Meet the New Board & Thank the Volunteers

Northern Virginia Geocaching Organization is pleased to announce the 2023 board of officers and directors.

  • PRESIDENT – ThompsonKickers
  • VICE PRESIDENT – TheWanderesss
  • SECRETARY – TrexM8s
  • TREASURER – freddiecrs
  • PUPLIC RELATIONS – hrothroc
  • DIRECTORS – DePhogration, CherokeeThree, Pfenix, TheColdedge

Every year, we host an event to let you meet our new officers (most of them will be there.) We also use this gathering to thank our outgoing board members, as well as volunteers who have helped make NoVAGO great in the previous year. If you’ve hosted an event in the Northern Virginia area in 2022, we thank you.

Special thanks to Nothereeither, Effstop, Zippyfinn, Serrabou, Rufnredy, Awesnap, and most of the people listed above who are staying on from last year.

2022 Thanks! Event (GCA2WX8)

January 22, 2023, 2:00-4:00 pm

Santini’s New York Style Deli
3980 Corsair Ct
Chantilly, VA 20151


Spotlight Cache: Burke Lake Park

#PretendToBeATimeTravelerDay (December 8)

Today we’re going back in time to find the oldest cache in Virginia. Welcome to Burke Lake Park (GC175) — did you see how short that GC code is? This cache has been around since December 17th, 2000 – which makes it a favorite visit for those trying to fill in their Jasmer Challenge grid. There’s lots to love about this cache. It is a big ‘ol container. That makes it easier to find for beginners and means it has lots of room for SWAG items inside. It also isn’t too far from the parking and the trail, which means its an easy find on a day where long hikes aren’t possible. If you do want to go for a long hike, though, this is a beautiful park to do so. Burke Lake Park has lots of trails, disc golf, kayaking, picnicking, and more. At time of publish, this cache has over 3,000 finds and is getting close to 500 favorite points. Don’t forget to be stealthy when you are looking for this old cache and take good care of it, hide it again well, so that it will be around for a while longer still.

Voting Open for 2023 NoVAGO Officers

VOTING OPEN FOR 2023 NoVAGO Officers

Last month we asked our membership to nominate volunteers to fill the officer positions for the 2023 board. You can read that article with the job descriptions by CLICKING HERE. You can also find a link to our By-Laws here. [This post has been updated from a previous version, no longer on the site. If you voted before December 8th, your first vote was deleted and you may vote again in this new election.]

The office of president is the only contested position this year. Please read a little about each candidate in the drop menu below before heading to the voting form.

Christopher G. “Awesnap”

I have been a member of NoVAGO for 10 years.

Any current or previous positions held in NoVAGO? Director (2014 & 2020) and Public Relations Officer (2016-2019 & 2021)

When asked if I was interested in coming back at PR, I thought why not go for the BIG TOE position. I have left my mark on the PR position, and I really don’t want to do that again.  I am full of ideas, and I love the people and organization.  I would like for NoVAGO to focus more on Park Relations with our CITO’s and series cache placements. I have been kicking around an idea to lure a MEGA event to the area and feel as NoVAGO President I could do more to accomplish that.

Gina T. “ThompsonKickers”

I have been a member of NoVAGO since 2016.

Any current or previous positions held in NoVAGO? Director (2021) and Vice President (current)

My name is Gina T. aka ThompsonKickers & I have happily accepted the nomination to become NoVAGO’s President if my fellow cachers, that’s you, chose me for this task.  

Why should you vote for me and what will I do for the organization?  

Geocaching is an amazing game and a lot of different types of people play.  Some have been around many years while others are just learning what geocaching is.  For both, I would like to find ways to make the NoVAGO caching experience amazing and memorable and to keep cachers, well.. caching here! 

I have amazing ideas on how to engage the new cachers and help those who are local become more involved.  When cachers are brought together they become more knowledgeable while caching, placing caches and learning how they can help and join the organization. 

