Local kids hunt for treasuresHow many kids dream of becoming treasure hunters? A group of youthful adventurers got a taste of the action last week when the Woodbury Parks and Recreation Department put on a “Geocaching” program.
By: Amber Kispert-Smith, Woodbury Bulletin
How many kids dream of becoming treasure hunters? A group of youthful adventurers got a taste of the action last week when the Woodbury Parks and Recreation Department put on a “Geocaching” program.
Parks department staff said the program helps connect students with the outdoors.
“We saw it as a great opportunity to connect kids with nature,” said Michelle Okada, a recreation specialist for Woodbury Parks and Recreation. “There are a lot of kids that may be sitting in front of TV’s or computer screens this summer, so we tried to offer a variety of events/activities that may get them outside, interacting with other kids and maybe find something that entices them to spend more time outside.”
During the three day camp,18 kids ages 8-14 trekked around Carver Lake Park and Ojibway Park searching for the elusive geocaches. Each group received coordinates for the location of each geocache, as well as a few clues, to help them find the location.
With the help of a GPS system, the groups of kids, and leaders, hopped over creeks, climbed up hills, hiked through the woods and ducked under trees, looking for the treasures that they may find.
“It is like hiking with a new purpose,” Okada said.
Some geocaches may just be a canister where they would sign their name, other’s might be treasure chests where each participant can take a treasure for themselves, while leaving a treasure for future treasure hunters.
Participants certainly had to keep their eyes peeled for their treasures though, many of them were up high, and some of them were even camouflaged.
All the while trying to find their own geocaches, each group tried to keep their finds secret and steer the other teams in the wrong direction.
For one group, made up of Sean Schifed, Ryan Schifed, Ariana Dauble, Elana Dauble and team leader from the Woodbury Parks and Recreation Department, Nick Rizzanrdi, they were able to locate 4 of the 7 geocaches that were on their list.
The whole group said geocaching is a fun pastime.
“It’s fun to be a treasure hunter,” Ariana said. “Especially when you get to do it secretly.”
Even though the geocaching camp was sponsored by the Woodbury Parks and Recreation Department, they do not maintain the geocaches since geocaches are hidden by the avid treasure hunters who enjoy geocaching.
Geocaching has definitely grown in popularity over the last several years as a new and fun outdoor activity. Many parks and nature centers around the Twin Cities offer geocaching activities.
“Geocaching is a high-tech game of hide and seek, the thrill of the hunt, and exercise all while using modern technology,” Okada said. “For some it is the excitement of the treasures they are surprised with, for other’s it’s the fact that the speed of the adventure is up to the individual or group; one can run from cache to cache or take a leisurely approach.”
Okada said she felt that the geocaching camp was a huge success among the kids, some even had questions about other places to go geocaching, and hopefully the Woodbury Parks and Recreation Department can do other camps in the future.
“It has been so nice to see kids get away for the main paths and feel like they can enter nature, and really be part of nature —most of the campers left with big smiles on their faces,” she said. “It is our hope that they share their experiences with friends and family and get them hooked on being outdoors more often.”
To go on your own geocaching adventure, visit
www.geocaching.com for a list of geocaches hidden in your area.
Kispert can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org