Presidents Favorite Points ❤️

A new year..

Read below or WATCH here –> Video of Presidents Favorite Points Jan 2024

January is the time of year where many people make new year’s resolutions for their health, family, finances, and social gatherings.  For those of us who enjoy geocaching, we probably come up with a few extra resolutions or goals.  Could be to attend more events, host events, find or even publish more geocaches.  There are those who like to keep up with streaks or stats, filling the calendar or their grids.  If you don’t have a resolution yet, or are just starting with geocaching and are unsure what goals you should make, stick around and I’ll give you some hints.

Events are Social:

If you have never been to an event, I definitely suggest you attend one.  They are the red dots on your groundspeak geocaching app and there’s got to be one relatively close to you soon!  NoVAGO also posts local events on our page to make it easy to find, just go to our site and visit any page, scroll to the bottom and there’s the calendar!  (reminder.. If you are not a member JOIN today)  Once you’ve picked an event use the app to log your “will attend” and you can “save it to your calendar” right from the cache page.  *New this year groundspeak added the actual time of the even, so you don’t need to change anything, it will just add it right to your chosen calendar.  Then show up on the date and time.  You will meet many other geocachers who are excited to talk about all things geocaching!

Are you filling your calendar with events, bring it on!  We want to see you and can’t wait to grow our friendships and help you reach that goal.  Never know, maybe someone will host an event on a day you need, so let us know how to help you reach your goal.

Hosting your own events is just as fun.  You may not know this, but you can LOG YOUR OWN EVENT!  So if you have event goals, your own published events count!  Yaye Double Prize…  Plus you get to pick the place and the time, so if you have ever thought of a place that would make a good event, here’s your chance to do it.  Would you be interested in co-hosting an event with a NoVAGO Board member?  Reach out to us and someone who lives near you will help you with your first event and show you the ropes.  Plus you’ll get to know one of NoVAGO’s finest and make a new geobud!

CITO’s are for lovers:

Love the land you geocache on?  This is the 2024 goal for you!  Plan a CITO, Cache In Trash Out, event.  Find an area that needs a clean up, contact the park or property owner and set up a CITO event!  Post on the cache page what you will be providing, like trash bags, picker-uppers, gloves, coffee or whatever else.  Make sure you have a plan where all the bags of trash will go at the end of the event.  Having a CITO is another great way to socialize with fellow cachers and make a difference as well.  Would you like to partner with NoVAGO with a CITO?  Again.. Contact us and if you have a place in mind, let us know and we will help guide you through the process.  You can also check out the geocaching page for more info HERE.

Lets go Streaking:

Say what…  Yep streaking, like in finding caches in a row streak.. What else did you think I meant? So many of you have heard about this said streaking and some go crazy with this, I heard this one guy has almost like a 7 year streak, I’ve heard of the 7 year itch but a cache every day for 7 years – that’s dedication.  So take it as crazy or low-key as you wish, a streak can be difficult but rewarding if you are on a mission.  Plus it will help with the calendar grid that we will cover next.

Gettn’ GRIDDY:

Fizzy Grids, Jasmer and Calendar Fill – OH MY:

No idea what I’m talking about?  Here’s the tea.  Inside your geocaching profile groundspeak tracks all the cache types, difficulty and terrain levels and dates you have found those geocaches.  You can see stats on all of that in a chart/grid and a lot of cachers have goals to fill these grids.  

Which one should you try for?  That’s up to you since one might be more difficult than another depending on your caching style.  For instance, if you are pretty new and stick with the caches who have a lower terrain and difficulty level, filling your Fizzy might be a more extreme goal since it requires you to have found a cache falling within every single D/T available from a 1/1, 3/2, 2,4 all the way up to 5/5.  So if you don’t plan on finding any caches that have a 4 or 4 terrain or difficulty, this wouldn’t be the goal for you.  However, if you have been caching a while, you may already have a lot of caches filling these holes and you can dedicate 2024 to the year of those missing D/T holes.

If you Jaz for the Jasmer plan, this takes a little research and a few road trips.  The Jasmer requires you to find one cache hidden each month since geocaching began in May 2000.  If you want to start this one, make this your year since there are only less than 120 caches still active that were placed in 2000! 

