After each of our events we look back at new lessons and observations gleamed from it. We came away with several new event concepts from our Coffee, Coins, & Sigs Spring 2011 yesterday and thought we'd share them for others interested in hosting them and those who would like to weigh in. Of course there were many more things we picked up from the event we'll use for future CC&S events, but these are really more for separate events.
Many of the cachers at the Coffee, Coins, & Sigs Spring 2011 event had little or no knowledge of Geocoins, Pathtags, signature items, or even trackables for that matter. Much of our time with individuals was going over the differences between these items, how they work, what to do with them, and how to get your own. The laptop with a MiFi came in handy as I walked a couple people through logging the trackables they discovered or grabbed at the event (and showed them how to drop or visit a trackable). Firefly03 took some time with many of the attendees going over geocoins, how to tell if they're trackable, what to do with them, mystery coins (her favorite), pathtags, and how to go about getting them. All of these are topics which could be covered in a "Geocaching 201" type class and we're thinking it might be a good idea to host something like that. My current thought is to title it "Geocaching 250: Trackables & Signature Items" and cover the entire gamut. Firefly03 is also thinking about a more specialized "About Geocoins" event. I'd really like to see more people address trackables in their Geocaching 101 classes, but even then there's so much more to go over that a "Geocaching 150: Working with Trackables" might be a great idea. That might be a better concept as it would allow Geocachers to attend the more basic functions of working with trackables without being overloaded by the more esoteric details covered in a "About Geocoins" class. Of course all these items could be sessions in a Cachercon, but we're thinking they might be better (and easier) to break out as individual events. We'd love to get your feedback in the comments about such events.
Geocaching Gadget Gab
I don't suppose that nobody would be surprised to discover that this was really my baby. I love to find gadgets of all sorts to improve my life. When I find ones that improve my Geocaching I love sharing those items with my fellow cachers. Many of the cachers at yesterday's event enjoyed learning about the external battery packs I use for our iPhones and other USB powered devices (yes, even the GPSRs). Many were enamored with the new MacBook Air and the MiFi I used for mobile internet access. I've more than once shared information on my podcasts about rechargeable AA NiMH batteries (particularly low-discharge) and like using Lithium batteries for their improved performance in many of the units. I had a couple of great, small, inexpensive testers for many types of batteries on the prize table which were a big hit with some of the attendees who had been looking for just that. One comment was that I really should host an event to share some of these cool finds with my fellow Geocachers. I thought it sounded good but see two possible events. The first is the traditional class (or session at a Cachercon), but the second would be more like a specialized Meet & Greet. Think of it as a "show-and-tell" over coffee where all the attendees could bring in gadgets they found and used and check out the gadgets others enjoy. I think both have their merits, but the later would make a better event. Would you be interested in attending (or even hosting) a "Geocaching Gadget Gab?"
Coffee, Coins, & Sigs Museum
Of course many people were asking we bring back our Geocoin and Signature Item focused event again in the fall. We're still thinking about it but it does cost us some non-trival money to hosts these (I'll try to post more about that later) and we're afraid of hitting that burn-out point with the events we saw a couple years ago and currently see with the variety of Monthly Meet & Greets in the area. One concept we had was for a "museum" section next time. This would actually be a return to some of former Coffee, Coins, & Sigs events when people would bring their collections and set them up for people to view and ask questions. The trouble was those hosting the "exhibits" couldn't generally get away from their exhibits to check-out the other collections or spend any time trading with each other. A way to address this issue came to us following this Coffee, Coins, & Sigs since our venue had an area which could be closed off, in this case a loft, to allow limited access to those collections. Given such a feature at a future venue we're thinking of inviting some of the bigger collectors in the area the chance to set-up their displays early, then join the group for an hour or so of socializing and trading when that museum area would be closed. We'd then open the museum for an hour or two allowing all attendees to check out the displays before closing it down again to resume the socialization and trading. Once a year might even be too frequent for these "museum" events, but it would add some value to the trading as attendees would likely learn more about what is available and how to better value the coins and signature items in their trading. Would you be interested in such a curated exhibition? Perhaps it might work better as more of a specific gallery event without the trading focus?
Of course none of these are firm ideas and most aren't likely to go far. We'd like to throw them out for feedback and in hopes they might inspire fellow cachers all over the globe to try some different events in their region. Let us know if you do and what you find from those events.