCaching as a treasure, I try to only describe it as a "worldwide game of hide and seek". I'm not a fan of how GC advertise it as a treasure hunt, sets people up right away to expect to find things they can keep. 

 

When we took new folks who asked out, we stressed it was a location hobby.  We started when the thought was "The Language of Location".

Obviously we took them to spots that had awesome views, or unique areas. 

We feel nondescript roadside "placed here because we can..." caches aren't gonna keep folks interested long term.

" Real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game" we feel, may be why so many trackables get taken.

Some find out that a mcdonald's toy isn't much of a "treasure", so take whatever's "shiny", think it's a souvenir of their one day caching, or think that trackable is the "treasure" in the hobby.

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19 hours ago, Unit473L said:

Biggest thing I would do is to teach responsibility - the boring "keep looking after it and remove it if you stop playing" aspect tends to get glossed over.

 

For a cache to have lots of finds, it should be D/T rated less than 2/2 so it shows up on the Official App to Basic members. To get more favorite points, it should have a bit of effort and be a little bit quirky. A well decorated container (example: an ammo box painted with camo design is "meh", while an ammo box painted like the telephone box from Dr Who can be "wow" for about the same effort / cost) can be enough to grab people's attention. Just keep in mind that "lots of finds" is not always a good thing, because it also means new people, inexperienced players, lazy and just plain jerks also show up.

 

For TB's, yes - what you are referring to is a "proxy" - where the original metal tag stays at home and something else goes out into the wild. This can also tie in to other hobbies / patches by using woodwork, rock carving, metal working or some other hands-on activity to create the tag by hand. Some art places sell bags of aluminum dog tags dirt cheap, and some hardware stores sell number and letter punch sets pretty cheap. One set across a number of different cubs would make it a cheap enough investment to make a few TB tags, and then be available for other projects.

 

The golden rule for TB's is "assume you'll never see it again".

 

Thanks for all the good tips... and appreciate your elaboration on the proxy tags.  I'm taking notes so I do this right!

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19 hours ago, cerberus1 said:

Did you go out with another at some time ?  I see no finds. Curious what "official" geocaching was.      Thanks.  :)

No offense, but I feel the leader of this group should have a little more experience before taking kids out.

Good information can be gleaned from Geocaching 101 and the Help Center.

Are all the "caches" going to be maintained by you

Most caches here that "scouts" have placed weren't maintained. Seems (to me) to be a poor representation of scouts in general...

One relatively new one is still more than 70 feet off, and on the opposite side, and up from a creek you now (by the hint) have to cross. 

 - No one has a NM on it yet, so when I finally get out, I'll again have to be the first...

 

We had a series once that a scout pack went through.  We thought that was cute.  They included pics too.

A few weeks later, some of those same scouts stopped by with their "friends" (first couple included pics again) ... and let's just say I'm not a fan.

Good luck.

Thanks for asking!   I edited my original post to mention that while I haven't done any official geocaching, one of the leaders has been doing so since 2004.  They're indisposed this week so I figured I would get a start on learning the do's and don'ts -- because if I'm going to help out with something, I want to make sure to do things right.

 

While I haven't found any caches yet.... the few caches I did try to find last year weren't there anymore.  Being new to geocaching, I didn't know you could mark something unfound....so I didn't even mark us unsuccessful in those.  My kids have done geocaches with their teachers through school -- which obviously weren't listed on geocaching.com.  We'll be heading out this week to find some caches so I have some successful finds under my belt before helping teach scouts.

 

We won't be placing any caches without maintaining them.  Our actual plan is to place them for the summer, and then remove them at the end of the summer.  I haven't researched the details on activating/deactivating caches (that probably isn't even the right term, my apologies) but if that's the right way to do things, I'd love to be pointed in the right direction.

 

All said and done we definitely don't want to be leaving any caches unmaintained.  As you mentioned, that's a poor representation of scouting -- and I don't want to be a part of that.   

 

Thanks again for your response.  I appreciate your candor and honesty.

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19 hours ago, Max and 99 said:

With 0 finds and 0 hides on your account I recommend a little experience before teaching the scouts how to hide a geocache. Will they all be traditionals? Who will be responsible for maintaining them? Are the scouts learning to be responsible for the geocaches they hide? 

 

Once you put a TB out in the wild, have no expectations of ever seeing it do anything. You may get lucky, or it can be stolen right away. Be prepared. 

