OUSA Updates Policy for SARS-CoV-2 mitigation

At its regular board meeting on June 21st, the Orienteering USA Board of Directors voted to update the SARS-CoV-2 policy to reflect changing conditions and what we know about how the virus is transmitted. Many of the previous ‘requirements’ are now reduced to ‘recommendations’ and others are eliminated entirely in the new streamlined version. There are, however, still some items that remain requirements for NRE events and are strongly suggested for organizers holding local events as well.

The executive summary reads:

  • Participants must stay home when sick.
  • Event-related activities should take place outside to the maximum extent possible.
  • Participants and event volunteers should practice social distancing: participants should maintain at least 2m distance from volunteers who are at stations (i.e. registration, start, finish, download etc.)
  • Organizers should structure the event and schedule to spread participants out in time and space.

The full text of the revised policy can be found in the OUSA Library under Library>Administrative>Policies or directly at this link.

Accommodating Youth Orienteers at National Ranking Events

A note from OUSA’s VP for Youth Initiatives:

As we return to holding National Ranking Events (NRE), I encourage everyone to think about kids who may have moved up a course – or two – during our hiatus from NREs. 12-year-olds who last competed on White in the fall of 2019 are now in their last six months of eligibility to run Yellow. Ditto for 14-year-olds moving from Yellow to Orange. These are big jumps in normal years, but made even bigger as most kids have not recently orienteered in major events with heightened attention to rules.

As we return to orienteering, we should be sure we are providing an experience for our youth aligned with the principles of the Orienteering Development Model, which emphasizes fun and play over a strict focus on competition for our youngest orienteers.

Fortunately, our Rules of Competition provide opportunities for us to support young orienteers in being able to focus on their races, be successful, and build confidence.  About five years ago, OUSA adopted several key rule changes that are even more important during this time of transition.  The rules are shown below in bold text.

A.28.5 Except at Orienteering USA Junior Nationals, White and Yellow courses may have open start times to allow parents to coordinate schedules with their children’s starts.*

Board rationale: This is a change from pre-scheduled start times intended to make events more family-friendly by allowing parents who are at events with their children to both compete, and still shadow their children. Clubs are encouraged to have the White/Yellow start as close to the parents’ start as possible, to accept parental requests for start times for their children, or to allow children to start at any time during the start window,  and to simplify the start procedures as much as possible. 

A.28.6 The competitors take their competition maps at the starting time at the start location or after the starting time at the map issue point. Except at Orienteering USA Junior Nationals, competitors on the White and Yellow courses may be given the map prior to their starting time, provided that the conditions are consistent for all such competitors.*

Board rationale: Allowing some time with the map before the clock starts allows them some time to plan a course.  Event organizers may also allow parents/coaches to review the course with their children during this brief window to help them to plan for legs and review where problems may occur. This will help to ensure that children are successful on their courses, having fun, and progressing in their orienteering skills. If white and yellow competitors will be allowed to review their maps with a more experienced orienteer prior to their start time, this should be communicated to all competitors in advance to allow for proper planning by the competitor and their parents/coaches/experienced orienteer.

*The open start time and map preview does not apply to Junior Nationals, because Junior Nationals does not offer age-class awards.

Because kids are behind on their NRE experiences, we encourage organizers to be more liberal with their implementation of these rules for 2021 and into 2022

Putting my club volunteer hat on, here’s how we are planning to implement these ideas at NEOC’s New England Championship NRE to be held in Massachusetts this fall. Other clubs may choose different approaches.

  1. Open starts for kids 14 and under and their parents. Start/Finish close to parking.
  2. Single start, with an opportunity for kids on White / Yellow to review the map with a parent or volunteer before starting when they are ready. It’s also an opportunity to talk about punching, checking control codes, staying inside the bounded areas on the map, and what to do if you’re feeling mis-oriented.
  3. Being vigilant about course difficulty. We should design White, Yellow and Orange courses on the easier side within the competitive rules.
  4. Making sure White courses have handrails for every leg. We often assume that if a control is visible from the previous control, then it is “easy enough.” However, the part of the brain that processes spatial arrangement of multiple point features isn’t fully-developed until age 14. Where streamers are necessary, we plan to string them on the ground as a linear feature.

Want to learn more about the Orienteering Development Model and our approach to introducing kids to the sport? Try the Orienteering Development Model for OUSA Members on the Education Portal, with a focus on stages 1, 2 and 3. Each lesson has a short video and the text of the relevant ODM stage. The course is free for OUSA members.

Do you have more ideas? Email vpyouth@nullorienteeringusa.org.  See you in the woods!

