TeamUSA Athletes selected for 2024 Young Leaders Academy

Three TeamUSA athletes – Bridget Hall (NEOC), Lily Addicott (GAOC) and Oriana Riley (DVOA) were recently selected to represent the United States at the 2024 IOF Young Leaders Academy to be held one month from now in conjunction with the “Five Days Italy” competition in the Dolomites of Italy. These athletes were chosen in a competitive application process earlier this year. Oriana unfortunately will be unable to attend due to prior commitments that have arisen since the awards were announced.

Bridget is “looking forward to a great week of orienteering and, more importantly, spending a week building connections with youth from across the globe while learning skills that can (hopefully) help build orienteering in the United States. I’m excited that this is the first stop on our adventure this summer, and extremely grateful that I get to do the whole thing with Lily.” Lily adds “The Italian 5 day is going to be such a blast with Bridget by my side, and we will bring home a ton of useful connections and information that we can share.

The Orienteering USA Board of Directors, at its most recent meeting on May 20th, voted to award a $300 stipend to each athlete to offset the costs of travel to the academy. The Youth Development Program (YDP) is also providing a $1000 stipend to each athlete. This is just one example of the ways that the YDP supports 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. All youth are welcome. We especially welcome older youth who would like to inspire younger kids.

Congratulations to all three of these inspirational young ladies on their selection to attend this important conference.

2024 Wilson Character through Competition Awards Announced

Philadelphia, PA — The Wilson Awards, in partnership with Orienteering USA, proudly announce three winners of our 2024 Character through Competition Awards. Paige Suhocki of Freehold of New Jersey along with Ben Cooper and Greta Leonard, both of Maple Valley, Washington, have been chosen to receive this $1,000 award, which honors the memory of our friend and family member, Iain Wilson. The awards seek to amplify the energy and commitment young orienteers bring to our sport and community. While we are delighted when our awardees are successful in local and even international competition, in a broader sense we hope to encourage the kind of character that communicates to others the joy of competing as a shared endeavor.

Paige has been orienteering since the age of 10 and was one of the youngest volunteers at the World Games at just 14. Lena Kushleyeva of Delaware Valley Orienteering Association shared, “She is an energetic and charismatic teenager whose love for orienteering is extremely catching, to both her peers and to adults.” Lena then spoke to her passion for the sport igniting a similar passion in her teammates and its impact on recruiting new orienteers. Paige writes that the resilience she has built through Orienteering “will not only help my performance but will keep me moving forward toward my higher aspirations.”

Paige’s application mentioned something that Iain Wilson and so many orienteers love, “Orienteering has given me a new appreciation for nature and how fortunate I am to experience it in this way.” We are delighted to see Paige’s enthusiasm is so infectious. Paige plans to use this year’s award to extend her Junior World Orienteering Championship (JWOC) participation by visiting Italy to train and compete. Paige was also selected as 2nd Alternate to this year’s Sprint World Orienteering Championships (WOC) team in Scotland in July.

Ben and Greta continue a long tradition of Orienteering excellence amongst athletes from Tahoma High School in Washington state. Like many Wilson Award winners, they compete for their school’s track and cross country teams while balancing a challenging academic workload and extra-curriculars just like our beloved friend, Iain Wilson.

Asked to share his proudest orienteering accomplishments, Ben spoke about his role as a team captain and his passion for mentoring, planning workouts, course setting, updating maps, and designing courses. Ben also states, “Racing allows me to go beyond my limits and gain valuable experience.” Ben clearly loves mentoring opportunities and finds the sport “provides valuable connections with people.” Ing Uhlin, Vice President of Cascade Orienteering Club writes, “What makes Ben stand out is not just his speed and skill in orienteering, but the time and effort that he devotes to others.”

