So you’ve got a PokéStop at your local BSA council office, your Scout camp, or another key Boy Scout landmark in your community? Well, you definitely want to capitalize on the popularity of Pokémon GO, the latest craze to overtake mobile phones!
No doubt that over the past few days, you’ve seen people with their faces gazing intently into mobile phone screens, hunting for Pokémon and using the unique augmented reality of the Pokémon GO app to catch ’em all! It’s actually a fun way to get people up and about, moving around and traversing the cities and countryside.
Of course, Boy Scouts of America has long been a proponent of being active in the outdoors as well as focusing on key STEM topics. Pokémon Go sits right at the intersection of those two elements, and, as we’re learning from the responses coming in on this Scouting Magazine Facebook post, Scout locations all over the country are key stops that are integrated into this fun new Pokémon GO game!
So how can you take advantage of this to help show off the benefits of Scouting to the people in your community that are visiting your Scouting locations as they actively engage with this new game? Here are 7 key ways you can take advantage of Pokémon GO today!
- The first thing to do (if you haven’t already) is to download Pokémon GO on your phone and begin familiarizing yourself with the interface. It’s easy to learn, and a quick download and view of the map will show you if you have any PokéStops or Gyms near you. Because the game map is actually a map of the real world, the PokéStops and Gyms, while virtual, are located at real-life locations. For instance, at the BSA National Service Center, there are two PokéStops in the front parking lot (statue, sign), and the National Scouting Museum hosts a Pokémon Gym. A PokéStop is a location where players collect items to help them in the game. Gyms are areas where players can engage in Pokémon “battles” to take control of the Gym.
- Those who are playing the game will have to physically travel to locations on the map to access PokéStops and Gyms, so if your council office, camp, or other Scout landmark happens to also be one of these PokéStops or Gyms, people will have to visit it in real life to access the items.
- Place some simple signage near your PokéStops to help make them easily identifiable to people.
- It’s summer, and that means it’s hot in a lot of places. Maybe put out some free bottled water for people who are out walking between game locations.
- Have a greeter outside at the PokéStop or Gym location and/or place a small table outside with information on how to join Scouts.
- Share Facebook posts and Tweets about your PokéStops or Gyms. Be sure to include screen-grabs from the app to display what those look like. The text of the post should read something like this: You or someone you know playing Pokémon GO? Be sure to stop by and check out our Pokéstop (or Gym)! #PokemonGo #BeAScout
- Attract Pokémon to your location with in-game lure modules. By activating these attractors at designated times (share times via social media), you can help to encourage people to stop by your location at those specific times so they can try to capture more Pokémon.
Whether you’re going from one Pokéstop to another or battling it out on the Gym floor, it’s always important to make safety a priority. As Bryan on Scouting explains in his article on game safety, Scouts should never play Pokémon Go alone and are encouraged to notify a parent or adult of their whereabouts. Further, Cub Scouts should only play the game when accompanied by an adult.
As an additional note, Scouts should also be mindful of where they are playing and not trespass on private property. If the Pokéstop or Gym access point happens to be on private property where you would prefer to avoid unauthorized outside visitors, it would be Helpful and Friendly to display signage that reminds Pokémon Go players that your location is private property but directs them to a nearby public Pokéstop or Gym.
If you want to completely remove your private property location as a Pokéstop or Pokémon Gym from the game, you can send a request to the game developer to have it removed by filling out this form.
This game is causing people to get out in large numbers and visit places they’ve never been before, and that means you may have a chance to meet and talk with some of them about Scouting. Thanks to this game, these people are coming directly to you, and hopefully you can Be Prepared to take advantage of that!
You can check out a little more information on this game and the Scouting connections in this article from Bryan on Scouting.
What other tips do you have that you can share for how to make the most of Pokémon GO in your community? Share them with us in the comments.