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7 Tips to Attending a Mega-Event

Editor’s note: Groundspeak Lackeys traveled thousands of miles from H.Q. this year to share smiles, shake hands and make geocaching memories at more than a dozen Mega-Events worldwide. Nicole Bliss, a.k.a. Louie Bliss, attended Mega-Event Catalunya 2011 in Calella, Spain. Nicole has been  a Lackey helping geocachers in customer service since 2010. This is Nicole’s account of the Mega-Event. 

Nicole and Signal

Oh Mega, My Mega! Catalunya 2011

I recently attended Mega-Event Catalunya 2011 in Calella, Spain and represented Groundspeak. It may have been my fifth Mega-Event, but it was my first international event.  I was surprised at how Mega-Events can be so similar 5,000 miles away from each other. There were still the same activities: discovering Trackables, shopping for merchandise, dinner events and, of course, lots of caching. I even attended my first flash mob – one of the best parts of the event! Yet, international events can be so different; everyone speaks different languages and cache descriptions are all in the local language. The difficulty rating goes up at least a star for foreigners. It helps that many geocaching phrases are universal.

With an international event, it was amazing how many countries were represented. I met cachers from Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Czech Republic, Portugal, UK, Canada, France, Netherlands and Spain. I was the only American. I spent so much time with a group of French cachers that at one point, I felt like I was in France instead of Spain.

I learned a lot about what to plan for when attending a Mega-Event. If you haven’t had the opportunity yet, listen up! Here’s 7 tips for attending a Mega-Event –

Catalunya 2011 Flash Mob
  • Check to see if there are any additional events nearby. Plan to arrive a day or two beforehand to attend these events and find nearby caches.
  • Plan your routes ahead of time. If you are a Premium Member, you can sort by Favorite Points so you’ll know which are considered the best local caches. The event organizers may even publish a new GeoTrail for the event so it is a good idea to run a Pocket Query on the day of the event.
  • Check the event forums to see who else is going. It is much more fun when you meet new people or go in a group. I cached with a few different groups and had a great time.
  • Are you attending an international Mega-Event like I did? I suggest learning the major phrases of that language. It can still be overwhelming, but it is much easier and the locals appreciate it. I was surprised that Barcelona and Calella, Spain primarily spoke Catalan and my Spanish was almost useless.
  • Make time to see the tourist sites. There’s a Mega-Event there for a reason! Of course, you can cache along the way.
  • Considering organizing a Mega-Event? Check out the Knowledge Books article on Mega-Event Classification.

    Cataluyna 2011 Community Dinner
  • After the event, log your Trackables quickly! Too often, Travel Bugs have gone missing from events because they are forgotten.

In the end, I realized geocaching is a language all its own. No matter what our native language is, we can understand each other perfectly.

 

Upcoming Mega Events

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Geocaching Vlogs and Online Videos – The New Horizon of Caching Media Part II

[Editor’s Note: Make sure to obtain cache owner permission when featuring a specific cache and spoilers. Include a spoiler warning if a spoiler is absolutely necessary.]

Geocaching video blogs (vlogs), as well as YouTube-based video series, have become hugely popular in the geocaching community. The Geocaching.com YouTube channel receives thousands of viewers each day and the Geocaching.com videos have been viewed nearly three million times so far. Vlogs and other videos created by the community showcase the diversity, creativity and intelligence found in the geocaching world.

Vlogging has become an exciting way to share geocaching experiences. We now invite you to enjoy Part II of the “Geocaching Vlogs and Online Videos” blog post. This post introduces you to three popular English-language geocaching vlogs and their vloggers. Part I, which featured geocaching vlogs from around the world, can be found here.

Vlogger Joshua Johnson

Mayberryman, or Joshua Johnson, is an American geocaching vlogger out of Minnesota, USA. With more than 40,000 views on his site, Joshua is capturing the attention of geocachers and non-geocachers around the world. According to the vlogger, “the beauty of online video is that it is global, so I think it is fun for people to see geocaching in different places of the world.”

Joshua spends much of his free time recording his caching adventures and posting them on his vlog for all to see. He says his vlog has enabled him to “connect with cachers all over the world through this medium.  An example of this is a video collaboration video where a cacher named Captain Hardy from Norway shot a video of him sending the Travel Bug my way.”

Joshua says one of the goals of his is videos, “is to make the viewer feel like they are caching along with us.” Joshua also hopes to use his vlog to “share with the world the incredible hobby/sport that is geocaching… to introduce others to the hobby through the videos.”

Vlogger Headhardhat

Headhardhat, or Andrew Smith, another popular English language vlogger. Andrew has posted videos on YouTube for years. He has more than 60 videos online and has had more than 370,000 hits to his YouTube site. He sees his vlog as a “teaching tool to educate geocachers from all levels of expertise.” Andrew has found that creating a vlog has been beneficial to his personal geocaching experiences as well as the community’s.

He says, “I have heard everything from thanks for planting the seed to go out geocaching, to making things smoother for others as they ventured out, to saving several marriages and bringing families together.” Andrew’s vlog has connected him to people all over the world. According to the vlogger, these connections make geocaching “that much more fun because I get to share my experiences with others.”

Joshua and Andrew all showcase geocaching in the English language. They are among a more and more geocachers flipping on the video camera and sharing their adventures, tips and geocaching tricks online.

You can start sharing your experiences right now. Share your videos, pics and geocaching expertise (or geocaching questions) on the Geocaching.com Facebook page.

 

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Announcing: Geocacher of the Month Award

You could be the Geocacher of the Month

Groundspeak needs your help acknowledging a geocacher each month that stands out by inspiring other geocachers with their innovation, creative hides and/or logs, respect for the environment, and geocaching etiquette. This person can be your best geocaching buddy, a geocacher you know as a local legend, or a long time geocacher who invites newbies to the geocaching community.

