The last few months have been a dramatic departure from what we call our normal lives. People are struggling, and have been looking for ways to help others…. They’ve also been looking for a distraction…. Enter: The GISH Mini Scavenger Hunt.
For years I’ve been a fan of the show Supernatural, one of the main characters from the show is a hapless angel named Castiel who is played by Misha Collins. Many years ago Misha created GISH as a way to help give back and to bring people together. I’ve never had the funds or the time to participate, but I’ve followed the teams who participate and admired the good they’ve done. In April GISH announced that they were holding a Play-At-Home Mini Hunt, and I jumped at the chance to play.
What is GISH?
GISH is an acronym which stands for the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt. According to the GISH website (gish.com), it’s an annual event that combines creativity, art, mystery, adventure, puzzles, cosplay, out-of-the-box thinking, and kindness.
I can personally attest to the fact that it is all of those things, but it’s also so much more. It’s a way to give back, meet people from out of your normal social circle, and have a little (or a lot) of fun. You complete challenges as a team, using the combined skills of as many participants as you can manage. Teams are formed in the weeks leading up to the hunt, and you are encouraged to chat with your teammates and share your stories, strengths, and available resources. It’s a great way to tell people what you are best at and practice telling people when you are struggling.
There are two levels of play, “In It To Win It” and “Just For The Fun Of It”. Both game modes receive the exact same challenges to complete, the play preference is just to help GISH in assigning GISHers to the trams that match their play style the best. You can recruit your own team if you and a group of friends want to play together, just keep in mind that the hunts have a minimum and maximum number of teammates.
What is a GISHer?
Well, I am a GISHer. I may be a new or “baby” GISHer, but I am one all the same. I’ve met some really great people during the two mini hunts that I participated in. A few of us from the first mini hunt really hit it off and we have stayed close digital friends. While we couldn’t all do the second mini hunt, those of us that did made sure to join the same team and share our fun challenges with the members of our first team that couldn’t play.
These sorts of connections are very important to me since I am not a hugely social person normally. It’s really refreshing to have a new group of people who have bonded over this really fun activity to chat with about random things.
The GISH website has a cheeky blurb on their Impact page, which describes what they define a GISHer as.
Gisher: [GISH-er] (noun) 1. An individual with creative, courageous, or compassionate characteristics who participates in GISH games or the annual Hunt. 2. A member of the worldwide GISH family. 3. You— if you click here to sign up.
FAST FACTS: While Gishers can be observed in the wild year-round, they have a season of peak activity which lasts one week every year, usually in summer.
- Habitat: Worldwide
- Behavior: Gishers can be identified by their propensity toward acts of outrageous compassion and general weirdness.
- Physical Characteristics: Gishers display tremendous diversity in appearance, but have been observed to habitually shed at least once a year (whenever Gishporium shirts go on sale).
- Grouping: A group of Gishers is known as a “rabble”. Gishers working in cooperation are referred to as “accomplices” or “teammates”.
- Symbiotes: Gishers appear to have developed a symbiotic relationship with Random Acts, a non-profit organization founded by Misha Collins to conquer the world, one random act of kindness at a time.
The GISH Play-At-Home Mini Scavenger Hunt
The GISH mini hunt is something brand new for 2020 and it was created to help keep people entertained during the global quarantine. It was also created to help give to charities who are directly contributing to the relief efforts. The registration fee you pay goes directly to those charities, and on occasion one of the event challenges involves your team organizing a way to give back to their communities.
In it’s own words, here is what has to say about the mini hunts:
“Explore your creative potential, virtually connect with people around the world with a fun single-day event the whole family can play! When you join the GISH 1-Day Play-At-Home Scavenger Hunt, you’ll provide support COVID-focused efforts.
The Play-at-Home Hunt is a 1-Day event from GISH. Created in response to the COVID crisis, this brand-new event is designed to connect our global community, inspire acts of creativity and compassion, and provide support to those struggling due to the pandemic. Like the annual GISH Hunt, we’ll give you out-of-the-box, wild challenges to complete. But unlike the high-stakes annual GISH Hunt, this is a no-pressure event. You can play while stuck in the comfort of your own home, using common household materials.”
Round 1 (April 25th 2020)
This was the first ever mini hunt that GISH had hosted, and also my first GISH hunt. I was randomly assigned to a team of 15 people. Before the event started it became apparent that only 4 of us were really active, but it’s okay, because we learned a lot about each other. During the one day event a 5th teammate did end up submitting several of the challenges and our team did a really great job (in my humble opinion). There were so many challenge prompts to choose from, it was hard to narrow down the ones that I wanted to try out. I’ll post a quick list of some of the ones that I did as well as a link to the complete list on the GISH website.
Items I did
If you follow my social media at all you may have seen some of these already. However, there are a bunch that I have not posted yet… and they give you a behind the scenes look at my home and my life. So enjoy!
“Now that we’re all locked down, many people are saying it’s quite challenging to juggle home life with work life. Let’s prove them wrong. Let’s see at least three members of your team juggling at the same time on a video conference call. If none of you know-how, you have 24 hours to learn. Go!”
