World Orienteering Day Takes Off in the USA

World Orienteering Day is this Wednesday, May 24! Over 1600 events have been pre-registered around the world, with at least 27 happening in the United States. There is still time to reach out to your local school and set out some controls for kids to try out at recess, or just do a low-key "pop-up" orienteering introduction in a local park. If you are organizing any orienteering introduction, large or small, please register it at WorldOrienteeringDay.com — and remember to return to the website afterward to record how many people participated and other information.

As a benefit for clubs, and to raise awareness for our sport, Orienteering USA coordinated press releases for each region about World Orienteering Day. Any resulting newspaper, TV or radio articles will inform the audience about how they can orienteer at events put on by their local club. (advertising poster; pdf)

In reviewing the wide variety of events that will be held next week, we were struck by the involvement of young people not only as participants, but also as teachers, map-makers, course designers and event workers. How wonderful to see the next generation begin to take responsibility for spreading the word about our sport, and creating opportunities for others to race!

Many of the school events represent new relationships between local clubs and schools, or an evolution of an existing collaboration. All the school events expose more teachers to orienteering and spur their thinking about how to use maps with their students.


A school map by Ed Despard (click to enlarge)

A number of new maps have been created for these events, which can be used for years to come. For example, the Hackett Middle School in Albany NY will use a new map of Lincoln Park furnished by local US Paralympic Nordic Club of Capital Region Nordic Alliance, reports Russ Myer, CRNA President. Ed Despard (CSU) has created a new map for the Putnam Avenue Upper School in Cambridge, MA. College student David Bryant and high schooler Zakwani Gibbs are creating a map in Somerville, MA; and David is making the Cambridge Street Upper School map. While an event could not be pulled together in time, Una Smith was spurred by WOD to create a map in Los Alamos, NM.

Eighteen of the events in the US are targeted to schools or scouts. Two of those events are for preschoolers! The Family Nest, a bilingual early education center located in Long Beach, is running an orienteering event for their 2- to 4-year-old students. The main premise is to introduce young students to map reading skills using a map of their classroom. This is the first time the teachers will be involved in the sport of orienteering. Children at a daycare at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have been looking at subway maps, and on May 24th will use a brand new map made especially for them to learn about orienteering.

Navy JROTC cadets at the Washington Technology Magnet School in St. Paul, under the leadership of Master Chief Gardner LaMarche, will introduce orienteering to over 100 students in grades 6-8, using cool new technology with maps on phones. U.S. Team member Evalin Brautigam has been working every day with third graders during Phys Ed classes on map skills, in preparation for their WOD event. OUSA junior team members Keegan Harkavy and Isabel Bryant, along with former JWOC team member Ethan Childs, will organize three school events in Cambridge, MA. Special education students will be participating in a couple of the middle school events. At the Morse School in Cambridge, MA, the fifth graders have been studying orienteering all year, and on World Orienteering Day they will bring "Animal-O" and map symbol games to children in grades Kindergarten through Fourth.

Nearly 100 homeschool students and parents in Indiana have registered to learn how to race with maps next Wednesday, from Bonnie and Thurston Miller. Don Winslow, Special Ed teacher, will bring orienteering to Lyons Middle School in Rochester, NY. OUSA Board member Lee Todd and his wife will be teaching students at the Marlboro Elementary School in VT. Former USA World College Champs team member Jen Livingston (WPOC) will teach 1st and 3rd graders at Saints Peter and Paul School in Beaver, PA. Chief Michael Rodrigues, USN (Retired) is organizing orienteering at Governor Thomas Johnson High School in Frederick, MD. Scoutmaster Dave Moore is collaborating with Kim Rudd of the Loppet Trail Kids, to bring orienteering to Theodore Wirth Park in Golden Valley, MN, so that several scouts as well as Trail Kids can try out what they have practiced. The Newton Country Day School girls took an intensive two-day orienteering course earlier in May and will orienteer again on Wednesday in celebration of the global event. Cascade Orienteering Club members will work with Brookside Elementary School, North Kitsap High School, and Tahoma Middle School in Washington state.