Together with the other officers and directors I’d like to find ways to reach out to new cachers and welcome them to the area.  I’d like to see every cache in the area representing NoVAGO, spreading the word that NoVA is a great place to cache and all cachers are welcome and wanted here.

I know this is important because I began caching in January of 2016 and found the NoVAGO website by chance for the photo contests.  Not knowing much about the organization I enjoyed finding caches with a few friends.  I was told about a big spring event and that was the first I had attended.  I was truly hooked from that day forward.  My friend group expanded and then even more the first year I participated in the NoVAGO annual series.  Placing caches for the events and also joining a team each event that followed. 

Developing a great bond and friendship with other cachers really solidified my desire to do more in the area.  In 2021 I accepted a nomination to be a director and then in 2022 accepted the VP nomination, not quite ready for President yet.  Over the past year as VP I was hands-on in projects such as the Spring & Fall events, rounding up nominations & launching the annual cacher / cache awards voting.  I am excited about the opportunity to become even more involved in 2023 and hope to see more and more of you at events and beside me helping the organization grow.  Although, no matter the results of this vote, I will continue to enjoy caching in NoVA, meeting up with fellow cachers, participating in activities and will do my part to help others enjoy the game.

I am ThompsonKickers and I approve this bio.

Voting is open now and will stay open through December 27th at midnight.

In order to have your vote count, you must provide your name, e-mail address, and the user name you log into this website with. 

Please forward questions or concerns regarding the election to 2022vote@novago.org

For assistance with website login credentials, contact admin@novago.org


Aside

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

Guest Author: Effstop (thanks for sharing some thoughts with us)

We’ve reached the month of November and usually at this time of year I start to think about the things I’m grateful for.  

For starters, my family, friends, health, having a job, a roof over my head, food on the table and clothes to wear are some of the things I’m grateful for.  The opportunities I’ve had this year is another thing I’m grateful for.  The trips I’ve taken, getting to see family member and seeing some of my high school classmates are just some of the opportunities that I am grateful for this year.

When it comes to geocaching the things I’m grateful for this year include the places I went, completing CAM (Cache Across Maryland), making my 5,000th find, my teammates in the NOVAGO U competition and above all, the ability to do this great hobby, sport, or whatever you call it.  

It goes without saying that the main reason I continue to do this is because of the people.  Not only my fellow cachers but also the people I meet along the way because of caching.  

This past year has been somewhat difficult because I had to say goodbye to some of my caching friends due to their passing or leaving the area.

One of the ways I show my gratitude for this sport is by giving back.  Whether it be as a NOVAGO officer, a NOVAGO director, hosting events, or hiding caches are just some of the ways I give back. Other ways include  helping out other cachers and welcoming new cachers or out of town cachers to our area.  

What are some of the ways that you show your gratitude for this sport?

Spotlight Cache: Kindness Rocks!

#WorldKindnessDay (November 13)


Today we’re celebrating #WorldKindness Day by spotlighting the most colorful cache location in Leesburg. Kindness Rocks! (GC9RXFB) by HyperactiveGirl, is not your typical location. In a quiet neighborhood near the Potomac River is a home decorated year-round with a message – you matter. The Kindness Rocks Project is a national grassroots movement to spread kindness to strangers, one painted rock at a time. Messages written on colorful rocks are meant to offer encouragement, inspiration, comfort and more to unsuspecting strangers who find them. One of the leaders of the Leesburg group, Margie Hunter, has taken a leap from painted rocks (there are lots of them at her house) to yarn bombed trees, butterflies and flowers on the fence, chalk messages along the sidewalk, wishing tree, and rainbows everywhere. There is even a little free library that would make Dr. Seuss proud, full of books donated by neighbors. 

Be sure to read the cache page description when you seek out this one as the cache may have changed a bit since it was shared with Facebook. Tell us what you think of this colorful cache.

