We have just started 2013 and along with a new year we also have a new executive. Effective February first the new OGA executive positions have taken effect. A few of the previous executives have moved on to other challenges but a core group of previous executives remain engaged ensuring continuity. I’d like to thank the past executives for their contributions over the previous two years.
For the last few years I’ve been the webmaster for the association. Last year I decided I wanted to bring my passion for geocaching to a leadership position. I believe that excitement is catching and I hope to get others interested our game in ways that are sustainable for all. Geocaching continues to gain in popularity; it is very close to mainstream now. While this increased popularity is good for the game overall it does bring with it some challenges, most notably, land use issues.
The last year has seen a number of land managers, land owners and trail management groups take exception to geocaching. In some cases the issue was just a simple misunderstanding that was easily resolved, in other cases the issue led to the removal of geocaches. The OGA has been active in helping resolve some of these situations as they arose. I believe that going forward we will have to be proactive in our approach to land manager issues. It is for this reason that we have already started meeting with conservation authority managers and plan on doing that throughout the year. I have found the better someone understands something the easier it is to find a compromise in a contentious issue. Members of the executive will continue to be a voice for geocaching within their communities and across the province. We have already had a meeting with the Toronto Region Conservation Authority. They are very receptive to responsible geocaching. We hope build on this relationship and others that we’ve created in the past.
During my mandate I plan on focusing on three areas: Outreach, Education and Operations. I believe these are areas that we can have the most impact in helping keep geocaching a sustainable activity. How we’ll be working on those areas will have to be decided in consultation with the executive and you our members.
We had our first executive meeting recently and I’m excited by the willingness of the executive to work to improve geocaching in Ontario. We’ll be sure and report back to you on what is discussed and how you can be a part of our plans. The members of the OGA executive are very approachable people. If you see us on the trails or at an event feel free to talk to us. You can also engage with us on Facebook, Twitter, our forums or in emails.
I’m looking forward to the next two years.
John A Robb