The website and the geocoin are just adjuncts to the other things that have been happening. The biggest news by far is the new Forum that GarAr set up for Lethbridge geocachers, the timing was extraordinary. I was excited to see the article that Gary had managed to get written in the local Lethbridge paper. Having an article appear on the front page is awesome but I know I was nervous after seeing my name appear in our local paper here in a page three article covering our event cache. Promoting geocaching is the reason that GAS was formed, I purchased the geocachingalbertasouth domain last summer. I do have hopes that one day GAS will have the same type of structure that Owen Parker outlined for the Saskatchewan Geocachers. I started working on different approaches to promoting right away and I have been active, like GarAr, working on projects that promote geocaching.
GAS is operating in an area that has a rich historical geocaching landscape. At one time Medicine Hat had a tremendous number of geocaches compared to other Alberta cities. The Medicine Hat College (Home of the Rattlers) has programs which still take advantage of the geocaching landscape to help introduce students to concepts like GPS use, navigation, map reading, aerial photo interpretation, geography and ecotourism. The average Hatter knows someone who has geocached. Local geocaches placed by Ben Moffat back in 2001 are still active today and still receive student visits annually, it is sort of like the swallows and capistrano. This is a local phenomena that underscores how deeply engrained geocaching is in The GAS city, much more so than visitors realize. Somewhere around the same time that OFTH placed The Dickson Stevenson Stopping House cache Ben placed One Powerful Site and at that time I would wager that Medicine Hat had one of the highest per capita geocache counts of any city in Canada. With roughly fifty caches all over Alberta we had five of them here inside the GAS city.
Geocaching never really went anywhere spectacular in the intervening years yet we saw slow growth in cache numbers, very similar to Lethbridge. Today each city has around twenty five geocaches.
I have never met Gary and the appearance of the website and the Forums together represents an intersection that was not planned in any way. I was surprised to see objections from some geocachers. I wasn't sure whether they were objecting to Gary's efforts to provide a forum for local discussions or my efforts at building an informative website to promote geocaching in the area in which I geocache. A lot of smaller cities require active promotion, they need active local groups to organize CITO's and events, to educate the interested and to promote geocaching. Some geocachers really don't see that need, they live or geocache in an area where someone else undertakes to fulfil that role. Some small places have geocachers who are active yet won't organize a local event or a local CITO, I am not sure why.
Smaller centers need events, they need CITO efforts, they need local meetings. Many geocachers do not do this type of promotion but it is important to gain new adherents, it is important to keep geocaching active and growing. Those who refuse to advocate locally do no damage but they do not gain new adherents. People need to be shown, they need to see the DVD, meet others who geocache, they need to see the happy shining people that are having fun. Events have to be local affairs. If you had to drive three hours to each soccer match would you let your kids play soccer ? Active promotion of geocaching, at the local level, in your community is a lot of fun. Be prepared to garner the rewards of being an active geocacher. It is fun, it is social, it is active, it is multi generational, it is fun, it is exciting, it is healthy, it is interesting, it is challenging, it is fun. You will meet city and park officials, you will get your name in the newspaper, maybe even a picture.
You will get to know other people where you live, work and play.This is what geocaching is all about.
You will be having fun and making new friends in your location.
Other geocachers will come and visit if you hide caches and hold events!
Your geocaching world is connected to geocaching playing fields all over the world through the network of local caches that you find and hide. Support your community, form a local group, organize, have a CITO, hold an event, hide a new cache for your neighbours to find.
This post has been edited by wavector: 24 February 2006 - 09:57 PM