Anyone can organize and run a great CITO event. It can be small, for just your unit or you can post your event on geocaching.com for all your neighborhood geocachers to join as well.
Here are the steps we used for our very successful Marin Council CITO event.
- Pick your team – this can be just you, you and scouts, you and other geocachers etc. Only one person can be the official Groundspeak CITO event owner (you get an icon) but many can help. We actually had two scouts use portions of a big project for their Eagle projects and I managed the CITO geocaching part and the prizes for the end.
- Talk to the correct officials - we chose to work with the City of San Rafael for many reasons: Good relationships, preexisting volunteer coordinator and infrastructure, good contacts for PR and donations. They LOVED us and would do it again as we got a lot of work done for them. You can do anything anywhere so why not make it easy and ask what people need?
- Choose your project(s) – agency can guide you to a project that you like and that suits your needs. Simple trash pickup is fine but very quick and not worthy of an Eagle project in our view, especially when you can find a more robust CITO project with little effort. Tailor to your needs and the needs of the agency you are working with. We did combination native plant removal (one project) and mega trash including the creek cleanup and the laying of many yards of mulch (second project) that were tied together to get one massive piece of work done!
- Pick the date – Groundspeak requires at least 2-3 weeks lead time to post. We blew it at Philmont Training Center last year by not posting early enough – lesson learned.
- Invite people. Lots of people. Scouts and geocachers will come for sure, but why not expand your exposure to schools or other youth groups to recruit volunteers?
- Advertise as much as you can – We advertised via council and district newsletters, on geocaching.com with the event posting, REI ran something on their website and store flyers for us as did City of San Rafael. We lured the cachers with the 5 sunken grocery carts that had been in the creek for months as a challenge – we happen to have some really competitive power cachers here that rose to that bait (#2 and 3 in the world type cachers)
- Make it fun with new caches, prizes etc at a drawing after the service event. I got a lot of door prizes – unsold popcorn from our council, the city donated 3 working parking meters (the real hit) and some of the geocache vendors as well as local merchants will often donate. Set up some public caches nearby for after the event. Use this as an opportunity to teach geocaching to new Scouts. Make it the site of a new Cache to Eagle cache in your council’s Cache to Eagle series too (don’t have a Cache to Eagle series??? Well, now is the time to create one!) . Geocachers will come for booty and caches. Scouts will attend just because they are scouts. If you can afford it, get your council to make a patch for the event. Keep it free to folks though – this is service.
- Plan the details of the day – we had well-staffed registration tables, liability releases tables, gloves, dumpsters, donuts and drinks, all that sort of detail that makes an event a smooth event. Many businesses will donate. Use parents as helpers for the tables.
- Do it - you can! It is easy!
- Get PR after event if possible – notify local papers and take lots of pictures of your group. We will post them here if you send them along with details of your event!
Good luck and have fun!
View the Event Posting on Geocaching.com HERE>
(You will need to login to geocaching.com to view this archived event.)