The Geocacher of the Month celebrates geocachers for their contributions and diversity. Geocachers are outdoorsy, technically apt, young, old, parents, single, athletic, intelligent, travelers, grandparents, and more. They are a uniquely eclectic group, unified by their passion for the activity of geocaching.

If you know an outstanding geocacher who should be the Geocachers of the Month, send an email to geocacherofthemonth@groundspeak.com.

Every nomination must meet the following requirements. Please include your name, the name of your nominee, their username, at least one picture of the nominee and description (in 500 or fewer words) explaining why he or she deserves to be the Geocacher of the Month. Please inform your nominee that you’ve submitted them for the award. Nominations for the first Geocacher of the Month must be received by August 4th.

Once we have received all of the nominations, we will choose the top three candidates and post them on the blog. You will then get a chance to vote for your favorite.

We’ll name the Geocacher of the Month on August 20th at the Geocaching Block Party in Seattle, Washington, USA. Each Geocacher of the Month will receive an exclusive special edition ”Geocacher of the Month” Geocoin along with a Geocacher of the Month hat and certificate acknowledging their contributions signed by the founders of Geocaching.com: Jeremy Irish, Bryan Roth and Elias Alvord.

Our goal is to involve the entire geocaching community in this process so as to learn from each other. Let the nominations begin!

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How Teens Discover Geocaching

By Kara Bonilla

Ever think that the only things teenagers do are play video games, lay around, and complain? Think again. Teenagers worldwide have picked up on geocaching and their passion for the sport is only growing stronger with age. A recent survey shows nearly five percent of geocachers are 18 or younger, that’s still nearly a quarter of a million geocachers.

Joey with cache GC1QYHV, Camino a la Buena Vista

Joey (jmilla210), 15, from California has been geocaching for two years. Joey has loved the game ever since he was first introduced to geocaching. He found his first cache with family members on Thanksgiving Day of 2009.

When asked about out geocaching for the first time, Joey said, “Finding my first cache was amazing.  I didn’t really know what it was at first, but I learned much more about the game and quickly developed a regular habit of finding a few caches each day.” Since then, Joey has found 259 caches and hidden 13 caches in his area. Joey also likes to attend geocaching events, as they give him the opportunity to meet people, his age or not, that love geocaching as much as he does. The game always gives Joey something to look forward to wherever he is, and he is always excited to go find a cache.

Chad in a mineshaft while finding his all-time favorite cache, GC21QWN The Cobalt Zone

From Killingworth, Connecticut, United States, 18-year-old Chad Golembeski’s (DeluxeLunchbox) experiences as a geocacher all started with a gift of a GPS device for Christmas at the age of 14. Now, four years later, Chad owns 10 caches and has found 164 geocaches throughout Connecticut, Vermont, and Massachusetts.

When talking about his first find, Chad said,“When I found my first geocache, I thought it was extremely cool that someone had posted these coordinates online and I found them.”  Chad was a member of his high school’s geocaching club before graduation, and his first logged cache was the one at his school. With the club, he completed large multicaches, found caches at various state parks, and recruited friends who now like to geocache. For Chad, geocaching is fun way to get outside and explore with his friends. “I personally like geocaching because [it] brings me out to new places that I wouldn’t have known of before.”

Chris with cache contents of GC2XAF6, Feed the Mosquitos II

Chris (Coldgears), 16, from Pennsylvania in the United States, has recently discovered his love for geocaching. All it took was for him to stumble upon the geocaching app on his new phone about a year ago, and Chris was hooked. Chris then introduced his two friends to the game, in return for introducing him to letterboxing a while back.

According to Chris, what he likes most about geocaching, “ …is the time spent outdoors…Without it I wouldn’t be in the woods nearly as much.” With over 300 caches found, Chris enjoys how geocaching gets him to the outdoors with his friends on a regular basis.

There are many ways teens can learn about geocaching, and eventually love the game as much as these guys do. Finding a local organization or group who geocaches, such as Girl or Boy Scouts, checking for geocaching events in your area, creating an account on Geocaching.com, and downloading the Geocaching application for your smartphone are all simple ways teens can get started. The love for geocaching begins with a simple step like these guys took, creating a passion for the game that can last for a lifetime, and teens everywhere can take that step today.

 

 

Explore Canada’s Beautiful Parks by Geocaching during Canadian Environment Week

For the first time, Canadian Environment Week uses the GPS enabled treasure-hunt of geocaching to share the beauty of Canadian Parks.

The Canadian Environment Week geocaching contest runs from April 30 to June 11, 2011. During this time, geocaches containing a password can be found in National Parks, at National Historic Sites and on National Wildlife Areas throughout Canada. It’s an opportunity for geocachers to explore these areas and even have a chance to win prizes. Adventurers wishing to participate in the contest must collect a password from the selected geocaches and submit it on the Canadian Environment Week website. Contest participation and the password are not required in order to simply log your finds on any of these great caches.

Click here to view the bookmark list of the Canadian Environment Week geocaches that are listed on Geocaching.com, thanks to the Atlantic Canada Geocaching Association. A few others can be found through Environment Canada directly.

Even without prizes, geocaching during Canadian Environment Week is a great opportunity to explore Canada’s natural beauty. Canadian National Parks, National Historic Sites and National Wildlife Areas are located on the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic coasts, across the interior mountains and plains and Great Lakes, reaching as far north and south as Canada goes!

Geocachers will enjoy the breathtaking scenery and inspiring natural surroundings of Canada. National Parks provide the perfect setting for tuning into nature, learning about it, appreciating it, respecting it and pledging to protect it. Celebrate Canadian Environment Week by doing just that, and don’t forget to CITO to help preserve the environment.