With the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic showing no signs of abating in the next few months, most of the high level orienteering events scheduled for Fall of 2020 have now been cancelled or postponed. Recently cancelled events include: 42nd Annual Billygoat (WCOC), New England Championships (NEOC), Run the Rotary NRE (EMPO) and Chapel of the Four Chaplains Trail-O Championships (CRNA). Other national events have previously made the decision to move to 2021 and beyond.
While it is certainly disappointing not to have these major events to look forward to on the fall calendar, the increase in DIY/BYOM events over the past few months has shown that there is considerable interest in the sport of orienteering in the US. Many clubs across the country, utilizing recommendations developed by OUSA, have held successful summer events fully compliant with local, state and federal guidelines for group activity. As school districts around the country look to resume with a variety of in-person, remote & hybrid teaching formats, educators are increasingly looking for alternative ways to safely engage their students.
Perhaps the silver lining of the pandemic is an opportunity for the orienteering community to focus on building the base by highlighting local fall and winter events and programs like OUSA’s Zero to Orange & Level 1 Coaching programs (currently in transition to an online/hybrid model) and expanding the inventory of local maps through initiatives like the Youth Mapping Program. Experienced orienteers can hone their skills by using readily available technology to re-imagine familiar local maps in new and creative ways such as corridor/maze courses and contour-only maps, easy to administer flag-less courses using software such as UsynligO, O-Range and more.
2021 is gearing up to be a busy year of national level events and we look forward to being able to safely travel to more distant terrains around the country. In the meantime, let us know what your club is doing on a local level and how Orienteering USA can assist in those efforts.
Photo courtesy of Katie Dunn (ROC)