Champaign team takes on international scavenger hunt

Local News

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Last week, you might not have believed your own eyes.

If you were out in Champaign, there’s a chance you saw some not-so-ordinary antics on the street.

Thousands said goodbye to everyday life to compete in an international scavenger hunt. Teams complete challenges and catch the acts on picture or video. Many of those involve random acts of kindness.

For one group, it’s a one-of-a-kind way to fight boredom, turn heads, and show the community they care.

What are the odds you’d see something like this?

Never tell them the odds.

“I’m not quite sure how to say it, but it’s fun.” GISHWHES stands for “Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen.” Once a year, thousands of competitors from around the world complete ridiculous assignments, capturing the moments with pictures and videos.

“It is for creativity, and kookiness, and kindness,” says Kim Robeson Schwenk. “It’s a week long. We have over 200 challenges, and each challenge is worth a certain number of points.”

Dressed as a chicken, she says if you want the points, you can’t chicken out.

“One of the challenges is to help someone across the street as a chicken.”

Rebecca Bedinger is one of her partners in crime.

“It’s fun to shake up your day a little bit,” she says, “I was a wooden nymph playing a flute in the elevator, and the lady was just like, you never know what you’ll see in downtown Champaign.”

Not into it? Don’t worry, you’ve got plenty of other options.

Joyride with an older person. Winter sports in August. Giving cookies to first responders. A ballet barroom brawl.

“We’re doing multiple challenges,” says Bedinger, “Today, we had a biker day in the bounce house at Curtis Orchard. We’re taking car packages to cancer patients. Saying thank you to service volunteers in the community.”

“Any time in my car, it’s packed with ridiculous things,” says Robseon Schwenk, “There always has to be a Champaign hat, because we must represent. Stormtrooper mask. Unless anybody knows a real Stormtrooper. I need them. Today. Retro Tennis today. Sometime.”

And a list of people she can call to do these things at any time. The “See-Yous” team is taking the streets of C-U by Stormtrooper.

“We’ve had really good responses,” says Bedinger, “Everybody usually laughs.”

They’re spreading random acts of kindness, and proving that you don’t have to understand GISHWHES to get with it.

“You’re doing creative stuff, you’re doing kind stuff,” says Robeson Schwenk, “You’re doing silly stuff that you wouldn’t do in everyday life and it gives you a reason to do it”

Besides random acts of kindness, the team did worked on some more organized good deeds. They say they helped raise more than a $100,000 for a woman’s dying wish to continue her dance school for kids in South Africa, and conserve 40,000 acres in Nepal.


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