National Scavenger Hunt Day

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Long time readers know of my affinity of the annual GISH scavenger hunt. I had opted out of last summer’s, and wouldn’t you know – that was the last one. I know Misha Collins, the actor who started that hunt has been pulled in too many directions, and he finally decided that last year would be the last. This has led me to two ideas.

The first is to honor the legacy of fun with a quick hunt today. It’s similar to one that I’ve done with my kids when we were on vacation. How that one was set up was that they each got a small bag, like a party goody bag that among other things included a journal, a pen, and a photocopied list of things to look for. It gave them something to do in the car, and it reduced the complaint, of “I’m bored.” At the time, my kids ranged in age from 10 to 19.

Below (and on the Download page found in the sidebar), you will find a colorful sheet to print out for your own hunt. The directions are at the bottom, and you can add your own items to the back if you like. Below that, I have just the list if you’d prefer your list to fit on a quarter sheet of paper or for emailing.

The second thought I had was to have my own scavenger hunt during the traditional week that GISH is held: July 30 through August 6. I’m still working out the details, but here is a preview of the logo I’m creating.

My idea is to post two items per day (perhaps 16-20 items). You can put your “entries” in the comments on either the main post or the individual item posts. I’m not going to judge anything, but I will draw a random name from the participants for a small prize (still working out the items and the prize). That person will receive an e-gift card and to receive the prize must consent to share their email with me. (I will not sell or share their information with any third parties.)

Enjoy today’s mini-hunt and I look forward to seeing everyone at the end of July for the hunt-that-has-no-name-yet.

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Reflection on Weekend’s Book Bash

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This past weekend was spent in scavenger hunting fun! Since the pandemic, they’ve (GISH) been doing more and more mini-hunts to give people on lockdown something to do and raise money for charity. This most recent hunt was called a Book Bash and most of the items centered around reading and writing. My go-to’s if you will. With my writing retreat cancelled I found myself with nothing* to do so I signed up at the last minute.

[*Nothing to do means: cleaning house, taking a shower, going to mass, planning and cooking dinner, writing, preparing and filing my taxes, typing up interfaith meeting notes, writing and sending Cursillo reports, and half a dozen other things that are still on my to-do list, but hey who doens’t have 48 hours to spend aimlessly. I also signed up for a free vision journal workshop at a food co-op.]

Aimlessly doesn’t accurately describe the weekend, but I think you get the drift of the lack of impulse control I sometimes have.

Before I share the few items I did, I want to share the link to the charity that we supported with our registration fees: World Central Kitchen for their current humanitarian work in Ukraine. Their leader is Chef Jose Andres who leads with his heart and encourages giving especially where getting hungry people their necessary nourishment. If you have the mean, please give generously. They are on the ground in the world’s poorest and dangerous places, bringing hope with their meals.

World Central Kitchen

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A Gratitude Scavenger Hunt

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With Thanksgiving in two weeks, the Election over, and despite the continuing pandemic, we do have much to be grateful for.

This graphic will give you eight days to have your own scavenger hunt for the things you hold dear, that you’re grateful for.

I’ll be following up this afternoon and throughout the eight days, although not in a row of where I hold my gratitude, especially this year.

Graphic from Simple Acres Blog dot com. (c)2020

GISH Recap

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GISH is The Greatest Scavenger Hunt started and organized (if you could use that word to describe it) by Supernatural actor, Misha Collins. It is in its tenth year, and this will be my eighth participating. This year was a little different due to the pandemic, and Collins, his GISHGnomes, and the players really stepped up to provide food and water to those in need while also giving us a well-deserved respite from home isolation.

There were three GISH hunts held this year (and one more still coming up for Halloween); two mini hunts, one in April and one in May and our regular week long hunt in August. The mini hunts were unusual in that they were about twenty-four hours long and they were meant to be done while on home quarantine.

They were a break from the daily pandemic news, and let us take a breath and do more than fret and worry about what was happening. They included a kids’ menu with items especially for our stuck at home kids to do, either with us or on their own.

The big hunt in August was similar to past hunts but most items were meant to be done at home or on social media. No in-person gatherings according to local laws. There were also several tributes to John Lewis who had recently died, inspirational items, and items that were civic minded like protesting, prison reform, and voting including our rights and registration drives.

The registration monies went to No Kid Hungry, which you can still donate to individually.

