COS scavenger hunt strengthens community connections
For the second consecutive year, Communion of Saints (COS) school families hit the streets of Cleveland Heights for a scavenger hunt, solving clues about their city while supporting local businesses.
In 2021, following numerous pandemic cancellations, COS’s parent-teacher organization looked for a way to bring families together safely, and help local businesses that had struggled due to the pandemic.
Using the app GooseChase, family teams followed clues compiled by the scavenger hunt’s organizers. While some clues were local-trivia questions, solved by plugging the correct answer into the app, most of the riddles could only be solved by scavenger-hunt missions: lacing up running shoes, hopping on bicycles, or driving to different locations around the Heights.
Tapping into the city’s rich history, teams solved clues that led them to places such as the Preyer House, Roxboro tennis courts, The Alcazar, the Coventry Village and Lee Road libraries, Noble Fire Station, William Quilliam’s house, Lakeview Cemetery, and other landmarks.
Kids and adults had fun discovering little-known facts about their neighborhoods. Karen Secor, a COS parent and Heights resident, said, “Completing last year’s and this year’s scavenger hunts has brought a renewed appreciation for the many hidden treasures our city has to offer.”
As a way to support local businesses that had supported COS in the past, the school prepaid for items at Mitchell’s Chocolates and On the Rise Bakery, and then led participants to those locations for complimentary treats. Similarly, families were encouraged to stop by certain restaurants for dine-in or take-out meals, earning their teams points when they did.
Prizes were awarded to the winning teams—baskets filled with items and gift cards from additional local businesses. “We wanted to find a way to support our neighborhood businesses. They’re always so good to us, and we wanted to say 'Thank you, we support you too,' ” said co-organizer Tara Pesta.
This year’s scavenger hunt, which began at 3 p.m. on April 29 and finished at noon on May 1, sent participants to On the Rise, Tommy’s, Mitchell’s Chocolates, Voodoo Brewery, Cilantro Taqueria, BottleHouse Brewery, Sophie la Gourmande, S’il Vous Play, and Koko Bakery.
Gift cards and more were purchased from The Wine Spot, Anatolia Cafe, Marotta’s, The Stone Oven, CLE Urban Winery, Rising Star Coffee, and Appletree Books.
Eileen Ryan Ewen is a local artist and children's book illustrator living in Cleveland Heights. She volunteers at Communion of Saints, where her children attend school.