The calendar fill officially called the 365 Challenge requires you to find a cache every day of the year even if it’s over time, you don’t have to streak to fill this calendar.  You can take your time, or do the streak and reach two goals at once! (FIND OUT MORE HERE)

Cache Publications:

Want to hide a geocache or two or three?  If you are a seasoned cacher, get out there and place some new caches.  You know how to hide them and I’m sure you have some good places in mind.  If you are new to caching, make sure you have done your research on placing a new cache and have found a considerable amount of caches and types so you know what makes a good cache that will stick around for years to come.

Personal Faves

There are many other types of obsessions, I mean goals that you could have.  Some of these aren’t tracked specifically through groundspeak but you can track them on the side.  Some examples are:

  • More FTF’s (First to Find) 
  • Birthday Caches (finding a cache on their “birthday”).  
  • Increasing finds on specific container types, terrain, difficulty or attributes.  
  • Finding more caches with high favorite points.

Fun with Friends:

If you are social, finding more time to cache with friends might be a goal for this year.  Find some others with the same goal and set a plan in action.

NoVAGO Support:

Did you say yes you are social?  Becoming more involved with NoVAGO could be a new goal of yours.  Volunteer your time on a special committee, do a small project, write an article for the web page, adopt a NoVAGO cache, post more on social media, give NoVAGO shout outs and spread the word.  Current members may also add the NoVAGO logo and “proud to be a member” on the bottom of their personal caching profile.  Take it one step further if you are a CO and add it to your cache pages.  The logos can be found on the NoVAGO webpage.

Never Stop Learning

What I have realized is that being a geocacher isn’t just one thing, there are so many different types of events, caches, programs, apps and items to collect.  If you want to fill your head with more geocaching goodness, attend a learning event.  There are many posted throughout the year and provide a lot of great information about geocaching from a newbie geocaching 101 event to other programs that can help you track those geocaching goals you have made.  

Do you have a wealth of knowledge you wish to share?  Maybe YOU could be the host of one of these events.  Reach out to a NoVAGO board member and let them know you are interested.

Have another goal?

I know I went over a lot of ideas, but there’s so much more out there that can be accomplished by geocachers in 2024.  If YOU have a good goal you’d like to share, pop it in the chat and share with others.

Cache ONWARD

NoVAGO Leap Day Events: Collect a Souvenir

Geocaching HQ has announced a Souvenir for Leap Day 2024. Log a cache or event for February 29th, 2021, 2022, 2023, & 2024 all in one day. Ok, I know they won’t be back dated for non-existent days. But, we’re making up for some lost time here, right? Sorta. My head hurts figuring out how leap years work. Here’s what HQ is saying: “Enter through the wormhole and earn the “Leap Day 2024” souvenir by logging any four geocaches, Events, or Adventure Lab® Locations on February 29.”

If you want to make your day more fun, stop by one of the many events being hosted around Northern Virginia on February 29th. Say ‘Hi’ and maybe make some new geocaching buddies.

Cup of Joe — Leap Day (2024)

7:00 AM – 7:30 AM

Dumfries

Meet host, MJBinski at Cuppi Coffee in Dumfries for his Cup of Joe — Leap Day (2024) event to start off your day.


Our extra day of fun! February 29- Leap day

8:00 AM – 8:45 AM

Chantilly

For those who sleep in a little later or for those who want to race over from Dumfries, TeamXMan will be hosting Our extra day of fun! February 29- Leap day event at the Wegmans in Chantilly.


Lizardman Llama Lapdog Lily+Loon LaMoose Leap LOL

11:45 AM – 12:30 PM

Herndon

Love tongue twisters with your lunch? Join frumiousb at Worldgate Center in Herndon for her Lizardman Llama Lapdog Lily+Loon LaMoose Leap LOL event. There are lots of places there to grab yourself a bite to eat and plan your geocaching strategy.


Leap Day CITO

1:00 PM – 2:00 PM

Herndon

How about doing good while making friends? Help effstop clean up the woods near an area frequently used for geo-gatherings. While you’re coming, bring your glass for recycling. Bring your boots, gloves and trash picking tools to the Leap Day CITO event.


Over the Hump – Leap Day Edition

5:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Sterling

Meet outside Potbelly’s in Sterling for conversation and maybe a bite to eat at rufnredy’s Thursday version of his regular mid-month, Wednesday gathering. This time he’s calling it Over the Hump – Leap Day Edition and all are welcome.


Winchester Meet & Greet – Leap Year Edition

5:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Winchester

If you are snatching your smilies closer to the Blue Ridge, you might want to consider stopping for dinner with your Winchester geocaching friends at TeAm G Winchester’s Winchester Meet & Greet – Leap Year Edition event.


