Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 4
davester

Adopt A Newbie Scheme? Include In Getting Started?

Recommended Posts

Now this is a feature request based on a thread started on the UK forum which can be found here.

 

Following a feature on geocaching on National TV in the UK there has been a mini influx of geocachers. However, I guess that some people may be put off when they first look at the website by the initial investment in a GPS receiver.

 

Being a overly friendly bunch in the UK, the idea of experienced cachers offering the benefit of their knowledge came to the fore. The idea of the thread was to give new people the chance to meet up with an established cacher and share their GPS for the find. So giving the chance of a taster before the big purchase.

 

There have been plenty offers of help aleady, but the question has arisen. How does a newbie find this thread? So, here I am, asking if such a feature could be incorporated into the site Getting Started section or otherwise.

 

After all, my first visit to this site passed without me starting caching because £100 was a bit too much at the time.

Share this post


Link to post

I really like this idea. Let me think about it a bit. If anyone has more ideas, please post!

Share this post


Link to post

Maybe be able to designate one's self as a "mentor" and have a little icon next to the owner's name on the nearest list.

Edited by CoyoteRed

Share this post


Link to post

I agree, that is a wonderful idea. Way to go, UK geocachers!

 

The moderators in the "Getting Started" forum would be glad to pin a thread where newbies could post requests for someone to help them out. Perhaps even a separate thread where experienced geocachers could post to say "if you want to see what geocaching is like and you live in the _______ area, send me a private message or e-mail."

 

Neither of these solutions is particularly elegant but they could be implemented immediately if that's the way the boss man would like to go.

Share this post


Link to post

I like CR's suggestion.

 

Here's another:

 

If you volunteer to be a mentor, you could provide a waypoint (or zipcode, or something) as a locational indicator and new (or perhaps potential) geocachers could do a search for mentors. It would bring them to the cachers profile (complete with the "email user" feature) that was nearest to them.

 

So, you could search for mentors and it would show you the mentor(s) nearest to your location.

 

southdeltan

Share this post


Link to post
I like CR's suggestion.

 

Here's another:

 

If you volunteer to be a mentor, you could provide a waypoint (or zipcode, or something) as a locational indicator and new (or perhaps potential) geocachers could do a search for mentors.  It would bring them to the cachers profile (complete with the "email user" feature) that was nearest to them.

 

So, you could search for mentors and it would show you the mentor(s) nearest to your location.

 

southdeltan

You could create a new catagory of Cache, called Mentor, and then whoever wants to be a mentor would create a mentor Cache and then you could be searched, just like other cache's. Then when you did not want to volunteer, you could disable yourself and then re-enable yourself when you were ready to start again.

 

Ok, It's just an idea.... :huh::mad::huh:

Share this post


Link to post

Sounds like a good way the local organizations could do some positive PR.

 

Maybe they could have 'newbie' training days or something.

 

As cheap as the old Etrex yellows are going for on E-bay local orgs could have a few extra for training newbies.

Edited by Eric K

Share this post


Link to post
I like CR's suggestion.

 

Here's another:

 

If you volunteer to be a mentor, you could provide a waypoint (or zipcode, or something) as a locational indicator and new (or perhaps potential) geocachers could do a search for mentors.  It would bring them to the cachers profile (complete with the "email user" feature) that was nearest to them.

 

So, you could search for mentors and it would show you the mentor(s) nearest to your location.

 

southdeltan

You could create a new catagory of Cache, called Mentor, and then whoever wants to be a mentor would create a mentor Cache and then you could be searched, just like other cache's. Then when you did not want to volunteer, you could disable yourself and then re-enable yourself when you were ready to start again.

 

Ok, It's just an idea.... :):):rolleyes:

Actually, I don't think that is too bad an idea. It would allow the existing postcode/zip code search to be used. Perhaps they could be hidden in the cache search but accessible via a link at the top saying "Show my nearest mentor".

 

Once created, all that needs doing is clear instructions somewhere alerting people to the fact that people are happy to introduce newcomers and how to go about contacting them.

Share this post


Link to post

Yeah, I'm liking the search for mentor option. You can select in your profile to show a point of origin (other than your home coordinates) and say that you wouldn't mind showing someone the ropes.