Greta is known for putting her team and learning first. She has volunteered with Cascade Orienteering Club to coach part of an introductory mini-course for over 50 JROTC cadets. She wrote in her application, “In the process of training and competing, intangible gains are realized that have a greater impact on my life. Orienteering has taught me adaptability, grace, and the importance of a positive attitude. Often, a non-podium finish can result in more growth than a win.” John Brady of Cascade Orienteering Club writes about Greta, “She takes feedback so well, is willing to assess her own weaknesses with an open and mature mind, then applies the feedback to try and improve – she is a Respectful Warrior.” 

Paige and Greta will compete in the Junior World Orienteering Championships (JWOC) in Pilsen, Czechia this summer while Ben is the first alternate on the men’s team. Additionally, previous awards winners Bridget Hall, Alex Merka, Keegan Harkavy, and Thomas Laraia will be competing in this summer’s World University Orienteering Championships (WUOC) with Bridget, Keegan & Thomas also be representing TeamUSA at the World Championships in Scotland (WOC). We wish them all great success!

The committee seeks individuals who have the willingness and ability to see beyond their own individual ambition and spread the spirit that brightens their lives and the lives of those around them. We feel their enthusiasm for the outdoors, for running, for navigation, and for their fellow competitors sets an example for all of us.

Iain’s college roommate and committee member Anthony Belber notes, “What stands out about all the applicants for this year’s award is how invested in the sport these young people are and how much they are growing and learning from their investment. Not only have our award winners given back to their orienteering communities, but they are being shaped and developed into fine leaders and competitors by their experiences in the sport and within those broader communities.”

Applications for the 2025 Wilson Awards will be accepted later this fall. Additional information can be found at  https://orienteeringusa.org/about/recognition/#wilson.

Official Press Release (PDF)

2024 Iain Wilson Award Applications Now Open

For the past 10 years, the Wilson Awards, in partnership with Orienteering USA, have supported young, developing orienteers through the Iain Wilson Character through Competition Awards for outstanding character in orienteering. The award is intended to assist with the cost of education, training, and travel to local, regional and international orienteering events. For 2023 the Wilson awardees were Ben Brady from Cascade Orienteering Club and Alex Merka from Quantico Orienteering Club. Both athletes were subsequently chosen to compete for TeamUSA at the Junior World Championships in Romania this past July.

Ben writes “Orienteering, especially in the United States, is a difficult sport logistically as often times races will be on opposite ends of the country, and getting valuable orienteering experience in unfamiliar terrain requires many expensive plane flights and hotel accommodations. This fact is made even worse if you want to travel overseas. Through the Iain Wilson Award’s generosity, a large portion of my recent trip to Romania was funded, giving me the support to not only have an incredible orienteering experience, but also to improve my skills in the sport.

After JWOC concluded, Alex came back to the US briefly to compete in the North American Orienteering Championships for TeamUSA as well as teaming up with her mother to compete in the 24 Hour World Rogaining Championships at Lake Tahoe.
In early August Alex moved to Czechia to study at Charles University and broaden her orienteering opportunities, competing for TeamUSA in the 2nd round of the Orienteering World Cup in Czechia days after arriving there.
Read more about Alex’s adventures since moving to Czechia in this TeamUSA blog post.

Ben and Alex both made excellent use of their ’23 Wilson Awards and applications are now being accepted for the 2024 Character through Competition Award as well as the 2024 Wilson Community Growth Grant which supports programs that bring orienteering to youth around the country.

Online forms as well as printable versions for both programs are available now on the Orienteering USA website. Visit this Application Link to apply today. Applications are due by February 15th, 2024.

Information and press releases on previous award recipients can be found in this document from the OUSA Library.

2023 Silva Award Winner: Andrea Schneider

Orienteering USA is proud to announce Andrea Schneider of the Minnesota Orienteering Club (MNOC) as this year’s winner of the prestigious Silva Award. As OUSA President Clare Durand commented during the presentation of awards at last nights AGM, Andrea is sort of the Susan Lucci of orienteering. She has been nominated for this award on many occasions, but has never been selected to receive the coveted award until now. A well deserved award indeed.