LEAP AT THE CHANCE

6:30 PM – 7:30 PM

Warrenton

Like it’s twin event in Winchester, the Panera in Warrenton is the place to be to meet some friendly geocachers and refill your energy stats. LEAP AT THE CHANCE is hosted by treasures4us.


Leap Day in Manassas – 2024

8:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Manassas

Wind down your day with a slice from Tony’s Pizza. Join host, CherokeeThree for his Leap Day in Manassas – 2024 event.


Be sure to log your ‘Will Attend’ to let the host know you’re coming.

Looking to more souvenirs? Check out this quick post by one of our favorite guest authors: COLLECTING SOUVENIRS by mcgmarauders.


Aside

Collecting Souvenirs

Souvenirs are virtual pieces of art displayed on your public profile. You can earn souvenirs in several different ways. Here is a link to help you to identify the many types available: Profile and Dashboard (geocaching.com)

Some cachers are highly motivated by collecting Souvenirs while others pay little attention to these “badges”. Personally, I like this aspect of geocaching almost as much as I like working on Challenge (mystery) caches! Both encourage me to get out there frequently and provide a nice sense of accomplishment.

Here are the upcoming new souvenirs for this year that have been announced so far:

  • 2024 hider: January 1–December 31
  • Leap Day 2024: February 29
  • Cache In Trash Out®, Season 1: March 1–May 31
  • Blue Switch Day: May 2–4
  • June Solstice: June 19–21
  • International Geocaching Day: August 17
  • Cache In Trash Out®, Season 2: September 1–November 30
  • World Postcard Day: October 1
  • International EarthCache Day: October 12–13
  • December Solstice: December 20–22
  • Farewell 2024: December 24–31

Spotlight Cache: Jeopardy! Series

#NationalTriviaDay (January 4)

Spotlight Cache Series: Jeopardy!

Today we are celebrating National Trivia Day with a series of caches placed in honor of the late Alex Trebek, host of the long-running TV game show, Jeopardy.

This Jeopardy! Cache Series by TheColdedge and his TrustyNavigator will reward your knowledge and sometimes out-of-the-box thinking with coordinates for twenty-one mystery type geocaches. Winter is a great time to solve these at home and wait for a fair weather day to head out to the Winchester, Virginia area (and slightly beyond) to make the finds.

I asked TheColdege a little about what went into creating this series.

Q: What inspired you to chose Jeopardy as a theme? A: Alex Trebeck had recently died and I enjoyed the show as a kid. I also wanted to fit some strange trivia categories into a mystery cache.

Q: How did you come up with the questions/answers? A: There was a lot of testing with my friends. Usually I started with a category and then decided what fit where after.

Q: Besides the theme, is there anything that the caches in this series have in common? A: This series was a test for my 3D printed containers. I wanted a pretty muggle-proof cache series that would spend a lot of time in the field. Mystery caches are real good about not getting muggled, so this worked. Another thing about the caches in this series is that almost all of them have clues hidden in the cache page.

Be sure to start with the tutorial cache, so you can reduce some frustration. You’re likely to have enough challenge with some of the questions, so don’t make it harder for yourself than it needs to be by getting your Certitude grammar wrong.

All the caches in the series are micros and most are a terrain 1.5.

Jeopardy! Caching Series was nominated for Best Series in the 2021 NoVAGO Cache Awards. Congratulation!

2021 NOVAGO Award Nominee Badge

The Adventure Lab is lots of fun to play through. There is a hike to the cache, but not too far. You can bring the kids and dog. The cache is a size large. What’s not to love?


Cache Page SWAG for NOVAGO 2020 Award Winners

OLYMPIAD2020: Rhythmic Gymnastics (Adv. Lab Bonus) – cache award winner, Most Creative and Best Adventure Lab


Meet the New Board & Thank 2023! Event

Northern Virginia Geocaching Organization is pleased to announce the 2024 board of officers and directors.

  • PRESIDENT – ThompsonKickers
  • VICE PRESIDENT – RufnRedy
  • SECRETARY – TrexM8s
  • TREASURER – freddiecrs
  • PUPLIC RELATIONS – hrothroc
  • DIRECTORS – (determined upon vote of first board meeting)

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 and directors, 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 2023, we thank you.

