Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tech Scavenger Hunt benefits Alvarado School

Get Your Geek On!
@ Tech Search Party

February 6, 2010 - 5:30 to 8:00 pm
Noe Valley, San Francisco


Here's your chance to show off your mad geek skills while trekking around San Francisco's Noe Valley with your friends and phone.

It's a scavenger hunt-meets crossword puzzle-meets street party.

It works like this:

Arrive on time at the auditorium at Alvarado Elementary School (entrance is on 22nd between Douglass and Eureka). At 6:00 pm sharp participants will be given a map with some challenging clues to decipher. Solving those clues will lead you to various locations in Noe Valley. When you arrive at the mystery location, you take a photo of the answer with your phone and email it back to an address provided at the beginning of the event. The first team to solve all clues is the winner.

Why: For fun, mostly. And for prizes. And also because all the money raised goes toward improving technology for students at Alvarado Elementary. That means your ticket price is tax-deductible.

Did you say prizes? Why, yes. Geeknet has kicked in gift certificates, which means the Tauntaun Sleeping Bag is up for grabs. Electronics Arts has donated a wide variety of games. The folks at Metromint and David Rio are providing a selection of mint water, tea and chai to participants. And courtesy of the Sarah & Vinnie Show, we have an Alice gift pack including two tickets to see Bon Jovi (Feb. 22 in San Jose).

Cost: The fee is $50 for a team of up to 4 and $75 for a team of up to 6. A bargain for memories that will last a lifetime. Don't forget to come up with a great team name. Be creative; you might get bonus points.

Rules: You’ll need a phone that can take a picture and send email. Be on time, or you’ll be screwed behind your fellow competitors. Teams have to stick together and stay on foot. Bring a flashlight (or flashlight app). Charge up your phone batteries. Respect the neighborhood.

The Tech Search Party will conclude at the Dubliner on 24th near Church. The winning team gets a free round of drinks; each team gets one free drink; and everyone gets to see the answers.

More info


  1. I guess it is ideas like this that separate the trophy schools from the others. What a great idea! And something that probably costs a lot less than those stupid money-sucking third party gift wrapping peddling ventures that a lot of other school PTAs waste their time on! Amy -- it might make sense for folks from the trophy to post "best fundraising practices" on here so people can see how to do it better. Scavenger hunts, auctions work a lot better than those old methods, which just line the pockets of third party corporations!

  2. I think a thread about best practices for fundraising would be awesome. I know we could use some help at our preschool. Kate, (aka Amy) can you start a new thread?

  3. I'm one of the parents at Alvarado behind the scavenger hunt, and glad to hear you like the idea. We think it's going to work out, but since it's the first time we've done it, it's probably premature to put it in the 'best practices' category. Let's see how things go on Saturday ;-)

  4. Have been school fundraising since Mary was a new mom and I love this idea. This and McKinley's dog party are both genius! Best of Luck!

  5. Tell us about the dog party!

    I too love Alvarado's idea.

  6. So... how much did the scavenger hunt raise?

  7. I heard it raised $12K!

  8. I'd love to tell you about Dogfest - A celebration of dogs and kids.

    This is a community event, so we are not purely dependent on parents' dollars. We host a dog show and competition, all very lighthearted and a kids carnival, music and great food all in Duboce Park. This year's event is being held on the 17th April. Please check out our website:

  9. How much does the Dogfest raise each year?

  10. Alvarado's Tech Search Party raised between $10 and $12K. (Some of the sponsorship money is still trickling in.)

    Great write up in CNET this morning at: http://tinyurl.com/yhbh7so

    Ballpark estimates are that about 80% of the money was raised from outside the Alvarado community, which was a key goal of this event.

  11. Good for you! The reason I thought it was genius was it was connected directly to something tangible needed at the school, it involved adults and kids together, and it didn't cost an arm and a leg to do it.

    Sadly, I send kids selling things away no matter what -- I'm repelled by places that turn kids into hucksters. Sure, a few end up discovering their great sales skills, but for most kids it's embarrassing. Plus, the one time I *did* order something from a fundraiser (Alvarado's, actually, 5 or 6 years ago) I never received the merchandise. I'd rather have just written a check to the school directly, but back then I didn't know any better.

  12. Wow- these Alvarado parents live in a sparkly ultra-privileged world, don't they? SFUSD thinks that the current assignment system results in diverse schools??HA. This is such a great example of what a farce that is. Come take a look at my kids' school, where we cannot even get most parents to put in $3 a year for their PTA membership. My first graders get ONE field trip the whole year (ONE). We can't do others, b/c the parents won't pay $5 for their kid to go on a bus trip to the woods. Spare the details about Alvarado's fund raisers, PLEASE. Let them all find more money to benefit their kids who already have/get it ALL.