Andrea is recognized for her work with youth and schools in Wisconsin and Minnesota, and with the US Junior Teams and National Junior Program (NJP) as well as serving as the Junior Team Administrator. Andrea has led NJP fundraising efforts at numerous national events mostly through the ubiquitous Junior Team sandwich sales. Planning, shopping, preparing, and distributing the ordered sandwiches takes significant planning and time and is no trivial task. If she could not be at the event in person, she has arranged for her husband, Vince Laraia, along with her sons, Michael and Thomas, plus other juniors, to seamlessly handle shopping, preparation, and distribution, in her stead.

In the summer of 2022, Andrea was the Team Leader at The World Games 2022 Birmingham in charge of all of the volunteers for the Venue Prep and Finish Teams. She was the Functional Lead for the Finish Team. And she was the sign “wrangler” in charge of moving the signs from place to place for each event. She was also of monumental help to Anne Mathews in working with the volunteer team from the TWG staff in getting the scheduling data entered into software used by TWG.

For numerous national events to which juniors have traveled long distances without parents, Andrea has coordinated lodging and transportation—both to/from airports and event venues. This has enabled many juniors to participate in events that they might not have been able to otherwise.

Andrea has handled uniform orders for all of the National teams for several years, working with the supplier, collecting orders, adjusting when minimum quantities of certain items are not reached, and then arranging delivery by multiple means—often with juniors themselves—in order to minimize costs. Andrea and her husband Vince Laraia have frequently hosted NJP members and other junior orienteers at her home. In 2017, she organized, as well as provided, housing for juniors at the 2017 JWOC & WOC Trials, hosted by MNOC. She and her husband Vince Laraia prepared and hosted an event dinner on the first day of the Trials.

Andrea is an accomplished mapper, and processes lidar data so much she is a resource for helping others get started with that difficult task. Andrea has also started a business, I Know My Way, LLC, providing educational orienteering programs to schools and other youth groups. As part of this work, she has used the abundant lidar resources of Minnesota, plus Kartapullautin, to create new maps—most of which could be used at future local events. As a result, Andrea has exposed hundreds of children and teens in both Minnesota and Wisconsin to our sport.

Andrea directs most of the local events for her home orienteering club, MNOC, handling the administrative end, while others—often her sons—plan and set courses. One thankless—and frustrating—task Andrea has taken on—often repeatedly—is requesting payment and other critical responses from JNT and JDT members, including taking orders for team uniforms as mentioned above.

Finally, despite competition from soccer and track, Andrea has managed to raise two (of three) sons who love orienteering and have been members of USA national teams.

2023 Golden Service Awards

The AGM is also the opportunity to recognize those individuals who have provided exceptional service to the sport of orienteering that extends beyond the local club level by presenting them with Orienteering USA Golden Service Awards. The recipients of this year’s Golden Service Awards are:

