Back in June of 2011 I placed a geocache just outside my office window. Ever since it has brought random strangers onto our church property and allowed some interesting conversations with people I would otherwise probably never have interacted!
What’s a geocache? It’s only the coolest ‘treasure hunting’ game in the world.
In a nutshell, geocaching is a hide-and-seek game where people have the opportunity to hide and seek various-sized containers for the sake of logging the find (on a log book IN the container and via the geocaching.com website). Some containers are large enough to place small ‘trade-able’ items (think Happy Meal toys) inside. These containers are hidden in specific locations noted online by their GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) coordinates. I’ve found geocaches in deep woods and in public cemeteries. Seekers of geocaches us a GPS to pin-point the location (accuracy varies, but is usually enough to find most geocaches) of the cache and find the ‘treasure’. It is a great way to get families involved in wayfinding, hiking, adventuring, and using cool technology like GPS for something more than finding the way to Grandma’s house.
I have been into geocaching for a few years now and personally logged over 130 finds.
When we moved to Shippensburg I knew I wanted to place a geocache somewhere on our church property to invite geocachers into our space for an easy find. I also knew that as a pastor of a small church in a rural setting it might open up conversation with those who would otherwise never pull into our driveway – if I happened to ‘catch’ a geocacher in the act of finding our cache.
I thought creatively about this idea and came up with a bird feeder cache idea that suction-mounted to my church office window. For the geocaching.com listing of our cache, I gave it the name, “Daily Bread 2” because I borrowed the idea of placing a geocache on church property from my good friend J Knepp who put one outside of my church office when I was a youth pastor in Indiana – and that cache, he named: Daily Bread which is still in play even today.
As a pastor I couldn’t think of any better way to invoke casual conversation with strangers right outside my office than putting a geocache within 20-feet of your office window. Sure I don’t get to see everyone who visits and finds our geocache, but when I do it’s always fun to strike up a conversation about something we both enjoy doing.
If you’re slightly interested in geocaching and want to learn more, be sure and check out the website here. It’s absolutely free to hide-and-seek caches (you can pay for a premium membership, but you don’t have to). There are even apps for most smartphones that would allow you to seek a cache that may be just across the street from wherever you are right now!
Some pictures of the geocache I’ve placed outside my office window: