Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Digital Scavenger Hunts

Everyone drinking from the same cup
The Scavenger Hunt has been a part of youth group activity since Grog the Caveman first had the group from T-Rex Baptist Church go out to look for fire and wheels- but it is still a winner.  It has taken many forms over the years, but my favorite has always involved some sort of pictures.  In my earliest years we did Polaroid Scavenger Hunts; we then moved on to Video Hunts and finally to the more modern Digital age.  These are not only a riot for youth and adults to be a part of, they also provide you with great promo pics for the present and excellent blackmail pics to use years later!  There are 1000 ways to do this event, but here's what worked for me...

  • You'll need to make an educated guess at how many students will show up, and have more than enough vehicles with adult drivers to safely transport them all.  The more teams the merrier!  You can either let students divide themselves up and pick a driver, or (and I love this one) let the drivers "draft" their teams.  That adds a "mixer" element to the event.  And, needless to say (and yet I am saying it!) every car needs a camera that will allow you to download the photos easily at the completion of the event.

Team with local Baskin Robbins
  • Make a list of pictures they need to take in the allotted time (usually 2 hours).  Make sure you have more things on the list than they can possibly do in the time period.  Some items should require specific locations; others should ask for pictures of specific actions.
  • Give each picture opportunity a point value.  The more "unusual" the photo, the higher the point value.  For instance, a picture of the group in front of another church's sign might be worth 50 points.  A picture of the group carrying a total stranger across a street might be worth 500. This system helps insure you will get more of the best pictures, and also reminds the teams that this is NOT a race.  It's about points.  
  • To provide a little intrigue I always made one of the highest value items getting a pic of ANOTHER one of the groups taking one of their pictures.
  • Involve the community.  Send them to church member's homes, local restaurants and anyplace else where the activity will generate some buzz for your youth ministry. 
  • To keep things lively, offer a seriously good prize to each member of the winning team.  And to keep things on schedule, give serious point penalties for every minute after the events end time that a team returns to the church. 
  • Entire Team dressed the same.
  • Have an adult on stand by with a vehicle at the church in case anyone has car trouble or an emergency.  Make sure their cell number is printed on the official event list.
Guys in women's clothing @ JC Penny's!
That should be enough to get you started on one of the most fun events you will ever do!  Just remember that the key to the entire thing is being wildly creative with your list of photo opps.  Do this once and do it right, and I give you my personal guarantee that the 2nd time you do it you'll need twice as many cars and drivers.  "If you take pictures of them, they will come..."  Blessings to you!

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