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Volunteering at Scouts is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing to help us reach more young people

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Geocache with care

Like all treasure hunts, there are rules to consider on your search. Get to grips with the laws that make geocaching fun for all.

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You’ll need

  • Scrap paper
  • Pens or pencils
  • Camera or phone
  • GPS device or device with GPS capabilities
  • Copy of the highway, countryside and geocaching code
  • Suitable items to leave in caches

Before you begin

  • Before setting out on your cache-seeking adventure, sign up to play Geocaching. This will let you search for caches nearby that you can use in your activities. If visiting official geocaches, you may want to bring trinkets and treasure to leave or swap with the caches that you find. These helpful guidelines on the Geocaching website give some guidance about what you should and shouldn’t leave in a cache.
  • Before setting out, you’ll also need to have thorough knowledge of or carry copies of the Highway Code, Countryside Code and the Geocaching Association of Great Britain (GAGB).
  • Planning this activity can form part of a regular meeting, but the walking and hunting for geocaches might take a day. This might be better suited to a day on camp or a free weekend coming up when you’ll have more time available to explore. Alternatively, you could split your cache hikes into five shorter ones.
  • Make sure to set a time limit to your activity and a place to meet back. Each group should have means to contact the person leading the activity. Carefully risk assess the area in which the activity will be run, especially where there’s tricky terrain or roads. Check your adult helper to young person ratios are adequate.

Run the activity

  1. Split into teams. Each team will need a map of the area, a GPS device, paper, writing materials and access to the Highway Code (if walking on roads), Countryside Code and GAGB guidelines.
  2. Everyone should examine the codes and guidelines. They should think about why those rules and guidelines exist and how they should interpret them. Here are some points the teams should consider:
    • Where do these guidelines overlap?
    • What points do they agree on?
    • Are there any unique rules or guidelines?
    • Are there any unfamiliar rules or guidelines?
    • Are all of the rules clear or could they be misinterpreted?
  1. Each team should pick the 10 rules or guidelines from the three that they feel are the most important. Remind everyone that they should nonetheless follow all of the rules set out in all three guides.
  2. Head to the Geocaching website and find some local caches for the teams to go and find. Teams should include multi-caches if any are available as these add to the challenge and involve problem-solving elements. Each team will need five caches to find, including the multi-caches.
  1. Once teams each have their 10 rules and five caches/multi-caches, each should plot a route that takes them around to each cache, using the map and GPS. Agree upon a start and finish point, such as the meeting place. Teams should note down the coordinates of waypoints and landmarks that their route passes.
  1. Prepare to walk the routes and find the caches. Make sure each team has a camera (or smartphone) to take photos, an emergency contact phone and suitable walking gear. Explain that teams should remember the 10 important rules or guidelines from earlier and use their camera to capture themselves following these.
  1. An adult should also check each route to make sure it’s suitable, then swap the routes, so that each team gets a new route to walk.
  1. Before setting out, teams should check the instructions for the caches they’ll now be going after. These can be found on the Geocaching website, and could be printed or downloaded to smartphones for the team to carry with them.
  2. Once the teams have completed their routes and visited their caches, come together at the meeting place to share the photographs of how the team followed the 10 rules or guidelines. They should also discuss the caches that they found.


This activity reminds us of our responsibilities as we explore the world around us. By remembering to close the gate, take our litter home and leave things as we found them, we can give everyone the same opportunity to enjoy the world around them. Geocaching involves trust to work. The owner of the cache leaves their treasure for others to find and add to, trusting those who find the cache to replace it to where it belongs, not to damage it and not to spoil the path they took to find it. How can we apply this approach to our everyday lives, and away from treasure hunts? What steps can we take to leave the world a little better than we found it, for others to enjoy?


All activities must be safely managed. You must complete a thorough risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Always get approval for the activity, and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.

Outdoor activities

You must have permission to use the location. Always check the weather forecast, and inform parents and carers of any change in venue.

Hiking and walking

Follow the guidance for activities in Terrain Zero, or the guidance for each the adventurous activity.


This activity has specific rules and systems to make sure it’s managed safely. Take a look at adventure activities for more guidance. 

Road safety

Manage groups carefully when near or on roads. Consider adult supervision and additional equipment (such as lights and high visibility clothing) in your risk assessment.

Phones and cameras

Make sure parents and carers are aware and have given consent for photography.

Change the length of the route that teams plan, as well as the start and end point, to vary the challenge. Teams could also try to plan routes that pass more than five caches, or more multi-caches.

Make sure each team plans a route that’s suitable for everyone in the group, not just those in their team. Think about the start point, end point, length and terrain of the routes. This could help you pinpoint which caches to aim for.

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.

If everyone enjoyed the hunt, try finding more geocaches or setting up your own for others to find.

This is an opportunity for young people with experience geocaching, map reading and hiking to support each other and share their knowledge.