Thanks 2023! Event (GCAHRY9)

January 21, 2023, 3:00-4:00 pm

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

*No purchase required to attend event.


Presidents Favorite Points ❤️

Giving Thanks to everyone.

As this year comes to a close with all the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, festivities, decorating and love I wanted to share my own little bit of love and appreciation.  Read on but don’t forget to join us on January 21, 2024 for our official NoVAGO Thanks Event GCAHRY9!

 

Geocachers, NEW Geocachers, COs & the Young or just Young at Heart

I have mentioned before, that it’s just not one person, nor is it just the officers or directors who make Northern Virginia an enjoyable place to cache and socialize.  It truly takes all of us for it to be fun and geocachers who find and hide caches are the driving force of NoVAGO.  In 2023 so far there have been 414 geocaches placed by fellow cachers in NoVAGO jurisdictions as of December 18th.  These have overall been found 8832 times!  The time and thought that goes into placing a new cache does not go unrecognized.  Geocachers need to find geocaches.   No matter if they may have struggled while searching or even had to PAF, in the end when they found the prize, they had a smile on their face and on their profile.

Where are all the young-un’s?  This year we have really exploded with younger cachers and families.  This youthful generation is the future of geocaching.  I would like to thank all the parents and family members out there who support these budding geocachers getting into the game.  Driving them around finding and hiding geocaches, helping them meet other cachers at events, and being 100% supportive of their growing love of geocaching.  To you, the young cachers, thank you for hanging out with all us older folks and jumping right in like you’ve known us forever. We love sharing our wisdom with you and are so happy to see you pursue knowledge & growing into great geocachers.  Your openness to learn is impressive.

This year 37 new cachers joined NoVAGO, so thank you to all of the Cache Owners this year creating new caching adventures for them.   AND WOW 37 new members that’s amazing, we must be really talking up geocaching in our travels.  Thank you to all of you who spread the NoVAGO word.  These new cachers are the perfect candidates for some of those tips & hints provided at events all around the region.

Thank you to those having events available for all to attend.  This year there were 225 events hosted and a total of 2381 logs posted on geocaching.com for just these events.  

Finally, thanks to you…The Geocacher, new and seasoned for being here to find those geocaches placed and attending those events.  

 

Keep’n it clean

Another great thing about geocachers is they like to take care of the community and where they geocache.  This is where CITOs shine!  This year we had 20 CITO events – great job to all who took the time to organize a CITO and collaborate with local parks and organizations to find areas that needed maintenance.  These collectively had 259 logs, that’s a lot of cleaning up, thank you to all who attended one or more of these events. 

 

Geocaching Community Volunteer Reviewers

I’d like to take a moment to thank the people out there who take their time reviewing ALL of the hundreds of caches, events, and CITO that we request to be published.  These cachers are the Geocaching Community Volunteer Reviewers and yes, that’s a long title because they are quite important. They have rules and cache standards that we all must follow in order to secure quality geocaches in our area.  They are readily available to answer questions about your cache, provide coordinate checks and give you tips on what you will need to adjust if your submitted geocache is for some reason rejected.  They must keep all caches within the proper location guidelines as well as making sure events don’t overlap and are within event rules and regulations.  They also monitor caches with low health scores and reports of caches that have been reported as missing or need maintenance, reaching out to COs for reminders when they need to check in on their caches for any overdue maintenance.

Our reviewers for all of the state of Virginia are YetAnotherReviewer (since 2017) and Cardinal Reviewer (since 2020).  Each of them have had many many many years of caching experience and a desire to keep the game live with caches that stick around for years to come.  Whenever you spot a reviewer at an event, they love to share their wealth of knowledge and hints in conversation.  This year YetAnotherReviewer will be retiring as a reviewer so if you know and see him, make sure you give him an extra pat on the back for an extra special thank you for all he has done over the last 6 years.

 

Donations Donations Donations

I’ve mentioned it before but would like to bring it up again because NOVAGO truly could not function without donations.  This year we had 65 donations, totalling around $800, that were received at the Fall Event and allowed us to net around $550 to support NoVAGO.  Thanks to all of you who donate to help the organization financially.  We would not be able to do what we do without funding.

