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 Post subject: CAM Coins..
PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2013 11:25 pm 
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Hey,

Are the "rules" the same as last year? Even if you complete CAM, if you can't make the picnic, you must purchase a coin?

Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: CAM Coins..
PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 3:48 pm 
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Udderly wrote:
Hey,

Are the "rules" the same as last year? Even if you complete CAM, if you can't make the picnic, you must purchase a coin?

Thanks!


It's always been the general policy during CAM that attendance at the picnic is required in order to be awarded a CAM coin. I have personally experienced this twice in past years that I didn't attend the CAM picnic, needing to purchase a coin. The MGS has tried to show flexibility in past years and relax the policy in some circumstances but with the growth of CAM and the ever growing costs of hosting the event, the policy has to unfortunately be more strictly enforced. The cost of CAM consumes most of the MGS treasury each year, we have been fortunate for so many generous members, through donations and fundraisers the MGS has been able to award free CAM coins at the picnic.

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 Post subject: CAM Coins..
PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 6:08 pm 
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The way to explain CAM is that the 10 caches are what get you to the event but the event itself is really the "completion", thus the handing out of the coin. :) of course that may have changed over the years as its been a few since I've been able to do so :cry:

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 Post subject: Re: CAM Coins..
PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 9:49 pm 
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robert wrote:
The way to explain CAM is that the 10 caches are what get you to the event but the event itself is really the "completion", thus the handing out of the coin. :) of course that may have changed over the years as its been a few since I've been able to do so :cry:


There's still time. .... :P

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 Post subject: Re: CAM Coins..
PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 6:46 am 
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EagleBlazer wrote:
robert wrote:
The way to explain CAM is that the 10 caches are what get you to the event but the event itself is really the "completion", thus the handing out of the coin. :) of course that may have changed over the years as its been a few since I've been able to do so :cry:


There's still time. .... :P

Moving in 3 weeks. Have to pack .... Excuses excuses. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: CAM Coins..
PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 11:15 am 
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I feel pretty agitated on this subject and my views might be viewed as rocking the boat on what some people will assume will always be the CAM model going forward in perpetuity.

I feel that MGS should Charge for CAM coins period, even for those who complete it. Charge a minimal rate, even perhaps a "subsidized rate" for those completing the CAM requirements, but I think "COST" is a fair rate.

In addition, RESERVE for everyone who has completed CAM the chance to purchase this coin at the "completion" price. Give them ample time and ability via official MGS events (at least through the Winter holiday event - I believe in a very open and wide timeline) to purchase the coin at the "completion" rate.

Then use the coin as a fundraiser charging a bit higher price ($5-$10 OVER COST) for those who want additional ones.

Part of this logic, is to cut down on potential abuse of people "picking up coins" and allow some flexibility for those who cache under the same name as families. The handling of that in the past has always been very dicey from an impartial observers perspective.

That is, if MDGPS can find good use for the money, but taking a look at the financial statements, seems to me that much revenue raising by MDGPS is geared to handing out free CAM coins thse days. Take that away, I don't know what MGS needs more than a $1,000 or so of operating budget. So maybe I make a useless point - MGS has the money to burn maybe, so why not burn it?

Still, it never sits well with me about the dea of FREE coins to only those who are free of obligations of the day of the picnic and a crap-shoot if they'll even be able to purchase them (i.e. extras that sell out at the picnic) for those who have time conflicts for a particular day given the level of effort it takes to find all 10 CAM caches over a 6-8 week period.

Individually I spend usually hundreds of dollars on gas alone to complete CAM, let alone incidentals and potential accomodations, that $5-$10 won't break me - if it did - then I shouldn't be investing my efforts in completing CAM in the first place. I have attempted each year to pay COST for my CAM coin, and have done so in the past by means of making the best guess means of cost and donating that to MGS, which is tricky because past officers have misconstrued this as me trying to buy into the 50/50 box and required a bit more explanation than I cared to offer (e.g. money I want 100% dedicated to MGS and not thrown into the pot that 50% does not go to MGS).

I wouldn't suggest trying to figure this out this year, but this is the model going forward I wouldn't mind seeing in 2014.

Besides why did it become tradition to give away free coins? I've been told this is only a fairly recent phenomenon going back only 4 or so years? Is that how we try to boost attendance for the picnic?

For what it's worth, I plan to be in attendance at the picnic this year, so no personal sour grapes as to what is being proposed other than just the principle of the matter.

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 Post subject: Re: CAM Coins..
PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 7:43 am 
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Brie, Blue, Colby, Edam, Gouda, Monterey Jack?


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 Post subject: Re: CAM Coins..
PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 8:58 am 
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No I am NOT whining, I'm raising what I feel is a serious topic which warrants serious discussion, and I KNOW for a fact I don't feel alone on this subject. So stop with the insulting sarcasm and take what I have to say seriously.

I'd appreciate it if the responses handled it accordingly.

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 Post subject: Re: CAM Coins..
PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 12:23 pm 
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I think many members appreciate the free coins and they foster good will, enhance picnic fun, and many freely donate $'s in return. MGS can afford them. Honestly, I don't see a reason to make people pay... for those who CAM completion / picnic attendance doesn't suit their schedule, they can pay for them instead of burning $'s on gas.

