Treasure hunters launch geocoins for World Youth Day Print E-mail
Around the Diocese
Written by Lisa Clark, For the Catholic Herald   
Thursday, Nov. 11, 2010 -- 1:00 AM


Jennifer Yelk is pictured with the geocoin she designed for World Youth Day. The coin will be on sale at the St. Ann Holiday Craft Fair. (Contributed photo)

The 300 geocoins she worked with her parents, Greg and Karin, to produce will be on sale for $15 each on Saturday, Nov. 13, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at St. Ann Holiday Craft Fair at 324 N. Harrison in Stoughton.

Connecting with youth

The proceeds from the sale of the medallions will not only help to finance the youth trip, but will also be a way for the Stoughton students to connect with others who brought them, through the hands of various geocachers, on the last leg of their journey to the Catholic youth celebration, in which more than 200,000 young people gather to worship their faith.

“When I was younger we read the book Flat Stanley in class and mailed our own versions of him to out-of-state friends and relatives, asking them to forward him back to us with a message about his trip with them,” said Yelk, a junior at Stoughton High School. “This geocoin will be like Flat Stanley on caffeine!”

A geocoin is a metal coin, minted in a similar fashion to that of a medallion or token coin, with a trackable serial number and Web site engraved on the coin where its current location and hopeful destination are logged.  These geocoins are hidden in “geocaches” that are typically small waterproof containers such as Tupperware or ammo boxes, along with a logbook of when and who found the geocache.

Geocaching is an outdoor sporting activity in which the participants use a global positioning system (GPS) receiver, or other navigational techniques, to play a high-tech game of hide and seek. Participates visit a Web site, such as, and look for geocaches in specific areas.

By using the longitude and latitude coordinates of the geocache, recorded on the Web site, they try and find the hidden geocache container using a GPS device. Participants place geocoins into hidden geocaches, many times with specific destinations that they would like to see their geocoin go. People only remove the geocoin from the geocache container if they can help move the geocoin to another geocache container that is closer to the final destination of the specific geocoin.

Yelk hopes that youth from all over the world will purchase her World Youth Day geocache coin, and set the destination of their geocoin for Madrid, Spain. With this, there would be potentially hundreds of geocoins making the same type of pilgrimage that the St. Ann’s youth will be making in August 2011 to see Pope Benedict XVI at World Youth Day.

Currently, there are geocaches placed in over 100 countries around the world and on all seven continents, including Antarctica. After just 10 years of activity there are over 1.2 million active geocache locations published on various Web sites devoted to the sport of geocaching.

Holiday fair

Besides Yelk’s geocoin that will be for sale at the holiday fair, there will be local artists with hand-made pottery, soap, floral arrangements, Native American art, pencil drawings, jewelry, gift baskets, knit and crochet items, decorations, shirts for cancer survivors, and homemade dog treats, among other things.

In addition, there will be vendors from Pampered Chef, Wildtree, Mary Kay, Silpada, Tastefully Simple, Heritage Makers, Watkins, Simply Fun, and others. All proceeds will benefit the youth attending World Youth Day in Madrid, Spain, next summer.

The coin can also be purchased by going to

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