Last weekend was a busy one for me, my brother was holding a combination retirement and wedding anniversary party, and one of my sisters was in town from Texas for a fairly rare visit. She’s still among the employed so traveling all the way to Baltimore from Galveston isn’t a trip she takes on a whim.
Jazgold, I’ll call her by her Geocaching name, had emailed me about being a bit interested in caching, but didn’t know where to start, with a question, “Could you tell me a bit more about it when I’m up there?” Of course the answer was a resounding “Yes!”. So after telling her a bit about caching during the party we decided that Sunday morning would be good for her first cache hunt. I picked a few nearby caches, none of which had I found yet so this would be a real hunt.
As I was loading the GPS receiver that morning, and printing out the cache information for her, one new cache appeared. Wow! A possible FTF (First To Find) for her First Find. It took me a half an hour to pick her up at our other sister’s house, then have lunch. So when we got on the road a couple hours since the publication of a new cache had gone by. Around here that delay can be the difference between First and 3rd. But that didn’t stop us.
So when we got to the parking as close to the new cache Sandy’s Magaritaville we surveyed the scene. I picked out a bit of Geotrail, but didn’t let that stop us. We poked around a bit, re-read the hint and finally found the cache. I spotted it first, but quietly moved away to let Jazgold find it herself (with a little hinting – getting warmer/colder). She was thrilled to make her first find.
Then we headed to another on our route, only to find that it was in need of serious maintenance, but she found it, then on the the third. She found it outright without any help from me, in fact I was still working toward it when she made the find.
Our next attempt showed her the full range of caching experiences – a DNF. But she was happy to make the three finds, and only one defeat.
This was not only a good experience for her, but I enjoyed getting a new cacher introduced into the ranks.
When someone you know asks, take the lead and get them out, Pick a few caches that sound easy, but not LPCs. If you’ve already found them you know what the difficulty really is, But don’t just lead them to it and say – there it is. Give some tips on how to look, and maybe what to look for but let/make them find it on their own. Give them the thrill of victory, the find. You just might have a convert! If they live close they may want to go out with you again, if they are half a country away, make sure they know how to contact their local caching organizations and how to find a Meet & Greet, where they can get local help.