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Re: camouflage bags
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #970282 by Baqash
Jan 13, 2019 5:52pm
Thread
They seem to do very well, though. I've found a couple, and despite the simplicity of the design (top just folded over, no seal per se) they seem to stay dry inside. As opposed to the duct-taped Ziploc baggie idea, which never seems to seal closed properly, is usually infested with bugs, etc.
Letterboxing in a group
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Jan 16, 2019 6:59pm
Thread
What are your general tips for letterboxing as a large-ish group, such as with a family or scout troop? I can imagine being stealthy can get tricky if there are many people in a group reading and discussing clues, looking for the box, stamping in, etc. I would like to introduce letterboxing to a Girl Scout troop I’m leading, but want to go in with a plan for managing risk to the box. Any suggestions?

Thanks!
Re: Letterboxing in a group
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #970371 by Bandit Raccoon
Jan 16, 2019 7:43pm
Thread
I haven't boxed with a large group, but I do have some suggestions. When you get close to the box, perhaps 50 to 100 feet, have only two or three go ahead for the box. Some adult should accompany them to make sure that they don't damage terrain and to make sure that it will be hidden as it is supposed to be. Then the others can be lookouts, and signal with some known but non-obvious (to muggles) signal.

They bring the box back to the group, who stamps in. Then they go back to hide it, with the adult to supervise.
Re: Letterboxing in a group
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #970371 by Bandit Raccoon
Jan 16, 2019 7:47pm
Thread
Would it be possible to go to a location where there is more than one box? I think it would be a lot more fun for everyone if you could split your troop into small groups, like an adult with 3-4 girls. Groups could rotate thru finding different boxes at the location. If you don't have a place with several boxes maybe you could plant a few using store-bought stamps.

You could ask the girls ahead of time about what ideas they have for finding a box without muggles being aware of what they're doing. Since they're Girl Scouts they might be doing all kinds of things like examining trees, leaves, or rocks for badges. Or looking for birds or other wildlife. If they're in small groups they have built-in distraction capabilities, like playing tag or hide and seek while one person discreetly finds the box. That's another reason why it would be nice to look for several boxes since the girls could take turns being the finders and the distracters.

As for stamping in, it would be important to move away from the hiding spot and to have a cover story about what they're doing. Again, being Girl Scouts is good for cover stories.

I'm sure before you go out you'll be teaching the girls about being stealthy when looking for the box and putting it back, and how important it is to seal up the contents properly and thoroughly hide the box. As long as they understand that I bet they'll have some great ideas about how to be sneaky.
Re: Letterboxing in a group
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #970371 by Bandit Raccoon
Jan 16, 2019 7:52pm
Thread
You might want to plant a box or two for the girls to find, rather than having them find someone else's box. That way, you can teach them about being stealthy, rehiding properly, etc. without worrying about endangering an existing box.
Re: Letterboxing in a group
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #970377 by Dawnkey
Jan 16, 2019 9:21pm
Thread
You could ask the girls ahead of time about what ideas they have for finding a box without muggles being aware of what they're doing. [...] As long as they understand that I bet they'll have some great ideas about how to be sneaky.

This is an excellent idea! When they have previously been engaged in thinking of ideas, then go out the same day and apply those principles they will be as stealthy as the can be.
Re: Letterboxing in a group
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #970381 by Oberon_Kenobi
Jan 17, 2019 3:43am
Thread
PLEASE make sure they learn what letterboxing is. The badge does not have that as a requirement. Another suggestion - do a series, divide the troop up depending on the number of clues, and have each group locate each of the series. If there was only one clue, I would have a scout or a couple of scouts with a leader/adult find the letterbox, stamp in, return the box to its hiding place and return to the group. Continue on until everyone has found, stamped in, and replaced the letterbox. My troop, when going on any trip, would want to see where letterboxes could be located. It then became another adventure and a fun trip. To start teaching letterboxing to my troop, I made up a series near where we would meet. I planted them and each girl had their own to figure out the clues and locate 'her' letterbox. They all stamped in, and continued until each scout found theirs. After they had experienced a few finds in the area and on trips, they decided to teach a class to make money for more trips.
Re: Letterboxing in a group
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #970371 by Bandit Raccoon
Jan 17, 2019 4:19am
Thread
You might want to check out the Scout's Honor board or do a search for this topic. I am thinking somebody has some really nice resources on how they have presented letterboxing to scout troops, but I have no idea who!
Re: Letterboxing in a group
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #970371 by Bandit Raccoon
Jan 17, 2019 6:56am
Thread
I would also like to add to what others contributed that the group should have a group stamp for using in the found box's log. I've done maintenance on some of my boxes that Scouts have found that have one image per page, same date, same skill level. That can fill up a logbook in a hurry.

It's good if each Scout has their own logbook for stamping the found box's stamp into. Just remember, the bigger the group the longer this will take.