 

Thanks for the honesty. I get it.  I'm working with another leader who has been geocaching since 2004 -- so they know the ropes a lot better than I do.  That being said, I don't want to help out with this while being completely unprepared -- so I decided to do some research here ahead of time.  I'm also planning to do some geocaching this week to get my feet wet because I agree with you 100%.  Sorry it came across as a random "hey, we're gonna dump some caches and never check on them again."

 

Yes, we will be teaching responsibility for maintenance to the scouts.  I don't want them dumping random caches out in the wild and never checking on it. I don't have much experience, but I know that is definitely not right.   While they are out there, we'll definitely maintain them.

 

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16 hours ago, niraD said:

When I have taught kids that age geocaching, I've spent about half an hour explaining the basics of geocaching to them, with lots of hands on props. For example, I pass around containers of various sizes, I pass around examples of trackables, and I pass around examples of trade items.

 

Then I take them out to practice geocaching. For a one-hour class, I will have set up a couple dozen hides in a small outdoor area near my classroom, and then I have the kids stay behind a line and raise their hands when they've spotted a hidden container. If I have more time for an actual geocaching hike, then I take them to a park or open space some distance away from home so we can find actual caches there. (The half-hour talk can happen at the trailhead right before the hike, or it can happen beforehand with a brief reminder of the rules before the hike.)

 

I specifically DO NOT take them to find urban/suburban caches in the neighborhood. Even if I trust all my kids completely, I don't necessarily trust their friends and classmates who hear about hidden treasure in the neighborhood.

 

Thanks - this is really helpful.  I like the hands on aspect, and letting them practice before doing a real hike.  Good tip about friends hearing about hidden treasure.  Thank you!

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9 hours ago, Unit473L said:

 

Also one of the reasons I don't advertise GeoCaching as a treasure, I try to only describe it as a "worldwide game of hide and seek". I'm not a fan of how GC advertise it as a treasure hunt, sets people up right away to expect to find things they can keep. 

Really good point. I will make sure to emphasize this when we talk with the scouts.

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3 hours ago, cerberus1 said:

When we took new folks who asked out, we stressed it was a location hobby.  We started when the thought was "The Language of Location".

" Real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game" we feel, may be why so many trackables get taken.

I like that concept.  Thank you.

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11 minutes ago, SpartanHope said:

Thanks for asking!   I edited my original post to mention that while I haven't done any official geocaching, one of the leaders has been doing so since 2004.  They're indisposed this week so I figured I would get a start on learning the do's and don'ts -- because if I'm going to help out with something, I want to make sure to do things right.

 

While I haven't found any caches yet.... the few caches I did try to find last year weren't there anymore.  Being new to geocaching, I didn't know you could mark something unfound....so I didn't even mark us unsuccessful in those.  My kids have done geocaches with their teachers through school -- which obviously weren't listed on geocaching.com.  We'll be heading out this week to find some caches so I have some successful finds under my belt before helping teach scouts.

 

We won't be placing any caches without maintaining them.  Our actual plan is to place them for the summer, and then remove them at the end of the summer.  I haven't researched the details on activating/deactivating caches (that probably isn't even the right term, my apologies) but if that's the right way to do things, I'd love to be pointed in the right direction.

 

All said and done we definitely don't want to be leaving any caches unmaintained.  As you mentioned, that's a poor representation of scouting -- and I don't want to be a part of that.   

 

Thanks again for your response.  I appreciate your candor and honesty.

Long term

Hide your cache to have a long life.

Temporary caches intended to stay active for fewer than three months will not be published.

Caches intended to move will not be published.

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Posted (edited)
5 minutes ago, Max and 99 said:

Long term

Hide your cache to have a long life.

Temporary caches intended to stay active for fewer than three months will not be published.

Caches intended to move will not be published.

Got it.  Thanks for that info.  I'll revise our plans a bit as we proceed here so that we can hide a long term cache.  Appreciate it.  

 

Is there a good thread to look through for "hiding your first cache" -- I want to make sure that I don't miss anything.

Edited by SpartanHope
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19 minutes ago, SpartanHope said:

While I haven't found any caches yet.... the few caches I did try to find last year weren't there anymore

How do you know the caches weren't there? It's not uncommon at all to not be able to find your first caches because you have no reference of what to look for. 

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4 minutes ago, Max and 99 said:

How do you know the caches weren't there? It's not uncommon at all to not be able to find your first caches because you have no reference of what to look for. 

I looked on the comments of the geocache and multiple users mentioned that the cache wasn't there... and may have been taken or moved as of X date.  Being new, I assumed that to be fact.  You're absolutely right in that I maybe shouldn't make assumptions.  My apologies!

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2 minutes ago, SpartanHope said:

I looked on the comments of the geocache and multiple users mentioned that the cache wasn't there... and may have been taken or moved as of X date.  Being new, I assumed that to be fact.  You're absolutely right in that I maybe shouldn't make assumptions.  My apologies!

The reason I ask is since the pandemic started I've seen a huge increase in the numbers of new geocachers saying the cache isn't there because they can't find it. And way more Needs Archived logs because they can't find the cache.  

I can't speak for everyone, but when you first start geocaching and you don't have a reference of what you're looking for, it's hard to find the cache. We could not find the first one we went to look for. We made really big mistakes in other areas going to the second one, but actually found it. Ohhh! That gave us the reference we needed so we went back to the first cache and did find it. Many of us remember the first time we went to find a geocache on a skirt lifter. Walk around around around. How can we not see it? 😁

We were all newbies once. 

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Posted (edited)
33 minutes ago, Max and 99 said:

The reason I ask is since the pandemic started I've seen a huge increase in the numbers of new geocachers saying the cache isn't there because they can't find it. And way more Needs Archived logs because they can't find the cache.  

I can't speak for everyone, but when you first start geocaching and you don't have a reference of what you're looking for, it's hard to find the cache. We could not find the first one we went to look for. We made really big mistakes in other areas going to the second one, but actually found it. Ohhh! That gave us the reference we needed so we went back to the first cache and did find it. Many of us remember the first time we went to find a geocache on a skirt lifter. Walk around around around. How can we not see it? 😁

We were all newbies once. 

:):) Experience comes over time, right?  Takeaway....next time, before I believe such comments, I might want to look and see if they have a lot of finds under their belt.  Thank you!

 

Based on your advice (and the others' comments here too) ....I'm contemplating a new thought process for this. 

1. Teach the scouts about basics of geocaching and etiquette as per above

2. Hide some unofficial caches for them to practice finding during our event

3. Have scouts vote on a travel goal for TB.... and drop a couple in different existing caches around the area.

4. Maybe create one or more scout-maintained caches at a future date - assuming enough scouts show continued interest in helping me and the other adult maintain them.

 

 

Thoughts?  

Edited by SpartanHope
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14 minutes ago, SpartanHope said:

Experience comes over time, right? 

Absolutely. And a lot of caches with low difficulty ratings are rated low because they're in "the usual spot" and experienced geocachers know to look there right away. For inexperienced geocachers who haven't learned where "the usual spots" are, such caches can be much more difficult to find.

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A VERY important aspect that has not been discussed is PARENTAL APPROVAL for the children using the website. These Cub Scouts (I'd limit this to only those who have a parent along side for the caching activities) are not of age to have their own Geocaching account.  I have taught the Geocaching Merit Badge a few times at Summer Camp for Boy Scouts. You could use that Handbook as a helpful resource in your endeavor.

 

As most others have mentioned, Geocaching is not a "Treasure Hunt" and cache ownership is a long-term commitment. Having led Cub Scout dens from Tigers through 5 years of Webelos, I would skip the cache ownership aspect, emphasize the family involvement, and overemphasize the "Trade Even or Trade Up" idea (where you only trade for even value or leave more value than you take when trading).

 

Good luck trying to teach something to Elementary School boys kids in an hour that takes a week at camp with Middle and High School aged boys kids.

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57 minutes ago, K13 said:

A VERY important aspect that has not been discussed is PARENTAL APPROVAL for the children using the website. These Cub Scouts (I'd limit this to only those who have a parent along side for the caching activities) are not of age to have their own Geocaching account.  I have taught the Geocaching Merit Badge a few times at Summer Camp for Boy Scouts. You could use that Handbook as a helpful resource in your endeavor.

 

Good luck trying to teach something to Elementary School boys kids in an hour that takes a week at camp with Middle and High School aged boys kids.

 

 

First off, I might be reading something wrong into your post -- but it sounds like I might have offended you.  My apologies.  