I can only give you my August totals. I was not great about keeping track of the mini-hunts for points. I contributed to a total of fifteen items, seven of which were individual, the other eight being team items for a total of 214 individual points and 480 team points totalling 694 points.

I have to be honest, but I enjoyed these hunts more than I’ve enjoyed some of the previous years. I like the civic mindedness, the social justice aspects, the caring for neighbors, random acts of kindness and compassion.

I would encourage people who are curious to join the Halloween H(a)unt. Each registration donates money to UNICEF providing clean water for a person in need for six months. Registration ends on October 23rd, and the H(a)unt will go live Oct. 30 – Nov. 1.

The captions on the following photos will explain the items. For the spring mini-hunt, I have them listed as April/May although they may have been done for either:

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Travel – Scavenger Hunt

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​Last week, I shared Kids’ Travel Bags for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. Today, I am offering some suggestions for one of those items in the bags: the scavenger hunt sheet. It is below the cut, and permission is granted to download and print it for your own use with your family.

One of the things the past seven years of Gishing has taught me is that there are many ways to interpret something. It’s allowed me to rethink my concept of the scavenger hunt for one thing. Rather than collect things only to get rid of them at the end, I’ve really incorporated the idea of re-purposing, finding and documenting, and being a force for good, whether that’s as a Good Samaritan, doing good deeds, or making the world better through my time, talent, and treasure, and of course through civic responsibility. All of those things will be different depending on the hunter’s perspective.

I planned a mini Scavenger hunt for my kids for our most recent vacation. This is not an easy task as they are somewhat spread out in age: 13, 14, and 22, as well as personality and tolerance for this sort of thing.

Some items were be for collection, although not many. Most were photos or videos and journaling. It was a lot of fun, and it kept them busy for our long drive. Hopefully, it will help in your Thanksgiving travels.

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Summer Scavenger Hunt

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​One of the things the past seven years of Gishing has taught me is that there are many ways to interpret something. It’s allowed me to rethink my concept of the scavenger hunt for one thing. Rather than collect things only to get rid of them at the end, I’ve really incorporated [th] the idea of re-purposing, finding and documenting, and being a force for good, whether that’s as a Good Samaritan, doing good deeds, or making the world better through my time, talent, and treasure, abd of course through civic responsibility. All of those things will be different depending on the hunter’s perspective.

I’m planning a mini Scavenger hunt for my kids for our upcoming vacation. This is not an easy task as they are somewhat spread out in age: 13, 14, and 22, as well as personality and tolerance for this sort of thing.

Some items will be for collection, although not many. Most will be photos or videos. I’ll share our specific ones when we return.

In the meantime, here are a few things you can add to your own scavenger hunt item list:

  1. On the first day, journal/draw: What are you most looking forward to?
  2. Draw something from your first day; then turn the paper over and draw something from your last day.
  3. Find a street sign with your name on it.
  4. Find a roundabout.
  5. Find a cow crossing sign. Bonus points for a photo of a cow and a cow crossing sign together in the same picture.
  6. Journal My Favorite Thing Thus Far (do this on or after the third day)
  7. Photograph or Draw (or both) a tower.
  8. If you are in a foreign country, try something different on the menu of a popular fast food restaurant (ie. McDonald’s, KFC, Starbucks, etc.)
  9. If you are in a different state, try some local food. Write about the experience.
  10. Write down the date/time/town and take a photo or draw the following: Horse, Cow, Sheep, Moose, Beaver, Goose, Bridge, Flower, Water (river, waterfall, stream, etc)
  11. Pick a random day – Count the change in your pocket/purse.
  12. Nap Time – What did you dream about? Journal.
  13. Find a raccoon.
  14. Eat some poutine. Write about the experience.
  15. Find a waterfall.
  16. Take a picture of hockey equipment.
  17. Find and photograph a maple leaf
  18. On the last day, journal/draw: Did it (the first item listed) meet your expectations? If not, what surprised you?

GISH 2019 Has Begun…

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​The annual do-good, do-crazy scavenger hunt began yesterday. Bright and early on the west coast, mid-morning where I live on the east coast. Previous years finally taught me to give the website a little time to crash and then come back, so instead of jumping on right at 10am, I waited about fifteen minutes.

In the twenty-four hours and change since the list dropped, I have been communicating with my team, having a few laughs at my own expense, and writing up my notes for the items I’ve chosen.

