In mid September the IGO was contacted by Paul Rodgers. He is the Program Director for the Golden Eagle distrct (southeast/central Iowa) Boy Scouts. They were preparing for a fall camporee on October 12th, and wanted to include geocaching as an activity. The event was going to be held at Belva Deer Recreation Area in Keokuk County, just outside the city of Sigourney.
Max and Dennis Blythe, IGO Supporting Members, who go by Team Iowian, have placed many of the caches in that park, and were the obvious choice to see if they would be interested in helping out. Dennis said they could help out, and when he found out that there could be as many as 100 kids, he thought a little extra help might be needed. He contacted CJandBJJones, but they were going to be in Vegas for GeoCoinFest. Curt got in touch with me, Digger9, and we now had a plan.
Dennis and Max, and Jim and Michelle met with Paul at the park on October 5th so we could see what they wanted us to offer, and set a gameplan for the 12th. We discussed a quick 101, an explaination of the GPS units we would be using, the yellow Etrex, just like my "old yeller", and show off some containers. Then we would go for a hike and find some permanent caches in the park.
We met at the park at 8am Saturday morning, on the 12th, and the weather was fantastic, after a few threats of rain earlier in the week. There were lots of tents set up, and it looked like breakfast may have just been wrapping up. We found Paul, and he gave us the GPS unit so we could get them loaded. He asked if we would be interested in working 3 sessions, 2 in the morning, 9 and 10:30 and another session at 1pm after lunch. We thought that sounded like a good idea, and our day was planned.
there were several activities for the boys to do, and our first group was a little light. 5 or 6 boys and, and a couple of adult supervisors sat in as we talked about geocaching for 15 or 20 minutes, gave a quick demonstration on the units, and then hit the trail. We hike for about an hour, and found 5 or 6 caches. The boys seemed to enjoy their time caching. I think word of mouth spread, as the other 2 groups had 9 boys in the second, and about 20 in the third.
As we were turning in the GPS units, and talking with Paul, we discussed the merit badge that is offered by the scouts, and wondered what the boys needed to do to get that. So now, that has me thinking that this would be a GREAT teaching path to go down. The IGO may be able to turn this into something to go along with our mission statement which talks about educating the public about our sport. We will have to look into what that takes, and see if we can put together a program for it.
I am very glad that I was able to help Dennis with this day in the park. I would also like to thank Paul Rodgers for getting in touch with the IGO so that we could bring our game to the boys.