Orland Park Geochallenge 2012 Created To Celebrate Village's Anniversary

Orland Park Geochallenge 2012 Created To Celebrate Village's Anniversary
Posted on 07/03/2012

Orland Park Boy Scout Troop 383 wants people to know about the Village of Orland Park's history, using technology to invite people to explore the village's past.

To commemorate the village's 120th anniversary and to encourage people to learn about the village's history and spend time outdoors, the members of Boy Scout Troop 383 created Orland Park Geochallenge 2012. The Village of Orland Park was incorporated as a municipality on May 31, 1892.

"A lot of us have been geocaching and we wanted to do a community service project for the village," said Troop 383 Senior Patrol Leader Tim Klotz. "We thought it would be cool to make it historical with the village turning 120 this year," he added.

Geocaching is an outdoor treasure hunt using a handheld GPS unit or smart phone application to find hidden "caches" placed by people all over the world. Geocaches are not buried and there are more than 1.3 million geocaches hidden worldwide. Geocaches range from extremely small containers like 35mm film canisters to large, ammo-style boxes and can contain many different things, including a log book to sign your name, tradable trinkets for kids and more.

A geochallenge invites participants to use GPS coordinates to arrive at locations and answer specific questions related to the site. Caches are not hidden in geochallenges.

The scouts identified twenty landmarks in Orland Park and divided into teams to visit each to get the GPS coordinates and create challenge questions. The scouts recommend that participants follow the geocaching mantra of "cache in/trash out" and the Boy Scouts' "leave no trace" guidelines, encouraging participants to pick up trash if they find any at the sites.

"Some of us walked Old Orland, choosing places, getting the coordinates and coming up with questions," said Assistant Senior Patrol Leader Joey Scuderi. "We learned a lot about the old buildings that have been here since Orland Park was started," he said.

The challenge is to visit the Orland Park landmarks, answering a question about each. Participants will visit points of interest and be treated to the community's history along the way. Troop 383 brought the project to the village and Mayor Dan McLaughlin offered to personally pay for the geochallenge prizes.

"This is a great project and we're excited that Troop 383 created it to help celebrate the village's anniversary," said Mayor Dan McLaughlin. "This is an activity that residents of all ages can enjoy as they explore the village and learn more about the community's history," the mayor said.

Trustee James Dodge, chair of the village's Technology, Communication and Community Engagement Committee, praised the scouts for their initiative in creating Orland Park Geochallenge 2012.

"I'm familiar with geocaching because my daughter has been doing it for the last few years. I am especially proud of these young men for incorporating so many things into the geochallenge --- history, the use of technology, helping people learn about Orland Park, getting people outside and asking them to ‘leave no trace'." Dodge said. "I congratulate each of the scouts who helped to create Orland Park Geochallenge 2012."

"We had fun coming up with the challenge questions," said Assistant Senior Patrol Leader JT Jakstavich. "We had to remember to write them so people wouldn't know where we were. They have to answer the questions when they get to the landmarks," he explained.

Orland Park Boy Scout Troop 383 was formed in December, 2010, during the Boy Scouts of America's centennial year. The troop includes boys from School Districts 135, 140, 146 and St. Germaine in Oak Lawn. The troop is within the Nishnabec District of the Calumet Council of Boy Scouts and is chartered by the Village of Orland Park Veterans Commission. Gerry Klotz is the troop's scoutmaster, with Joe Scuderi, Darren Burns, Cindy Motzny and John Jakstavich serving as assistant scoutmasters.

"Some of our scouts have been geocaching and the troop placed four of its own caches last spring. They were very excited when the village agreed to partner with them and when Mayor McLaughlin offered to personally pick up the tab for the prizes. It's a nice community effort and follows the Boy Scouts' objective to enjoy the outdoors," Klotz said.

Orland Park Geochallenge 2012 brochures, with the information needed to participate, are available at the Frederick T. Owens Village Hall, 14700 South Ravinia Avenue and on the village's website.

Information about the challenge is also available on www.geocaching.com although participants need not be active geocachers or members of geocaching.com to participate. Additional information about Orland Park Boy Scout Troop 383 is available by emailing orlandtroop383@gmail.com.

Participants who correctly answer all twenty historical questions must return the completed challenge brochure to the Village Hall to receive a prize. Orland Park Geochallenge 2012 will continue until all of the prizes are awarded.