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Barber Tract neighbors search for community connections during social scavenger hunt

Lynn Hawklyn (left) and Bonnie Winn won the Barber Tract Neighborhood Association's inaugural scavenger hunt.
(Kurt Iuli Kinsey)

Hoping to discover stronger neighborhood connections, several residents of La Jolla’s Barber Tract participated in an inaugural scavenger hunt for prizes and pleasure.

Organized by Barber Tract Neighborhood Association board member Kurt Iuli Kinsey, the Oct. 9 scavenger hunt featured photos he took of neighborhood features such as a plaque, a distinctive weathervane and a shape cut into a fence.

He placed all the photos together on one sheet and participants walked the neighborhood writing down the address of each feature as they found it.

The Barber Tract's Oct. 9 scavenger hunt asked participants to find unique neighborhood features.
(Courtesy of Kurt Iuli Kinsey)

Iuli Kinsey, who has lived in the Barber Tract for 12 years, said his family does scavenger hunts for parties, and he created this hunt at the suggestion of another BTNA board member, Phemie Davis.

Iuli Kinsey said the hunt was planned as something to take part in as the COVID-19 pandemic eased, since many neighborhood residents didn’t leave their houses much for more than a year.

“It was just another way to get people out and to be connected in person,” he said. “I thought, ‘Hey, let’s see how well they know their neighborhood.’”

Iuli Kinsey created fliers for the hunt and placed them at each of the approximately 300 homes in the Barber Tract, which extends from Westbourne Street to Marine Street and La Jolla Boulevard to the beach.

The day of the hunt, about 35 residents turned out to pick up the photo list, Iuli Kinsey said. The time limit was 2½ hours, which he said “was a good amount of time,” as the winners — BTNA board member Bonnie Winn and her neighbor Lynn Hawklyn — finished in about two hours.

Winn, who has lived in the Barber Tract first from 2001 to 2006 and again since 2014, said, “There’s a lesson here in not giving up.”

“We were tired and cranky,” Winn said, adding that she and Hawklyn were about to throw in the towel. “We looked up from the table and there were two of the three answers that we needed.”

They were determined to find the last item, she said, and they did, turning in their sheet first. They took home a $50 gift card from Seahorse Properties.

The second-place prize, a $25 gift card donated by The Promiscuous Fork restaurant, went to Wade Schneider and Shannon Page.

Third place went to the Putnam family, who won a charcuterie platter donated by Smallgoods.

Lettie McCoy (pictured second from left with fellow scavenger hunt participants) says the event was "outstanding."
(Kurt Iuli Kinsey)

Participant Lettie McCoy didn’t win a prize but said the scavenger hunt was “outstanding. … The prize in itself has just simply been being with neighbors and seeing the charm and individuality of each of these homes and the history involved.”

McCoy, who moved to La Jolla from Illinois in May, said “meeting neighbors … and to be able to walk slowly up and down each of the little lanes and just look at all the beauty here was just amazing to me.”

Winn said she participated because “my neighborhood is very important to me. … It’s something different to support the neighborhood.”

Iuli Kinsey said the scavenger hunt will repeat annually. “It’s going to be harder though,” he said. “Now I gotta go look for new landmarks.” ◆