21st World Scout Jamboree - Geocaching

Geocaching is introduced to the World Scout Jamboree. Scouts from all over the world will have the opportunity to be exposed to the fun world of Geocaching.

The Elements Team gathers for a group photo prior to the first participants arriving.

Many months ago the Jamboree Organizing Team for Elements determined that Geocaching would be incorporated into The Elements Programme.


What is Elements?

Elements focuses on the science of each of the four elements: fire, air, water and earth.
and is structured to:
  • Excite – about the possibilities the future can bring
  • Motivate – to take action, to change the way we live
  • Challenge – thinking

Elements is a half day activity, with each Sub Camp taking it in turns to visit. Every Scout at Jamboree will visit the Elements Programme.

The session will start with a communal activity focused on the forces of nature, then Participants will be split up to focus on one of the four zones: Earth, Fire, Water and Wind.

Each of the four zones will contain activities on the four themes of: Energy, Natural Resources, Forces of Nature and Fun as well as informative displays.

There will be 450-500 Participants in each zone twice a day serving a total of up to 4000 Scouts a day. The Scouts will participate in groups of 10 in each activity.

Geocaching Fits Right In!

Since we feel Geocaching fits as a universal skill or activity we committed to planning a geocaching activity for each of the Zones. This would give the broadest exposure to geocaching at the Jamboree.

Geocaching was integrated with each of the four Zones of the Elements Programme; Earth, Wind, Fire, and Water.

So the goals that we have attempted to achieve are to 1) expose World Scouting to GPS and Geocaching, 2) Create an activity that is themed to the World Scout Jamboree, and 3) use the geocaching activity to take participants to other parts of the Zone exhibits that they may not go to otherwise. Piece of cake, eh!

Since we would be serving up to 4000 Scouts a day for 10 days we determined we needed to make it robust, but at the same time simple enough to implement and maintain easily.

Every zone was going to have a combination of hands-on activities and display exhibits. The hand's on activities would be facilitated by an instructor and involve a small group following a lesson plan to learn something new about some aspect of the Zone topic, Water, Wind, Earth, and Fire. The display exhibits would be informational or instructional displays that would be browsed by participants on their own schedule.

This is the Geocaching Activity Station for the Water Zone

It seemed natural that the Geocaching activity could facilitate the movement of Scouts to certain displays that wished to be highlighted and this ended up being the plan.

The courses are designed to capture 3 key points: 1) teaching GPS and geocaching, 2) learning more about the basic science in the Zone and 3) reinforcing the “One World One Promise” theme of the Jamboree. At each cache, the participants answer questions about that science display as well as discover key clues along the way to solve a puzzle at the end which allows them to open a locked box to claim their prize.

Material Needs!

So we have considered the problem and derived a plan for a game. What do we need to run this game.

Team Earth; Giancarlo, Enrique and Simone, trying to figure out how to open the lock box.

Of course we need GPS Units. Fortunately, Magellan Navigation, has offered to sponsor this activity. Magellan was kind enough to come up with enough GPS units to service this activity along with some other needs elsewhere in the exhibits, such as the GLOBE project which we will discuss later.

Magellan got us eXplorist 500 North America units. These would be very nice as they have a bright color display and are a compact size yet have a robust set of features.

We then solved how we were going to charge a few hundred GPSr at one time without blowing circuits and getting the correct level of voltage and wattage. As it turns out a GPSr can run a full day on a one charge, so this means a single overnight charge once a day is all is that is required.

We then built our materials for the waypoint course. We acquired a series of Lock and Lock box along with some lock boxes with combination locks.

Hit the Ground Running!

Each Zone has a Team trained to run the activity. This is the activity station of the Earth Zone.

So now it was a matter of just getting it setup, just in time, for the opening day July 27th.

Much of the materials needed was procured in the U. K prior to the event. Some of the other material was carried over from USA. The GPS units, manuals, charging adapters and the power strips needed where all carried over as checked baggage.

Once hitting the ground the task was to refine the game. Knowing generally what needed to be done, we needed to refine it with the specific display exhibit information that would be used in each Zones course. This took a while as the displays needed to be unpacked and setup to know what the collective set consisted of.

Once the displays were selected then the game could be refined even further by deriving the unique answers and codes that were needed to solve the combination lock on the lock box.

Cue cards , answer sheets, instruction sheets all had to be

GOT SIGNAL? Obviously taking these new Magellan eXplorist 500's required some time acquiring signal from the our satellites in the U. K.

created to ensure the information made it easy for the Team to facilitate.

Once we had most of the Elements Zone setup we could take the Waypoint coordinates and begin to map them. Google Earth maps were created to show the surrounding area. The routes would then be entered into GSAK to be exported to the eXplorist 500's.

Each GPS unit for each Zone had preprogrammed into it the waypoints needed for that Zones course. Each zone GPS units were color coded and numbered so that they could be tracked easily.



Lukas of Team Water helps a group of Scouts get oriented to how the GPS works.

Nicole of Team Water getting ready for the first days crush of participants..











Each of the units needed to get turned on and exposed to the horizon so they synchronize a local almanac to ready to navigate. This took 20 to 30 minutes in some cases.

Get er Done!

Now introduce the IST! The staff for elements was filled by the International Service Team. The IST is made up of volunteers that had signed up to assist with the running of the Jamboree. When they arrived that received their assignments. Those assigned to Elements were then oriented to the Elements Programme. Each of the Zones, geocaching activity received either 2 or 3 IST to run the activity.

Once assigned the New IST would need to trained. Not one of the IST had any experience with Geocaching or GPS. This would be a real test of the design and the material. The people we were assigned are terrific and picked this stuff up like a sponge.

Team Fire, Rebecca and Zoe, are ready to go in the Fire Zone.


Team Fire is Rebecca and Zoe. Team Earth is Simone, Giancarlo, and Enrique. Team Wind is Priscilla and Soren. Team Water is Lukas and Nicole. YOU GUYS ARE GREAT! KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!

The teams jumped right in setting up the Zone activity stations for Geocaching. They needed to assist in the setup of the course, organization of the training materials and develop there check out/check in process.

This team of Soren and Priscilla are setting up the Wind Zone for the Geocaching Activity.







This is a work in progress. More will be added as the event progresses.

This group of French Scouts after a short briefing begin their geocaching journey. Follow the arrow!










This group of Scouts from Peru begin to get familiar with the eXplorist 500 prior to heading out for a Geocache treasure Hunt










These Scouts from Trinidad look very excited to get started.







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Copyright © 2007 by Mary E. Stevens, all rights reserved