 

Thank you for the idea to look into the handbook as a resource -- much appreciated! :)

 

My whole reason for making a post in the first place to to educate myself about how to garner enthusiasm about geocaching at the younger ages, so that I wasn't co-teaching this unawares.  I had no intentions of suggesting these kids make their own geocaching account.  And I'm not trying to teach them everything about geocaching in one sitting.  As you implied, that would be ridiculous.

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6 hours ago, SpartanHope said:

Experience comes over time, right?  Takeaway....next time, before I believe such comments, I might want to look and see if they have a lot of finds under their belt.  Thank you!

Your post made me chuckle. 

1. I have a cache that is found much easier by newbies. Experienced cachers sometimes have a preconceived idea of where it should be, it's not uncommon for them to make multiple trips, always saying after they find it, "it was exactly where I looked before!"

2. Finding a geocache after several others log DNFs can be a thrill. You never know! It could be gone, or it could be super easy and they overlooked it. Or you just happened to look in the right spot! 😁

 

Even very experienced geocachers can miss easy D caches. I've seen this on my own hides. There's one local cache that everybody but me has found. There's only one host and we've been twice! Haha. 

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1 hour ago, Max and 99 said:

1. I have a cache that is found much easier by newbies. Experienced cachers sometimes have a preconceived idea of where it should be, it's not uncommon for them to make multiple trips, always saying after they find it, "it was exactly where I looked before!"

I resemble that remark...

 

Some of the caches that have taken me the longest time to find have been hidden near multiple "usual spots", but didn't use any of them. It took me a long time to thoroughly examine all those "usual spots" and finally give up and start looking elsewhere. Then I found the cache hidden right there, but in some other way.

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13 hours ago, niraD said:

I resemble that remark...

 

Some of the caches that have taken me the longest time to find have been hidden near multiple "usual spots", but didn't use any of them. It took me a long time to thoroughly examine all those "usual spots" and finally give up and start looking elsewhere. Then I found the cache hidden right there, but in some other way.

 

I couldn't help but laugh when I read this - here's a portion of a log I wrote for a cache we found yesterday...

  • After reading through the description, hint, and a few previous logs, I thought I knew what we were looking for, and probably spent more time than we needed to with that preconceived idea. WB finally spotted it, something I had seen and completely disregarded when we first walked up.
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I'm a Boy Scout GC Merit Badge Counselor as well.

 

It was alluded to above, but one of the biggest headaches with teaching kids about caching EVEN if they all get it (watch out for the uninterested kid in the back) and buy into all the etiquette, respect for the CO's effort, time and money and the collegiate nature of the hobby (NOT "US (cachers) vs. THEM (hiders)", but rather a collaboration) is that they now know about something REALLY KOOL and they HAVE TO tell everyone about it!

 

So, they talk about it and "C'mon; I'll show you!"

 
And, it's gone; a nifty ammo can left at the mercy of uninterested, uninitiated kids with no perspective on the game. MAYBE, your Scout is left standing there shouting, "Hey, wait! You can't take that with you!"   What a spot to put them in.

 

What I've done, especially with younger Scouts is start with and keep pushing the concept that GeoCaching is like a club; a club that's an honor to be a part of, and you're being trusted with secrets that CANNOT be shared. As sacred as the Cub Scout Oath! Would you tell any of your friends where your family keeps the secret Hide-a-Key outside your house? This is the SAME THING!

 

Play it up for all it's worth; you'll be exposing the time, money and effort of a lot of local people to the whims of little kids.

 

ALSO, if you take them hunting, consider reaching out to a few local CO's and asking them if they mind if you take Cub Scouts to their hides. If the local Cub Pack went after mine, I might not be all that enthused.

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On 5/12/2021 at 2:16 PM, TeamRabbitRun said:

What I've done, especially with younger Scouts is start with and keep pushing the concept that GeoCaching is like a club; a club that's an honor to be a part of, and you're being trusted with secrets that CANNOT be shared. As sacred as the Cub Scout Oath! Would you tell any of your friends where your family keeps the secret Hide-a-Key outside your house? This is the SAME THING!

 

That's a great way to relate it to scouting.  I love it.

 

On 5/12/2021 at 2:16 PM, TeamRabbitRun said:

 

ALSO, if you take them hunting, consider reaching out to a few local CO's and asking them if they mind if you take Cub Scouts to their hides. If the local Cub Pack went after mine, I might not be all that enthused.

