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This section is dedicated to creating fantastic Medieval/Fantasy themed adventures and treasure hunts! Dwarves, thieves, fairies, King Arthur and the Holy Grail, it's all here and more as the site grows! Get tips and hints for birthday parties, role playing, and fundraisers!

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Helpful Articles For Your Events!

A Treasure of a Fundraiser - incorporating a themed treasure hunt for a fundraising event
General Ideas for creating Medieval/King Arthur themed treasure hunt
Tips for Holding Treasure Hunts in Public Parks

 

 

 


A Treasure of a Fundraiser
By Joe Dean

Throughout the 15+ years of designing themed treasure hunts professionally, some of the most successful and exciting events planned were for fundraising efforts. With low overhead costs and the ability to generate a lot of excitement for a fresh, new type of event, themed adventures are proving to be more and more successful in raising money for private and public organizations, large and small.

There are a number of different creative and exciting ways to raise money by planning a themed treasure hunt. This article will attempt to 'whet your appetite' as to the numerous ways funds can be raised and excitement generated for your next fundraising event.

The hunt itself can vary greatly in both size and budget. Some hunts I've produced have been for crowds in the hundreds paying small entrant fees - all attempting to be the first to complete the hunt for a prize donated by a local merchant. Others have been considerably more sophisticated, as in the case of a California Department of Mental Health function held a few years ago. Bids were sold to a more affluent crowd and a Quest for the Holy Grail adventure was held on the grounds of a very large and wealthy estate. (For more information on the Quest for the Holy Grail adventure) The flexibility exists to ensure that every group fundraiser can be successful, no matter the size, age or affluence of the
participants.

The following is a collection of ideas to show the various and numerous ways to raise money easily and creatively by planning a fantastic themed treasure hunt adventure &

· Begin by planning on selling tickets to participate in the event. The adventure itself will be worth the price of the ticket, by following the step-by-step instructions of planning this kind of themed adventure. Ticket prices can vary depending on the demographics of your participants. For example, if your are planning an event involving high school aged students, you'd probably fair better at selling hundreds of tickets at a cheaper price. However, if you were planning an event for a more mature and sophisticated crowd, you might want sell tickets at a much higher price, making available only a set number of tickets for purchase to ensure higher odds at winning the grand prize for the participants (especially if a prize is given for the winning team.)

· Great prizes can be offered. Many groups have been very successful at arranging for prizes to be donated by local merchants. Sometimes a large prize was donated, such as a television set. At other times, a small basket of several smaller gifts has been offered from donating merchants ($15 gift certificates, etc.) Prizes can also come in the form of services provided by the organization planning the adventure. For example, a prom committee raising funds for their dance could give out free Prom bids to the first five finishing teams. Another idea for a prize is to have the top placing teams being refunded their entry fee - or even getting a percentage of the total proceeds taken in by the event.

· Here are a few tricks to get prizes donated
o Offer the vendor's location as one of the stop's (free advertising)
o Offer to photocopy a small advertisement on the back of a map or clue
o Allow the vendor (depending on the type of business they are in) to set up a booth or something thereof at the final destination.
o Put the sponsor's advertisement on the ticket the participants buy

· As a way to enhance your theme, find out if a local costume shop will donate one or some of the needed costumes

· Curtailing the above, if there are any other props or set pieces that would enhance your theme, find out if there are any vendors who would donate them in exchange for a form of advertising

· Capitalize on your theme. Is your theme based on Pirates of the Caribbean? Why not have a small pirate port themed area at the beginning/end of the hunt and sell spaces to vendors where themed items and food can be sold? The same would work for a mini Renaissance Faire or an Egyptian marketplace. Depending on your theme, you could really plan a spectacular bazaar that could rival the hunt itself for excitement!

· Print up a mini story or background piece about the theme and storyline of your adventure treasure hunt and distribute them to the participants before they begin. It will generate a lot of enthusiasm when your participants get consumed with the story.

· Once the event is proven as a success, it could easily be turned into an annual event, as it did with several of my clients. Teams from the year before often reassembled in later hunts to try once more to win the prize. A continuing plaque or trophy could be displayed with the current and all past year's winners.

