Editor’s Note: What you’re seeing above is a word that sparks the imagination and inspires exploration. The ingredients a person must possess to go geocaching include only a spirit for adventure. It’s not bound by any particular facilities and especially not bound by hearing. The blog post you’re about to read is from Holly Walker. She’s the guest experience coordinator at Geocaching HQ who hosted our first visit with an American Sign Language interpreter for deaf geocachers.
Geocaching For All!
At Geocaching Headquarters (HQ), our goal is to make everyone an explorer and make every location an adventure. One of the most fun adventures for us is hosting guests from around the world here in our awesome lobby! Each week, Geocaching HQ schedules a limited number of Hosted Visits for the Geocaching community. It’s a great way to see a behind-the-scenes look at what happens here at HQ, meet the lackeys and hear about new things we are working on, and get the opportunity to log the official Geocaching HQ geocache. We literally get people from all over the world who travel to our headquarters here in Seattle, WA. Recently we realized that we might be missing an important opportunity to meet and engage with a large number of our worldwide geocachers, in particular, our deaf community!
On March 25th, it was our pleasure to invite two ASL interpreters to our Geocaching HQ Hosted Visit for the first time! The hour long visit provided the opportunity for deaf geocachers to come to HQ and get the same experience as any of our other guests. It was an awesome experience for guests and staff. We covered Geocaching history and the growth of our company from 3 employees to now just under 80, swapped geocaching stories from back home, and traded a few trackables, too. The hour flew by too quickly but we already have plans to invite the interpreters back another time!
Moving forward, we hope to offer more Hosted Visits with ASL Interpretation as well as find ways to improve and increase accessibility to the sport of Geocaching for all people. We’d love to know your thoughts, ideas and stories below.
How can we make Geocaching available to everyone who wants to play? What great ideas have you seen to ensure there are variety in geocaches and accessibility for all?
This month’s nominees for the very special Geocacher of the Month award take the geocaching cake for their contributions to the game we love.
Among them are a geocaching event organizer extraordinaire, the founders of a popular geocaching trivia series, and a maker of intricate and clever wooden caches.
The decision won’t be easy. Luckily, we have you to help. Post your vote below and let us know who you think should take home the earned, never for sale, Geocacher of the Month Geocoin (at left).
Although all the nominees will receive prizes, the featured Geocacher of the Month will receive the exclusive special edition Geocoin, a Geocacher of the Month hat and a profile icon. They’ll also receive a certificate that recognizes their contributions, signed by two of the founders of Geocaching.com.
Schlurie was the March 2015 Geocacher of the Month. Of Schlurie, Geo-Tootles says, “There are lots of cachers outside in the woods, searching for caches, for great and for special moments. But without having creative owners these experiences would be reduced to a minimum. Schlurie spent months of crafting new hides, this time with an incredible range of different bird-houses to let cachers smile and especially children laugh.”
Now it’s your turn to decide which geocacher should be further recognized. Read the profiles of this month’s three nominees, and write a supportive comment below this post describing why you think this person should be recognized.
A panel from Geocaching HQ will then use your comments to help guide the decision of which geocacher is awarded the Geocacher of the Month honor.
Here are your nominees for April 2015 Geocacher of the Month.
Editor’s Note: Geocaching HQ holds an all company meeting once a month. The 80 folks from HQ; engineers, designers, IT pros, community managers, the volunteer support team, all the way through to the creators of Geocaching.com Jeremy Irish and Bryan Roth, discuss all things geocaching. The meeting changes each month. But there’s one constant.
Every meeting starts with a community story. The story showcases the best of the geocaching world, inspiring and connecting HQ even further to the lifestyle we help power and support.
If you have a story you think we should read in the next Geocaching HQ meeting, tell us about it in comments below!
This month’s story comes from the robust geocaching community in France. And was read by Carly.
Geocacher Jacques, aka username “jajatitine”, was bored one day and decided to spend his afternoon -like any reasonable person would- geocaching. As he explored his local neighborhood in Angers, France, he searched for a nearby geocache Le Nôtre à Angers placed in a bed of shrubs. While rummaging around, the wedding ring, which had lived on his finger for the last 38 years, fell into the brush. He headed home without his wedding ring and without finding the geocache.
Fast forward a few months later, another geocacher named Laurent or “mr_mulot”, decided to hunt for the same geocache. After searching through bushes for 45 minutes, he stumbled across a gold wedding ring hidden beneath a pile of dead leaves. The ring was engraved with two names -Martine and Jacques- and a wedding date. He never found the geocache he had set out to find, but he had a new challenge. Laurent made it his mission to locate the owner of the wedding ring before the couple’s upcoming 40th anniversary. He had less than two years to succeed.
A Few Days Later
Social media by itself is a powerful and viral tool. If you post an update on your Facebook page, chances are a number of people will see it and may even share it. Now, combine Facebook viral nature and a robust geocaching community, and your message will be unstoppable.
Laurent didn’t know this when he initially created the Facebook post. He had already contacted every geocacher who had logged the geocache and didn’t think his odds were good. However, the facebook post, which contained a picture of the ring and a note that it was found by a geocache, was shared to the local geocaching facebook group and voilà, the internet blew up.