 

I totally get this.  And over the course of this thread's discussion, definitely got it even more.  Not everyone's kids may be as respectful of the concept of geocaching as mine are, hah.  

 

On 5/12/2021 at 11:55 PM, NanCycle said:

There is a forum section (scroll down) for Geocaching and Education.  The subsections. "Teaching K-7" and "Youth Organizations" might be helpful to you.

Thank you for that!  I am not sure how I missed it.  Oh yeah, it's because I'm new around here.  :blink: .  I'll definitely take a peek!

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Thank you all for putting up with my silly newbie questions!  And for those of you who took the time to be patient with me while I revised my grandiose plans to something more realistic.:shocked:

 

Scouting event part 1 happened this past weekend.  There were definitely kids who filled the range of categories.

  1. older scouts who said "I don't have a GC account, so I can't/won't participate" (appreciate their responsibility/honesty/awareness)
  2. scouts who adopted the "keep it secret, keep it safe" mentality very well
  3. scouts who could care less about the concept and preferred other activities (danger/alert! don't expose to real caches! lol)

In case someone else stumbles across this thread wanting to know what I ended up doing...

  • Just to reassure everyone -- we didn't visit/find official caches.  
  • I hid some takeout containers with party favors, old patches, a pencil, and a log. 
  • a couple really interested scouts helped me hide them, and make up riddles for finding them (these fell into category #2 above)
  • We had a bin of more party favors/patches that they could take a few items for trading purposes
  • It was an optional (i.e INTEREST-based) activity. Some scouts learned about it and searched, others did not.

My phase two of this is as follows:

  • do more research on trackables (I've been reading up like crazy on the forum threads before posting this time)
  • have each den choose where they want "their trackable" to travel (I will be trackable owner/holder, and will be taking them places NOT the scouts)
  • over the summer I will either have the trackables visit different caches in the area, or possibly set proxy trackables free to travel.
  • In fall, we can do a recap of which cities/states were visited (I won't post cache locations, will make it more generic for those whose parents aren't into GC and don't really care)
  • If parents are already into GC, they can watch their dens' trackable and keep their scout posted over the summer.

 

 

 

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SpartanHope - Sounds like you're approaching this in a thoughtful and evaluative way, and thank you for that.

Good luck with the program and please report back in this thread how it goes, even after the summer and into your "Fall phase".

 

TRR

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Posted (edited)
On 5/10/2021 at 3:37 PM, SpartanHope said:

Any tips for someone new to geocaching... at making a successful cache?  Any other tips to help make this a success for the kids?

 

For research, you might ask other scout packs.  While hunting a cache recently, I found an orienteering marker.  It's the same, but different.  Scouts might go for the orienteering aspect, or even prefer that instead of "Geocaching".  But as mentioned there's also a Geocaching badge.

 

Placing a new cache can be quite complicated and a challenge.  But one real advantage for "Scouts" is they hike to amazing places.  They may brainstorm a Geocache at the most surprisingly stunning spot that nobody's ever heard about -- yet visited by the Scouts so often, it's super easy to maintain.  If it's an out-of-the-way place that requires a hike to access, you greatly reduce the "hey I know where treasure is" non-geocachers messing with it.  Plus, the game gains a great Geocache. :)

 

Edited by kunarion
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On 5/10/2021 at 3:37 PM, SpartanHope said:

I've ordered some trackables, and have been advised by a longtime enthusiast to write the trackable number on an item rather than including the trackable itself in the cache.

 

Cool :)!  I once found a Girl Scout TB that had a goal to visit Juliette Gordon Lowe's house.  It had been close, but never quite made it.  So I brought it there, and took pictures.  It's tough to park in Old Town Savannah!  I next placed the TB, and it didn't resurface again for 2 years, and that was in a different cache, with a brief "Discovery" note, with no activity since.  So set reasonable expectations.  "Trackables" in caches may not be super exciting to follow.  Or it may get lots and lots or robotic "Visit" logs.  You never know.  It's in the wind.

 

There are whole threads on the subject of how to make a Trackable that endures.  Lately, the good advice is to not make it so that a "Secret Tracking Code" is readily visible if someone takes a picture while holding it.  I usually attach my Travel Bug Tags (because then it's easier for any finder to identify as "a Trackable Item"), but I design it so the Tracking Code naturally falls out of view for a photo. And when possible, I solidly attach everything so it would take at least a few minutes to take apart.  Other than that, if it's an item that's small enough to fit in a sandwich box that already has other things inside, but too big to carry comfortable in a pocket, you've got a pretty suitable item to travel in Geocaches.

