The se­cret’s out

An­napo­lis Val­ley Scav­enger Hunt cap­ti­vates re­gion

Annapolis Valley Register - - SPORTS AND RECREATION - SARA ERIC­S­SON Sara.Eric­s­son@kingscountynews.ca

There’s no hid­ing the fact that a scav­enger hunt has taken over the An­napo­lis Val­ley.

Chris Dor­man, the man with the plan to hide gifts and write hints for peo­ple to search for their lo­ca­tion, says the now-Val­ley-fa­mous hunt is the cul­mi­na­tion of two sep­a­rate ideas. He orig­i­nally thought of plac­ing hid­den notes and codes through­out the val­ley, and also had a sep­a­rate plan to pay it for­ward and buy some­one’s cof­fee.

Dor­man then found him­self buy­ing four gift cards for $5 each, and the two ideas con­verged – he hid them around the val­ley and posted hints to each one on yard sale pages on Face­book.

“All of a sud­den, peo­ple were fol­low­ing it and wait­ing for when I put the jars out. Once I put them out, they were gone in 30 min­utes,” he says.

His first item, a $5 gift card, was placed in­side a plas­tic bag and hid­den within a sour cream con­tainer, and sealed with duct- tape – mea­sures Dor­man took be­fore he re­al­ized how quickly the items would be found.

“I thought it was go­ing to be out there for months – I didn’t think peo­ple would be rush­ing out to find them,” he said.

This un­ex­pected suc­cess spurred Dor­man to start his own Face­book page, An­napo­lis Val­ley Scav­enger Hunt. The page had been up for just a few hours when Dor­man be­gan re­ceiv­ing mes­sages from busi­nesses want­ing to do­nate gift cards.

Now, prizes that are hid­den range from $5 to $150, and are hid­den and ac­com­pa­nied by a hint, shared on Dor­man’s Face­book page. The lo­ca­tions are al­ways on pub­lic prop­erty, and ob­jects are al­ways hid­den in dif­fer­ent types of spots, in­side dif­fer­ent kinds of con­tain­ers.

The hunt first kicked off at the end of Au­gust, and has since grown to more than 2,000 fol­low­ers, and nearly the same num­ber of do­na­tions. Dor­man says he’s try­ing to slow things down now with win­ter around the cor­ner, but was at one point hid­ing up to nine jars a week.

It’s grown so large that Dor­man gets no­ticed while walk­ing around, even when he’s not hid­ing jars.

“I go out for walks some­times – when I’m not hid­ing any­thing – and I can tell that peo­ple some­times rec­og­nize me, and get on their phones to see whether I’ve just hid­den some­thing and am post­ing about it,” he laughs.

And he says that de­spite the clear po­ten­tial for this to grow into some­thing prof­itable for him is just not what he’d ever want for this move­ment he’s started, and is some­thing he’s “not even re­motely in­ter­ested in.”

Dor­man, rather, fo­cuses on the fun and pos­i­tiv­ity it brings to peo­ple who find the hid­den jars. He says the hunt will re­main a non-profit ini­tia­tive that gives it all right back to the com­mu­nity.

What he is in it for is hear­ing the sto­ries peo­ple share of what led up to them dis­cov­er­ing the jar. He re­mem­bers one from a woman who dis­cov­ered a jar that even­tu­ally led her to $100.

“This lady told me about how she’s hurt her back, and hadn’t been able to get out with her friends walk­ing the way they used to. This was some­thing she could do with her friends, and that was re­ally cool to hear,” says Dor­man.

SARA ERIC­S­SON

Chris Dor­man is the man be­hind An­napo­lis Val­ley Scav­enger Hunt, and hides jars around the re­gion with gift cards and clues in­side them. Jars range in size and style, and some hunts in­volve multi-jar hints.

SARA ERIC­S­SON

The An­napo­lis Val­ley Scav­enger Hunt started when Chris Dor­man wanted the event but also as a way to pay it for­ward. Both ideas con­verged, and the ini­tia­tive was born.

SARA ERIC­S­SON

Chris Dor­man points to a jar un­der the steps in the A.E. Bezan­son park, where he’s hid­den one be­fore.

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