By Rocco Turner Sturm
You may have noticed a somewhat significantly higher number of people walking around with clipboards and pieces of paper this spring. Longtime Tenny-Lapham resident Tony Sturm is responsible for this. He made a scavenger hunt to help get people out of the house and to know their neighborhood better.
Recently I interviewed Tony Sturm, the creator of this scavenger hunt. After this I also interviewed a few of the people participating in this scavenger hunt. I asked Tony why he chose to make this scavenger hunt. He said: “I had been taking long strolls through our neighborhood with our newborn strapped to my chest and, as it was too early to enjoy any flowers, I noticed a number of lawn ornaments, structures, and building details that were uncommon or interesting. I thought it could be fun to challenge neighborhood kids to hunt for specific things in our neighborhood.” He explained that the idea for the scavenger hunt came from the Sheppleman-Holz family. They had previously made a scavenger hunt based on clues placed in Tenny Park.
I also asked Tony if it went as well as he was expecting and if he might do another one. Tony replied: “I was thrilled with the enthusiasm behind it! I have already been thinking about doing another one, though I don’t think it can be exactly the same.”
Some of the objects on the hunt included carved wooden masks, Mardi Gras beads, an octagon window, a sump pump spilling out onto the street and two dead end signs. I asked Tony how he chose the objects. He explained that he narrowed his walks to an area bordered by Brearly, Gorham, Marston, and Sherman. “I was able to cover every block and look for interesting objects that children and adults could hunt for. Some were obvious. Most neighbors could tell you the block that the PoetTree is on or the Giant Spider. But, some were not. Where is there a bear holding a lantern? I made a list of over 50 items to search for and initially shared it with some of our neighbor families who I thought would find it inspiring. The next few days I was delighted to see a number of kids wandering down the streets with clipboards diligently scanning front yards and facades” Tony said.
Families had a lot of fun participating. I interviewed two of the four families who completed the scavenger hunt. The three people I interviewed were Benjamin Hillebrand (10) and Nasirah (10) and Ruben (7) of the McKinney Royston family.
I asked Ben what his overall opinion of the scavenger hunt was. He said It was hard, fun and he would do it again. Ben and his mother, Angie, said that their family’s strategy had been to look at the list of items and break that up among each of them. Then they went around the neighborhood three times. Nasirah and Ruben also said overall they liked it. They said that the hardest item to find was the bear holding a lantern.
It took them up to the last day. Their strategy was to take pictures of things that seemed suspicious or were interesting/ unusual. They also said they saw things that they thought should be on the scavenger hunt. To all the people who participated in the scavenger hunt and everybody else too, we wish you good health, and stay safe. Disclaimers: The interviews were edited for clarity and the author is the 10-year-old child of scavenger hunt organizer Tony Sturm.