Make friends and spread joy with GeoTours: an interview with giacaches
Avid readers of the Geocaching Blog have seen interviews with cache owners, geocaching community volunteers, and countless folks who help make our game so special. But have you ever wondered who creates GeoTours and how much work goes into the process?
To find out, we sat down with current Lackey giacaches who helped spearhead the Fargo-Moorhead GeoTour (FMGT) before her time at Geocaching HQ:
What’s your background outside of geocaching?
I grew up in central Minnesota and attended Concordia College (Moorhead, MN), where I studied communications, journalism, and graphic design.
How and when did you hear about geocaching?
I learned about geocaching in 2008 and created an account in 2011, but I wasn’t really hooked until I got a smartphone in 2014. I knew the moment I found my first cache that I had discovered a lifelong hobby (when I get into something, I’m all in).
In college, I heard the saying, “think global, act local,” and I try to do that by improving things that matter to me—that’s sort of the short version of how the Fargo-Moorhead GeoTour was born.
Why should geocachers complete GeoTours?
GeoTours are a great way to tour an area through geocaching; former Lackey MissJenn wrote an excellent blogpost on this topic!
How did you get involved with the Fargo-Moorhead GeoTour, GT488?
I actually hadn’t completed another GeoTour prior to placing GT488, but I liked the idea of creating a tour of local places I loved via geocaching. While I spearheaded the project, I had the opportunity to work with local cachers whose earlier hides helped introduce me to geocaching in the first place. In this sense, the project felt like it came full circle. Below is a photo with me and the other geocachers involved on launch day in September 2019: Chad (Trycacheus), Jeff (m&m_o), and Wes (onionpond).
Besides fellow geocachers, I had a lot of support from many artist friends & local business owners. They helped me create and place 24 unique geocaches that spanned two states and three cities. They featured many unique locations, including a graffiti alley, a historic homestead, and multiple public art installations.
Each of the 24 locations on the GeoTour held special significance to me and so, in a way, I saw the GeoTour as my love letter to Fargo-Moorhead.
What were your roles and responsibilities for the GeoTour?
In addition to coordinating the creation, placement, and continued maintenance of 24 geocaches, I secured funding and support from the Fargo-Moorhead Convention & Visitors Bureau (FMCVB), and the North Dakota and Minnesota Geocaching Associations.
Were there any challenges to overcome while organizing the GeoTour?
Yes! Hosting a GeoTour is definitely a “labor of love.” It’s a lot of work, but it’s also incredibly rewarding!
What was the most rewarding part of the experience?
When the GeoTour launched in September 2019, my goal was to highlight the creativity of the local community and give people a good reason to visit Fargo-Moorhead.
Since then, I’ve read thousands of logs and met hundreds of people from around the world who traveled there just to geocache! It was truly an honor to co-host the Fargo-Moorhead GeoTour, and I’m grateful to everyone who helped me bring it to life.
From a tourism perspective, there are tons of benefits because, as we know, geocachers plan travel around geocaching! According to the Fargo-Moorhead Visitors Center staff, the GeoTour was one of their most successful programs to date. In 2020, the FMCVB named me the 2020 Tourism Champion.
Where would your dream GeoTour be?
Easy! Gilby, North Dakota.
It might be in the middle of nowhere, but Gilby truly lives up to its nickname, “Disneyland for Geocachers.” Trycacheus is a gadget-cache genius, and I’ve never been disappointed by one of his hides!
If someone reading this was looking for inspiration, what words of advice would you give them?
- Start small – If you’re not already connected with local geocaching groups, attend Events. If Events aren’t happening, host them. Events are an easy way to meet other geocachers and brainstorm ideas you want to bring to life!
- Use your connections – Whether you sit on a local park board, own a business, or are involved in any community group, start there! Placing a cache in a popular location is a great way to gauge whether you might enjoy hosting a tour.
- Get help – With geocaching, it’s easy to find strength in numbers. Recruiting help for your GeoTour can lead to lifelong connections and a better end result.
Geocaching is an incredible game thanks to the cache owners who showcase their ingenuity, creativity, and hard work through their geocaches.
Do you know a cache hider in your community who creates and maintains incredible geocaches? Let us know in the comments!