One of the hallmarks of NoVAGO is its events. For a number of years NoVAGO has held 4 quarterly picnics. Last year the addition of 4 seasonal CITOs was made to the NoVAGO calendar. At the first board meeting of the year a decision was made to revamp the event lineup for 2017. This year NoVAGO will hold two major events (Spring and Fall) and four CITOs. The reasons for this decision bear explanation.
When NoVAGO began having quarterly events, geocaching had not yet matured through the use of smart phones and other common devices. NoVAGO was composed of a smaller core group of cachers. Social media which currently links our membership, such as FaceBook, was neither common or readily accessible. Today our membership has multiple venues to link up and share experiences daily.
This change in technology was joined by the growth of regional events over the last five years. When NoVAGO settled on quarterly events, gatherings of regional cachers were much less common. Over the last half decade the NoVAGO region has seen the growth of multiple monthly “meet and greets”. Cachers across the NoVAGO region now have many opportunities to meet up on a regular basis.
Analyzing the last few years of NoVAGO events as compared to those of years past, there was no doubt that attendance has dropped. The factors discussed above may have contributed to this. For this reason, it was decided to focus on two high quality events in 2017. Traditionally, Spring and Fall events have been the most important NoVAGO gatherings. Spring brings the annual cache awards, and celebration of all the fine caches and COs that make geocaching in NoVAGO so enjoyable. Fall is the time for the yearly auction which provides the funding NoVAGO needs to continue operations. Focusing on these two events will hopefully make them more special and encourage members to turn out in higher numbers.
Current plans include holding the Spring event in the April time frame and the Fall event in October. Historically these months have provided the best weather, and good availability for potential venues. With the continued focus on achieving non-profit status, NoVAGO will continue to focus on CITO events in 2017. These events will be seasonal. Over that last few years Groundspeak has offered CITO souvenirs in April and September time frames. For this reason, NoVAGO will hold the Spring and Fall CITOs during those time periods. The Winter CITO will be held in February, and the Summer CITO in July. No dates have been selected as of yet. Plans are currently underway for the Winter CITO.
I look forward to a fun and productive 2017. Hope to see you all at the upcoming events and on the trails.