Seven years ago CLCA’s accountant, Daughn Carpenter (AKA GeoGenius) piqued our interest as she explained this new gig she did over the weekend:  Geocaching.  The staff was mystified, yet intrigued as she explained how she used multi-million dollar satellites via a GPS unit, spent hours traipsing around locations looking for containers that may or may not have (worthless) priceless trinkets, and some required a challenge to be solved in order to log a find.  The staff quickly realized that there was a unique tie in to our STEM programs at Challenger and a round table discussion lead to the creation of THE best fundraiser format ever.  Okay, the author of this blog may be a bit biased, but it is pretty awesome.  If you doubt it, join us and just try and prove us wrong… Challenger is fixing to kick off the 6th annual Geocache Rally and it just keeps getting better every year!

The first year was a bit chaotic, as we dialed in the hunt.  We are blazing trails here after all!  Like all successful scientists, it only made the crew at Challenger more determined to measure the evidence, apply reason and knowledge to improve.  Data suggests that the process is working as many teams have come back every year (they really must love a challenge!) and new teams continue to sign up.  Caches come in all shapes and sizes, the challenges change annually and require teams to communicate, problem-solve, and get that brain whirring.

Our GeoGenius gets more devious with her hides every year, from knot-holes in fence posts to hollowed out logs and even ones hidden in plain sight.  That’s just rough!  Throw in the Alaskan terrain, and wildlife, and you can see why this is an event that affords participants many levels of awesomeness!  One year we are pretty sure a squirrel scampered off with a micro-cache.  Okay, there is no proof it was a squirrel, but hey, it’s my blog.  CLCA’s GeoGenuis definitely uses the ENTIRE diverse Kenai/Soldotna area and outlying communities to her advantage and sends the teams scattering in all directions.  Good thing you have a GPS!

The challenges are a no-brainer for this crew because it’s what we do!  We have gads and gads of fantastic STEM workshops and team-building activities to choose from.  Okay, so maybe the hardest part is picking just six challenges… hmmmm.  Rocket building, encrypted trivia questions, water displacement, and we even have the teams bust out in song.  Photographs and/or videos are required proof they have completed each challenge.  Makes for some amusing dinner viewing.  Bwahahaha.

Each day starts with coffee, a geocache t-shirt (must be worn while caching) and a briefing of what they may encounter in the field.  Odie’s Deli (Out-of-this-World lunch Sponsor!) makes sure that the teams do not go hungry while out searching.   Once the teams have returned and rested up we feed them a tasty meal while teams recount tales of their Geocaching adventures.   Some years have provided dinner entertainment from musicians to actors and the guests themselves spent an evening playing games.

I know, I know… you are scanning the page for the register NOW link aren’t you…  who wouldn’t be?  It’s a wonderful time for an important cause.  Not everything has to be a challenge, below you will find all the links you need!

2016 registration deadline 09/15/16  (Don’t worry, there is always next year!)  SAVE THE DATE! 09/16/17
2016 Geocache Team Registration

Learn about our Mission!
https://akchallenger.org/home/about/

Learn more about Geocaching (it’s a worldwide thing!)
https://www.geocaching.com/play

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