Theme Idea 1: Daddies in the Digital Age
The advent of the Internet has allowed the scavenger hunt to go digital. Geocaching (pronounced geo-cashing) is a game that involves finding stashed treasures by using a global positioning system (GPS). This shower will take a bit of planning to set up, but will be well worth the effort for the digital adventurer.
Every cache location will have a log book to make entries regarding how the location was found or who found it; in fact, some caches consist of only a logbook. Some locations also have an online logbook to help track visitors and information. Cache items can include coins, jewelry, tickets, jokes, maps, CDs, pictures, tools, games, software, hardware, books, and so on. If you remove something from a cache, you must leave something in return.
There are two ways to set this up. The first is to join an online website (Geocache Clubs) and tap into existing locations of caches in your area. Download the “waypoints” (the exact latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates where the cache is located) that are near your party location. Make a list of the coordinates (there are downloadable software programs that make this easy) and give to the guests when they arrive. Unlike a road rally, guests will be following digital clues rather than road signs exclusively.
The other way to set up this shower is to use a company that specializes in team building through geocaching. These businesses set up the hunt, provide hand-held GPS systems with preprogrammed coordinates based on your group’s interests, and handle all communication, log books and setup. See these resources for companies that offer this service.
Menu Ideas and Options
Since the travel element of this shower may place certain restrictions on the start time and the meal type and location, backpack snack packs for the car will provide the perfect solution. If you are inclined to bake, the cake-mix cookies have the “cache” of homemade and bake up in a jiffy. Add bottles of energy drinks and packages of sunflower seeds or corn nuts and your group is ready to hit the highway.
Daddies in the Digital Age Shower Menu
- Hidden-Treasure Trek Mix -- Pretzels, Cheddar “Fish,” Peanuts, Popcorn, and Cereal Flavored with Grill Seasonings and Worcestershire Sauce
- Energy Drinks such as Red Bull, Vitamin Water, Gatorade, or Iced Coffee
Setting It Up
There’s not much need for centerpieces and streamers at this shower, but there is a definite need for communication between the guests. Provide each guest or vehicle with a packet of information that includes cache waypoints, cell phone numbers, and general rules for the game. Also give names and addresses of rest stops and restaurants in case anyone strays from the group.
Since many caches are themed, plan on leaving something behind that suits the theme. For example: If you have chosen a cache that has coins, you should plan to leave another coin in its place.
GPS systems are available at boat supply stores, camping supply stores, on the Web, and even at Amazon.com. Some phones even come with GPS systems in them. There are a number of books that cover picking a GPS system for outdoor activities.
The Perfect Game or Activity
A Geocaching Digital-Game Competition is the activity designed for this party. The main activity coordinator will let guests know what maps and supplies are needed and will assign groups to the cars or trucks that will be used—everyone should have a buddy with them. Your geocaching day will include some kind of meal and may also include some gift giving, so take these shower elements into account when setting up a time to start and end this shower.
When choosing which caches to hunt for, consider their size and location. This information is included on the online postings, which also list the degree of difficulty of the surrounding terrain and other pertinent information. If the location is off the beaten path and will require a bit of a hike, you should figure this into the timeline. Take into account the travel time between cache sites and the number of sites you plan to visit in a few hours.
Geocaching has four main components: choosing the cache location, planning the trip, going on the hunt, and reporting the find.
Choose the location. This phase is done on the Internet. Since many caches are hidden away from the road, locating them will take some work. Research information about the cache includes online notes from other geocachers about what they encountered to find a particular location.
Plan the trip. Your GPS system is only one of the tools you will need to find treasure. Road and topographical maps are recommended, especially if the site is off-trail. Most systems have a compass, but an old-fashioned one should be part of your equipment kit. Be prepared for climate changes, bathroom breaks, and carry snacks and water.
Go on the hunt. Most navigational systems will easily get you within a mile or less of the treasure spot; however, the last part of the trek can be the most challenging. Geocachers agree that the last 100 feet are the hardest. Make sure to mark your vehicle position in your GPS device to make the return to the car faster and easier.
Report the find. After noting your discovery in the logbook at the site, you may choose to take something from the cache. The rule here is: If you take something you must leave something. Return the storage container to its original position and cover it so that it is as you found it. Use your digital camera to take a picture of the site or anything unusual or interesting that you encounter on the way. When you return home, you will make an entry online or e-mail the cache originator.
Can I hide my own cache?
Yes, you can. Geocaching is a global phenomenon, and there are locations all over the world, each one set up by ordinary folks. Every site should have a log book and be protected from the elements. See geocaching websites for the best way to set up your own cache.
This relatively new adventure activity can be tailored to the needs and interests of any group. And who knows, this may become a new hobby for the group — you might even decide to start a club!
Gifts That Work with This Theme
There are a gaggle of digital gifts for baby on the market today. Baby monitors, DVD players with Baby Einstein programs, even digital thermometers are widely available. Other ideas include:
Nursery monitor. Comes with audio and video feeds. Some systems allow offsite monitoring through a secure website.
DVD player. The new baby may be too young for Baby Einstein, but the new dad can catch up on the latest DVD until baby is ready to dictate what to play.
Camping gear. Get baby ready for a trek or outdoor adventure with a backpack baby carrier, car shade, and thermal blankets.
The guys may not expect a party favor, but surprise them with customized mouse pads featuring the party theme or funny photos of the group. You can also give custom keychains, baseball hats, or notebooks.