Sunday, May 25, 2014

GeoWoodstock XII: Kids Of Discovery

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending GeoWoodstock XII in beautiful St. Charles Missouri.

GeoWoodstock is a great deal of fun for all ages, but it is an all day geocaching event, so it can test the patience of the youngest geocachers.

In our case this was the first time we were going to be spending an entire day at a GeoWoodstock without any scheduled nap times for our two toddlers.  Short attention spans can make for bored cranky kids, and long frustrating days for parents.

So, as you can imagine, we were thrilled to discover that the GeoWoodstock organizers had thought of the children, and placed 12 kid-appropriate geocaches around the park for the young ones to do.  So for two hours we managed to combine all of our goals (geocaching, kid distraction, exercise, family time etc.)

The caching was done mostly by Zeke and Yours Truly, but the first few caches we were accompanied by my wife, and Abigail (her short legs make a walk in the woods an epic adventure all unto itself).
The caches came in many shapes and sizes, but the majority were painted bright rainbow coloured 5 gallon buckets that could be viewed from a long distance off.
Zeke thought this one was a little too visible, so he picked it up and scooted it further behind the trees.  He had a mischievous look on his face, so I am not sure if he had an unusual display of deviousness in trying to make it harder to find, or if he remembered that I had to ask him to re-hide a previous cache a little better after his attempts to re-hide it.  Either way the "hide the same or better" mantra has been well established in this young geocaching padawan.
Each of the 12 caches were full of swag - everything from plastic figures, to stickers, tattoos, balls, wristbands etc.  At each cache the kids could take one bit of swag, which they took full advantage of.
 To prove a find, each cache had a stamp. Zeke loved recording each find on his tracking sheet.
As per normal Zekey modus operandi, he was very meticulous to ensure he got the stamping done right, checking out each one before pressing it onto the page.
Once all 12 caches were found, the completed tracking sheets could be traded in for wooden geocoins. Both of the kids received one.
The kid caching feature of GeoWoodstock was a great experience.  It was geocaching at its purest form - not about the numbers (these are not official caches, so they don't get recorded as stats on geocaching.com) - but about the hunt, the experience, and the adventure... not to mention a little about the swag.

I want to sent a special thank you to +Dane Morgan, who I know did a lot of the work on placing these hides (Dane: please extend my thanks to anyone who helped you).  It made a special day even better for both kids and parents alike.

FYI, if you are wondering how the kids did all day - they did amazing.  Despite spending 11 hours in the park, plus an early wake up, they had a great time, and (for toddlers) were very well behaved all day.  The true testament is that after one of the longest, most active days they've experienced so far, and a day that completely exhausted us adults, they still didn't want to leave the park.  That, my friends, is a sign that today was a good day for everyone.

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