Spotlight Cache: Turning Point Suffragist Memorial

Spotlight Cache: Turning Point Suffragist Memorial

#ElectionDay (November 8, 2022) #spotlightcache

Today’s Spotlight Cache is Turning Point Suffragist Memorial (GC9CBRG)

Women were not included in the U.S. Constitution until the 19th Amendment. Did you know that it took 72 years to pass and ratify the 19th Amendment to the Constitution? The Turning Point Suffragist Memorial is the first national memorial for the women who fought to win the right to vote. The memorial tell the stories and experiences of generations of these women so that future generations can better understand their sacrifices. It was because of their courage and determination that we had the one-day, largest expansion in voting rights in our country.

The memorial is located on part of the historic prison grounds where the infamous Occoquan Workhouse was located. The memorial includes several bronze, life-size statues of suffrage leaders, replica White House fence and gates, 19 informational stations, and a section of the actual White House fence in which picketers protested in front of. The Turning Point Plaza also contains a bridge to support community engagement, with events such as certain Girls Scouts’ ceremonies.

Hidden very discreetly and carefully in the memorial is the winner of 2021 NoVAGO Cache Awards for Best Camouflage. The aptly named Turning Point Suffragist Memorial (GC9CBRG) by supertodd88 requires geocachers to explore the memorial a little bit, read a few informational signs, study the statues and gates, and to do a little math before they can discover the coordinates. But, knowing where to look is only half of it, the cache itself is so well made to blend in with its surroundings, that you will be surprised when you actually find it. 

Winner of 2021 NoVAGO Best Camouflage. Congratulations.

You can find out more about the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial on their website.

Geocaching.com Drops Benchmarking

Geocaching.com Drops Benchmarking


Geocaching HQ made an announcement on October 17, 2022 that they will be dropping Benchmarking from the website. As part of their page updates, all logs will be removed. Owners who wish to save this information should do so as soon as possible. In addition, all challenge caches that require benchmark finds will be archived. Benchmark finds will stay in user statistics, so that others can know that you logged some before they were gone.

The official announcement was hidden in the release notes within the forums. You can read it it here.

Geocaching HQ is recommending that users who wish to continue logging benchmarks do so by moving to their sister site, Waymarking.com

So, why the change? The code is old and will be too burdensome to update to make it work with the rest of the site. Honestly, it has been on borrowed time for year.

Accepting Nominations for 2023 NoVAGO Officers

NOMINATIONS ARE OPEN!

All the events and activities you enjoy throughout the year are the result of a very dedicated team, also known as your board! Nominations for the 2023 slate of officers will be open for the month of November followed by voting in December!

NoVAGO’s Officer Corps consists of these five positions:

President
Vice President
Secretary
Treasurer
Public Relations

Read the descriptions below to see what is involved. You can find the official descriptions in the NoVAGO By-laws. Currently serving Officers are listed in our About NoVAGO section.

Nominations will close on November 30, 2022, at which point any necessary ballots will be assembled and shared for voting in December (dates for voting TBD.)

You may nominate yourself or someone you think will be awesome for one of these positions. If you are nominating someone else, we ask that you talk to that person beforehand, but our 2022 Nomination & Election Committee will reach out to all those nominated before they are placed on the final ballot.

Please send nominations directly to 2022vote@novago.org


PRESIDENT

The president is in charge of all of the organization’s activities and business. All other officers report to the president. The president must give an annual report to the board, like a State of the NoVAGO speech, along with his/her plans for the future. The president must present the budget for the fiscal year.

VICE-PRESIDENT

The vice-president shall perform the duties of the President in the absence of the President and make arrangements for scheduling meeting dates and locations. The vice-president also supervises committees, when we have them.

SECRETARY

The secretary keeps the minutes of the board and performs any other duties with might be prescribed by the president or board.

TREASURER

The treasurer has charge and custody of all the funds of the organization and keeps full and accurate records of receipts and disbursements, deposits money into the NoVAGO bank account, makes payments when requested by the board, and makes reports on transactions and the financial condition of the organization. The treasurer is in charge of forecasting and financial planning and assists the president in preparing the annual budget.

PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER

It is the job of the public relations officer to present the advantages of being a member of the NoVAGO in association with Geocaching, as a healthy and enjoyable hobby/sport in general, utilizing all media and/or means at his/her disposal. The public relations officer will be the official “welcome wagon” on the website and other social media. This entails keeping content of the website current and relevant and by encouraging members to interact with the website, its forums, or other social media. The public relations officer will be responsible for the website and associated accounts, its ongoing maintenance, updates, and overall management. The public relations officer will work with other organizations to increase the awareness of the NoVAGO inside of the hobby and work with organizations outside of the hobby who may acquire an interest in the relationship to Geocaching through the NoVAGO. The public relations officer will inquire of the membership for potential participation in media interviews, presentations, classes, and assist the other officers in awards and ceremonies. The public relations officer must be available to spend a great majority of events at the registration table as well as help the other officers in any presentations or themes for events.

NoVAGO’s 2022 Fall Picnic

The 2022 NoVAGO Fall Picnic & Auction was held last weekend on October 22, 2022 at Claude Moore Park in Sterling. It was a Community Celebration Event (extended due to the pandemic.) The weather was perfect for the event and a good time was had by all.

  • Team PAF bids and wins on and easy A during the 2022 auction.

Three new Adventure Labs popped in the park during the event:

An easy puzzle cache, NOVAGO 2022 Fall Picnic Icebreaker, published in the park towards the end of the event. Those that completed the fun icebreaker activity got to skip the puzzle and find the cache an hour or two early – although not early enough for the most enthusiastic amongst the bunch. The icebreaker was a change of pace from the usual “find someone who…” and instead encouraged attendees to learn a little about each other with some “would you rather…” type questions.

As usual, the crowd rolled in and out during the event. Over 50 geocachers logged the event. We had some members with over 30,000 finds, while others had less than 200 finds. Three Volunteer Community Reviewers were in attendance (we love you guys!) And, we also had several people who were coming to their first event, with all the questions that come along with joining a new group and starting a new hobby. This PR officer tried her best to answer all the questions and was happy to meet some new faces.

There was lots of good food at the event. At least 24 feet of picnic table was packed with everything from fruits and veggies, to sweet and salty treats. DePhogration held on to his long standing title of Grill Master. We thank you very much, DePho! He said he is working on his own cache challenge for club events attended, “This is my 30th consecutive NoVAGO picnic without missing a single one.”

After noshing down on lunch, a few announcements were made and most dutifully gathered for a group photo. Then it was time for our wonderful deans of NoVAGO U to host a friendly, but competitive game of “beer” pong. Teams gathered for their best rendition of the classic house party game; no alcohol was involved in this version. It quickly evolved into a noisy game with so much cheering and laughter. “Went off to do one of the adventure labs while “beer” pong was in session – could hear the ‘whoas’ from a hundred yards away!” wrote NavalResearcher in his event log. Team ΠΑΦ won the game.

Our annual auction, held during the fall event, is our primary fundraiser for the year. Our members didn’t let us down in 2022. We had many generous donations and bids, bringing in almost $500. Sales of path tags and coins, as well as direct donations, made up an additional $300.

NoVAGO Spring 2022 Picnic Group Photo

Aside

Getting Permissions to Place Caches: Be a Good Neighbor

Getting Permissions to Place Caches

Be a Good Neighbor

#NationalGoodNeighborDay (September 28)


Did you know that one of the missions of the Northern Virginia Geocaching Organization is to promote local land use policies when placing their geocaches? Our local reviewers, YetAnotherReviewer and CardinalReviewer, help maintain a geocaching wiki page where you can find many of Virginia’s localities and their policies. Remember to always seek out permission when placing your caches.

You can find that link here: https://wiki.groundspeak.com/display/GEO/Virginia