  • Captain Rex Settlemoir (USN, ret.), Orienteering Cincinnati (OCIN)
    • Nominated by Mike Minium, OCIN
    • Captain Rex Settlemoir (USN, ret.) is a 1974 U.S. Naval Academy graduate who served a distinguished career in the U.S. Navy, including duty during the Vietnam War, later serving further as a high school Junior ROTC Instructor.
    • Captain Settlemoir first became involved with Orienteering Cincinnati as a JROTC instructor. He regularly brough his cadets from Greenville High School and Hamilton High School to OCIN events. He advocated for inclusion of the sport of orienteering in the NJROTC curriculum. As the instructor, he also developed a passion for doing courses himself. Later, after retiring from instructing, he became much more involved with doing courses on his own, helping with event organization, and especially helping as the club’s photographer, taking dozens of photos for our website and social media pages at almost every event.
    • Captain Settlemoir almost always arrives at events early, helping to set up the start and finish, assisting with registration, giving instructional sessions for beginners and especially for JROTC and youth groups. Rex’s many photos provide lasting memories to the participants and he even frequently stops to take photos while out competing on his course! He has become a core OCIN volunteer, and is the club’s current Secretary. His organization skills are unmatched, and he keeps meetings on track, and almost always sends draft meeting minutes the day after the meeting.
    • On a national level, Rex has been a consistent and reliable volunteer with OCIN’s Flying Pig National Ranking Meet, helping with registration, starts, equipment transport, and of course photography, as well as whatever needs to be done. Rex has also done photography for neighboring club events, particularly Orienteering Louisville, and he is always ready to step in as a volunteer for anything orienteering-related.
    • Just this past month, Rex served as the primary Event Director for a large JROTC orienteering event with well over 200 starts. Due to several key OCIN volunteers being unavailable, Rex had to organize the few available volunteers effectively to keep up with the arriving cadets, keep the start organized, deal with a rude and verbally abusive JROTC instructor, and still find time to take several dozen of his signature photos! This event assuredly would have been much in chaos without Rex’s leadership, and OCIN has surely benefited from his help many times over at our other events.
  • Petr Hartman, Delaware Valley Orienteering Association (DVOA)
    • Nominated by Sandy Fillebrown, DVOA
    • Petr Hartman has been an exceptional volunteer for DVOA for many years. His work has been partly behind the scenes but it has been crucial to our national event program. Over the years he has scouted terrain; prepared base maps; field-checked and updated maps; and set and vetted courses for both local and national events. Most recently, he was the course setter for day 2 of our NRE in 2022 at Coventry Woods and he will be the chief vetter for the recently sanctioned SML event in 2024 at Nay Aug Park and Merli-Sarnoski Park.
    • Petr is a dedicated and outstanding volunteer. For his contribution to OUSA by supporting
    • many of DVOA’s national events, he will receive the Golden Service Award.
  • Matthew Robbins, Orienteering Cincinnati (OCIN)
    • Nominated by Bruce Moore, OLOU/Nash-O
    • As a BOD member of Nash-O I would like to submit my nomination for Matthew Robbins (OCIN) for the years of service he has put in not only with the local club (OCIN) but with other regional clubs as well. Matthew regularly helps with OCIN events and other events, especially in the technology area. He can often be found at the download station at the Flying Pig every year.
    • Matthew has also served on the National Board of Directors where he brings expertise with Juniors, Event Management, Technology, and Mapping. Matthew taught several mapping seminars in LiDAR processing for OUSA. He is also the number one person to support the Golden Service awards and encourage clubs to use this system to recognize their volunteers – both old and new.
  • Steve Durand, Los Angeles Orienteering Club (LAOC)
    • Nominated by LAOC Board
    • Steven is an LAOC member who has served as club treasurer for a number of years. In this capacity, he handled financial dealings for the 2022 OUSA Nationals. In 2017 Steven was the course setter for the OUSA Relay Championships hosted by LAOC at Camp Scherman. While most of Steven’s volunteer contributions have been behind the scenes, his willingness to help out with LAOC’s larger events and keep our finances in order have enabled LAOC to maintain a healthy schedule and have the financial resources to host NREs.