Nine events will be open to the public, and all are designed to be attractive to newcomers.  There will be park sprint races in Arlington, MA (CSU) and Bellevue, WA (COC). In Central Park NY, participants will navigate to clues hidden throughout the park to put together a solution to a puzzle. A number of events will take place on high school or college campuses, including the Kenston School in Chagrin Falls, OH (NEOOC), and Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH. Events will also take place at Pleasant Valley Farms in Berne, NY (Empire OC); Laurel Hill in Lorton, VA; and Liberty Lake County Park in Spokane County, WA. Students at the New Prague Alternative Learning Center, under the guidance of Minnesota Orienteering Club members, have designed orienteering courses for the Ney Nature Center in Henderson, MN. Dominick Boettcher, senior at New Prague ALC and leader of the orienteering course implementation said, "Some schools are diving further and further into the digital age at the expense of experimentation with the outside world and nature. Outdoor experiences create adventure with just the slightest bit of imagination. I believe that an orienteering course is one of the better ways to take students from behind a desk and phone and put them outside behind a map. The skills that are taught in orienteering include patience, map knowledge, and confidence through successes and failures. These skills will follow the participants in their lives, hopefully sparking a love of nature along the way."

Finally, we want to acknowledge those who tried to set up an event but ran into difficulties. Thank you for trying. Your efforts may yet turn into a positive outcome at another time; having the conversation with schools and other groups is the important first step!

Schools

  • JROTC Governor Thomas Johnson High School, Frederick MD. Chief Michael Rodrigues, USN (Retired)
  • Albany NY: Hackett Middle School, new map of Lincoln Park furnished by local U S Paralympic Nordic Club, Captial Region Nordic Alliance. Russ Myer, president of CRNA
  • Marlboro Elementary School, VT. Lee Todd (Board member)
  • 1st & 3rd graders at Saints Peter and Paul School in Beaver PA. Put on by Jen Livignston of WPOC; former USA team member at World College Champs.
  • Bethel CT: Rockwell Elementary School. Evalin and Pavlina Bruatigam, current & former U.S. Team members. Evalin has been working every day with the 3rd graders during PE classes on map skills, in preparation. WCOC is the local club.
  • MN: Twin Cities area. Navy JROTC cadets at the Washington Technology Magnet School in St. Paul, under the leadership of Master Chief Gardner LaMarche, will introduce orienteering to over 100 students in grades 6-8, using cool new technology with maps on phones.
  • Scoutmaster Dave Moore is collaborating with Kim Rudd of the Loppet Trail Kids, to bring orienteering to Theodore Wirth Park in Golden Valley, so that several scouts as well as Trail Kids can try out what they have practiced.
  • Lyons Middle School, Rochester NY. Don Winsolow, special ed teacher at the school and member of ROC.
  • South Bend IN: local homeschool students. About 100 Almost 100 homeschool students and parents from St Joseph, Elkhart, Marshall and Berrien counties have registered to learn how to race with maps on World Orienteering Day, May 24, 2017. Bonnie and Thurston Miller of Osceola IN have organised and will provide instruction at this event.
  • The Family Nest, a bilingual early education center located in Long Beach, is running an orienteering event for their 2 to 4 year old students. The main premise is to introduce their young students to map reading skills using a map of their classroom. This is the first time the teachers will be involved in the sport of orienteering. Los Angeles.
  • Note: MIT - also very young children
  • Girl scouts at Marie Kerr Park in Palmdale, CA. Antelope Valley Girl Scouts, leaders, and parents will be attending the event in Marie Kerr Park. Clare Durand
  • Cambridge MA: PAUS,
  • Cambridge, MA: CSUS
  • Cambridge MA: Morse school
  • Newton MA: NCDS
  • Brookside Elemenatry School, Lake Forest Park WA
  • Tahmoa Middle School, Maple Valley WA
  • North Kitsap High School

Open to public - beginners encouraged

  • Central Park NY, open to public. Treasure Hunt Adventures, Chris Cassone. Particpants navigate to clues hidden throughout the park to put together a final solution.
  • CSU Arlington MA
  • Pleasant Valley Farms, Berne NY (Empire O Club, also a CRNA Alliance member)
  • Laurel Hill, Lorton VA
  • Chagrin Falls OH: Kenston school campus. The map is great for navigation with a variety of terarain featuers. Andreas Johansson, NEOOC
  • Bellevue, WA
  • Students at the New Prague Alternative Learning Center, under the guidance of Minnesota Orienteering Club members, have designed orienteering courses for the Ney Nature Center, Henderson, MN.
  • Dartmouth College’s Outdoor Programs office will host a World Orienteering Day event on its campus on May 24, which is open to the public.
  • Spokane

posted 22 May 2017