 

Volunteer “WORK & PLAY”

It does not stop with monetary donations, fellow geocachers donate their own time.  This year we had the most recent series, MoviePalooza, led by a committee of three geocachers. SP4Fun (Susan) was the lead volunteer with help from Awesnap (Chris), and Freddiecrs (Freddie).  This task is not a quick, one day volunteer experience, there was planning, discussions, creation, ideas, collaboration with other cachers, TIME, and so much more.  This year Susan wrangled 21 geocachers to volunteer by creating a cache for the series.  These caches all had code words that are used to solve a mystery for the final, that she created & placed herself.  There were 23 total MoviePalooza caches placed that were a good mixture of cache types and each bringing their own personality. There were even three events!  I can not thank Susan enough for taking on this task and just running with it to make an amazing series adventure that now is out there for many finds to come.

We have some behind the scenes committees and volunteers who dedicate  a lot of time during the year helping shape NoVAGO into an amazing future organization.

You know those awards you hear about during the spring picnic, well a LOT of planning and organizing goes into gathering those nominated and out into the public eye for review.

During this time of the year, every year, fellow cachers decide who they would like to lead this amazing organization into the next year.  For this, we hold a members election.  To uphold the fairness we have a volunteer committee led by fellow members who are not on the ballot or the Board to organize the nominations, formalize a voting poll, and track all votes to determine a winner.  Remember – we are all winners no matter who is elected because those running have a heart and desire to improve NoVAGO and this committee shares YOUR vote for the following year.

Both of these are months long processes and not a quick simple task. In 2023 both the awards and election committees were led by Michael (Schwandt) and Jesse (MRPsyduck).  Thank you both for your dedication and time to NoVAGO.

 

Who else volunteers time?  

Well, Officers and Directors of NoVAGO of course

Each of us have our own personality and ideas that mix wonderfully together to get things done for you.  As President I’d like to thank each of them individually.

OFFICERS: 

VICE PRESIDENT – Radka/TheWanderesss, cacher since 2014 – Our newest officer as vice-president this year, she jumped in sharing ideas and great plans for the group.  We need a whole group of volunteers with ideas like hers.

SECRETARY – Monica/TrexM8s, cacher since 2006 – Here is your major logger,  being the keeper of all the meetings. Her notes are the minutes presented to the board and posted on line – for all of us cachers to see.  Monica also hosted our Fall Event this year, a task that is bigger than the average event and she jumped right onto the 123123 coins for extra NoVAGO funding and furnished an opportunity for the coins to be easily available to all.

TREASURER – Freddie/freddiecrs, cacher since 2015 – Money money and mo’ money, our cash counting queen.  She tracks every dollar that comes and goes our way. Without her we wouldn’t know how much money we can spend on all the fun stuff we do.

PUBLIC RELATIONS – Heather/hrothroc, cacher since 2016 – Everything you see and read from NoVAGO is her domain.  From our website, our Facebook page, to many events, she’s the one who keeps us all in the know and connects with the community to grow our presence. You really have no idea how hard she works and how much time and energy she contributes on your behalf!

DIRECTORS: 

Pete/Nothereeither, cacher since 2011 – Pete is immediate past president and has had years and years of NoVAGO experience and provides wisdom from that past and into the present.

Kirk/DePhogration, cacher since 2009, also has been around forever and a day.  Our fearless chef extraordinaire as you all know him, but here with the group he is another past president whose caching knowledge is unsurpassed.

Tom/CherokeeThree, cacher since 2001 and one of our rare charter geocache members. I am so glad to have him on our team. While he’s had a geocaching streak longer than most cachers, he is full of great caching experience and having that is needed when planning events and new series for all to enjoy.  Tom also hosted our Spring event this  year and it was an amazing location with a lot of new fun caches placed.

Patricia/Pfenix, cacher since 2004 – Former triple year NoVAGO secretary, an amazing team player dedicated, giving her all, whether it is donating or stepping in to volunteer, Patricia is team NoVAGO.

Cory/TheColdedge, cacher since 2014 – Representing the West-Side, Cory jumped in and being the youngest on the board he brought some amazing fresh ideas to the group.  He’s found just about every cache in his area, so if you ever are his way, he’s your best PAF!

Chris/Awesnap,  cacher since 2010 – I like to call Chris Mr. NoVAGO, I feel like he knows every cacher and every cache out there, he’s creative and helpful with ideas, cache designs, cache pages and willing to help wherever needed.

 

If you think I forgot YOU, I didn’t….

Everyone reading this has an interest and some level of involvement in geocaching.  So thank you, you and you for everything you have ever done, are doing today, or will do for NoVAGO, fellow geocachers and all things geocaching. Onward to 2024 we go, farewell 2023, but let the memories live on 🥰.