That being said, I've done whole events just for Scouts at camp, in parks, and at local businesses.
Re: Letterboxing in a group
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #970371 by Bandit Raccoon
Jan 17, 2019 7:29am
Thread
All these ideas are very similar to what we did with our Scout group. First we would introduce them to the idea of letterboxing and explain some common terms. Then we let our older Scouts carve a few simple stamps and hide them for the younger girls. The older Scouts really enjoyed writing their own Clues and carving the stamps. If you don't have older Scouts to help out consider partnering with another Scout Troop or the adults could hide pre-made stamps and write clues for the girls to find in a confined area before the first trip.
Absolutely carve group stamp. This makes it so much easier. Give each girl her own logbook. 1 stamp pad for each small group of 3-4 girls. We made a profile here (AQ) for our girls to teach then the "tech" side of letterboxing. This could translate into part of a computer/ tech badge also.

When searching for letterboxes it is a very good idea to have the girls practice being stealthy. Let them come up with their own diversions.

Another good idea is to break them into small groups no more than 4 to a group. We randomly assigned our girls positions such as 1. Lookout (stayed with the diversion scout), 2.shoe tier (diversion for muggles) , & 3.clue reader, 4. searcher (these stay together). Moms enjoyed helping out.

In our area, it's hard to find multiple stamps in one location. So we acted like we were on a nature walk (studying plant signs & stopping to read them). We gathered pinecones, bark, leaves.... all while searching for the box. After finding it, we sat in a nearby secluded area, pretending to observe our pinecones, all the while passing & logging our letterbox find.

Hope this helped! Happy hunting!
Re: Letterboxing in a group
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #970377 by Dawnkey
Jan 17, 2019 4:49pm
Thread
These are some great ideas! I work with Cadettes who are in junior high, so they are always excited to lead and provide input. I am trying to plant more boxes in my area anyway, so maybe I'll make planting a series for them a project for sooner rather than later.
Re: Letterboxing in a group
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #970383 by NatureMamaB6
Jan 17, 2019 4:58pm
Thread
Thanks for the advice! Since I lead older girls, I think they would really enjoy the leadership experience of putting on an event; if they decide they like letterboxing I'll be sure to suggest it to them!
Re: Letterboxing in a group
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #970402 by Bandit Raccoon
Jan 18, 2019 4:10am
Thread
Here is some money saving hints for you:

Place in large zip lock bag:

free pen from your bank, great advertising for them
stamp pad at dollar store
foam 'carved' stamp at Hobby Lobby or other craft store
3x5 cards (unlined) for log book (cheapest route)
yarn or string for the logbook

copy of what Letterboxing is and/or any other information Ryan supplies on this website

Cover of logbook - I carved the Letterboxing GS badge and had the troop write the name of the class and date plus the 'stamped' badge on the cover.

The troop did the cover because of time restraints and the age of the 'guests'. My troop also made the holes for the logbooks. Again time restraints.

The guests did have to make the logbooks.
My troop did a demonstration of carving and had a piece of stamping material and carving tools and allowed the guests to 'carve' a line on the piece just to show them how to 'carve'.

We charged $5.00 including the letterboxing badge. That was 10 years ago (oh what memories). Providing the badge is a great incentive!

We used many badges as a come-on for holding classes to make money.

Good luck.
night boxing
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Feb 25, 2019 11:33am
Thread
Tell me about it! I've never experienced a night box. It's a box intended to be found at night, but how does it work? How are the clues designed for nightlyness? How do you ensure that muggles don't see the night lights that lead to a night box?
Re: night boxing
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #972127 by LadyRisa
Feb 25, 2019 11:37am
Thread
Well, here's one of my favorites and it does a good explanation of what to look for and how it works:

http://www.letterboxing.org/BoxView.php?boxnum=11839
Re: night boxing
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #972127 by LadyRisa
Feb 25, 2019 11:59am
Thread
Re: night boxing
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #972127 by LadyRisa
Feb 25, 2019 1:14pm
Thread
Night boxing is USUALLY done at events but there are a few out in the wild that are stand alone ones. The way it works is simple. There is some kind of a tack, marker, paint or light that shines when light hits it and that tells you where the box is. I suppose there are some more elaborate ones but this is the basic premise.
Re: night boxing
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #972127 by LadyRisa
Feb 25, 2019 1:19pm
Thread
Nightboxing is tons of fun!! Basically it's hunting with a flashlight - so often times there will be reflective tape or tacks that will light up when you shine a light on them. Sometimes there are other lights (glow sticks, tea lights) to help light the way to a letterbox.

I suppose if the reflective tack leads you to the right tree/bush or next step in the clue - the letterbox could still be well hidden from muggles. In my experience, nightboxing is fairly rare in the 'wild' - I love nightboxing at events because you don't have to worry about muggles as much. At the Live and Breathe event in TX last fall, there was a nightbox series that had boxes that played music when a light was shone on it! NEATO!

Shhhh - we are experimenting with glow in the dark inks/blacklight inks for our Letterboxing Gone WILD nightboxing next fall! Should be exciting!

