Sunday, February 27, 2011

Hosting Our First Geocaching 101

We enjoyed hosting our first Geocaching 101 class yesterday in Marine City. When we first talked about hosting a Geocaching 101 in Marine City our expectation was to attract a few people (about four or five) but ended up with sixteen people registering for the class. That changed our format from the planned round table to a lecture format and meant developing a set of slides for support of our talk. I had gathered many sample files and decided that none fit the bill for a very short, one hour class. Since I wanted our class to be no more than forty minutes in the classroom then the balance outside hunting, it would be a crash course with hands-on experience. It covers the different listing services, the gear needed, finding and reading the listing (including terrain, difficultly, and size), GPS error, swag trading, trackables, and logging for a total of a 35 minute crash course. The key was to get the attendees out with some more experienced cachers for a nano cache hidden on the front of the building (with no information other than it's a micro right out front), a rock cache, and a small plastic container under a bush. We ended up with a great, short class taking just over an hour total giving the students everything they need to find their first real caches as responsible cachers after completing the class.

The result was an audience glued to us and our presentation for the 35 minutes in the classroom, followed by very excited attendees hunting down their sample caches. That wasn't enough though and nearly all of them continued on with their experienced cacher escorts to attempt a couple more micros nearby (one a DNF, the other a pretty quick grab). More important; our hosts from the city were thrilled with the session and are looking forward to getting more involved in caching and to host more geocaching events. I think we have more than a dozen new, very excited, active geocachers from this effort and another land manager excited about geocaching. That's a win in my book.

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