Happy 123sDay Trackable – have arrived!

8:11 PM

Cachers who pre-ordered by November 15th:

The 123123 Trackables will be available for pick up at the MGS and NoVAGO 123123 events:

  • GCAGCH0: NoVAGO 123sDAY: 12/31/23 New Year’s Eve Event 2:00 – 3:00 Ledo’s, 8324 Old Keene Mill Rd, West Springfield, VA

Log your Will Attend!

NoVAGO Cachers may message Monica Lynch, TrexM8s if you would like to arrange for payment in advance.

Reminder: The MGS version will feature colors from the Maryland state flag. In the NoVAGO version, the trackable will highlight the blues and greens of the great Virginia outdoors. There will also be an American version featuring red, white and blue. These fundraisers will only be available through MGS and NoVAGO. You can purchase one trackable for $15two trackables for $25 or three trackables for $35. Your trackables will be delivered during NoVAGO and MGS caching events on New Year’s Eve.

Say Goodbye to 2023 and Hello to 2024 with NoVAGO

Members Host Events Before and After the New Year across Northern Virginia

As announced by Geocaching HQ, there are two opportunities to earn some souvenirs. Earn Farewell to 2023 by finding any geocache, attending an Event, or completing an Adventure Lab® Location from December 24–31. Earn Greetings from 2024 by finding any geocache, attending an Event, or completing an Adventure Lab® Location from January 1–8.

Thanks to all our volunteers who host these events so that the rest of us can get together and share geocaching stories. Here’s what coming up for you to earn these colorful souvenirs:

Moviepalooza! The Noveez Awards

Annual Series Wraps up with Awards Event

This year our theme has been cheesy movies. We’ve named it Moviepalooza. Pre-selected members of NoVAGO have been busy hiding geocaches around the area since early October. Let’s call them the producers. The rest of us have been searching and (hopefully) finding all these great caches. We can call ourselves the audience. As the series comes to an end, lets get the audience together to give the producers an applause. There just might be some recognitions to give out for the audience members as well. You won’t want to miss it!

Woodbridge Monthly Meet and Greet is hosting the Awards!

Waters End Brewery, 12425 Dillingham Sq., Lakeridge

Saturday, December 16, 2023

2:00 – 3:30 pm

Be sure to let the host and hostess know that you are coming. Please RSVP on the event page: Woodbridge M&G December 2023 (GCAGR20)

Voting Open for 2024 NoVAGO Officers

VOTING OPEN FOR 2024 NoVAGO Officers

Last month we asked our membership to nominate volunteers to fill the officer positions for the 2024 board. You can read that article with the job descriptions by CLICKING HERE. You can also find a link to our By-Laws here.

Thanks go out to our board members who are returning in one way or another for 2024. The following candidates will be automatically sworn into office on the first of January: Dave P. (rufnredy) for Vice President, Monica L. (TrexM8s) for Secretary, Freddie C. (freddiecrs) for Treasurer, and Heather C (hrothroc) for Public Relations.

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.

What is your caching name?

My name is Gina T. (ThompsonKickers) and I have graciously accepted the nomination to become NoVAGO’s 2024 President – if all of you amazing cachers out there, yep, I’m talking to you, choose me for this role.

What is your caching background?

I’ve been a member of NoVAGO since 2016 and I’m not just a member – I’m a volunteer and geocacher! I love to promote and participate in the NoVAGO annual series, by hiding and finding the caches. (As President a goal of mine is to also bring MORE NoVAGO-themed caches or series in 2024 so everyone can be a part of NoVAGO in some way.) You may not know this, but I began caching in January of 2016 and found the NoVAGO website by chance for the photo contests. Promotion is so important to me because I would not have even known about the group had I not accidentally found it. At first I didn’t know much about the organization and had no idea how great it could be. Once I was told about a big spring event and that was the first I had attended, and I vowed I’d make new friends and participate as much as I could to be part of this amazing group of people. I jumped in with volunteering for projects such as the new and exciting Ice Breakers, Spring and Fall events, Tip Jar, rounding up nominations and launching the annual cacher/cache awards voting and more.

What is your NoVAGO volunteer experience?

After becoming a Director in 2021, then Vice-President in 2022, my ideas led me to President in 2023. Now I wish to continue on the journey in 2024. Together with the other officers and directors, I would like to continue to promote NoVAGO with every cacher in the area, spreading the word that NoVA is a great place to cache and all geocachers are welcome and wanted here.

