I recently posted about my experience with GISHWHES scavenger hunts in both 2013 and 2014, and I know I’ve already talked about the brilliantly fun community of GISHWHES in the past, but I don’t think you all truly understand the ridiculously awesome group of people involved in this annual undertaking. Meeting new people during GISHWHES isn’t limited to your 14 teammates, or even to the unsuspecting “normal” folks who you ask to become your GISHWHES accomplices. Oh no. GISHWHES is more of an expansive creative community than that! Surpassing all geographical and a heck of a lot of social boundaries and bypassing the red tape of society’s “norms”, there are beautiful pockets of gish-community to be found all over.
One of my favorite “places” to find community during this most recent hunt, which continues to be a lovely forum in the post-hunting months, is The GISHWHES Network on Facebook. With a roster of just over 2400 people from all over the world, this network proved to be a daily source of encouragement and community during the hunt! By the end of the week, the feeling of camaraderie I had with just teammates at the onset had ballooned out to encompass so many more people!
awesome design via: Jennifer L. Anderson’s post in The GISHWHES Network
What are a few of the benefits I’ve experienced from GISHWHES networking? Well gee, twist my arm, I guess I can take a moment or two to tell you. . .
First: The Creativity of Other Gishers is both Inspirational and Impressive!
Throughout the hunt, AND after, creative people shared their inventive perspectives on the hunt in ways I would never have dreamt up on my own. One perfect example was a poem that one Gisher, Elise, posted a day after the hunt ended this year. Forgive the fact that I will be sharing this masterpiece with you via several image/screencaps of an actual posting. I didn’t want to have anyone think I was responsible for this gloriousness, because the author, Elisa Welch, deserves ALL of the credit for her creativity!!!
Second: Other Teams Succeed Where Yours Has Failed . . . and it is well worth witnessing.
Some items are outside of my realm of influence or capacity to complete, despite how many e-mails I send or phone calls I make. I have come to accept this at the end of every hunt thusfar, although I never seem to quite accept it until we’re out of time to try. HOWever, where some (read: I) have failed, others will succeed . . . and honestly? It’s pretty freaking amazing to get let in on their success.
Exhibit A: ACTUAL ACRE-SIZED wolf-rooster-hybrid CROP DESIGNS!
Exhibit B: FRICKIN’ UNBELIEVABLE beautiful and awesome and yet somehow still hard core POPE TATOOS
linked sources from left to right: via, via, via, via, via, via
Third: Like soldiers who shared a foxhole, Only a fellow Gisher Truly understands…
One unifying factor for this delightful conglomeration of gish-folk is that enjoyed the absolute ridiculousness of frenetic GISHWHES activities, and can all understand what it means to exist in scavenger hunt mode. The day after the hunt, the following thread took place, much to my delight!
We might be insane at the end of a hunt, but we all at least understand the insanity and band together and laugh uproariously at it!
Fourth: You get to collectively share in not just the hunting, but the judging!
At the end of GISHWHES, you can volunteer to be a judge for which submissions may wind up in the “GISHWHES Hall of Fame” at some point. Even if you don’t win the hunt, this is definitely a goal for most teams. I wound up judging for about 5 different items, and enjoyed most of it immensely! Some of the posts that people shared during the judging were almost as good as judging the items yourself!
I sent out a blanket YOU ARE AWESOME note to the person responsible for this video, hands down a favorite of mine.
And there were just some generally fun silly moments that came along with judging things – especially because you kind of naturally have a built-in respect for most of the submissions, since you know the kinds of effort that go into even the simplest of submissions!
Fifth: You Suddenly Find that your Bizarre Hopes and Plans for the Future are shared by Many Others
Only a fellow Gisher can truly understand that feeling, when you are cleaning out your attic and attempting to de-clutter your home . . . and you just cannot bring yourself to throw away the life-sized paper-mâché goose. Or the absurdly large tube of green body-paint. Or the three full-sized nerf broadswords.
Then there are the random ideas that sound certifiably insane to strangers, but unusually wonderful to those of us who have participated in the memory-making mayhem.
And so it goes, you see?
Gishwhes Networking is not your average experience.
It is an induction into a gloriously quirky, creative and unusual extended family; a multi-faceted group of strange relatives you never knew you wanted before you have them!