At first glance, an orienteering based Treasure Hunt appears as just another game. Music and fun are part of the introduction and the groups are tasked to find the key to the locked treasure chest. And if they do find that key, they will get treasure! It is a hard challenge to resist at any age or ability. A bit of light competition appears instantly, but it is not a race. An orienteering challenge in the guise of a treasure hunt crosses boundaries of ethnicity, life experience, academic ability, age, gender and personality. Kids help kids. Parents help kids. Kids help parents. New faces are integrated. Everyone wins.

Groups that do not often problem solve together in a fun atmosphere; office mates, students, and parents/kids all provide perfect examples of demographics that benefit from success while working together, learning something new, and being rewarded for their efforts.

An accurate and highly detailed map for the team to navigate with will bring out skills and abilities that highlight perception and spatial awareness. Team members unfamiliar with the campus or area will very quickly be comfortable and aware in a way that a tour cannot create. They are looking for a clue. They have to pay attention.

Questions and trivia that are light and simple provide an opportunity for participants to contribute to solving the final puzzle. Some clues are directed at younger members. Some clues are directed at the parents. The metaphor emerges very quickly that success requires everyone’s ability and everyone has something to contribute.
Running for Treasure

An orienteering treasure hunt also brings a group outside to walk and be physical. Kinesthetic learning happens naturally as they navigate a campus together, talk about the hunt and stay as a group. The weather may not perfectly cooperate and it becomes an adventure.

In the finale, it is quickly apparent that no one team will win, but rather all teams must come together to find the key. They are all winners. Everyone will receive a small reward to acknowledge their participation and the sharing of stories begins. Who found which clue? Who knew the right answer? Where did you get confused and how did you solve it? Who said that funny thing? I didn’t know you knew that song!

We now have a common experience. You can’t beat that!