GISH. The Greatest International Scavenger Hunt. It is at once a noun ("I'm taking part in GISH this year"), a verb ("Can't talk, I'm GISHing"), and adjective ("That's very GISHy"). For those of you who need further explanation, GISH is a week-long Guinness World Record-winning international scavenger hunt bringing the oddest, bravest, and most creative people together to do good in the community, conquer fears, and create strangely wonderful works of art. Over 100 countries participate in GISH. Some choose to play for fun, others to win. Either way, no one walks away from a week of GISHing unchanged.

Here's how it works. You register. You form a team. If you don't have the required number of people on your team (10-15), individuals who registered without a team will be assigned to yours. They could be from anywhere in the country or the world (thus the "International" part).  On the first day of GISH a list of nearly 200 challenges is posted on the GISH website. Each challenge has a point value. Your team's goal is to complete as many challenges on the list to accrue as many points as possible by the close of the game. The challenges can be anything from bringing breakfast to a firehouse to championing a diaper drive for a woman's shelter to creating knit dominatrix gear (...or domiKNITrix - more on that to follow). Your team chooses what they'd like to do and sets out to take pictures, record video, or Photoshop their way to glory.

Here's just a sample of what my team got up to during one of the most inspirational, whimsical, eccentric, and soul fulfilling weeks ever...GISH 2018:

"If you’re blue & you don’t know where to go to, why don’t you go where fashion sits? Putin on the Ritz. Create a portrait of Vladimir Putin on a single Ritz cracker." - Completed by Lauren Joanna

Lauren Joanna-GISH 2018

"We’ve seen a dominatrix, but what about a domiKNITrix? Show us the whips, the chains, corsets, the… yarn? Yep. Everything must be lovingly handcrafted from yarn." Completed by Stefani Bishop who calls this "A Single Shade of Grey."

Stefani Bishop-GISH 2018

"Make a portrait of an actor, politician, or public figure that inspires you most out of flower petals. Then, tweet a picture or post an Instagram picture of your portrait to them with the hashtag #GISHspired." - Completed by Lauren Joanna who said, quote, "3 and a half hours of gluing petals down. I am never doing that again."

Lauren Joanna-GISH 2018

"A mobius stripper." - Completed by Stacy Bartell

Stacy Bartell-GISH 2018

"Using only skittles soaked in water for paint, create a portrait of Jensen Ackles on watercolor paper." - Completed by Lauren Joanna

Lauren Joanna-GISH 2018

A different take on the plain old birdhouse. - Completed by James and Stefani Bishop. "We'll call it Le Chateau de Oiseau by the Sea." - James

Stefani Bishop-GISH 2018

"The thesaurus is a type of dinosaur, and we don't want to hear any so-called “evidence” to the contrary. Dig one up and prove us right." - Completed by Lauren Joanna

Lauren Joanna-GISH 2018

"If there’s something more adorable than a “sock monkey hat”, we don’t know what that is. It for sure can’t be a sock chicken hat or a sock slug hat… or can it? Create the new sock-animal hat the world has been waiting for." - Completed by Stefani Bishop, who said, "How about a Jellyfish?"

Stefani Bishop-GISH 2018

"Beard garden." - Completed by Stacy Bartell and Stefani Bishop

Stefani Bishop-GISH 2018

We launched a three-tiered wedding cake off a sling shot, I donned a sickness mask to meet the challenge of "love is in the air," and my mother helped me make a wind chime out of household items. We solved puzzles, invented new words, and defined wabi sabi.

GISH happens every summer, and the registration money goes to worthy causes around the globe. Registered participants must be 14 or older, but that shouldn't stop you from getting the whole family involved. What a great way to spend one of the last weeks of summer with your children; giving back while creating art and memories. Sign up to receive email announcements for 2019 GISH.

Thanks to my team members for making this a fun and memorable week!

Bonus Video: Definitely Bishop Getting in Touch with Your Inner Dork