Chamber hosting high-tech adventure race

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Amazing Chase, hosted by the Sebago Lake Region Chamber of Commerce, is a tech adventure race for all abilities, held around the lakes region. The chase is the biggest chamber event to date, said Chamber Executive Director Aimee Senatore. 

The Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce is branching out with a new tech adventure race.

Modeled after “The Amazing Race,” the chamber’s “Amazing Chase,” set for Saturday, Sept. 24, is an adventure scavenger hunt that uses smart technology to guide and instruct the participants.

The use of smart technology and Go-Pro cameras makes the chase the first of its kind in Maine, according to chamber Executive Director Aimee Senatore.

It’s also a major undertaking for the chamber, Senatore said, which has “never put on an event of this caliber before.”

The chamber represents 10 towns around Sebago Lake: Casco, Gray, Limerick, Limington, Naples, New Gloucester, Raymond, Sebago, Standish and Windham.

The primary goal of the chase is to “spotlight the natural resources and scenic wonders of the area,” Senatore said, while also allowing residents and visitors alike to “experience the area in new and exciting ways,” she said.

The event is facilitated and produced in collaboration with SmartHunts, a Massachusetts-based company that primarily facilitates such technology-based scavenger hunts and events for corporate retreats and conventions.

“Logistically, it would have been a nightmare to do the whole thing on paper,” Senatore said of the event. So when she heard of this company, she reached out and asked for their services.

The race will start at 8 a.m. in Windham from the Wyndham Microtel on Roosevelt Trail. Teams of four will have four hours to earn points by completing various challenges in the Sebago Lakes Region.

The cost is $395 to register a team of four.

Each team will receive an iPad with a customized app for playing the game. The Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce has cultivated a list of landmarks and important sites in the Lakes Region which are used to inform the different challenges.

There are five primary checkpoints and several “pit stops,” many sponsored by local businesses, where the teams will stop to solve problems and earn points. Teams will take a photo or video using the iPad to provide evidence of completing the challenge. Some of the challenges include kayaking, zip lining and climbing a rock wall.

But not all the challenges are physical, Senatore stressed. Some of them are mental challenges, such as playing a life-size chess game, or are just plain goofy, like taking a selfie with a local business owner.

“You don’t need to be an athlete to compete,” Senatore said. “There’s no running involved. The ‘chase’ part is to earn points and get back to the finish line in time. No one has to tackle something they’re not comfortable with.”

The competitive teams will strategize about which of the challenges to tackle, Senatore said, based on whether their team’s strengths lie with physical or mental challenges and the simple logistics of getting from place to place.

Teams are coming from New Hampshire, the Lakes Region area and Greater Portland to compete.

To make things even more interesting, SmartHunts will obstruct the teams by sending them detours and challenges through their iPad. For example, a team may head off toward one site, but then get a notification that they have to report to another site to complete a designated challenge before they can undertake any other challenges.

“There will be lots of surprises,” Senatore said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Winners will receive prizes, but there’s also a charitable component to the race. Teams have been asked to raise funds for the chamber’s Feed the Need, an initiative to benefit food pantries in the chamber’s 10 towns.

Helping nourish residents of the Lakes is one reason Katherine Damon, regional business banking officer at Gorham Savings Bank, decided to get a team together to compete on Sept. 24.

Another reason they decided to compete, she said, is because she and three of her fellow employees “have a competitive spirit and thought this would be fun.”

The competition will also serve as a team-building activity, Damon said, that she hopes will “build trust and bridges between departments.”

Gorham Savings Bank is a member of the chamber, and has sponsored other chamber events including Catalyst for Courage and previous Octoberfest events. Damon co-chairs the chamber’s Workforce Development Committee.

While the preparation for this major event has been extensive, Senatore said, she’s excited to tackle the first year of the competition and “hopes it becomes a significant event for the region over the coming years.”

To register or for more information, see www.amazingchasesebago.com.

Amazing Chase, hosted by the Sebago Lake Region Chamber of Commerce, is a tech adventure race for all abilities, held around the lakes region. The chase is the biggest chamber event to date, said Chamber Executive Director Aimee Senatore.

From the SmartHunts Facebook page, an event last fall in Middleburg, Va. The company is working with the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce planning an “Amazing Chase” Sept. 24 in Windham.