Tori Campbell
OUSA VP for Youth Initiatives

Photo credit: Dave Yee Photography

Puzzle Friday: Texas Junior Orienteering Camp

This weeks Puzzle Friday feature takes us down south to the Sid Richardson Scout Camp in Texas where the North Texas Orienteering Association (NTOA) recently hosted its annual Texas Junior Orienteering Camp (TJOC). This camp is a 6-day residence camp for orienteers aged 13-19 and was held June 6-11, 2021. 19 adult staff worked with the 36 junior orienteers who came together from California, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Ohio and Texas to improve their navigation skills.

Special thanks to the organizers and to Mike Minium (OCIN), one of the longtime coaches for the TJOC who took the photos used in this weeks puzzle. Check out the full gallery of TJOC ’21 photos over on Smugmug. Have a great weekend everyone!

2021 JWOC Team Announced

The JWOC Selection Committee (Erin Schirm, Anton Salmenkylä and Jon Torrance) is pleased to announce the 2021 US Team selected to compete at the Junior World Orienteering Championships (JWOC) to be held September 5-10 in Gebze, Kocaeli, Turkey, about 50km from Istanbul.

From Left to Right:

  • Jessica Colleran, COC, JNT
  • Ben Brady, COC, JDT
  • David Runde, MNOC and KristiansandOK (NOR), JNT
  • Anthony Riley, DVOA, JNT
  • Diana Aleksieva, QOC, JNT

Go Team USA!!

Accompanying the team as JWOC coaches will be Anton Salmenkylä, JNT Coach and National Team member, and Tyra Christopherson, National Team member.

Update: Tahoe 2021

Over the weekend, the Tahoe 2021 event hosted by the Bay Area Orienteering Club (BAOC) was sanctioned and approved by both the Sanctioning Committee and Orienteering USA Executive Committee and the event is now officially the 2021 Orienteering USA Nationals.

Venue permits for the middle and long events are still pending, which has become a routine situation in the age of COVID-19 as many agencies are not issuing permits until very close to the event dates. However, permit approval is anticipated and registration is currently open at EventReg. Please be sure to review the event page prior to registering as there are some event specific notes to be aware of.

Tahoe 2021 Registration Opens

In the schedule void left by the California Orienteering Festival’s postponement to 2023, the Bay Area Orienteering Club (BAOC) has assembled the Tahoe 2021 series of events.

The event program will include the 2021 US Orienteering Championships August 6-9 (pending sanctioning approval) with three NRE events: Sprint, Middle & Long plus a non-NRE Club Championship Relay. Also included in the program will be the 2021 North American Rogaining Championships to be held the following weekend on August 14-15 featuring a 24 Hour Championship event and a 4-Hour recreational event.

More information on the event can be found on the BAOC website.

Registration for all events is now open on EventReg.

2021 US WOC Team Announced

The US Senior Team Review Panel, consisting of Peggy Dickison, Glen Tryson & Jeff Saeger, are pleased to announce this year’s team to compete at the World Orienteering Championships to be held in early July in the Czech Republic.

AJ Riley (pictured here competing in the middle distance race in Czechia on Saturday) earned an automatic spot at last month’s team trials. Since he was the only TeamUSA athlete competing at the Team Selection races this past weekend in Czechia that event became a non-factor in the selection, but the Review Panel elected to wait until after the Selection Races for other results.

The US Team Trials 2-day scoring list was used as the primary selection tool, but the panel also used the Team Trial Sprint results as well as 2019-2020 rankings and other race results. The Team Trials had some very strong results and some close scoring made the selection process interesting.


  • AJ Riley – automatic selection
  • Joe Barrett – automatic selection
  • Eric Bone
  • Sergei Rhyzkov
  • Greg Ahlswede – declined
  • Will Enger
  • 1st alternate – Michael Laraia
  • 2nd alternate – Thomas Laraia


  • Angelica Riley – automatic selection
  • Sydney Fisher – automatic selection
  • Diana Aleksieva
  • Alexis Merka
  • (no alternates)

Four TeamUSA athletes had previously earned personal starts for this year’s WOC. Unfortunately, all four have declined: Ali Crocker and Tori Borish for family reasons, and Morten Jorgensen and Anton Salmenkyla because of injuries. We wish them all the best and hope to see them back next year.

The ESC would also like to announce that Dasa Merka, a Czech native and Alex’s mom, has agreed to act as the Team Administrator. Congratulation to all the athletes that will represent the USA at the World Champs next month!!

Photo Credit: Petr Kadeřávek

OUSA June ’21 Board Meeting

The Orienteering USA Board of Directors will hold its next meeting on Monday, June 21st from 8-10pm EDT via Google Meet. Included among the scheduled items on the agenda are review of upcoming NRE & Championship events, COVID policy review and scheduling of the 2021 AGM.

The full agenda can be accessed here and includes link to join the meeting. Meeting is open to all OUSA members.