Happily Ever After
Geocachers shared the post with family and friends and asked them to share the post as well. 140,000 shares and a few days later, the post found it’s way to the computer screen of Jacques’ daughter Stephanie. She was one of many who had contacted Laurent inquiring about the ring, but she knew a detail no one else did; the name of geocache where the ring was lost. Stephanie surprised her father one evening with Laurent and the ring, and the rest is history.
“This story was a wonderful human adventure, and was marked by all those values that we cherish and like in geocaching…” said Laurent.
What started out as a two year mission for Laurent, turned into a few days with the help of social media, a determined geocacher, and an amazing geocaching community.
A special thanks to Jacques for sharing his story.
There has never been a better day to care for the geocaching game board (our planet!) than today — regardless of whether you live somewhere that celebrates Earth Day.
Take a moment to think about the most beautiful place you’ve ever gone geocaching. Got it? Now consider: will that place continue to exist without the efforts of people who care for it? How can you be one of those people?
The answer may depend on the space you thought of and your situation in life. But here are six suggestions to jump-start your contributions this week…and beyond.
1. Sign up for a CITO event this weekend.
Not only is attending a Cache In, Trash Out (CITO) event a great way to give back to our planet, if you attend one this weekend you’ll also earn a souvenir for your geocaching profile. Find a CITO event near you.
2. Find an EarthCache near you.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world,” said Nelson Mandela. What better way to heed his words than by finding an EarthCache and learning something new about a geological “cache” the earth has stored.
3. Do some human-powered caching.
If you normally drive a car when you go geocaching, think about how you could change things up to lower your ‘caching carbon footprint. Are there geocaches within walking or biking distance that you haven’t found? Maybe it’s time to figure out the public transit system and use it to find some city ‘caches. Think about finding some geocachers in your area and carpooling with them on geocaching trips!
4. Resolve to change a habit.
If New Year’s Eve is the night to kick off a new personal health habit, then Earth Day should be the day that kicks off a habit that helps you be a better environmental guardian. Perhaps this means taking half the time to shower as you normally do, or considering the environmental impact of the production of the food you eat and making some changes.
5. Retrieve your archived caches.
This one’s a must. Maybe you archived your cache a few months back and haven’t had “a chance” to pick it up yet. Put away the guilt and GO PICK IT UP!
6. Go outside.
When’s a good time to go outside? After you’ve finished reading the last word of this article. Seriously. The more time you spend outdoors, the more you’ll understand why it’s important to care for our natural spaces. Invite a friend, the kids, or the dog for a walk. Breathe in and out. Ready, set, GO.
The time has come. Earlier this month, three outstanding geocachers were nominated for March 2015’s Geocacher of the Month award. A winner has been chosen, but first, let’s take a look at the nominees.
Schlurie is famous in Rheinland-Pfalz for creating fun and inspiring geocache hides. His particular specialty is birdhouse caches, which have generated a lot of “WOW” moments for geocachers over the years.
Fivebales is a geocaching team from Idaho, whose behind-the-scenes work for an amazing annual Mega Event and their local geocaching organization has gone a long way in strengthening the local geocaching community.
chuck80196 is always willing to help another geocacher out, and if you know him he is probably number one on your PAF (Phone A Friend) list. He has over 880 FTFs (first-t0-finds) and of late holds back to allow others the chance to get their first FTF…especially if he has already gotten his geocache for the day.
Although it’s tough, there has to be a winner. Say congratulations to the March 2015 Geocacher of the Month,
Our March 2015 Geocacher of the Month is based in Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany. Schlurie sets an incredible example as a geocacher maker, maintainer, and finder. His contributions to the local geocaching community are best described by local geocachers, like Geo-Tootles, who sing his praises:
“There are lots of cachers outside in the woods, searching for caches, for great and for special moments. But without having creative owners these experiences would be reduced to a minimum. Schlurie spent months of crafting new hides, this time with an incredible range of different bird-houses to let cachers smile and especially children laugh. Next to that he had to organize everything else with the local forestry commision office to determine the spots for placing the hides. All that time he could have spent for searching caches by himself, but statistic seem not important for him, much more important is giving other cachers a great time during their trips. Being that unselfish is the reason for my wholehearted vote. And even if he will not be decorated with this little award … every single cacher in our area will know exactly that he will look forward to the next Schlurie-caches.”
Schlurie’s birdhouse geocaches have garnered a lot of attention (and favorite points) from geocachers far and wide. One needs only to read the last few logs on his cache, “VHT 11 schlüsselfertiges Mehrfamilienhaus,” to get a sense of how carefully crafted his hides are. This particular cache earned 75 favorite points in less than two months.
As a geocache finder, Schlurie goes to great lengths — and heights — to sign a logbook. He’s found a whopping 440 T5 (terrain 5) geocaches.
In recognition of his contributions to geocaching, Schlurie will receive a prize package from Geocaching HQ, which includes the earned, never-for-sale, Geocacher of the Month geocoin.
Send your congratulations to Schlurie!
If you know an outstanding geocacher who should be considered for the honor next month, simply fill out this webform. You’ll need to include the following information:
Your name, the name of your nominee, their username
A picture of the nominee
Description (200 or more words) explaining why he or she deserves to be the Featured Geocacher of the Month
Please inform your nominee that you have submitted them for the award. Once Geocaching HQ has received the nominations, we will choose the top candidates and post them on the blog. You will then get a chance to champion your favorite. Our goal is to involve the entire geocaching community in this process so that we might learn from each other.