Gishwhes 2015 AKA the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World has Ever Seen
by Jill Kusa!
For those who may not know, Gishwhes 2015 AKA the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World has Ever Seen, was held this week. The brainchild of Supernatural star Misha Collins, Gishwhes tasks teams of 15 to complete a series of 200-some challenges, ranging from totally impossible (getting a picture of Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump where you’re giving the thumbs down), to simple kindness (donating a backpack of school supplies to a needy student), to the creative (designing a construction paper dress). The best part of Gishwhes is, in addition to providing a week of thrilling entertainment and teamwork, is the fact that it benefits Random Acts, a charity that promotes unity, volunteerism, and international service projects.
I decided to finally take the plunge and join some of my friends from California in participating in Gishwhes 2015! When I signed up, on a whim, I wasn’t even entirely sure what Gishwhes entailed, only that it was a scavenger hunt for those of the nerdy persuasion. I didn’t know that I was signing up for headaches, embarrassment, creative challenges, camaraderie, and the time of my life! Gishwhes officially began on August 1st, while I was camping. Upon arrival at home on Sunday, August 2nd, with my dear, sweet laptop, I saw my Gishwhes team’s Facebook group popping. Teammates already claimed items like vacuuming the lawn dressed as June Cleaver, feeding your friend cake while blindfolded, and tweeting pictures of two men kissing to Rick Santorum. A cursory browse of the task list left me astonished. Some of the tasks were downright insane, like chilling on a hammock on a nuclear submarine, but some were attainable. I picked the tasks I was capable and interested in doing, and entered my name into my team’s handy dandy Google Doc spreadsheet.
I chose taking a picture at a glacier for my first task…this was easier for me, as I’m in Colorado and most of my teammates are in California. This wasn’t just any picture, however, it was taking a picture at a glacier in my swimsuit, complete with floaties. I have no shame, and it’s been quite hot this summer, so I was game. I just needed to convince a photographer to make the 2 hour drive with me. My roommate was excited. A quick hike up, and the task was done. In fact, I met two other teams on my way up. The thrill was real, and I was ready for my next item…filming a video where I sell hugs for $5. I decided to accomplish this at Manitou Springs, where someone selling $5 hugs wouldn’t be the most absurd denizen. All was fun. I was quiet a few days, waiting for friends to help me film my tasks.
On Thursday, 3 days left in the hunt, I had to decide the other tasks I could do. Wear a tee shirt saying “save the unicorns” and get people to sign a petition to rescue the mythical creatures (my slogan was “more legit than Donald Trump’s campaign”)? Done. Try to get 5 police officers to breakdance? Not a chance…On to Friday. Design a new currency for Greece? YES!
Saturday was it. The last day to complete tasks. I went big. Or went home? I rallied two friends to help me do some items. First course of action was to film a video at a drive through, using descriptive phrases alone to order an item. Starbucks baristas know their stuff! They guessed my order of a grande berry refresher without ice. Nice. Still more tasks…Misha loves kale, so my next task had to be kale related. Go to my town’s fanciest hotel with a kale hat? Okay. I went to the Broadmoor wearing my Sunday best, accented with fresh produce.
Now for some items that offer more social utility than the pure fun variety. You can get points for becoming an organ donor and registering to vote (while providing photographic proof). I did both, taking a photo of the heart on my license, and changing the address on my voter’s registration online. I also wrote a manifesto about my view on education, complete with a costume attached to the message. I still had time! More tasks? More items. I decided to bake Princess Leia in bread. It did not turn out well.
It was around 7:00 and I still had time. I tried to get Orlando Jones to retweet a photo of My Little Pony poor MS Paint meshed with his movie, Evolution. Sadly, it was to no avail. It was time for trivia. I went to a restaurant attached to a climbing wall, trying to figure out if I could simultaneously accomplish any items. Hmmm, one item was to affix notes of encouragement to students’ lockers…well NO schools are in session in my city, so I decided to write notes of athleticism and hope to the climbers! They’re students of Mother Earth? Yes, I’m so, so crafty. For my final task, despite my disdain for the cultural relevancy for the Kardashian family, I tried to show Kim how to break the internet. It ended up being a bad cosplay, complete with butt padding and awful contouring, where I mimed smashing a router. My last task was done. I was ready for sleep.
These items all sound like fun, but my favorite part of the whole experience wasn’t my tasks, it was the community around GISHWHES. My team was awesome, inspirational, and kind. We encouraged each other and worked together to cover more territory. We strategized. We praised each other’s creations. In addition to teamwork, the larger GISHWHES community was awesome. People used the hunt to raise awareness for cancer, depression, environmentalism, endangered butterflies, and the homeless. They brought fun into the world. They donated to an array of causes. They committed random acts of kindness. If the world was more like Gishwhes, we’d all be happier. It is highly unlikely that my team will win, but I will cherish my memories, and I will be signing up next year!
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