[GeoStL] Re: Girl Scout Geocaching Badge

  • From: Tom Wolpert <tom_wolpert@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: geocaching@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 20 Oct 2011 11:51:48 -0700 (PDT)


Back in late June, SLAGA prepared a complete set of adult training materials 
the Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri.  These included very detailed instructions 
for conducting a number of different GPS-related activities, including a 
"geocaching expedition" to someplace like Forest Park.  The instructions are 
detailed enough that an adult with no GPS experience whatever would be able to 
conduct the activity -- including loading coordinates into the GPS units. I 
no idea what became of the information after we submitted it to GSEM, but my 
recollection is that their target date for actual use of the materials was 
January, 2012.  Our contact at GSEM is Melanie Palmer, who is Director of Adult 
Development.  Or contact me off-list if you want an "unofficial" copy of what 
sent them. (You won't need them if you're running the activity yourself.  But 
your neighbor will be on her own...)

As far as making it enjoyable for the girls, I have suggestions based on my 
experience with summer camp outing I conducted for a local troop.  Make sure 
that you keep the distances traveled, terrain, etc. appropriate for the age 
group and "outdoor tolerance" of the girls in question.  Particularly for 
younger groups, it might not be possible to do that using real caches.  For the 
day camp activity, we used temporary caches which were much closer together 
gc.com guidelines allow.  (On the other hand, I have no idea if this would 
satisfy badge requirements.)  

If you use real caches, use only caches that gc.com would rate as "beginner" 
caches -- regular size, recently found, low D/T ratings.  If this is part of 
some other activity, be sure to "salt" the caches -- real or temporary -- with 
materials which tie into the theme of the activity.  Regardless, if you use 
caches, you will want to make sure that they contain sufficient swag of a type 
which will appeal to your audience.  My experience is that this is rarely the 
case unless you visit the caches in advance and add swag appropriately.  If 
using real caches, "trade even or up" applies.  So you also need to provide 
girl with at least one item of swag to trade.  Do visit the caches in advance 
if nothing else, you need to make sure that they are there and in good 
condition. And it never hurts to see how long it will take to run the course 
(then double it and make sure you've budgeted enough time).

If the girls will be caching in more than one group, make sure that you have 
adequate adult supervision.  Girl Scout youth safety guidelines make the Boy 
Scouts look positively reckless :-D  I'm sure your neighbor has experience with 
this.  Also make sure that you have a plan for sending them off to different 
caches to start so that the whole thing doesn't turn into a conga line.  Make 
sure that the groups are small enough that each girl gets to "drive" at least 
once.  If at all possible, use the same type of GPSr for all groups.  You're 
going to have to show the girls (and adults!) how to use them, so simpler units 
are better.  Be sure they know how to "mark the car" -- or include a waypoint 
for the parking area.

Tie-ins with "leave no trace" are always good.

I might also suggest Queeny Park as another possible location.  Cache density 
high and parking and restrooms are available.


From: ZLA Solutions <Zeke@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: geocaching@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Sent: Thu, October 20, 2011 12:51:10 PM
Subject: [GeoStL] Girl Scout Geocaching Badge

Hi All.
My neighbor wants to help her girlscouts (up to a dozen girls, I think) earn 
their Geocaching badge. I suggested she go to Forest Parksince there are plenty 
of caches, easy terrain, ease of parking and restrooms.
Has anyone helped a group of girlswith this badge? Can you suggest ways to make 
it a successful and enjoyable experience for the girls? Do they need GPS units 
for each girl or can they share a couple?
My email is below if you want to reply off-line.
Thank you for any assistance or suggestions.

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