Local family featured on Google for digital scavenger hunt creation


  • News   Wed, May 12th, 2021   Rose Danen
Matt Teskey stands in front of the historic New Hamburg Waterwheel which marks the starting point of the Wilmot Township-themed digital scavenger hunt he created with his family. (Photo credit: Rose Danen)


Matt Teskey stands in front of the historic New Hamburg Waterwheel which marks the starting point of the Wilmot Township-themed digital scavenger hunt he created with his family. (Photo credit: Rose Danen)


The Teskey family created a Wilmot Township-themed digital scavenger hunt at the beginning of the pandemic, and now, almost a year later, the scavenger hunt is still seeing traction- including a mention by Google.
“We’ve been overwhelmed by the support from the community,” said Matt Teskey.
Teskey, who is a program manager for Google’s Firebase, created the scavenger hunt along with his wife and two children using Google Forms after being inspired by a digital Harry Potter escape room.
“We did it as a family and I was like ‘This is fun. Oh my gosh, I could build something like that,” said Teskey.
After lots of brainstorming, the New Hamburg-based family decided to create a digital scavenger hunt that showcased Wilmot Township.
“There’s not a lot of things that a kid in Wilmot can load up and say ‘Holy cow! This is about my neighbourhood,” said Teskey. “We thought it would be really unique to have a hyper-local thing for the kids in the neighbourhood.”
Teskey said his family went into it expecting to spend a weekend building something for their friends and family to do. But after sharing the scavenger hunt on Facebook, it quickly spread throughout the community. Almost two hundred people left comments, but Teskey suspects two to three times that many people did the scavenger hunt.
“My kids just loved it. They loved seeing all the people commenting.”
The scavenger hunt spread both inside and outside Wilmot’s borders, according to the scavenger hunt’s comment section.
“When I scan the list, I see New Hamburg, Kitchener, Waterloo, Tavistock, Wellesley. I also see people from Alberta, Elmira, B.C., Pennsylvania, Grand Bend, Boston, Toronto, Arthur.”
Shannan Zister-Kasper isn’t surprised by the success of the scavenger hunt.
“Our family thoroughly enjoyed it and I’ve seen lots of really positive messages from other people who have played -about how much their family enjoyed it as well,” said Zister-Kasper.
Zister-Kasper’s family did the scavenger hunt one night during a virtual game night with other families in their New Hamburg neighbourhood.
“We loved it because it was actually about New Hamburg. There’s not many things online that are about such local places and events and history,” said Zister-Kasper. “My sons will point out the street names or how many buckets are on the water wheel. So now when we’re exploring our community, they’re making the connection back to the scavenger hunt.”
Zister-Kasper decided to adapt the scavenger hunt for the grade 9 Canadian geography classes that she and her husband teach at Resurrection CSS and Eastwood Collegiate.
“It’s been a challenging year to keep all the students engaged with all the online learning. So Matt inspired me,” said Zister-Kasper.
Zister-Kasper created Amazing Race Canada-themed version and edited the questions to match the curriculum.
“We got really positive feedback. The students really enjoyed it,” said Zister-Kasper. “I think it’s awesome that Matt took the initiative fully out of the goodness of his heart to do something to bring the community together, and to put Wilmot on the map.”
Teskey was recently featured by Google for creating the successful scavenger hunt with his family.
(The scavenger hunt is available at docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc5rTwsMuTzsGDyAs808qtU6lL4sXOYDtnfL_su7chBNZv_Qg/viewform)