In the video you can see my very out of practice juggling of apples in the top right of the screen. Turns out juggling is super difficult when you can’t stop giggling. In the background you can see some of my Paint Nite paintings hanging on my wall.
“It’s so frustrating when you misplace things around the house. There’s only one solution: Make a backup! Crochet or knit an EXACT replica of a treasured household item (such as the TV remote, your car keys, a favorite photograph, etc) that you’d rather not lose track of.”
This challenge was basically written for my skills… most of what I crochet is a replica of household items. The biggest difference is that this time I had to do it to scale… instead of my usual giant size. I still have the cup displayed on my workspace, and I’m gonna type up the pattern when I get a chance.
“I’m sure the marketing photography for frozen meals is totally accurate, but just to make sure it’s all on the up-and-up, microwave a frozen meal from your freezer and take a photo of it next to the photo shown on the box.”
There was a surprising shortage of frozen meals in our group, for a while it looked like this was one challenge that we would have to pass on… until i ventured into the dark recesses of my dads extra freezer. I found one loan frozen meal from 2007, the freezer burn was unreal. Once cooked the food was no more appetizing than when it was frozen. It went straight out to the chickens who devoured it in minutes.
“We LOVE our kids, but occasionally we all need a little break. Right now, however, that can be challenging. Let’s see your best quarantine technique for hiding from your children (camouflage, “mad-skills” hiding, appliance impersonation, invisibility… whatever it takes!).”
As a mother of two feisty toddlers, I could relate to this challenge on many levels. I donned my most comfy fox sweater, socks, and shirt… nabbed a pillow for my back… cuddled up with Robin Hood… and read a bit of my latest kindle adventure… in the shower. No kids found me until I had my husband snap a picture over the shower curtain. Next time I’ll be bringing a blanket for sure!
“Record label marketing services are overrated. Everything you need to make a triple-platinum album cover is in your home. Using just the people and things in your house, re-create your favorite album cover.”
Some people see crochet hooks, yarn, and a laptop… I see a work of art. I love how this Dark Side of The Moon album cover turned out and it’s left me with all sorts of ideas for other yarny recreations. (If you have requests I’d love to hear them!)
“Interview a child under the age of 10 about something that you would think is wildly beyond their grasp (management theory, the Battle of 1812, how pulsars work, what a black hole is, etc.). Take them very seriously take notes.”
My daughter is fascinated with watching me reheat things in the microwave… so I used this opportunity to ask her how she thinks it works. One of her answers was *spolier alert* Magic. She’s not far off.
“If you were to win the gold medal for “Grand Master Of The Organized Refrigerator” with your food somehow stacked, ordered or displayed using some type of beautiful, unique, or jaw-dropping organizational display or filing system, what would it look like?”
It may be hard to read all my clever notes in the fridge but I’ll share some of the more giggle worthy ones. The eggs were labeled as “Butt Nuggets”. The Milk said “Why is this in here empty!?”. I had some leftovers marked with “Leftovers That Will Rot…”. The vegetable drawer said “Veggies No One Eats”. A giant tub of mayo labeled with “Why did we buy this?”. Pre-made rolls that were dubbed “Lazy Person Rolls”. The sauce shelf simply said “Saucy” while a drawer of random stuff asked “What even is this!?”. My snarky side was showcased quite well in this challenge.
“Couch potato. Carve a potato into a perfect scale model of your couch (or your dream couch).”
*Disclaimer: No potatoes were wasted in the making of this couch.* I had a ton of fun using a single large baking potato to create this comfy couch and footstool. While my kids were super excited about the mashed potatoes we had for dinner. It was not as impressive as some of the ones that were shared on social media after the event, but it wasn’t terrible either.
“Display a roll of toilet paper like the treasure it is.”
In these troubled times we need a little bit of levity. This challenge perfectly captures the absurdity of the toilet paper shortages that the country faced. Please meet Her Majesty, Queen Charmin, Last of Her Name, in all her glory, as she sits upon her glorious porcelain throne. Her crown and cape were generously donated (temporarily) by my daughter. While my son shared his plastic gold coins, since every queen should have treasure.
“While you’re working from home, your conference calls show a professional background of books, flowers, artwork. But we all know deep down that that’s a facade: we all are just struggling to hold it together and sometimes, things like cleanliness and orderliness fall by the wayside so that may not be an entirely accurate depiction of what the rest of your abode looks like. What happens when the camera is rotated off your video conference call 180 degrees?”
Enjoy this unfiltered look at the current chaos that is my crafting space. GISH videos are limited to 14 seconds…. so it’s hard to capture everything. What you can’t see is that I am sitting cross-legged on top of the table that I take all my product pictures on. As messy as this looks, I can promise you that I know where everything is. I can’t be the only one who uses the chaos method of organization? Right!? Anyone…?
“Time for the annual Howl at the Zoom. Join the Head Wolf & Misha Collins for a howling good time! Then submit a video of your global howl- or if you missed it, send us your best lone wolf howl.”
