Since the very beginning of geocaching, local groups and organizations have played a huge role in growing and improving the game by connecting geocachers, hosting Events, working with local governments and land managers, and much more! Check out HQ’s list and map of geocaching groups and organizations to find one near you.
As we continue to highlight geocaching groups around the world, we’re excited to go “down under” and say “g’day” to Geocaching Victoria, a not-for-profit incorporation that seeks to promote geocaching in the state of Victoria, Australia. Big thanks to the group’s president, heymissjo, who rounded up answers to our questions!
When was Geocaching Victoria founded?
Geocaching Victoria was initially established in 2014 with a view of hosting the first Mega-Event in Victoria, Australia. Due to its success, subsequent Megas were held and the scope of the committee has grown.
Tell us about geocaching in your region.
Within the Victorian community, we have approximately 10,000 geocachers and more than 18,000 geocaches hidden. We are mindful of the diversity within our community in ages, demographics, physical fitness, and socio-economical differences. So in facilitating various Events, we consider how we can be most inclusive, including our hearing impaired community, which is very active. Some of our community also have support dogs, which we love to embrace and so we created a geo-dog etiquette for awareness and guidance.
Over the past year, as we have engaged more closely with our community, we have also noticed an influx of new geocachers. This has provided the opportunity to both engage with new players, but also educate them on geocaching etiquette as well as what it means if they want to become a cache owner. Last year, we hosted two newbie Events to provide an opportunity for networking as well as a question and answer session. We also initiated our Beginner Blog Series, which has created some useful context and learning for our newbies.
How is the group organized?
Our primary committee is made up of eight members, who meet monthly and plan a series of Events and experiences. For larger events such as a Mega, GPS Maze, or GeoTour, we require additional support and a sub-committee is formed. The lead of that subcommittee may or may not be a general committee member, but they work with and meet regularly with the primary committee for guidance, budgetary approvals, and so on.
Does Geocaching Victoria host any regular Events or activities?
Over the past few years, Geocaching Victoria has brought a variety of great Events to the community, including:
- Our Mega-Events, most recently Whittlesea November 2022 and the Rutherglen Event in April 2023.
- Our GPS Adventure Maze, which is soon to accompany its fourth Mega
- Ballarat GeoTour
- CITO Events
- Car Rally
- The Great Victorian Cache Crawl (ten Events across the state to celebrate International Geocaching Day)
- Community Celebration Events for Victorian Geocache of the Year Awards, pizza or camping nights, and much more
We also love to support and promote Events that are hosted by geocachers in the community and keep an updated page of what is planned for the coming months.
Currently, we have a very active online Zoom puzzle group, as well as a group that loves to organize CITOs every month. Where possible, we assist in making connections, building networks or promoting these Events for the benefit of everyone.
What suggestions do you have for existing groups or anyone who wants to start groups in their areas?
For any community looking to start a geocaching committee, we suggest starting small. Find your core team, advertise, and connect with your community. There is likely a heap of geocachers with hidden talents from a variety of backgrounds and industries that can help bring a richness to your committee.
Here are a few key recommendations for new groups starting out:
- Be clear about your purpose, the benefits you want to offer the community and what you hope to achieve. This also means, as a team, you must be clear about what you are not doing. Managing expectations is important both for the committee and the community.
- Look after your volunteers. We all want to do a good job and intend to create great experiences, but we must ensure that we balance the work, family, and geocaching aspects of life. This is particularly important if the committee undertakes a major project such as a Mega or GPS Maze, when you must ensure that volunteers don’t burn out. Subcommittees can assist with this, but so does identifying multiple volunteers to host large events to ensure that learnings are shared and to keep everyone fresh.
- Look at options in your region for registering as a community-based not-for-profit, as this can often open the door for discounts, community grants and other benefits.
- Consider how you retain the knowledge and lessons learned along the way. Having hosted many Megas in Victoria over the past seven years, we have recognised that the same core team has historically organized them. To ensure future Megas, we must retain the knowledge and lessons learned along the way. Succession planning becomes key in annual planning cycles and perhaps an internal Wiki or Confluence space to capture core knowledge on the operations, governance and planning aspects of the committee.
Read more about Geocaching Victoria on their website and Facebook group!
You can find a geocaching group in your area by visiting this list and map of geocaching groups and organizations. This list of orgs was “vetted” with input from community volunteers and Geocaching HQ staff.
The list is a work in progress. We expect to expand it to other countries and add groups and organizations that are active in their communities and are contributing to geocaching in positive ways. Reach out to us with the group you’d like to see included.