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Editor's Note: Scavenger hunt honors young man's sense of adventure

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014 10:04 a.m. CST

This is not a happy story. But sometimes stories with an unhappy beginning can have a hopeful ending.

In June, Laura Bartosik lost her son Seth to suicide. Seth was 20, and had just applied to culinary school. He loved adventure, his mother said, and loved being with his friends.

“He always encouraged his friends to do whatever was in their hearts and to be the best they could be,” Laura said. 

One of Seth’s friends told Laura she enrolled in cosmetology school in part because Seth had always told her how beautiful her makeup looked and suggested she would be good at making other people look beautiful, too.

“He had a knack for seeing the best things in people, things they couldn’t see,” Laura said. “Even if he couldn’t see that in himself, he could see it in others.”

One of the adventures Seth and his friends enjoyed was Facebook scavenger hunts. In this kind of scavenger hunt, clues are given over Facebook to lead teams to locations, where they make a video of themselves, or to items they are to collect.

A few weeks after Seth died, Laura said, some of his friends asked if anyone would be interested in doing a hunt in his honor. Laura said she asked if her home could be a stop on the hunt.

“We love having the kids around, and it’s really been helping us through this,” she said.

Then one of Seth’s friends called her and said they had something bigger in mind.

This weekend will be the first Sethtastic Scavenger Hunt around the DeKalb area. The first clues have already been posted to the Sethtastic Facebook page, which at the time of this writing had 210 likes. They include such things as “gray and green,” “sometimes it hurts,” and “it takes four wheels to get there.”

“By 4:45 (p.m.) Friday, if people don’t know where they’re going, we’ll say, ‘Start here,’ but I think by then they will have figured out the clues to where they’re going,” Laura said. “There will be a list of things to find and activities to do throughout the weekend, with bonus points for doing good deeds.”

At 3 p.m. Sunday, she said, there will be a viewing party where all the participants and organizers can watch the teams’ videos, go through the items the teams found, tally up points and issue prizes.

Each team of three to four people will pay $10 to play. At the viewing party, Laura said, the teams will vote on whether they want the proceeds to fund a scholarship to culinary school or a scholarship to pay someone’s youth hockey fees for a year – Seth played hockey from the time he was 6 until his junior year of high school, she said.

The description of the group on its Facebook page says it is “t o bring awareness to a growing epidemic in our community and to honor our charismatic friend Seth and his willingness for adventure.” Suicide Prevention Services will also receive a donation from the event. The family is establishing a foundation to carry on the scavenger hunt and to help other families hurt by suicide, or hopefully, prevent other people from taking their lives.”

To play in the hunt, search Facebook for the Sethtastic Scavenger Hunt community. Donations can also be made through gofundme.com or by sending checks made out to Laura Bartosik to Resource Bank, 10 W. North Ave., Cortland, IL 60112.

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