This was a really fun Zoom meeting where we all let loose and howled at the moon together. My howl is less than impressive, but in my defense I am a Fox and we don’t exactly howl. Plus I was trying not to wake up my kids…
“Draw a little birdhouse in your soul. Leave the nightlight on inside the birdhouse in your soul.”
GISH challenges can be interpreted in many ways. This held true for this particular mini GISH challenge. My team decided to go with pictures of my chicken coop that has a light inside. If you’ve followed my social media for a while, you may remember when we got these guys as tiny chicks… they are not so tiny anymore.
Round 2 (May 30th 2020)
This round I found myself on a new team, a very organized, very experienced, and very active team. One of my teammates from round one was able to participate with me, but the other two were unable to participate. They did however, cheer us on from the sidelines and gave us advice on our submissions.
Only one of these challenges have been shared on my social media so far, which means these are exclusive for you! I am only including a small number of the challenges that I completed for Round 2, because I did a surprising number. Enjoy another look behind the scenes of my life.
Items I did:
“Our homes and neighborhoods are our entire world right now, but that shouldn’t stop us from having adventures; and every adventure starts with an epic, Tolkein-style adventure map. Create an adventure map of your home (including your yard, if you have one) – including the light and the dark places.”
I love a good map in the cover of a book. So I pulled out my watercolors and fine-liners and created a map of our home. If you look closely you can make out the Murky Pond, the Vanishing Creek, a Dusty Lot, The Weed Zone, Muddy Expanse, The Egg Factory, and The Home of the Cranky Spoiled Chicken. *Bonus Item* I have an area marked with “Beware! Hilltop dotted with the homes of the ROUS (Rodents Of Unusual Size). Let me know in the comments section if you recognize that reference.
“Your home is more than your castle. It’s swiftly becoming a sovereign nation, and like every nation, it needs a tourism board. Create a one-page brochure or video advertising travel to your house as a coveted destination.”
This challenge paired really well with the map challenge. So I used the map as a center piece and took a bunch of pictures showcasing some of the areas of my map. Each image has a colored outline that matches a colored dot on the map.
My yarn wall and crocheting hammock both made an appearance. The chickens and apple trees that have featured in previous social media posts also had a spot on the brochure. Plus my kids got to go play in the muddy section of the field that the irrigation water creates.
*Fun Fact* whenever my kids want to climb to the top of our hill they ask us in a very specific way (that totally influenced the labels on my map). They ask “Can we go over the River and up the Mountain?” Yep, kids say the cutest things.
“Let’s see a picture of your favorite hero (real-life or fictional) destroying the evil COVID.”
This challenge was heavily influenced by my son. He is a huge Spiderman fan, and I have doodled Spiderman for him before. Using my favorite colored pencils, I managed to draw a pretty respectable likeness. You can see several of the evil particles already pinned down with webs, to help stop the spread.
“Mission Improbable: Your most treasured object is being guarded by a laser-maze, (made from yarn or string)… You or someone in your household must get to it without tripping the beams.”
This was another challenge that was designed with me in mind. I have so much yarn and the perfect wall to use as a backdrop. The hardest part was staying in the 14 second video time limit. I actually had to take down about half of the maze to keep it in the limit. (There was also that fact that my husband forgot how to record and the first couple run-throughs he managed to only capture a still phone… thanks honey.) It was all worth it though, because I got the wooden treasure chest full of chocolate coins.
*Those treasure chests are available in my shop (and yes they come with chocolate coins).*
“As we all well know, Semolina is an extraordinarily versatile food. Many, however, forget that one of it’s best uses is as semolina pop-culture art. So, without further ado, let’s see your favorite character, from your favorite TV show… in semolina flour.”
I’d better not quit my day job to become a semolina artist. In case you cant tell, that’s Batman… it is very clear to me that I should stick to yarn in the future.
*Disclaimer* No food was wasted in this challenge. Right after I made this I cooked a really yummy porridge with the semolina.
“For The Kids: Do you have an imaginary or invisible friend? OF COURSE YOU DO. They’re the one that always makes all the messes you get into trouble for, right? We understand. Draw a wanted poster of your imaginary/invisible friend so that they can be brought to justice.”
Round Two of the GISH Mini Hunt had a bunch of challenges specifically for kids. For this one I asked my daughter to describe her imaginary friend to me. While she was telling me about her friend I sketched it out. We colored it together and had a little bit of fun listing the crimes.
Why Did I GISH?
Quite simply put, I chose to GISH to make connections and memories while making a small difference. In both mini GISH events I gave to charities helping with COVID relief. My Round 2 team hosted a fundraiser which raised money for charity (you may have seen the fundraiser link on my twitter). I also got my friends and family involved in both rounds of hunts, which created some really fun memories. Heck, in Round 2 I even created a piece of art that I will be framing and hanging in my home. I made new friends, ones that I hope to keep for years to come.
I hope you enjoyed my GISH journey, I loved sharing it with you. If you’d like to learn more about GISH and the good it does, please go to gish.com to learn more.
I’d love to hear what you thought of the GISH challenges that I shared with you. Let me know in the comments! Are you a GISHer as well? Wanna connect for the next GISH event? Contact me so we can join the same team and adventure together.