Bret and his cache of geocaching equipment
 
Today was a busy, busy day for our dear President-Elect Bret.  Not only was President Conrad absent, leaving Bret to lead the meeting; Bret was also our speaker - he gave his long overdue vocation talk. 
 
Bret is the Executive Director of the River Trails Park District he truly loves his job.  We'll have to take his word on that, though because he spent most of his time talking about his passion for geocaching - an international scavenger hunt of sorts where people use GPS coordinates to find registered caches in forests, under street lamps, on library shelves, etc. 
 
Geocaching became possible as a result of President Clinton's decision to turn 'selective availability' on the military's GPS satellites.  The resulting increase in accuracy allowed people to find specific locations much easier (and led the way to the directions features in our phones and cars).  The first geocache was posted in Oregon two days after Clinton's decision went into effect.  There are now over 2.7 million caches worldwide. 
 
Caches are created under specific guidelines to ensure the safety of the searcher, personal property, and so they don't overlap other caches.  The coordinates of each cache are posted online and searchers hunt for them.  Caches can vary widely in size, but typically are relatively small - about the size of a medium tupperware box.  Inside the cache, there's a log for people to sign and sometimes small knicknacks that people can exchange (take one leave one).  This latter feature is designed to lend a treasure hunt feel for the search and enhance the search for children. 
 
Searchers can track their found caches online through websites such as geocaching.com. This is also where new caches are posted.  Being the 'First to Find' a cache can be a point of pride among searchers and there is often a race to be first.  Bret, however, has turned the F2F frenzy into a social event where he works with his friends to collectively find new caches. 
 
Although geocaching is a solitary activity, Bret has made many friends through the hobby.  However, he most enjoys the hours of solitude he gets to spend outdoors, particularly along forest trails looking for his next find. 
 

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