Who you decide to GISH with is directly related to why you’re GISHing in the first place. If you’re in it to have fun, then definitely drag your friends along for the ride. If you’re in it to win, it might be best to leave your friends to help out and to join up with a wide-spread team.
GISHing with Nearby Friends:
Throughout GISH, there will always be several items that require numerous people. This year, I needed 10 people to help pick up trash in a public park. The year before, I needed to craft a dining room table out of people and have two different people sitting at the table enjoying supper. (So…four to make the table, two for chairs, two to sit in chairs, and of course we needed a server as well!) When you GISH with your friends, you know that they are on board.
That said, if you are GISHing competitively, you might run into the issue of your friends having other items to complete when you need all of them to help you with yours. I ran into this issue my second year. I needed at least five people for a photo, but a large chunk of the group had already committed to completing another item at the exact same time across town. When everyone you know is GISHing with you, it’s hard find other people to lend a hand.
You also run the risk of always needed one extra person to be your photographer.
The obvious plus is that whilst completing items of shenaniganery and wild abandon, you could become much closer to those same friends. You’ll learn who has absolutely no shame. You’ll learn who has an intrinsic fear of cold-calling companies that send rockets into outer space (Spoiler Alert: It’s me.) GISH can be great for team building and it’ll be an experience you will never forget.
GISHing with Wide-Spread Strangers:
There are several pros and cons to GISHing with people all over the world. First and foremost is the networking aspect. After joining my competitive team, I can now say that I have contacts and friends all over the world. I know (know being relative, of course) people in London, Liverpool, Bolivia, Tel Aviv, Vancouver, Melbourne, Poland, Germany, and several all over the continental US. These are people whom I speak to on a daily basis who work in a wide variety of fields who have a knowledge base as expansive as it is deep. This has proven fruitful in more ways than one.
There are always items on the list that require an expansive reach. Two years ago, we needed someone in Tokyo and China. Last year, we needed someone in the states to go on a nine-state road trip (boy, was THAT fun!). There tends to always be some form of meetup in Washington state or near the Vancouver area. As such, when you have a wide-spread team with each team member having contacts of their own, it’s much easier to complete the items that require distance.
Additionally, when none of your friends are competing with you, you can blackmail ask politely for their help with your items. This year, I needed ten friends for trash collecting. I put up a Facebook event and ended up with 15 volunteers.
I will say this though. GISHing by yourself can be quite lonely. It might be nice to, even if they aren’t on your team, have a designated helper/photographer who can donate their time to helping you on your items the week of. Mine was Kristin (a previous teammate and roommate) who yearned to help out but couldn’t justify taking a week off work to be on the team.
Whichever side you choose to fall on, keep in mind that without communication of intent/competitiveness level, your team will more-than-likely fall apart at the seams when first faced with the item list.