Share this post


Link to post

Eric K Posted on Feb 16 2005, 01:41 PM

Sounds like a good way the local organizations could do some positive PR.

 

Maybe they could have 'newbie' training days or something.

 

As cheap as the old Etrex yellows are going for on E-bay local orgs could have a few extra for training newbies.

 

this is the way many outdoor groups, such as fly fishers or trap/skeet shooters, introduce new members to the their sport. it's the same problem for newbies there too--where to learn the skill, and how to practice it a little before investing in (the right) expensive gear? it works well, particularly with a little word-of-mouth or local advertisement. one fly fishing group i belong to has a "stable" of entry level rods, and they even go to schools or scout groups when invited.

Share this post


Link to post

Can I take it one step further? When you do a search it only shows people who have logged in over the last, say, 2 weeks. That way you don't end up with a lot of missing mentors on the search results page.

Share this post


Link to post
Can I take it one step further? When you do a search it only shows people who have logged in over the last, say, 2 weeks. That way you don't end up with a lot of missing mentors on the search results page.

Sounds like a great idea to me.

 

I don't know if it's really necessary to make it a "cache type", but I definetly think putting it as an option in your account (or profile, or whatever it's called now) would be a great idea.

 

I was hesitant to suggest that because I know you guys are big on keeping user info private - but this is OPT IN. (and you can opt out at any time)

 

[OFF TOPIC]

(Perhaps one day there will be a voluntary way you can search for ANY geocacher if they've made their home coordinates (or coordinates close to their home or zipcode or state) public.... or at least searchable. This would be OPT IN.) [/OFF TOPIC]

 

sd

Share this post


Link to post

I love this idea! You would want anyone that is going to be a mentor to be actively involved in the game and to me that means they have a cache or two that they have hid. Maybe some kind of icon on the search results page next to the little pic of the ammo box or after the title of the cache. For example: South Bradford by Mastifflover then some kind of mentor icon.

Share this post


Link to post

Ok, here's a question? What are the qualification to be a mentor? Do we want someone like me who enjoys the sport but only has 1 hide and 75 finds to mentor or do we want some who has 200 finds and 10 hides.... or someone who has just purchased their GPSr and wants to jump in with both feet.?? Where to you draw the starting and finishing line for who can be a mentor and who can't? Just something to think about.....

 

My vote would be someone who has atleast 100 finds. Not too sure that the hides would be all that important, but if it is, I would say 10 hides. But hey, that's just me...

 

:):rolleyes:

 

BD

Edited by Baptist Deacon

Share this post


Link to post

Qualifications should be based on being able and willing to show the ropes. Realistically, it doesn't matter if they have logged 10 finds or 10,000.

 

As far as Mentor coords, I would suggest a park or other public place near the Mentor's home or work.

 

This sounds like a great idea brewing!

Share this post


Link to post

I've offered locally but I suspect I scared them off.

 

While I'll help any newbie some would get more offers than others from other cachers. :rolleyes:

 

8166c3f8-1381-4a39-8524-d8344c79b116.jpg

Share this post


Link to post

RK, I'm sorry, but in my professional opinion she doesn't require any help whatsoever. She seems to be doing fine all on her own.

Share this post


Link to post

I love this idea!

When you do a search it only shows people who have logged in over the last, say, 2 weeks. That way you don't end up with a lot of missing mentors on the search results page.

I think that's a good time limit.

Yeah, I'm liking the search for mentor option. You can select in your profile to show a point of origin (other than your home coordinates) and say that you wouldn't mind showing someone the ropes.

A postcode/zip code option would be cool for this.

 

Where do I sign up? ;)

Share this post


Link to post

Thinking on. How about actually including the feature to be accessed from the actual cache pages?

 

For anyone who either isn't logged in or has less than 5 finds there could be an extra link near List all nearby caches saying If you're new to geocaching and would like some one to help introduce you, click here for nearby volunteer mentors.

 

Mentors are then stored as a cache, which is accessible by this method. The page lists how they can help, when they can help and what areas they can help in.

Share this post


Link to post

this is a good idea, and I'd sign up. we tried something similar here in maryland... a "geocaching 101" but not many folks asked for it. we got a few but i think by the time they find our site they've already found a couple caches and don't "need" or want it. having it here would be even better.

 

jeremy, i also like your suggestion of having to log in to verify continued interest in the mentoring program. good idea that saves time and frustration for newbies.

Share this post


Link to post

Folks, I love it! I keep my contact info on the AGA home page and pinned to the top of our forums already, with an open invitation to anyone who wants to learn about or publicize geocaching.

 

I am contacted by new geocachers and the press on a regular basis - just having a contact readily available has been a help in growing our Association.

 

I take new geocachers out on almost a weekly basis...took one "neophyte" and two "novices" out yesterday.

 

Your ideas are fantastic and I want to take part!

 

When you get it hashed out please sign me up as a mentor as soon as this is enabled.

 

We have a number of personable, experienced and capable geocachers in Alabama that enjoy caching with others and who give their time to present geocaching at events and seminars...I am sure these people would be excited about the mentor program as well.

Share this post


Link to post
You guys might also be interested in the thread that started all of this off. It includes the 'video diary' aired on BBC UK TV on Sunday Morning and has done UK Geocaching no harm at all!!! :P;)

 

Simply Paul BBC TV Star!

We were planning to make his head a cache, but unfortunately it blocks the satellite view for several miles around.

 

;)

Share this post


Link to post

If mentors could be searched by zip code, it would be easy for a newbie to find someone close.

 

As for find count limits ... man with one find can help man with no finds.

Share this post


Link to post

I like the idea, and as people around here sometimes need additional help (translating the hp etc.) it could be of some help.

A search just for ZIP codes is of course useless if gc.com doesn't support them outside the US.

 

BS/2

Share this post


Link to post
I like the idea, and as people around here sometimes need additional help (translating the hp etc.) it could be of some help.

A search just for ZIP codes is of course useless if gc.com doesn't support them outside the US.

 

BS/2

True. Doing something off home co-ordinates may be best then.

Share this post


Link to post
Can I take it one step further? When you do a search it only shows people who have logged in over the last, say, 2 weeks. That way you don't end up with a lot of missing mentors on the search results page.

Jeremy, Sign me up! You can use zip code 76643 for me. Sounds like more fun to be had closer to home this way! Sawdust92

Share this post


Link to post
Jeremy, Sign me up! You can use zip code 76643 for me. Sounds like more fun to be had closer to home this way! Sawdust92

I appreciate the enthusiasm, though if I had to receive the requests through forum posts I'd have a second job :anibad::surprise:

Share this post


Link to post

Great idea.

 

What about using the new bookmarks list? You could designate a bookmarks list as the caches you are willing to mentor on. This could serve as your area newbie recommendations, too.

 

Some sort of accompanying description on mentors might be useful - for instance, I don't actually have a traditional handheld GPS and never have (I use a Bluetooth GPS with a PDA), and I cache paperlessly - not exactly conducive to useful mentoring for a beginner (or even many veterans with far more finds than me), as much as I love the idea and would love to do it, I fear I wouldn't be able to give them much useful guidance.

Edited by caderoux

Share this post


Link to post

We discussed this at a NEOGeocachers meeting about a year ago. We had several people agree to help. We have someone for each part of the wide geocraphic area that we cover.

 

If a newbie contacts us we get them in touch with the closest "Cache Ambassador" who can show them the ropes.

 

If you set up a zip code based system, Northeast Ohio will be well represented.

Share this post


Link to post

I like the idea. Hopefully the "how to do it" gets worked out quickly and this is implemented.

 

A couple of points. I think you'd need to have the mentors list coordinates for a spot "close to them" so that this would function seamlessly world-wide.

 

The "Find a mentor" function needs to be easily found, and simple for the new users to figure out how to use.....let's not hide it in bookmarks or anywhere else they'd need to know how to find. By the time they figure out how to find someone else's bookmarks, they probably don't need a mentor anymore.

 

I think there needs to be a "log in" timeframe, but it needs to be automated. If someone doesn't log in for "x" weeks, they get dropped from the list until they next log in, and are then re-instated. Personally, I'd probably go with 3 or 4 weeks, but most active cachers do likely log in at least once every 2 weeks....

