'Virtual' scavenger hunt brings families together in isolation

Israel ScaVentures' two online Quarantine Quest games had more than 1,000 participants in 200 teams.

MISSION: TAKE a photogrid picture of your entire team in colors of the desert. Each team member should hold up his/her ‘child of the desert’ name (photo credit: Courtesy)
MISSION: TAKE a photogrid picture of your entire team in colors of the desert. Each team member should hold up his/her ‘child of the desert’ name
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Tali Kaplinski Tarlow, the founder of Israel ScaVentures, had a big dream. In fact, it was a global dream: to run a “virtual” Jewish scavenger hunt for families across the world. She had placed this dream on hold as she grew her Scavenger Hunt business in Israel with “in person” hunts led by guides in the Old City, Jerusalem’s Nahlaot neighborhood, Jaffa and Safed.
Then the coronavirus hit and it was time to pivot her strategy. With the current stay-at-home orders in many countries, and kids home from school, the time was right.
Israel ScaVentures ran two online Quarantine Quest games in the last month; one the week before Passover that lasted for seven days, and then again during the intermediate days of the holiday for two days. The games had more than 1,000 participants in 200 teams playing in three languages (Hebrew, English and Spanish) from seven countries (Israel, the US, Mexico, South Africa, Australia, England and Germany).
The teams competed against each other with missions and solving clues without leaving their homes.
So how do you get families from across the world to compete together in such a large game? Leave that to Tali and her incredible staff.
Families were encouraged to team up with friends and family living in other cities and even in other countries to enlarge their options. Using a sophisticated application, Tali and her team sent out missions to the families to compete in.
Wanting to know more, we asked Tali to give us some examples of the missions.
“Our games are built with a unique mix of mission types: sports missions, crafting, acting, dancing and researching,” said Tali. “We always make sure to have missions that cause people to think about how they can do something good in the world now, today, [as] part of the game!”
An example of one of the popular missions was the Desert Dash. Some 3,000 years after the Exodus from Egypt, this has finally been declared an Olympic sport. Follow the rules of the sport and demonstrate with 10 people how it works.
TIP: The sportsmen and women do NOT need to be a part of your nuclear team. Ask some friends to help. You can use the chat function to tell us how many houses participated in this mission.
BONUS POINTS: Bonus points are awarded to teams that are extra creative, funny and “professional.”
Teams submitted their answers via the app, where Tali’s professional staff rated the answers and applied points to the teams.
After such a successful launch, players from around the world can look forward to Quarantine Quests for all the upcoming special days and festivals: Independence Day, Lag Ba’omer, Yom Yerushalayim and Shavuot.
For these specially themed games, Israel ScaVentures is looking for ambassadors who can put together groups of participants. They can be your friends, family, colleagues or clients. The idea is to bring fun to your community or bring family members from across the world together for a shared experience.
But it doesn’t stop there. Israel ScaVentures has also developed private, virtual, personalized scavenger hunts for bar/bat mitzvah groups whose celebrations have been cancelled or “gone virtual,” allowing families abroad to join in the celebration.
For Jewish singles, Tali has created a version of the game together with Daniella Rudolph from Marriage Architect. This version creates an informal and fun way for singles to extend their social circle while having some creative fun. The game will be played on Sunday, April 26, and teams will be formed with lots of thought and attention paid to dating needs.
We ended our interview with Tali by asking her how the Quarantine Quest fits into her overall personal mission.
“The ScaVentures missions have always been to educate, to engage and to Inspire. The Quarantine Quest dovetails with this mission as our staff continues to provide content that results in an experience that is fun, meaningful, inspiring and engaging for all kinds of groups.”
Let the games begin!                        
For more information, visit Israelscaventures.com or write to [email protected] 
The writer is founder of Fun In Jerusalem (funinjerusalem.com) and Party In Jerusalem (partyinjerusalem.com).
She lives in Jerusalem with her husband and three children.
[email protected]