June 4, 2020
The Great Kitsap Virtual Scavenger Hunt
Kitsap County Public Works
When faced with the Governor’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy order, Kitsap County Public Works educators knew we would need to get creative to continue providing education and outreach. We set out with the goal to maintain public involvement while remaining safe and socially distant. We used the GooseChase gaming app to create a virtual scavenger hunt with activity and text-based missions that provided information about our programs and services, while encouraging citizens to remain safe at home.
The Great Kitsap Virtual Scavenger Hunt began on April 17 and was enthusiastically embraced by the community. By the end of the game, there were 238 teams active on the platform with an average of 5 players per team. Teams submitted an outstanding total of 13,546 mission submissions, some of which were able to be reused in subsequent outreach materials.
Missions can be simple or complex and can be customized to meet an organization’s goals. Text-based missions sent players to online resources to find information and activity-based missions required players to perform a task. Because Kitsap shared the app throughout Public Works divisions, missions were diverse, covering topics from stormwater, solid waste, sewer, roads, local Tribal knowledge, history, geology, safety, and more. These topics allowed staff to continue providing content for programs that had been ongoing prior to the pandemic, offering up education and behavior change topics in a creative way. Another key to the game’s success was interspersing educational content with more ‘fun’ missions, like kitchen science experiments, karaoke, backyard hunts, cosplay, and more. Over the course of six weeks, teams were offered 244 different missions to complete.
Kitsap paid a discounted rate of $500 for a single enterprise-level game account, which allows for an unlimited number of missions and players. A normal scavenger hunt runs for about three to five days, but due to the continued requests of the community, the available bandwidth of staff, and the generosity of the Goose Chase company during the pandemic, we were able to continue the game for six weeks. Staff time to set up and operate the game included ‘mission brainstorming sessions’ with educators to populate an initial list of questions and tasks to draw from throughout the game, and one ‘game master’ staff member, whose responsibility was to monitor the game and post up to ten missions from the list per day.
We received positive feedback from players stating that it was fun, engaging, and educational. Overall, the game gave the County a way to provide the community with an exciting escape during a stressful time, as well as to meet NPDES needs in continuing the important education and outreach that had been sidelined by the pandemic.
We would be happy to chat with jurisdictions about ways you could use the platform to expand your education and outreach program, as well as lessons learned.
Program Contact: Lauren Liming, Program Coordinator/Solid Waste Division, Kitsap County Public Works. 360-337-5777.
Photo & Credits
Princes and the Frog Photo
Team The Hesslink Household
Mission – Cosplay (Dress up as your favorite fictional character!)
Team Lady Lib
Mission – Scoop It. Bag It. Trash It. (Dogs in Kitsap County drop more than 11 tons of waste each day! Pet waste contains pathogens that can make your family and pets sick. Post a photo of your dog on a walk and/or your poop scoop supplies!)
Girl With Sign Photo
Team Squirtle Squad20
Mission – Spark Joy (Make a poster with an encouraging message and post it in your window.)