Jake’s Journal: Finding exercise and fun at OpenCaching.com and KC Cache Dash
My first experience geocaching was shortly after I started at Garmin, and I took my parents and my sister’s family out for a day in a local park. Our family has always been fairly active, but we’re also quick to justify taking a day off from exercise due to busy schedules or other commitments. My plan was to sneak in a “workout” without them even knowing it. So I explained the basics of geocaching: After downloading the cache locations to your GPS handheld and selecting them from the menu, you can easily navigate toward them. One key factor – and a great teaching tool when I work with classroom groups – is that the GPS device will help you get very close, but you still have to use your own brain and sleuthing skills to find it. In other words, technology is a tool – but you still need to think to achieve your goals.
So the hunt was on, and any inhibitions about searching for plastic containers in a city park quickly vanished when finding the first one sparked shrieks of delight. From my niece (11 at the time), my nephew (9) and their grandpa (older). It wasn’t long before we’d found four caches in various parts of the park, and it was time to break for a picnic. While walking back to the table, I answered their questions about when people can do this (any time the area is open to the public), who can do it (anyone) and how much it costs to play (nothing). And then I asked them a question: How far did they think we had just walked? They shrugged their shoulders, while clearly running through rough calculations, and offered answers of around a quarter-mile. Once around a school track, that would be a pretty decent walk. So I asked my nephew to check the Garmin watch he’d been wearing, which was measuring the time, speed and distance of every step, and he said: “Does that say 2.2 MILES??”
Like I said, my family is fairly active, but if I would asked my niece and nephew to go walk a couple miles with me, I would’ve been seen as one crazy uncle. Instead, they were clamoring for more.
So I hope you can see why I smile a bit every time I tell people about the March 24 KC Cache Dash expo, where kids and classrooms and troops and families can come out to Garmin headquarters in the morning or Land Rover Merriam in the afternoon to try out geocaching for themselves. It’s not often the whole city is invited to take part in a fun form of exercise, learn about technology and do it all for free. And if you’re a Scout, you could be on the path toward a geocaching merit badge as you’ll get a cache to take home and hide. Throw in the fact that we’re raising money and awareness for great local nonprofit groups, and I think we have a fun day ahead of us. And if you can’t make it out to join us, just log on to OpenCaching.com and check it out for yourself. It’s always fun, and it’s always free.
For more information:
KC Cache Dash expo: March 24, free and open to the public: http://www.kccachedash.com
OpenCaching.com: Learn to cache and download caches for free: http://www.OpenCaching.com
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