Re: Central Texas Regional Assoc
- This post and a few things that have happened in my new home town
have got me thinking about local geocaching groups. Since I'm not
really a part of the Central Texas community anymore I might not have
much room to talk, but here goes anyway. Please excuse me if this
gets too long or comes across as too arrogant.
When I was in Austin it seemed like most people were happy with a
really informal, but very friendly and helpful group that could
discuss geocaching at events whenever someone decided to put one
together. But with geocaching growing so quickly and the issue of
dealing with land managers becoming so much more important, it seems
like organizations are inevitable. It even seems sometimes like
they're superseding the idea of anyone-can-organize-it event caches.
I've always liked the somewhat underground nature of geocaching where
things are hidden in almost plain site with only those who are a part
of the game knowing that they are there. That's probably the same
anti-social, non-joiner, subersive part of me that makes my antennaes
stand up when people start to "organize" others. I also liked the
Wild West days of "hide it where you like, no one will know it's
there." I liked being able to read the description of _every_ new
cache that was placed somewhere in the US, and being able to find the
time to hit every new local cache. I liked being able to follow who
found what when, and all the other aspects of a small, informal
community of participants. But I know that those days are long gone
now. (There are also a lot of great things about the overwhelming
diversity and shear number of options you get with a big popular
hobby, it's just that there are trade-offs and its unlikely that you
can ever go back)
It seems that with so many new people caching, there will be a group
whether everyone wants it or not. When you get enough people together
there's bound to be at least one or two Born Organizers who thrive on
bylaws, voting on officers, regularized meeting schedules, etc. (Some
are natural Bureaucrats, some just thrive on social groups.)
Here in my new home, one of these Organizers put together an event
cache that effectively formed an official local organization. He was,
not too surprisingly, the only one who ran for the office of
President. With a little cajoling, someone else volunteered for Vice-
President. There was enough resistance (or apathy, depending on your
perspective) that we didn't formalized any rules of order or bylaws.
The group will probably end up being a really positive thing. I just
felt in a way that those who'd been caching in this area for a long
time were relegated to a back seat position by default. I might add
that at the time, the event was the second 'cache' the Organizer had
hidden and that he had found just two or three caches himself at the
I'm NOT saying this to belittle him or anyone else who's just started
geocaching, and I'm NOT saying that Organizers are a bad thing. Most
of these people end up putting into a group more than they ever get
out of it and everyone involved gets to reap the rewards of their
efforts. My thought on the issue is that since it seems like it's
going to happen one way or another, it's a good idea for those who
have been at it for awhile (either in time or in number found) to go
ahead and do it before someone else does it for them in a way which
they may or may not be happy with.
I _personally_ like the informal nature of what Team Troglodyte put
together for Houston much better than the more formal group that
exists in DFW. Again, I'm not saying it's a better way of doing it,
just that I like those types of groups better. ( <jest> I'll also
admit that I still have enough regional jingoism in my soul to hope
that Austin/San Antonio will form its own organization separate from
those other big, rather inferior Texas cities...</jest> )
In a sense, Austin has the oldest 'community' of geocachers, since
Austin was actually the place where the _first_event_cache_ever_ was
held. So Austinites/SanAntonians have been getting together as a
group for longer than anyone else by that standard even if only
informally. It would be great to see that community stay together.
So, I guess my point is that I hope that those of you who've been at
it for awhile in the Austin area (and who might care one way or the
other about the issue) make the move to start your own group in a way
that makes you happy before you get annexed into someone else's group
or find yourself outside of a group someone else formed in you own
> Teams in the Houston area are working on putting together aregional
> assoc for geocaching. Anyone interested in helping to put thisthe
> together may email me. We had a first meeting on Nov 2 to dicuss
> basic to get the ball rolling. We will be dicussing with other areaHoustan
> member on Dec 7th at Ryans in Houston. You can check out the
> area web page for information @ www.houstoncachers.org.
> Looking forward to hearing from all team with some input and any
> information you would like to see running on web page.
- We faced a similar situation up in Dallas when forming the "Recumbent
Bike Enthusiasts of North Texas." Started with five people riding
comfy laid-back bikes, currently the membership is something like 200
riders. All suggestions at officially organizing the club have always
been shot down by popular outcry. The club started in November 1996,
and six years later still has no bylaws, mandatory meetings, or club
officers. Membership increases every year, and there are members all
over the country now. http://www.rbent.org All work is done by
volunteers (webmasters, email list maintainers, ride leaders). Anyone
wanting to call an event simply announces it to the email list.
I think this could be a model for the central texas geocaching
organization. An organization that steadfastly refuses to be
'organized.' It can be done.
On Thursday, November 14, 2002, at 09:40 PM, Eoghan wrote:
> This post and a few things that have happened in my new home town
> have got me thinking about local geocaching groups. Since I'm not
> really a part of the Central Texas community anymore I might not have
> much room to talk, but here goes anyway. Please excuse me if this
> gets too long or comes across as too arrogant.
- I'm not from Central Texas, but here's my 2 cents anyway...
There are advantages and disadvantages to formal organizations.
The biggest advantages I see would be in dealing with other
organizations - government agencies, the media, etc. A
formal "organization" will tend to have more influence than a bunch
of people who happen to be interested in the same things. An
organization doesn't have to be overly organized. NTGA still hasn't
defined what a "member" is, and has no finances or by-laws (yet). We
do have a website (www.ntga.net) that is voluntarily run, and we do
have officers, although we haven't defined what they actually do.
The biggest disadvantage is often that the organization sometimes can
get so big and cumbersome that it forgets what it's there for.
Politics and infighting can cause problems.
Decide for yourselves how "organized" you want to get. Or, sit back
and watch as NTGA and other geocaching clubs evolve, and then decide
what you want to do.