Author Topic: Should we re-think the monthly 'workshops'?  (Read 3917 times)

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Should we re-think the monthly 'workshops'?
« on: March 09, 2012, 13:17:08 »
Originally designed to welcome newbies to the community and share skills with participants the monthly workshops (second Thursday of every month) have become a fixture in the geocaching calendar in the Ottawa-Gatineau area, but are they achieving what they set out to do in the first place?

Occasionally a 'workshop' actually occurs, a presentation on a particular topic, or several presentations are offered concurrently. Individuals  can see the topic offered on that month's cache page and plan to attend if it interests them. Next month for example junglehair ( will present a primer on publishing EarthCaches.

Unfortunately most months there is no real topic so the event is really just a few announcements, perhaps some questions from the floor, then everyone just mills around and 'discovers' trackables. Is this what we want the 'workshop' to be, people sitting around and chatting for an hour on a Thursday night?

Are less frequent workshops the answer? The problem with presenting a 'workshop' of course is that someone has to actually prepare and deliver a 'workshop', fewer of them make it easier to find a presenter. Or perhaps just inviting more people to present on a topic of their choice would work? Anything from a user's guide for the new Garmin Montana to geocaching on vacation?

I'm not sure what the answer is, but if it is just people sitting around and chatting for an hour about geocaching I'd rather do it in the pub quite frankly.

What do you think? Are you still getting something from the workshops? Or are you showing up for the smiley every month until you get 100 events under your belt. I'm curious bout how other people see this event.

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Re: Should we re-think the monthly 'workshops'?
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2012, 13:46:56 »
By definition newbies are just that: people who have not seen the workshops on puzzle-solving, triangulation, different types of hides, etc. and that is the kind of stuff I was expecting when I showed up at my first one last fall.  Even yesterday, I did not hear a single peep about spring caching so I still don't know if I should be stuffing water boots in the packsack every time I go out.

I don't think anyone would object if some topics that have been presented before came back for a repeat appearance, and that would fulfill the original purpose.  A presentation on trackables would definitely help me answer some questions like how to log a trackable you bring to an event cache for discovery: is the trackable "visiting" or is it being "dropped off"?  Even answering questions like who decides which reviewer gets to review a new cache or whether it's actually legal to park on the side of a 80km/h regional road to go grab a cache in the nearby forest would benefit those of us who haven't been caching since Noah was a young lad.

If I had to rate all of the "workshops" I've attended so far, I'd have to say that, by far, the one on building cache pages was the best, not because it taught me a whole lot of new stuff, but simply because that's what I expected a workshop to look like.  A close runner-up was the January presentation on winter caching.


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Re: Should we re-think the monthly 'workshops'?
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2012, 14:13:23 »
I am never able to attend the CCC workshops, so my opinion is not worth much, but I'd say that a workshop should have some sort of topic. The dinners are more of a "shoot the breeze" kind of event, and both are worth doing. We have started doing workshops in "Geo-land" and they are proving quite popular. We do try to stick to a topic, and there seems to be no shortage of topics. Hopefully we will pick a topic that someone other than myself can discuss. So far we've done:

Hiding a cache
Puzzles (part 1)

And there seem to be endless other that we can cover. I don't spend a ton of time preparing, and I rarely have a powerpoint or anything like that. I did find on online for GSAk that I used a bit.

I'd say the challenge is to provide information at all levels so that rank newbies and more experienced people can get something from the workshop.


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Re: Should we re-think the monthly 'workshops'?
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2012, 13:22:31 »
I think the old format of quick introduction to allow matching of names to faces and allow people to ask a question so they could be matched with a expert worked well.  No more introductions means that there is a little less mingling of old and new and people tent to mingle with those they know. Yes the regulars already know each other and may find it boring but share your latest greatest experience/milestone/goal and make less boring.  Sometimes newbies maybe wondering who to ask what to and are timmid to approach so we can work to knock that barrier down.

Maybe the last event broke up quickly cause a few wanted to discuss GAG planning (when there are details to share they will be shared) then the reviewers decided to get together and chat.

Topic suggestions:

I suggest the next workshop we can discuss earthcaches and challenges.

WE could put dadndaughter on the spot and suggest he do a moment about caching with dogs, the good the bad and how to train them to find tupperware.

With spring fling coming up and summer travel, mega events worth traveling to, how to do the caches along a route, must do caches people have enjoyed outside of Quebec and Ontario

Rail to trails and biking, things to bring along, ones to avoid ones to do.

planning a outing, searching, geobag,

dangerous plants/wildlife awarness in the area

what to do if your batteries die deep in the woods/ or you break a leg working on a 5/5 / my bruise was bigger then your bruise

how to avoid damaging an area when searching for a cache

who you should list trailheads / parking locations / how to rate terrain and difficulty for the area rather then not wanting to make to easy

what are the attributes and when to use them. Does UV one mean wear sunscreen?

What does each cache type actually mean and when to use them each.

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Re: Should we re-think the monthly 'workshops'?
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2012, 09:21:28 »
I agree with hidnseek.  Everyone at least saying their names is a good start.  Plenty of subjects to discuss, but for each workshop one person has to be picked beforehand to at least give a 10 minutes "presentation" (no powerpoint required  ;)) on the subject, which should launch the discussion and questions.  Just telling people "welcome, now discuss X" clearly doesn't work very well.


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Re: Should we re-think the monthly 'workshops'?
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2012, 15:29:11 »
i've had my '100 events' for a while now, but i still enjoy attending the workshops because for me:
- it's nice to visit with other cachers i know and meet ones i don't know
- i usually get a tip or two for a puzzle cache that's been nagging at me
- i learn a few new tricks for the gps or gsak.
- it still counts as a find!

what i would like to see at workshops, keeping in mind brand new cachers who may be in attendance:
- a general 'welcome' message to all, including newcomers
- a brief introduction by each cacher
- an open discussion or light presentation on a topic led by a 'senior' member ;)
- the presenter should always explain geocaching lingo for newcomers. i remember feeling very overwhelmed the first few weeks i spent caching (the terms FTF, milestone cache, DNF, etc. were, believe it or not, new to me and took effort to understand what they meant!). even when mentioning GSAK, it should be explained what it is. i know i have seen a few blank faces when the acronym flies off presenters' tongues without saying 'it's a free geocaching database available to all'! ALSO, when a newcomer asks where to find info, people exclaim 'the CCC forum!' - what is CCC! where can i find this forum! perhaps the CCC should make little cards or pamphlets to hand out with the forum URL and kirok's stats page, how to get on it, etc. always teach from the bottom until you know your pupil's level :) it's appreciated!

that's my input :)

hidnseek had a lot of great (and funny!) ideas for topics!


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Re: Should we re-think the monthly 'workshops'?
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2012, 08:01:53 »
There were some great ideas there.  I haven't been able to get out to the Thursday meetings because of family activities, but that will be changing soon.  I'm looking forward to being able to come to some of the get togethers and learning from more experienced cachers, especially regarding some of the more technical aspects like using GSAK to it's fullest and some of tricks for puzzle solving.  I'm also looking forward to putting faces to names I see online and in the logs.
Another good topic might be considerations for caching with kids.  There seem to be a lot of families with kids who partake in this hobby, and it might be a good idea to share our experiences. I take mine out all the time, and some discussion about the types of caches, length of trips, what to bring, and how to maintain their interest over time would be much appreciated.