2023 OUSA Presidents Awards

  • Michelle Kastner (COC)
    • Michelle Kastner is recognized for her work with the Cascade Orienteering Club Youth League (WIOL), her work with Juniors, and her assistance with the Junior Team (JWOC and WUOC). She was instrumental in rebuilding the Winter League and WIOL after the COVID pandemic and is always looking for ways to improve the experience and training for the Juniors. The WIOL is one of the largest contributors of athletes to the OUSA National Team Junior Squad.
    • Michelle has traveled with the US junior teams to JWOC and WUOC, as chaperone, official photographer at all races, and has provided critical logistical support. She even fronted the competition entry fee for the entire junior team so they could compete in the 2022 WUOC sprint.
    • OUSA appreciates her tireless dedication to the Junior Program both locally and Nationally.
  • Gavin Wyatt-Mair (BAOC)
    • Gavin Wyatt-Mair is recognized for his persistence and hardwork directing the 2023 CalOFest and events leading up to it. CalOFest was Gavin’s vision to build a large orienteering festival around two high-level international events on consecutive weekends: the North American Orienteering Championships (NAOC) and the World Rogaining Championships (WRC). Overall, CalOFest included ten events (5 National Ranking Events, 3 NAOC World Ranking Events + relay, and the WRC), bringing together nearly 800 orienteers and rogainers from 29 countries. Gavin’s tireless, hands-on leadership and endless enthusiasm were absolutely pivotal to the success of CalOFest. Gavin assembled the leadership team, led them through countless hours of detailed planning, and himself contributed hours of his time to mapping, course setting, equipment transport, and many other thankless tasks.
    • This is even more impressive when considered in the context of the pandemic. CalOFest faced numerous challenges, starting with the coronavirus pandemic, which forced the event to be postponed twice. The event was initially scheduled for 2020 but was first postponed to 2021 and later to 2023 due to the pandemic. What started as a 2-year project in 2018 turned into a 5-year project, during which Gavin took on the additional responsibility of organizing the U.S. Orienteering Championships twice: 2019 at Big Basin in the Bay Area and 2021 at Lake Tahoe. He also organized the 2021 U.S. Rogaining Championships. Gavin’s leadership in organizing these events provided valuable experience for the CalOFest team in preparing for a large multi-day event.
    • All three events were successful and served to move the National schedule in OUSA forward. Gavin’s efforts are greatly appreciated.
  • Nathan Ohrwaschel (DVOA)
    • Nathan (Nate) Ohrwaschel is recognized for his long-term board service as the OUSA liaison to our Insurance broker. Nate joined the board in 2017, when OUSA was still trying adapt to life without staff. He took on the task of handling insurance issues for the Federation. In this position, he works with our insurance broker every year to renew the insurance policies and he handles questions and issues that arise from the clubs. Nate’s largest challenge came in 2021, when our standard policy would no longer cover Mountain Bike events. Nate worked tirelessly with the broker to find a way to cover Mountain Bike events for that year and to work with the board and clubs on how to handle the funding for the extra policy. Nate has just been reelected to the board for another three year term. We appreciate his continuing service and look forward to working with him into the future.

Nominations sought for 2023 Silva & Golden Service Awards

The Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Orienteering USA will be held virtually on Tuesday, September 19th, 2023. One of the highlights of the AGM is the announcement of the annual Silva & Golden Service awards to recognize individuals who have contributed to our sport both at the national and club level. Nominations are now being accepted for both of these prestigious awards and are due by Sunday, September 10th.

Photo of 2022 Silva Award winner Cristina Luis receiving her award at the 2022 OUSA Nationals.

2023 Wilson Character through Competition Awards Announced

Philadelphia, PA — The Wilson Awards, in partnership with Orienteering USA, proudly announce two winners of our 2023 Character through Competition Awards. Alex Merka of Mt. Airy, Maryland and Ben Brady of Maple Valley, Washington have been chosen to receive this $1,000 award, which honors the memory of our friend and family member, Iain Wilson. The awards seek to amplify the energy and commitment young orienteers bring to our sport and community.  While we are delighted when our awardees are successful in local and even international competition, in a broader sense we hope to encourage the kind of character that communicates to others the joy of competing as a shared endeavor.   

Alex has been orienteering since, as a toddler, she was old enough to hold a map. Taking advantage of Quantico Orienteering Club’s (QOC) junior training opportunities, she developed skills so that two decades later she was selected to represent the United States at the international level. In addition to being a fierce competitor she is also described as an enthusiastic volunteer who is always ready to help others.