Also, only handing free coins out at the picnic, is a little validation that the receivers have actually found all 10 CAM caches of the year, and limits MGS's costs to a certain extent.

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 Post subject: Re: CAM Coins..
PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 3:13 pm 
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Sue,

I think that's a reasonable answer. And looking at the budget, I agree MGS more than certainly can afford them, since it seems from a financial perspective that most of MGS's operating budget is currently structured around the concept to give away free CAM coins (or at least that's how I intrepret the financial statements). I even question my own suggestion because of the discrepancy that while it's a financial burden on MGS to give away free coins, however, if they didn't give them away, what else can MGS do with the money or even the money it could raise by selling coins? Sort of a catch-22 in which case MGS is making money with no way to effectively use it, and I for one don't have an answer to that.

Thinking on it, what we have is the age old question of "What does it mean to successfully complete CAM" which is not a clearly answered question and gets us into some murky territory.

What I struggle with is the idea that those who may be of the opinion they have completed CAM, but aren't able to attend the picnic are shut out of the opportunity to purchase the coin because of an early sell out at the picnic, that is, none are held for them for a later date. I suppose that could be handled by the officers behind the scenes, but there is no guarantee offered that people who found the 10 caches, but unable to attend the picnic have the option to even purchase them at a later date at all. Maybe that's where the rub is for me - which brings up the point:

QUOTING SUE:
Quote:
Also, only handing free coins out at the picnic, is a little validation that the receivers have actually found all 10 CAM caches of the year


I'd might modify this sentence to read "is a little validation that the receivers have actually found all 11 CAM caches of the year" - and that makes sense and perhaps it makes sense to say 10+EVENT or 11 in future communications and it becomes explicitly clear what is meant by completing CAM. I think most people, including myself, have been led to believe that completing CAM is defined as finding the 10 caches and not the 10+1 model.

Why do people think that: It's how the number 10 occures repitiously in the FAQ, and the concept to reinforce that CAM IS THE PICNIC is outweighed by how many times the number 10 is mentioned. What I read and walk away from the FAQ is the following emphasis:
Quote:
What is CAM?
CAM (Cache Across Maryland) is an annual event hosted by the Maryland Geocaching Society. 10 members are chosen by the MGS CAM Committee to place a total of 10 CAM caches in various locations all over Maryland. Your mission is to find all 10 of those caches and have a wonderful time travelling around this fine State. If you find all 10 and gather the special code from each one, the location of the annual CAM celebratory picnic will be revealed and you're invited to attend.



Maybe then the whole issue I raise is moot and is more of a communications issue. If CAM is defined as 10 caches, then those unable to attend the picnic have earned and should have fair access to the coin. If CAM is defined 10+1, then they have not earned access to the coin, and should be lucky at all to get the scraps. I'm okay with that, but the communications and FAQs should be updated to emphasize the 10+1 model.

I think where things stand currently is more of a three state result:
    Group 1: Not completed (can purchase coin)
    Group 2: Finished 10 (Can claim CAM as completed and earn certificate; can purchase coin but not guranteed that option above anyone else including Group 1)
    Group 3: Finished 10+1 (Can claim CAM as completed and earn certificate; earned free (and guranteed? access to) coin).

The trouble is many people in Group 2 are considered CAM complete by the way it is currently interpreted, but perhaps actually aren't in terms of the reward system (or only partially so). So fundamentally, does MGS consider those in Group 2 have earned any reward above and beyond those in Group 1 other than a certificate of completion? Currently, the answer is no. I can dig that, but I'll play devil's advocate by saying there's very little incentive to be a member of Group 2 by the time the CAM picnic comes around. Might as well find the 10 caches at your own leisure, including after the CAM picnic when they have published.

Quoting from the FAQ
Quote:
Is there any sort of reward for finishing?
Of course! You'll get to see a bunch of Maryland, meet people on the trails and at the picnic, and generally have a REWARDING time! If you mean something physical, very often (but not always) there is a reward such as a geocoin, Pathtag, or other such thing presented at the picnic to those that complete CAM. And you get a Certificate of Completion because if you finish you definitely deserve recognition! If there are any special reward items, they are strictly limited to one per geocaching.com account.

What is stated here is that the reward is presented at the picnic, but does not clearly state attendance is required to earn this reward. It also does not clearly indicate that completing CAM for this purpose is in line with the 10+1 interpretation.

May I suggest then the FAQ be updated to be clear as to what does it mean to "complete" or "finish" CAM. Is it 10 CAM caches or 10+1 CAM Caches, because the FAQ does not address this, and my interpretation of the FAQ is that the picnic itself (and by extension, all things included in it) are prizes for finding just the 10 caches. The FAQ should make clear and be consistent with current implementation, that the access to rewards is only available at the event. The FAQ should emphasize that CAM is AN EVENT and to complete CAM means attending the event by fulfilling the requirements.

Now having said this, what do others think, particularly if you believe you would be a member of Group 2 - does this match your own expectation, and if not, does anyone think there be a change in policy to give some incentives to those who might fall into Group 2?

