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Letterboxing in a group
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Jan 16, 2019 6:59pm
Board
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
Board
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
Board
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
Board
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
Board
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
Board
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
Board
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
Board
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
Board
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
Board
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
Board
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
Board
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.