Perhaps the greatest part about planning a themed treasure hunt adventure for your next fundraiser, besides all the excitement it will generate, is the fact that it has a potentially very high chance of having very little overhead costs. Aside from some photocopies and footwork, few other expenses need to be expended - now that is music to a fundraiser's ears!

Plan something new and exciting that everyone will remember in future years! Plan a treasure of a fundraiser!


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Designing Tips And Ideas For
A Medieval/King Arthur Themed Adventure

* First off, it is always best to do some research. Believe it or not, children's books are usually where I start. They get right to the point and there are a lot of pictures - two aspects that greatly aide and speed up the designing process

* Check out some books (or websites if you have a printer) of some illuminated manuscripts. These can be easily photocopied and, seeing as how very few people choose Latin as their foreign language in school, you can take advantage of the fact that VERY few people will know what any of it says. This means that you can have it mean anything that you want. You can either have some translation sheets (all bogus in truth, but great for you if you need a certain message spelled out) or have a character do the translating for them (someone that would know Latin...)

* If the hunt is very large, why not plan a mini Renaissance Faire? I know, I know...we're talking centuries later, right? Well, chances are your guests won't know - and won't care much either. All they will know is that they are having a great time. Offer great food and handmade items. Sell vendor space to outside vendors for some quality booths.

* Give each team a coat of arms that is unique - or allow each team to come up with one themselves. It will help promote team unity and help distinguish one team from another.

* Here are some sample plots/goals that your adventurers could be looking for/trying to accomplish

. Find a specific knight and deliver a message from King
. Arthur
. Find King Arthur, himself
. Find Merlin
. Find something that Merlin needs for his magic
. Find the Excaliber
. Return Excaliber to the Stone
. Find the Lady of the Lake
. Free Guinevere from the clutches of Morgana

and...of course, they could always hunt for the Holy Grail!

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Tips for Holding Treasure Hunts in Public Parks

It's been proven to me over and over again that one can hold a really great treasure hunt just about anywhere. Parks are great places to have them! Sometimes you can find some with small caves and tunnels made out of overgrowth (my personal favorite...). The following is a small list of useful and practical tips when hiding clues at parks (most I have learned the hard way!)

  1. Make sure that NO KIDS see you hide your clue or bury an object. I guarantee you, as soon as you leave, they will rush over and remove whatever it was that you left. It sounds terrible, but remember...they ARE kids and finding a mysterious clue or unearthing a treasure chest is like a slice of heaven to them!

  2. Find out what times the parks open and close. Sometimes different parks close at dusk, other times much later in the evening. I've been escorted by policemen out of parks when I've tried to hide my clues the night before. Not fun.

  3. Keep in mind where the sprinklers are. Many parks have their sprinklers timed to go off in the middle of the night. Even if you are successful at hiding your clues the night before, you could be left with soggy scraps in the morning.

  4. Depending on your theme, look for parks with or near washes. Typically, at least in So. Cal. where I live, you'll find a heavy growth of vegetation. I've used locales like this for jungles and pirate scenes (the water is a great place to hide a bottle with a note - just make sure that you secure it with rocks so that the current of the wash doesn't move it.)

  5. When exploring these heavy-growth areas (off the beaten track), be careful of vagrants' domiciles. You don't want to get too close to someone's home.

  6. Many parks are themed. Get a hold of your local Thomas Guide a puruse the parks in your area. I did that once and found a killer Western themed park. It had a street with shop fronts, a jail, a hotel, the works - and it was all made from old wood. Sometimes, the best parks are nestled in housing tracks where few readily know where to find them.

  7. Be careful of festivals. Sometimes a festival can take over an entire park - without any warning - taking that killer place that you were planning on hiding the final bject. Check the Dept. of Parks and Rec. in your area to make sure that a surprise like that won't happen.

  8. Curtailing the above, make sure that you find out who might have certain areas of the park reserved. Sometimes a company picnic could be just as big a problem - if they were in the wrong spot.

  9. Keep in mind the amount of walking time. It's great to utilize a huge park, just make sure you walk the entire path yourself first.

  10. Find a park with nature trails. You can find some fantastic places for clues here (especially if you wander off the path a bit!)

  11. Be aware that some parks charge you to park. Also keep in mind where the parking lots are - and all of them. I have had some participants once enter a parking lot that I wasn't aware of...boy did that mess things up!

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