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I am doing something similar with Girl Guides, but something I haven't seen mentioned above, is that the Geocaching Terms of Use, the ones we all blithely tick we've read, say:

Quote

Minors. Because of the nature of the game, which requires a cellular data plan or GPS device and the ability to travel to geocache locations, our services are not directed toward anyone under the age of 16. Although individuals under 16 are welcome to geocache, their parents or guardians must own and manage their accounts. You must be 18 or older to post in the Geocaching Forums.

 

which complicates the Girl Guiding Geocaching interest badge - Girl Guides are aged 10 to 14*.  The reasons I'm doing this with Girl Guides are partly because there's an interest badge and partly because we were given a trackable to return to some Girl Scouts in VA at an international camp in summer 2019. 

 

We (my daughter and I) set up some caches to teach the girls locally last October, planning to run a session in the autumn, but were locked down and back on Zoom before the session happened so everything was stalled.  I finally ran a geocaching session this month, a substitution as we couldn't do the mad outside games we had planned safely on wet grass, and that session had been planned and risk assessed and the caches were in place. In that session we managed to launch that trackable. finally, 2 years later.  The caches my daughter set up have been there for most of a year by now, and have been collected a fair bit, 62 finds on the one that I just checked, as easy starter caches for all the newbies during lockdowns.   I totally agree that the more interesting caches are more fun, but we all do start somewhere, and some easier starter caches are a good way to introduce geocaching.

 

To work with the girls and not expect them to have accounts, I set up an account in the name of the Guides group and let them take it in turns to log finds.  They did love it and I was asked if they could do it again.  As we had so few girls present as so many were isolating, I am planning another session as a voluntary badge session, to give those who missed the session a chance to experience geocaching, provide a second chance. At that session to allow them comply with the badge, we'll place a cache.   My plan is that when the inevitable happens and they move on, I'll adopt the cache and the trackable so that they do get maintained in the longer term.

 

* I am also taking this up with Girl Guiding as I am not sure that the person wrote their badge had much experience of geocaching; I am concerned about some of the requirements, after getting some 18 months of experience of geocaching myself [400+ finds (limited by shielding and lockdowns), 20+ hides and creation of a couple of Adventure labs]. 

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Just figured I would post an update here, since we're partway (most of the way) through the summer.  This has been a fun project for me, and some of our scouts really took interest too, while others didn't really.  We had the whole gamut. :)

 

What worked well -- 

  • having the scouts "vote" or submit ideas on where they wanted the TB to travel
  • talking with the older (3rd/4th graders moving onto next grade) about geocaching, rules, and how to do things right.  This age group wanted to follow the rules.
  • posting updates about where the TB travelled on the pack FB group and public FB page.  Those who were interested asked about it more.
  • Asking my local geocaching group for help to get the TB moving.  I met up with a couple cachers, who took the TB to events and meetups, allowing them to get out of state.
  • hosting an "unofficial" cache event for the cub scouts (grades K-5th) -- they got to learn about geocaching, have fun finding caches, signing names, etc ....but when some kids didn't get the rules, it didn't mess with any official caches.  (we had a couple kids empting swag and not replacing, even though we had a "swag bin" you could grab from.  Other scouts kept them honest, but still....).

What didn't / or what could have been done better --

  • I wasn't able to monitor/lead all the kids through the idea of geocaching.  I think it would have been awesome, retrospectively, to get help from a couple local geocachers willing to talk about / lead interested scouts on a hike and talk about geocaching.  This wouldn't work at the pack level, but at a den level, and only for the older kids, I think.
  • Obviously I transitioned away from my idea for the pack planting actual caches.  That wouldn't have worked.  We did hide a couple caches, with interested scouts, but it's something that will be maintained by me.  I think at this age, the parent needs to be willing to help maintain the cache for it to be a go.
  • Some of the parents didn't really understand (or care) about geocaching.  It would be good to have a couple adults (i.e. more than just one) who know how to do it, and how to teach kids the basics.

