Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Hiking Skills for Cubs: Day Camp Day 3

Day three of my experience leading a station at Cub Day Camp was the one that left me the most fearful, mainly due to the fact that I was treading in waters unknown, at least for me. In an effort to gain some 'cool' factor points with the kids and also help them to know that hiking isn't necessarily just a boring walk in the woods, I decided to create a mini geocaching hunt for the boys to experience on their own. Sounds like fun, huh? But truthfully, I had never actually geocached before. I had once borrowed a GPS unit and planned to go geocaching at a family camping trip we did over the summer, but my oldest ended up getting sick and we spent more time just sitting in camp than we had planned. So, even though I knew how it worked, I was deathly afraid that I'd forget a step or do somehow do something wrong. Even more frightening was the fact that some of the parent chaperones actually HAD been geocaching, and I didn't want to be 'called out' on a faux pas in front of the boys!

On day two I had taken some time during lunch break to hide my cache, complete with enough prizes for all. A friend, the same one that lent me her personal GPS earlier in the year for our unsuccessful trip, miraculously was able to come up with a whole SET of GPS units, six identical ones, and after reading the manual at least 5 times over, I took a few readings from where I had hidden my Cub Cache. Luckily they were all very close, so first hurdle seemed to be crossed. The night before the big day I took some time to program all the units with the secret cache's co-ordinates and make sure they all seemed to be working proplerly. Then it was off for a poor nights sleep of wondering what I was thinking to plan such an activity. Boys wandering lost through the woods for days did cross my poor, exhausted brain on more than one occasion.

The session on this third day began with an explanation of the Earth's magnetic poles and all the kids got to use a compass. They learned how to align it to north, then find directions and headings. Then the true fun began. I handed each of the adult chaperones a pre-programmed GPS unit and paired the boys off. Each adult took two (or sometimes three) boys out at a time to find the hidden cache. The remaining boys got to make their own compasses using a needle and magnet (a VERY cool project to show the Earth's magnatism) and also draw maps of their neighborhoods noting several locations near their homes. To my relief, the first groups came back beaming with their prizes - SILLY BANDS! The rest of the day went off without a hitch, and I'm happy to say that all the boys found the cache and no one was left wandering around the park that night.

Showing off their prizes after finding the cache!

Geocaching was probably the highlight of the Skills station for many of those boys. I'm so glad I went out on a limb and did the activity! Boys and treasure hunting go together like marshmallows and chocolate, its a natural pairing. My hope is that at least a few of the boys went home and told their parents what fun geocaching was and that they and their families will try it out on their own, searching for real caches and having a blast outside.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...