Historically I’ve done about ten items per year. Assuming each team member does that many, that gives us a finished item list of 150. Some do more, some do less; we all do what we can. I’ve already seen some other teams dealing with miscommunication, and I may be biased, but for the most part, we have always had good communication. We don’t mete out a certain number of projects per person or restrict how many each teammate can claim. We all use the honor system and don’t take on more than we can handle. After a couple of days, we will put some back or trade or ask for help and feedback. For the most part, we get it done.

I’ve claimed six items plus two team items. There are two more that I have my eye on, but I want to get a couple of these finished first and leave those open for others. If they’re still there by mid-week, I may add them to my item list.

One of the major rules is that you can’t share anything from the list until the hunt is over. That day is Sunday, August 4th. The hunt ends on Saturday, but I can’t remember the time. There’s a countdown clock on the Gish website.

I can (probably) tell you that I’ve sketched out a few of the items, made a shopping list for one, planned on some scanning/photography for another. I’ve done first drafts for poems and drawings, one was really quite good, and one was just awful; terrible proportions. I need to dig out my sewing machine unless I want to hand sew the project I’m thinking of. My list includes one charity item and one global environmental item.

This year’s list has a good balance, splitting the items into fun, outside the comfort zone, charity, compassion, political, think global/act local, and in looking back over this list and previous lists for the last six years (plus this one) that I’ve participated in, it’s a good reminder that when the one week of the scavenger hunt isn’t going on, our lives should include the same balance. Not necessarily evenly split, but definitely parts of all those elements:

  • Fun activities
  • Activities that make us take a little step outside of our comfort zone
  • Charitable works
  • Be compassionate
  • Get involved in your local government and politics. At the very least, register to vote and then vote on November 3, 2020, and every year thereafter.
  • Think global and act local. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
  • Volunteer.
  • Help a neighbor.
  • Pay something forward.

An Addition to Gishwhes by the Numbers

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A very important number that I left out of yesterday’s post was the amount of money I spent.

To start, our team does not put a budget on any item or ask anyone to spend any money. It is assumed, I think, that if you claim an item you will get it done to the best of your ability, whether you spend money or not.

Also, as far as I know, no one on my team used that it was a charity scavenger hunt to get free supplies donated. I personally am not sure where I stand on that; it’s a grey area. For me I don’t do it but that isn’t a judgment on anyone who does as long as it’s within reason and positive representation of the team and the group.

That said, this year we had very little money. My family wants to take a weekend away before school opens up again in the fall, so we’re watching all of our pennies, piggy banks, and bottle deposits.

The most I spent on any one item was $10.12 for item #114 – the team photo. Being in New York, I had decided on a soft pretzel with mustard at the Erie Canal, and the extra pretzels were to bribe my two kids to come and take the pictures. They also got a free trip to the playground behind the Erie Canal stone marker.

Including that, I spent a total of $17.76:

$1.23 for item #102 – putting positive messages on people’s cars in the guise of a parking ticket. (envelopes)

$1.05 for item #39 – using magazines, create a vision board. (glue sticks that we will also use for school supplies)

$,36 – for item #90 – Superheroes doing mundane chores. (red floss for Superman’s heat vision)

$5 – for item #29 – the printing of the bottle labels to sell air in public.

I scavenged coupons, post-it notes, empty and dried water bottles, posterboard, cardboard panel, Flash costume, Superman cape, index cards, Sharpie markers, orphaned socks from my vast collection as well as using my Twitter, my WordPress, and of course, my ever willing family.

At the end of the week, I bagged up all of my leftovers to save for next year.

The hunt isn’t just about winning, although winning would be nice. It’s about teamwork, camaraderie, using what resources we have, reusing items we’re saving or getting ready to throw away, supporting some worthy charities, bringing important information to people who wouldn’t normally see it (like stroke signs and the Syrian refugee crisis, and potable drinking water even in our own country), plus thinking outside the box and trying new things.

Fun and service don’t have to cost a lot of money to make a difference.

Take today and be extraordinary!

Gishwhes By the Numbers and Charity Links

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Gishwhes for 2016 has ended, and it’s taken me these two days to recover-ish. I’ve got 99% of my leftovers in a bag for next year or for supplying the kids for craft projects that they come up with for the rest of the summer and into the new school year.

Second year in a row that we’ve had a phenomenal team. We had eight returning teammates and of the new seven members, we had only one MIA.

We’re named Brave Little Ants, which is a Supernatural reference. We’ve managed to find a boatload of motivational ant graphics, highlighting their strength and teamwork.

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