 

I don't think we really need to establish any "you need 'X' finds and 'Y' hides to be a mentor" rules. If someone isn't able to help, they likely know they're still "too new" and won't sign up for this until they're comfortable that they have enough experience to be helpful to someone who's just getting started.......

Share this post


Link to post
The "Find a mentor" function needs to be easily found, and simple for the new users to figure out how to use.....let's not hide it in bookmarks or anywhere else they'd need to know how to find.  By the time they figure out how to find someone else's bookmarks, they probably don't need a mentor anymore.

I meant this could be automatic from the newbies point of view and mean that mentors will have to be somewhat committed (in addition to having been online - I think that is an important part of it).

 

To be a mentor, you need to make yourself available and also designate one of your own bookmark lists as your mentor locations. So from a mentor's point of view, it is pretty simple - you probably would have a local bookmark favorites which you will share out anyway.

 

From the newbie's point of view, I think it IS simple: If any newbie is looking for a start, they should say "I'm a newbie and this is where I want to start, and I only want caches with mentor assistance available" then they will see newbie icons next to any cache which a mentor is willing to help out on in that search (maybe they ONLY see the caches which one or more mentors have volunteered for).

 

This will help mentors define larger areas than just one coordinate or zip code AND simultaneously serve as a recommendation list, since these are caches at least one or more mentors have also recommended for newbies.

Share this post


Link to post
The "Find a mentor" function needs to be easily found, and simple for the new users to figure out how to use.....let's not hide it in bookmarks or anywhere else they'd need to know how to find.  By the time they figure out how to find someone else's bookmarks, they probably don't need a mentor anymore.

I meant this could be automatic from the newbies point of view and mean that mentors will have to be somewhat committed (in addition to having been online - I think that is an important part of it).

 

To be a mentor, you need to make yourself available and also designate one of your own bookmark lists as your mentor locations. So from a mentor's point of view, it is pretty simple - you probably would have a local bookmark favorites which you will share out anyway.

 

From the newbie's point of view, I think it IS simple: If any newbie is looking for a start, they should say "I'm a newbie and this is where I want to start, and I only want caches with mentor assistance available" then they will see newbie icons next to any cache which a mentor is willing to help out on in that search (maybe they ONLY see the caches which one or more mentors have volunteered for).

 

This will help mentors define larger areas than just one coordinate or zip code AND simultaneously serve as a recommendation list, since these are caches at least one or more mentors have also recommended for newbies.

Lets not try to make things overly difficult please. I would love to be a Mentor, BUT, I choose not to let anyone dictate to me how much time, or which cache I have to go to, or what day. Crikes, we are talking about volunteers!!! Please let us leave in a little fun and flexibility. I would not want to go to the same old cache time after time after time. Mix it up! Keep it fun for the Mentor and they in turn will exude fun to the Noobs.

Share this post


Link to post

Let's not lose sight of the main issue either. The main thing is, we're not only lending expertise but also a GPS receiver.

 

This should be a chance for someone to see what it's all about before splashing the cash on a shiny new Garmin/Magellan etc.

 

The way I see it working best is simply by people putting in their co-ordinates and clicking the "I'm prepared to be a mentor" box.

 

When someone comes to the site they can put in their area and be given the contact details for a mentor, who can then offer their services in the way they feel fit.

Edited by davester

Share this post


Link to post

The fewer rules the better. Make sure that the mentor's stats banner appears on the mentor page in whatever form it takes and let the newbie choose. If somebody with two finds wants to be a mentor, fine. If the most finds of any mentor is only five finds then two is significant. If the most finds is 2300 then two finds would be laughable as a mentor. It is all relative. Remember this is world wide and many areas don't have enough caches to be able to require any minimum number of finds for a mentor. In my area there are literally hundreds of cachers that would be good mentors with large numbers of finds. In parts of the world there are few cachers and fewer caches.

 

I say again, the fewer rules the better.

Share this post


Link to post
To be a mentor, you need to make yourself available and also designate one of your own bookmark lists as your mentor locations. So from a mentor's point of view, it is pretty simple - you probably would have a local bookmark favorites which you will share out anyway.