Super Hedge Hoggie
Re: night boxing
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #972135 by Super Hedge Hoggie
Feb 25, 2019 1:38pm
Thread
You're giving away our secrets!!! Glowing inks... Nonsense! ;)

Nothing to see here, move along ....
Re: night boxing
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #972127 by LadyRisa
Feb 25, 2019 1:40pm
Thread
Sometimes I find regular boxes at night. Graveyards are fun at night :) Just make sure you're not tresspassing or disobeying posted hours.
Re: night boxing
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #972127 by LadyRisa
Feb 25, 2019 2:00pm
Thread
Re: night boxing
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #972127 by LadyRisa
Feb 25, 2019 6:48pm
Thread
I've never experienced a night box. It's a box intended to be found at night, but how does it work?

I haven't done any night letterboxing, but I have tried night caching. Don't go away yet, the experience of night caching is applicable to letterboxing.

However, I haven't had much success with night caches. Of the about-five that I've looked for, I've only found one and that was with a group. If you go after one bring a bright light.

I have placed one: Obi's Night Drive. It is one done by car, and my experience will help when you plant a night cache. The side of the road indicated which direction to turn at the next intersection. The first time I used fire tacks. I put two per segment in case one fell off. After a few years some segments of the drive had both of them fall off.

I used these the second time around. They are less reflective per area, but being larger they are easier to see. I used aluminum cans to make brackets so that they kept facing the correct direction. The pole with three reflectors marked the end of the course. The cache was back 192 feet from those reflectors.

In summary, fire tacks will eventually fall out so make sure that you check on them from time to time. Bicycle reflectors have a more secure way to attach them, but finding a way to attach them is a problem. Don't put the box near any reflectors, but offset from the last one(s), which can be marked by number or color.

BTW, I tried using a reflector like this near a letterbox near a walking trail. It didn't take long for the reflector to go missing, so be aware of this.

Good luck.
Re: night boxing
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #972128 by Public Hand
Feb 26, 2019 5:10am
Thread
This looks like quite an adventure!
Re: night boxing
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #972135 by Super Hedge Hoggie
Feb 26, 2019 5:12am
Thread
, there was a nightbox series that had boxes that played music when a light was shone on it!!

That sounds so amazing!
Re: night boxing
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #972154 by Oberon_Kenobi
Feb 26, 2019 5:16am
Thread
Wow. Thanks for all the tips. I definitely want to plant one. It seems like it’ll take a lot more strategy, but will be so fun!
Re: night boxing
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #972169 by LadyRisa
Feb 26, 2019 11:44am
Thread
I created a night box that wasn't on any trail, it was entirely a bushwhack through the woods. And the box had a rubber snake sitting on top of it.

One tip: When setting up a trail with fire tacks, make very sure that none of the fire tacks are located where somebody's car headlights might shine on them. Make especially sure that the first one isn't lit up by someone pulling in to park at the trailhead or whatnot.

Another tip: Make sure your finders can get back to their car. It's not a problem in geocaching as they normally have the start point on their GPS, but with letterboxing it can be harder to get back than to get out there in the first place. You generally don't want to make people have to follow your trail of fire tacks backwards because that's hard to do. Either give them a continuing series of tacks to lead them out, or some simple instructions to get them to a road or marked trail or something.

Finally: Scary can be fun, but dangerous not so much. I hunted a night geocache where, if you weren't watching your step, you could fall into a pit. Don't do that.
Re: night boxing
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #972181 by Kirbert
Feb 26, 2019 12:07pm
Thread
Finally: Scary can be fun, but dangerous not so much. I hunted a night geocache where, if you weren't watching your step, you could fall into a pit. Don't do that.

Oh Gosh! I hope no one was hurt! & yes, safety is def a high priority. I think I can set one up at my local park. It has enough tree cover to be an adventure, but plenty of paths to get everyone safely home.
Re: night boxing
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #972181 by Kirbert
Feb 26, 2019 3:26pm
Thread
night geocache where, if you weren't watching your step, you could fall into a pit

one down. . .
Re: night boxing
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #972185 by Wry Me
Feb 26, 2019 6:28pm
Thread
night geocache where, if you weren't watching your step, you could fall into a pit

one down. . .

Is it big enough for a moose?
Re: night boxing
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #972190 by Snark
Feb 27, 2019 12:58am
Thread
Is it big enough for a moose?

It was! It was, like, ten yards across. The next fire tack was plainly visible on the other side.

Working in the dark is different. Once we saw the pit, we of course tried to go around it on one side. We couldn't get through for some reason. So we tried to go around the other side, couldn't get around that way either. Eventually we started looking closer at the pit, thinking about whether we could carefully slide down into it, walk across to the other side, and then climb out. And of course that means we're looking very carefully at the opposite side of that pit with the weak flashlights, trying to see if it was going to be possible to climb out. Being stuck in the pit until someone showed up to rescue us would have been problematic, since it's probable nobody would wander out that way for months. In the end we did slide down into it -- it was perhaps 8-10 feet deep with some sloping around the edges along with various roots and stuff. We did get out the other side, and about two fire tacks later the trail petered out so we never found the cache. We found one fire tack on a tree laying on the ground, which is never a good sign. And of course we had to go back through the pit to get back to the car.