As originally conceived, the Junior Development Team was intended to encourage and support kids who simply love orienteering – with competitive aspirations an option but not a requirement.
The recent merger of the competitive Senior Team and the Junior National Team allows us to hone in on this original conception by expanding on existing training, coaching and Youth Mapping Program initiatives. We envision a Youth Development Program to support youth and young adults in developing their competitive interests as well as mapping, event direction, course design, sport journalism, or other aspects of orienteering that they love.
The program can connect orienteers from all disciplines with peers, experts, and coaches as part of building Orienteering Development Model Stage 4 capacity and community across the sport. Youth participants will have the opportunity to increase their skills, connect with other orienteers, and develop relationships in the community that support their continued participation in the sport as they transition into independent adulthood. All participants will have access to OUSA resources to work in areas such as mapping, sport photography and marketing, youth coaching, or competitive orienteering below the national team level. Participants will have access to existing education and coaching resources and can apply to use funding designated for Youth Development in their projects.
Orienteering USA is looking for people interested in both supporting and participating in this program. We especially need people who are well-connected within their local orienteering community to help build these important connections. Once we have identified a team of 3-5 people to support this effort, we will publish forms for youth and adults to indicate interest in participation. Interested in helping us get started? Let us know here.