That makes it almost too much work for mentors signing up, to draw people to do it. I know I have plenty of other things going on, and I don't want to take the time to sit down and check the nearest cache lists, and mark each cache I'm willing to help someone with. Just let me put in coords near my home, so I'll show up on a search page when someone withing "x" miles of me searches for a mentor from their coords.....

 

And no, I don't have *ANY* bookmark lists, don't make me sit down and make one just to be a mentor.

Share this post


Link to post

Let's see how mentoring might work in a hypothetical scenario from the mentor's point of view without a pre-prepared set of recommendations:

 

You get an email out of the blue which says someone wants you to mentor them in your area, when can you meet up and which caches should you go to to get started.

 

Now you HAVE to go to gc.com (or GSAK) look at your found caches which you liked which are still active and which you think would be suitable for a newbie and then pick a time and email them back with the waypoints or URLs or even print the latest cache listings so when you meet up you'll have them (in case they don't really understand how to cache - after all they are newbies).

 

From the newbie's point of view, everything is handed to them on a plate - they get a list of all the mentors and their recommendations based on their home criteria, and they click on a mentor to generate an email and can browse the recommendations while they are waiting for the mentor to get back to them.

 

Now let's go back to my suggestion and see how much extra work you need to do. If you are introducing someone to the sport, I think there are caches you would recommend and those you wouldn't. You're going to have to think about that ANYWAY after they contact you and before you go out together - wouldn't it be nice to use the feature we now have to facilitate your mentoring. It would get them off to a start on good caches - caches which you (and others) recommend for a lot of reasons they are good for newbies - like reliability (they have been around awhile without getting muggled), in good areas for a search without muggle problems, more exciting that a micro under a lamppost, demonstrating proper cacher techniques and rules.

 

One list which defines your recommendations for newbies and the area you can handle. You don't have to _restrict_ yourself to that list, but it serves a dual purpose of indicating to newbies which caches other people think are good for starting out AND put them in touch with mentors. It also allows you to list caches near work and home so you can offer MORE than one area you're willing to mentor in. What happens if all the good caching for newbies is not near your home coordinates or zip code? And it collapses down to the same thing - you make a bookmark list with a single recommended newbie cache and you're a mentor, too, just one who doesn't have an extensive list of recommendations.

 

It kills a lot of birds with one stone using an existing feature. It was just a suggestion designed to have minimum effort and be self-supporting and self-maintaining requiring no more work than you will already have to do to be a mentor.

Share this post


Link to post

Why overcomplicate things?

 

Nearly all of us started by printing out cache pages and manually entering waypoints into the GPSr. I suggest that the mentor let the newbie have the same experience.

 

Did anyone become a premium member, download PQ's, and use GSAK before even heading out for a hunt?

 

Let them have the fun of the find first. Then they can discuss things like PQ's and GSAK while on the trail on the way back to the car.

 

I like the option to let newbies search by zip code. I'm willing to help people within 10-20 miles of my zip.

Share this post


Link to post

when taking someone new out, i usually just pick a few parks and give them merits for the cache(s) in each. let them pick and meet them there. it's up to them to make print-outs, pocket queries, whatever.

Share this post


Link to post
Did anyone become a premium member, download PQ's, and use GSAK before even heading out for a hunt?

Actually, I think people do. It's not uncommon to see a thread started by a newbie that says something like, "Just signed up for this great hobby! Read through the forums, paid for my membership, now what kind of GPS do I need?"

 

There's also an unusually high number of Premium member posts that ask, "What are PQs?" Despite PQs being the major selling point for premium membership, lots of premium members don't know how to use them, or are even unaware of their existance.

 

But anyway, I'd like that the mentor program be simple. Yet, I'd like to be assured that mentors are prepared for the job. This hobby has an extremely high turnover rate. I believe mentors should be held to a very high standard. That standard may include having a bookmark of preferred caches prepared and a schedule of available times posted.

 

Jamie

Share this post


Link to post
It kills a lot of birds with one stone using an existing feature.  It was just a suggestion designed to have minimum effort and be self-supporting and self-maintaining requiring no more work than you will already have to do to be a mentor.

Yeah, and it excludes the caching-devoted non-premium-members, as they are not (easily) able to build up a bookmark list.

Not really an approach I would call sustainable.