What would you like NoVAGO to accomplish in 2024?

Who loves Geocaching? Who knows about Geocaching? Who is excited and would like to see more Geocaching events and collaboration with local parks and the public? If that’s you, then I’m all in because that’s what I want to do as well. I have been very honored to hold this position this last year. Just like caching, being President one year in, gets your feet wet. But not just wet, the “muddy, stuck in your socks” wet that you can’t get rid of. You get ideas that you didn’t have before, you start building on smaller ideas that you did have before you started. That’s where I am right now. My brain is full of so much excitement for the next year in NoVAGO.

What’s all the excitement talk about? I know you may have already read what we all did collectively last year, as I posted it in the President’s Favorite posts last week. For me, it’s personal, I love all of you and have the need to make sure everyone is involved and having a great caching experience.

I want to recharge those of us who have been around a while, get motivation to jump on board, and do some volunteer work for NoVAGO. One of my biggest goals is cacher involvement. BIG, small, in the middle, no matter where folks are in their wish to be involved, that’s where we want them to be, then help them step it up a notch by bringing great things to all cachers as a team of volunteers. I’m not saying I want everyone else to do the work, I’m in knee deep and together we can make the NoVAGO caching experience amazing and memorable and to keep cachers, well…caching here!

Continuing to engage new cachers is a big part of this as well. Last year I put a big emphasis on encouraging new cachers. I want to keep this rolling by continuing to reach out and invite them to events, helping them to feel welcome to our group of amazing friends. Bridging new cachers with seasoned to help them become more knowledgeable while caching, placing caches and learning how they can help and join the organization.  

Other ways to promote Geocaching is by growing the Geocaching 101 in local Libraries and Scout groups, which is another long term goal. When collaborating with these groups, we create awareness, but even more than that, when a local cacher is presenting or providing information for this fun activity for everyone it bonds them to the local community and our geo-family grows strong.

With the community in mind, I plan to increase the CITO events, this helps keep the earth clean and yet again bonds cachers to each other and the area’s they clean up. CITO truly are text book community care caching. Through CITO, not only do we clean areas up, but we work to grow connections with park management and local government to keep geocaching open to the community and to promote the geocaching hobby to the greater community.

Another goal is, working with the board, finding new ways to increase the available funds to provide great large group events for all as well as other projects in the works in the future. Having funds makes all the cool things happening. The budget is all set for now, although we just want to keep on building the bank.

I have truly become friends with so many cachers new to me and new cachers alike while being President this past year. Becoming connected with other geocachers and how they love the game truly fires my desire to do more in the area. I myself love geocacaching more every day and never tire of the excitement of an event, new cache, new friends and new ideas. Working together with the Board and Directors of NoVAGO in 2024, if elected, I plan to work hard so every geocacher feels like I do. 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.  In the end I just want the organization to GROW!

ThompsonKickers loves geocaching and geocachers, and I want to make geocaching in NoVAGO better for geocachers like YOU!

What is your caching name?

My caching name is Effstop.

What is your caching background?

I have 10 years of experience as a geocacher, with more than 6000 finds. I completed the Big 4 challenges this year – placed date calendar, found date calendar, Fizzy D/T grid, and Jasmer calendar grid. I also accomplished a streak of 530+ days a few years ago.

What is your NoVAGO volunteer experience?

I served as NoVAGO Vice-President in 2020 and 2021 and as a NoVAGO director in 2022. I hosted the NoVAGO Spring 2021 picnic. Also, I have hosted more than 50 events for local cachers.

What would you like NoVAGO to accomplish in 2024?

During the coming year, I want NoVAGO to offer these opportunities:

  • 1.     Bring back the “Cacher Spotlight” feature to Facebook and the NoVAGO website, with a focus on newer NoVAGO members,
  • 2.     Have a NoVAGO Pathtag contest,
  • 3.     Offer many classes on geocaching related topics, such as Cachetur, GSAK, hosting events, Adventure Labs, and road trips,
  • 4.     Bring back the Valentine’s Day event,
  • 5.     Create a Wheelchair Access trail, perhaps in partnership with the Maryland Geocaching Society (MGS),
  • 6.     Offer “Spend a day caching with an officer” opportunities,
  • 7.     Continue the Spring and Fall picnics, and
  • 8.     Continue the annual NoVAGO series.

~Mike

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