What is geocaching?
The word geocache is a combination of "geo," which means "earth," and "cache," which means "a hiding place." Geocaching describes a hiding place on planet Earth - a hiding place you can find using a GPS unit. A GPS (Global Positioning System) unit is an electronic tool that shows you where to go based on information it gets from satellites in space.
GEOCACHING MERIT BADGE
Learn more about it, Scouts can earn it & adults will be needed to become Merit Badge Counselors for it! Enjoy!
Geocaching - Merit Badge
Get in the Game! Frequently Asked Questions
How does geocaching work?
Players hide a cache, then post its location and a description of its contents online—typically on ―the official global GPS cache hunt site,‖ Geocaching.com. Each cache contains an individual logbook. When the cache is located, the geocacher that finds it signs the log and then re-hides the cache. Once home, the ―find‖ is logged on Geocaching.com, journaling the experience.
How can Get in the Game! help my council?
Scouts love technology, and this technology gets them outdoors having fun, helping with membership retention. It also opens up a new audience to our message and method for recruiting new members. Geocachers are often the same outdoor-loving families with Scout age children that we try to recruit time and again. Many, in fact, are the Scouting alumni who we want to reach. The synergy with Scouting is tremendous.
Why should we use Geocaching.com?
Besides being recognized as the authority on the sport, Geocaching.com lists over 800,000 public caches, has six million players, and has over 90 million page views per month! That is an incredible audience for potential new youth members, volunteers, and donors and could go a long way towards increasing public awareness of Scouting.
- Geocaching.com - Looking for caches to find? They have them!
What do we post on Geocaching.com?
Templates are available in the Get in the Game! toolkit on YourSource. Using these will ensure that your council is following Geocaching.com guidelines and will help promote consistent BSA message across councils.
Can units hold events without posting cache locations publicly?
It is easy to set up a private, geocaching courses for units and camps. You just need an outdoor area, a game, some containers and a few navigation devices. Game ideas and rules are available in the Get in the Game! toolkit. There are also activities on Geoscouting.com—the geocaching Web site for Scouting volunteers. Packs, troops, and crews can invite others to join their game, including: schools groups, sports teams, church groups, and others. After the game, Scouters can point out how much fun it was, talk about upcoming unit activities, and ask who would like to join! Get in the Game! – Frequently Asked Questions Scouting.org/100years
What is a “trackable item” or “Travel Bug®”?
Geocaching.com hosts a variety of ―trackable‖ items including coins and Travel Bugs. These items have unique ID numbers that are tracked on the site. A player picks up the item from one cache, moves it to another, and logs the move online. Trackable items move tens of thousands of miles and pass through hundred of hands.
How is a Travel Bug different from a cache?
Caches stay in one location. Some of the contents might get taken out, but the cache itself stays put. In geocaching, it’s OK for people to take prizes from the caches, as long as they leave a prize in the place of the one they took. Travel Bugs, true to their name, travel. People take them from one cache and move them to others. They don’t have a geographical ―home‖ the way caches do. Instead, they are tracked by their ID number.
Do we have to buy GPS units?
No. Many phones have GPS applications. The iPhone now even has a Groundspeak geocaching app. — learn more about that at Geocaching.com. It’s also possible to participate using Google Earth maps or even a simple map and compass, although this method does detract a bit from the high-tech appeal. Of course, part of the Get in the Game! program involves capturing new members who are current geocachers and already have GPS devices. And, many individual geocachers or even geocaching clubs would be happy to loan devices to help your packs, troops, and crews. Just ask the Get in the Game! team for contacts in your area if you need help.
Should we buy GPS units?
Councils may choose purchase a few GPS devices to check out for free or a small cost to units. Having these can serve you well for many programs, and they would pay for themselves quickly. Many councils have discount programs in place with retailers that carry GPS devices like REI, Cabela’s, and Bass Pro Shops. In those cases, just show your BSA identification card to receive your discount.
How much does Get in the Game! cost?
If you’re resourceful … nothing! Again, you can borrow GPS units from individual local geocachers or geocaching clubs—or use a different navigation device like a cell phone. For cache containers, you can use old peanut butter jars, coffee cans, or any number of inexpensive or free options. The ―work‖ of setting up the program is minimal and can be done by volunteers or older Scouts. And, again, prizes don’t have to cost a lot—raid your local dollar store. Or, include leftover items from past council, district, or unit events.
Where else can we go for help?
In addition to the materials in the Get in the Game! toolkit on YourSource and information on Geoscouting.com, we’re hosting a series of Webinars to help you maximize your Get in the Game! experience. If you can’t join a session, each will be posted in the Get in the Game! toolkit and will be available for your committee to watch online.