Back in July, we had a geocaching program for teens, introducing many to a great hobby that combines technology with exercise. If you haven't heard of geocaching before, let me explain. A quick description would be that it's a high-tech treasure hunt. A longer description... well, I would suggestion watching this two minute video. International Geocaching Day
So yes, that's geocaching in a nutshell. It's a hobby that my family and I took up a couple of years ago and have really enjoyed. It doesn't require a lot of equipment - we purchased a GPS device for about $100, but most smart phones can download the Geocaching app that will let them find, track, and log caches for about $10. And if $100 seems steep to you, think about the cost of running shoes for jogging, swimsuits and goggles for swimming, or equipment for football! And a GPS device can be shared amongst participants... try doing that with running shoes.
Then it's a simple matter of downloading some cache locations and going out to find them! I have found new areas of my neighborhood through geocaching, places I never would've wandered into if I hadn't had this goal. I've found beautiful waterfalls and nests of trees, but also clever hiding spots in statues, artwork, and even local businesses. This hobby gives you a new appreciation for your surroundings and you can do it almost anywhere! I know people who kayak and geocache, go on business trips and take their GPS with them, or do a quick search on their lunch breaks.
Geocaching organizations also help to bring a community together. Sure, geocachers hold some awesome parties to get to know each other (though it can be a somewhat solitary hobby if you want), but they also schedule clean up days in parks. This is a very conscientious hobby, which pays respects to the area where the cache is hidden, as well as its community.
Tomorrow, August 20, 2011, is the first International Geocaching Day. You can celebrate with fellow geocachers at an event near you or simply mark the day by finding a geocache. Anyone who finds a cache or logs an "attended" for an event will receive the International Geocaching Day souvenir.
Don't forget... you can find a geocache almost anywhere! Why, maybe even in the library.... And that's your hint!