Other takeaways

  • I got a ton of help from my local (state) geocaching group.  I wish I had known about that earlier.
  • Sometimes kids who love geocaching are just not in the mood to geocache. It's okay, and don't take it personally.
  • There are a bunch of people who are willing to offer tips/advice for you if you message them.  My kids regularly ask me to ask for additional tips.  And people are very kind.
  • scouts will be much more interested in geocaching at the older ages (middle/high school)....BSA troop level.  At cub scout level, Trackables are cool enough to keep them interested ("ooh, look, our trackable made it to Wyoming!").

Thanks so much for all your help, I really appreciate it.

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45 minutes ago, SpartanHope said:

Just figured I would post an update here, since we're partway (most of the way) through the summer.  This has been a fun project for me, and some of our scouts really took interest too, while others didn't really.  We had the whole gamut. :)

 

What worked well -- 

  • having the scouts "vote" or submit ideas on where they wanted the TB to travel
  • talking with the older (3rd/4th graders moving onto next grade) about geocaching, rules, and how to do things right.  This age group wanted to follow the rules.
  • posting updates about where the TB travelled on the pack FB group and public FB page.  Those who were interested asked about it more.
  • Asking my local geocaching group for help to get the TB moving.  I met up with a couple cachers, who took the TB to events and meetups, allowing them to get out of state.
  • hosting an "unofficial" cache event for the cub scouts (grades K-5th) -- they got to learn about geocaching, have fun finding caches, signing names, etc ....but when some kids didn't get the rules, it didn't mess with any official caches.  (we had a couple kids empting swag and not replacing, even though we had a "swag bin" you could grab from.  Other scouts kept them honest, but still....).

What didn't / or what could have been done better --

  • I wasn't able to monitor/lead all the kids through the idea of geocaching.  I think it would have been awesome, retrospectively, to get help from a couple local geocachers willing to talk about / lead interested scouts on a hike and talk about geocaching.  This wouldn't work at the pack level, but at a den level, and only for the older kids, I think.
  • Obviously I transitioned away from my idea for the pack planting actual caches.  That wouldn't have worked.  We did hide a couple caches, with interested scouts, but it's something that will be maintained by me.  I think at this age, the parent needs to be willing to help maintain the cache for it to be a go.
  • Some of the parents didn't really understand (or care) about geocaching.  It would be good to have a couple adults (i.e. more than just one) who know how to do it, and how to teach kids the basics.

Other takeaways

  • I got a ton of help from my local (state) geocaching group.  I wish I had known about that earlier.
  • Sometimes kids who love geocaching are just not in the mood to geocache. It's okay, and don't take it personally.
  • There are a bunch of people who are willing to offer tips/advice for you if you message them.  My kids regularly ask me to ask for additional tips.  And people are very kind.
  • scouts will be much more interested in geocaching at the older ages (middle/high school)....BSA troop level.  At cub scout level, Trackables are cool enough to keep them interested ("ooh, look, our trackable made it to Wyoming!").

Thanks so much for all your help, I really appreciate it.

Thank you for posting that great update!

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1 hour ago, SpartanHope said:

At cub scout level, Trackables are cool enough to keep them interested ("ooh, look, our trackable made it to Wyoming!").


It might be good to keep a Scout TB among Scouts as much as possible.  It could be handed off to other packs at times (“Grab” logs), and then Visited at caches in new areas.  It could still travel quite far, and might accrue better logs than if it were placed into the wind.  Other interesting stories of the TB’s travel could be posted as Notes.  It’s a great way to teach responsibility, although the actual badge requirement for a Travel Bug seems to be a little different.

 

 

Edited by kunarion
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2 hours ago, SpartanHope said:

I wasn't able to monitor/lead all the kids through the idea of geocaching.  I think it would have been awesome, retrospectively, to get help from a couple local geocachers willing to talk about / lead interested scouts on a hike and talk about geocaching.  This wouldn't work at the pack level, but at a den level, and only for the older kids, I think.

I've helped with Intro to Geocaching classes sponsored by a county parks department. The instructor presented a quick "chalk talk" at the parking lot, ending it with a challenge to spot a camouflaged geocache right there where the "chalk talk" had been given. (It was a "hidden in plain sight" camouflage cache.) Then we broke up into small groups with an experienced geocacher assigned to each group. Each group was also given a preprogrammed GPS receiver with 8-10 caches on a nearby trail. The caches were rather varied, but close to each other. The new geocachers could find several different types of hide and be back at the trailhead by lunchtime.

 

But yeah, with beginners, each group needs an experienced geocacher just to catch the things they forgot from the "chalk talk".

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