Sci-Fi & Fantasy: Organizer Interview
Bladen, Event Organizer of Geek Night Out, tells us about the awesome series of scavenger hunt Meetups he organizes for his Washington, DC-based Meetup Group.
Geek Night Out scavenger hunts have stretched from the National Zoo to the National Mall, with over 140 members participating!
How did you come up with the idea for scavenger hunts?
When I became active with Meetup last July, I realized I now had a platform where I could open up events I enjoyed to a large group of like-minded people. I created the scavenger hunt because I enjoyed writing riddles, and I knew that it would be a blast with a lot of people. Of course, I put my own unique spin and polish on it, but the roots of the hunt lie with my dad. Growing up, my father created an annual riddle-based treasure hunt for Easter that would lead us to our Easter baskets.
How exactly does a scavenger hunt work?
Attendees are broken up into multiple teams who have two hours to solve as many riddles, clues, and quirky challenges as possible. Each answer needs to have a cellphone photograph that includes at least one team member sent via text to the hunt master for approval. At the end of the two hours, the team with the most correct answers wins.
Are the scavenger hunts difficult to Organize?
I would be lying if I said the scavenger hunts do not take a lot of time to create. This hunt will be the fifth that I have made, and each time I have to raise the bar and avoid repeating riddle types and items. But, despite the time investment, I love doing it. There’s nothing better than creating a tough riddle and having people go “Ah hah, I’m so stupid!” when they solve it.
What advice do you have for new Organizers who are having trouble coming up with activities for their Meetup Groups?
My advice is to pick something that you enjoy doing. Start with an event that you have done in the past with friends (like a hike or bar trivia) and open it up to the group. To borrow two cliché sayings, “Write what you know” and “If you build it they will come”.
Once you have your event, make sure it’s organized. Provide ample information in the event information page (the what, the where, the when etc.). Then, when people show up, be confident in what you’re doing. People will be looking to you as the leader, so be sure to have a plan, even if it’s something as simple as knowing where to grab food or drinks afterward.
Finally, be sure to have a good time! Relax, have fun, and everything will turn out fine.