What is GISH anyway?

Maybe you have heard of GISH (previously know as GISHWHES), or maybe you have seen people talking about it on social media and wondered, what the hell is going on?

Here's how it started for me. About 4 years ago, I was in a proverbial "bad place". I was working long hours in what was perhaps the most unfulfilling time of my career. I’ll spare you the details, but there was bullying, backstabbing and probably something else that started with a B. I'm a goal oriented person, so nothing drags me down more than feeling like all my work is for nothing. Being treated poorly wasn't helping either.

When a friend asked if I wanted to join her GISH team, I was not super on-board. A week long intensive scavenger hunt was just more work, and let me tell you, my coffers of energy and enthusiasm were LOW. But I said yes. And damn was I glad I did.

GISH is about doing weird things (I was once in a actual coffin covered in popcorn), but it's also about teamwork, community, making connections, charitable works, and most of all, kindness. Your team can be made up of people from all over the world, and I've been able to use it to connect with old friends and make some new ones. There are items suitable for introverts and extroverts alike, the more and less artistic, and lots of items that support local giving and good works.

To give you a little more idea the charitable works GISH has done, this year before the hunt even started money from sign-ups and donations went to clear un-exploded bombs from 25 family farms in Laos. This allows farmers to work their land without fear of, well….exploding. It also makes the land safe for kids to play on. So that’s a pretty great thing and there is still the annual “change a life” item to come this year. In previous years GISHers have sponsored Syrian refugee families, saved a dance school in South Africa and helped empower women who were victims of Rwandan genocide.

Below you will see some pics from previous hunts including a paper dress, a fear made out of bread, inspirational rocks, a modern recreation of a classic painting, and of course, the infamous popcorn filled coffin . Nothing can be shared from the current year until the hunt is over…though I can say I have spent a lot of time with cement and LEGO over the past few days (not necessarily used together).

This is all a long way to say that if you have even vaguely considered participating, give it a go. If you are particularly nervous, choose a “just for fun” team (that’s what I run). Who knows, maybe it will change your life too.