 

BS/2

Share this post


Link to post

I really like this idea, but I want to add my support for keeping it as simple as possible. I'm rather lazy by nature, and if I have to jump through lots of hoops just to mentor someone, I probably won't bother.

Here's how I see it working from a mentor's perspective. In my weekly cache cache e-mail I see information saying that gc.com is starting a mentoring program. To sign up, click here. I click through, and see a description of what a mentor is/does, and privacy waivers and what not then is says "Would you like to me a mentor? yes/no" I say yes, and think very little more about it.

A week or two later I get an e-mail from someone asking me to mentor them on their first cache. I e-mail back and suggest a local fertile caching area, and a good place to meet up, we sort out a time and what not as well of course. Before going out, I download all caches in the area found or not in to my GPSr (what take 15 seconds work?), and head out to meet them. Then we wander around for a while and chat about caching.

 

Easy right?

Share this post


Link to post
Yeah, and it excludes the caching-devoted non-premium-members, as they are not (easily) able to build up a bookmark list.

Sorry, you're right, that's probably a big drawback.

Share this post


Link to post
I really like this idea, but I want to add my support for keeping it as simple as possible. I'm rather lazy by nature, and if I have to jump through lots of hoops just to mentor someone, I probably won't bother.

Here's how I see it working from a mentor's perspective. In my weekly cache cache e-mail I see information saying that gc.com is starting a mentoring program. To sign up, click here. I click through, and see a description of what a mentor is/does, and privacy waivers and what not then is says "Would you like to me a mentor? yes/no" I say yes, and think very little more about it.

A week or two later I get an e-mail from someone asking me to mentor them on their first cache. I e-mail back and suggest a local fertile caching area, and a good place to meet up, we sort out a time and what not as well of course. Before going out, I download all caches in the area found or not in to my GPSr (what take 15 seconds work?), and head out to meet them. Then we wander around for a while and chat about caching.

 

Easy right?

Ditto - what ibycus said.

 

Why make it so dern complicated? No need to "qualify" mentors (other than that they've found a cache or three, and surely anyone w/ less A. wouldn't volunteer, and B. indeed, might well be looking for their OWN mentor). Indeed, the ony qualification is that someone is reliably willing to take the time to help a noobie get started.

 

It's not brain surgery people, and mentors aren't going to be taking the noobie on their first free-fall from 10,000 feet. We're talkin' - helping someone find tupperware in the woods fergoodnessakes. Why is it that some folks favor making everthing into a bureaucracy replete with SATs, and shiny badges?

 

As iby says - just a matter of "would you be willing to help a noobie find a film canister in your neighborhood - yes? no?"

Share this post


Link to post
But anyway, I'd like that the mentor program be simple. Yet, I'd like to be assured that mentors are prepared for the job. This hobby has an extremely high turnover rate. I believe mentors should be held to a very high standard. That standard may include having a bookmark of preferred caches prepared and a schedule of available times posted.

My work hours change from week to week, so this would be very difficult for someone like me.

Share this post


Link to post

I say (KISS) Keep It Super Simple. Person A has been doing this for long enough that they feel they can help someone else, they therefore sign up, tick a box, create a mentor cache(fake cache). Basically something that is searchable by a GC.com search engine. Person B finds this site and in the main page clicks a button that sends them to a 'Newbie Page' this page has links to the FAQ forum, find a mentor search area, and anything else that would be usefull for a newbie to have quick access to or know to get started with the least turmoil.

 

This 'mentor' feature could also be used by a more experienced cacher who has many 1/1 caches under their belt but has been stumped by or are now wanting to try a harder level of cache (or even just those hides of a particularly devious cacher).

 

This could even be expanded into a geomeeting/geogroup hunt. ie I enter that I am going to be in an area and available to hunt on 'these days' for a range of 30KM from LATXXX and LONXXX. Anyone else who are either already in or are going to be in that area who have also entered compatable data for time and place and the interest in geogrouping a hunt(s) gets connected together. This would work for newbies, pros, local residents, business travelers, vacationers, etc..

 

My geogroup idea when combined with the adopt-a-newbie idea might help lesson the fear of taking a stranger out into the woods alone (just playing the devil's advocate here).

Share this post


Link to post
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 4

×
×
  • Create New...