If the officers want to continue with this approach, then those are the rules, but the public communication is not very effective. The answer really only exists in this topic. (and similar ones from years past).

Once again, I stress, that I personally have every intention of attending the picnic so consider myself in Group 3, so I'm not whining... I'm just asking what's fair here for Group 2, because let's face it - time conflicts routinely happen when it comes down to a few hours in a single day and thinking ahead there are times where someone may at the last minute not be able to attend the picnic for whatever reasons arise.

I'll pause but will identify one last can of worms that if things are going to get cleaned up, another look should be directed at this one too:
Quote:
If there are any special reward items, they are strictly limited to one per geocaching.com account.

There's a serious balance issue with this restriction. Just keep in mind that there exists a potential of one to many relationship of individuals to geocaching.com accounts, and some families maintain a many to one relationship for convenience. This hurts the latter, and opens the former to abuse the system. I think it's okay and fair to restrict rewards to one per individual person, even if it subjects MGS to higher costs (and hence nominal charges for coins) due to the liklihood of the latter more likely than the former. Just my two cents because although the current restriction makes it easier to administrate, it doesn't make it the right thing to do. (And yes I acknowledge that people can set up additional accounts to make it one to one; but it sort of feels like a step into being silly to force people to have separate accounts to log 11 caches a year and those people might feel called out for "faking accounts" just to get a free reward - why would we want to force that upon our friends?!??!). There's a lot of deep considerations that go into this and other ways to slice and dice it. Of course it's convenient I suppose for the officers to say leave it be and live with the annual angst that occurs in some circles over this topic.

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 Post subject: Re: CAM Coins..
PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 3:47 pm 
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Whew, lots of points there.... :-)

I'll just add a reply to one part:

bernsa wrote:
....
What I struggle with is the idea that those who may be of the opinion they have completed CAM, but aren't able to attend the picnic are shut out of the opportunity to purchase the coin because of an early sell out at the picnic, that is, none are held for them for a later date. I suppose that could be handled by the officers behind the scenes, but there is no guarantee offered that people who found the 10 caches, but unable to attend the picnic have the option to even purchase them at a later date at all....


I don't know how fast CAM coins have sold out in previous years but I would definitely push for enough to be made so that anyone who wants can at least buy one shortly after the CAM picnic. It would be more work for the officers, but being able to pre-order paid for CAM coins would be great. If it could be done before the coins are ordered, it would give MGS a firmer idea of how many to order.

Of course, you could ask someone who is attending the picnic to buy you a coin...

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 Post subject: Re: CAM Coins..
PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 6:18 pm 
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I have to agree with the well thought out write up.

As a member of the core last year, you find out that fund raising is a huge part of the core's duty to ensure the MGS machine keeps chugging along. The MGS spends an amazing amount of funds on CAM and events during the year. Raising money comes from donations, 50/50's, the summer picnic auction, pathtags, MGS store and spare coins left over from CAM.

I would have no problem with a pro-rated coin for each member of my family that finishes CAM. My girls are old enough and this year, they logged all of their CAM caches. If the MGS went to an "one free" coin per house, I'd pay for the other two or even all three.

If the people who complete CAM are given first dibs on buying 1 coin and some held for the next event so those who completed but could not attend get a chance to grab one. I believe most people don't expect a free coins, just the chance at getting a CAM coin after completing it. I know the certificates are just as important to some people, especially kids.

But, we did learn that the members are willing to donate money or even give back a huge portion of a 50/50 win to keep the MGS running. The MGS grows every year and the donation model still works, thankfully.

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 Post subject: Re: CAM Coins..
PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 6:40 am 
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Donnallyal wrote:
Brie, Blue, Colby, Edam, Gouda, Monterey Jack?

Let's not start this, ok? People are allowed to share their questions and concerns. If you agree, say so. If not, say so. But please do it in a respectful manner.

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 Post subject: Re: CAM Coins..
PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 9:00 am 
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robert wrote:
Donnallyal wrote:
Brie, Blue, Colby, Edam, Gouda, Monterey Jack?

Let's not start this, ok? People are allowed to share their questions and concerns. If you agree, say so. If not, say so. But please do it in a respectful manner.


I apologize for joking. I will in the future take everything serious as well.


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 Post subject: Re: CAM Coins..
PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 8:39 pm 
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Donnallyal wrote:
robert wrote:
Donnallyal wrote:
Brie, Blue, Colby, Edam, Gouda, Monterey Jack?

Let's not start this, ok? People are allowed to share their questions and concerns. If you agree, say so. If not, say so. But please do it in a respectful manner.


I apologize for joking. I will in the future take everything serious as well.


It's not about not joking or being serious. I'm as sarcastic as it gets and some say I have no filter -- but with that said, there are other threads here where "jokes" didn't go over well. The written word has no emotion to it. So if I am standing in front of someone with this exact same conversation, your joke goes over differently than when it's typed, especially if the person knows you and your personality. Everyone has a different opinion and everyone is free to express it -- as long as its without being disrespectful to others. Hope that makes sense :D

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