Geocaching

Includes: Treasure hunt,lLetterboxing Outdoors, Adventurous activities, Nature and the great outdoors, Technology and science

Age:
4+
Print this activity pack

Have fun with geocaching!

Discover treasure hunting using a hand-held GPS device - great to try as part of a hike or trip!

Overview

Geocaching is where girls use satellite receivers to find hidden boxes containing logbooks and swap items with those they find inside. You'll need internet access, a handheld GPS device (you may be able to borrow one or download an app), a phone, transport, a map and compass, small gifts to swap and a pen to sign the logbook.

Letterboxing is where girls seek out hidden boxes and collect the rubbers stamps inside.

  1. Go to the geocaching website to find a cache in your area.
  2. Enter a postcode and you should see a list of caches appear. To see the coordinates, you will need to create a free account with the website. This is easy and quick to do.
  3. Plan your trip. If the cache is not just down the road, you will need to look at maps of the area you are visiting. Work out how long it will take to get there and back.
  4. When you get close to the cache location, try to think in the same way as the person who might have hidden it. Read the description of the location very carefully – there may be clues. Remember, caches are hidden not buried.
  5. When you find the cache, open it and sign the log book. Swap the item inside for something of equal or greater value. Log your find on the geocaching website when you get back.

Geocaching in open countryside or above is an adventurous activity and should follow the adventurous activity policy and procedures.

Approved: 5 May 2021
Version: 1.0

Content owner: Adventure team

Planning checklist

If you or another member of your leadership team is running the activity at an external venue/location, follow these extra steps:

  • Arrange for a home contact. Leave any route or other relevant details with your home contact and complete a home contact agreement form. Let them know about any changes to your plans.
  • Tell your commissioner.
  • Get a copy of the public liability insurance of the activity provider before you book.
  • Check you hold the relevant qualification (if one is needed) to run the activity and let your commissioner know you plan to run it yourself. If you aren't sure, speak to your local adviser to check.
  • Check with the venue that they have the correct equipment and, if needed, specialist clothing that will meet the needs of your group.
  • Get any specialist equipment or clothing needed to run the activity not provided by the venue, and make sure this is in good condition and fit for purpose.
  • Check that any equipment is suitably insured by the provider and agree what happens to the equipment if it gets damaged.
  • Ask for a copy of the venue's safety guidelines and risk assessment (if relevant).
  • Make sure you have the correct ratio of participants (girls, leaders and volunteers) to qualified adults (those running the activity if a qualification is needed). This is different to the ratio of leaders to girls.
  • Consider the ability and experience of the participants and any disabilities, access needs or health conditions and plan the session accordingly.

Some venues might ask for a disclaimer or waiver to be signed for each person taking part in the activity. This is something which parents/carers must sign on behalf of their child. You can do this along with the consent form. Parents and carers should be given sufficient information from the provider along with the waiver so they can make an informed decision to sign it or not. Leaders can only sign disclaimers and waivers for their own personal participation. 

If you're working with an external provider or external instructors to run this activity outside the unit meeting space, follow these extra steps. 

  • Arrange for a home contact. Leave any route or other relevant details with your home contact and complete a home contact agreement form. Let them know if you make any changes to your plans.
  • Tell your local commissioner.
  • Tell the activity provider about the ability and experience of the participants and any disabilities, access needs or health conditions that need to be considered when running the activity.
  • Choose a reputable and licensed activity provider (where applicable).
  • Check the qualified adults hold the correct qualification to be able to run the activity (see the information below).
  • Get copies of the instructor qualifications and public liability insurance of the activity provider before you book.
  • Ask for a copy of the providers' safety guidelines and risk assessment.
  • Make sure you have the correct ratio of participants (girls and volunteers) to qualified adults (those running the activity). This is different to the ratio of leaders to girls.
  • Check with the venue that they have the correct equipment and, if needed, specialist clothing that will meet the requirements for your group.
  • Source any specialist equipment or clothing needed to run the activity not provided by the venue, and make sure this is in good condition and fit for purpose.
  • Check that any equipment is suitably insured by the provider and agree what happens to the equipment if it gets damaged.

Some venues might ask for a disclaimer or waiver to be signed for each person taking part in the activity. This is something which parents/carers must sign on behalf of their child. You can do this along with the consent form. Parents and carers should be given sufficient information from the provider along with the waiver so they can make an informed decision to sign it or not. Leaders can only sign disclaimers and waivers for their own personal participation.

The group leader does not need to hold a qualification if

  • All of the group are 18 or over
  • Or the group is in Easy or Lowland countryside
  • Or they are within 30 minutes walking distance from an accessible road or refuge

If any member of the group is under 18 and the group is going farther, the group leader must hold the appropriate level of the Girlguiding Walking Scheme to the route planned.

Training opportunities                                                  

Discover the great outdoors and gain confidence to lead your girls with our in house walking courses  and the Girlguiding walking scheme. You can also use Mountain Training  NGB awards to take girls into the hills.

Stay safe when conducting activities by following our risk management guidelines.

Using the web? Follow our online safety guidelines to ensure girls in your unit can surf safely.

If you are geocaching in the hills, more than half an hour from an accessible road or refuge, you will need to check as you may need a walking qualification.

Keep the girls in sight, or in a safe enclosed area.

Activity ratios

The ratios below are given as a maximum and ratios must be considered as part of the risk assessment, this may lessen due to any medical conditions, lack of experience, terrain and countryside classification, participants with mobility issues or other factors.

Leadership team ratio

As this activity will take place outside of your usual meeting place the leadership team adult to child ratio is mandatory.

  • Rainbows: 1:5, at least 2 adults
  • Brownies: 1:8
  • Guides: 1:12
  • Rangers: N/A, with leader permission

Rangers can go geocaching without an adult leader, but must be supervised by an appropriately qualified adult. The supervisor ensures the participants’ safety and wellbeing during the walk, but does not have to be with the group at all times. . 

Qualified adult/participant ratio

If geocaching is taking place in open countryside or above:

The qualified adult will decide what size of group is safe. There must be enough qualified adults to ensure the safety of everyone taking part. This will be determined by the risk assessment and take into consideration the terrain, weather and experience of both the qualified adult and other participants.

A group size of four to eight is recommended. Girlguiding Walking Scheme Level 2 and Level 3 holders must always appoint a competent adult deputy and this is recommended for all leaders.

A qualified adult may supervise more than one group simultaneously. She decides the number of and size of groups that she can safely manage. And she retains overall responsibility. Further guidance on remote supervision can be found in the publication Remote supervision guidance notes from Mountain Training.

You can also check out Guides and Rangers walking without a leader for more tips.

Forms

Collect information from members on their health needs when planning to attend or organising a challenge event.