Franklin Fish, President of QOC writes, “what impresses me the most about Alex is her willingness to help out our club whenever and wherever she is needed, usually without being asked.” This was on display when Alex taught orienteering to groups of middle schoolers last summer and when she created a campus map for a local school’s PE and after-school programs. This combination of ambition and selflessness is the kind of character that the committee is thrilled to support.

Like Alex, Ben started orienteering early in life and in the Northwest, where he embraced the exceptional training and competition programs available through Cascade Orienteering Club (COC) and Tahoma Orienteering in Maple Valley. He has used this platform to build his skills while mentoring up-and-coming young athletes.

Chris Cooper, Head Coach of Tahoma Orienteering Club writes, “He is one of a kind. He achieves success at the highest level but is willing to help those around him…. I have never had the opportunity to coach someone who is such a well—rounded and grounded human being.” Ben’s own words capture his enthusiasm for the sport, “The ability to race against my friends, run in unknown terrain and have fun throughout the process is something that only orienteering competition can bring.”

Ben and his teammates recently gave back by spending a week mapping Fisk State Park for future COC programs. Ben represents the second time that a parent-child pair has received Wilson Awards. His mother, Sherri Brady, spearheaded a 2017 Wilson Community Growth Grant in partnership with Tahoma Middle School’s PE program. Many of its participants have gone on to compete at the high school and national level.

The committee seeks individuals who have the willingness and ability to see beyond their own individual ambition and spread the spirit that brightens their lives and the lives of those around them.  We feel their enthusiasm for the outdoors, for running, for navigation, and for their fellow competitors sets an example for all of us.

Looking back on ten years of awards, Iain’s sister, Kate Wilson writes, “I am delighted at the inclusiveness of the award.  When I first went orienteering in the 1980s there were very few women.  To my surprise I saw that we have made awards to eleven women and six men.  This says great things about orienteering as a sport for everyone – looks as if I‘d better get my boys out in the woods so they can catch up.”

Applications for the 2024 Wilson Awards will be accepted later this fall. Additional information can be found at  https://orienteeringusa.org/about/recognition/#wilson.

Official Press Release (PDF Version of this post)

Photo credits: Evalin Brautigam (1 & 3), Clinton Morse for Orienteering USA (2 & 4)

2023 Iain Wilson Community Growth Grant Winners Announced

The Wilson Awards, in partnership with Orienteering USA, are proud to announce the
winners of the 2023 Iain Wilson Community Growth Grant. The $1,000 grant has been awarded to two
deserving programs that will use the funds to initiate and expand their orienteering programs.

The first recipient of the grant is the Los Angeles Orienteering Club’s (LAOC) newly formed Youth Development Team. In its first year, the team will utilize this grant and matching funds to assist team members with preparing for and attending training camp and participating in events beyond the local Los Angeles region.

Team members will be supported by parents and LAOC members providing additional training opportunities and transportation to events. LAOC seeks to develop youth ambassadors for the sport who will spread enthusiasm to a larger group of potential young orienteers. The program will be headed by John Phillips, with a supporting committee of board members to assist with training.

The second recipient is the Southold Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corp (NJROTC) in Long Island. This unit includes cadets from Southold, Mattituck and Greenport High Schools in Eastern Long Island and is led by Captain Timothy McAllister, a retired Captain in the United States Navy.

The grant will be used to initiate an orienteering team for the unit and provide 198 cadets access to orienteering skills and classroom instruction. 100 cadets will participate in “hands-on” orienteering competitions and an additional 25 cadets will be able to attend NJROTC regional competitions.

Additionally, funding will be used to initiate a permanent orienteering course at a local park and host the NJROTC Area 4 Championships next fall. McAllister’s goal is for the team to increase interest in orienteering, leadership, teamwork, and STEM-related careers.

Read more in the Official Press Release

2022 Wilson Awards Announced

Aubree Winters (COC/Tahoma)

The Wilson Awards, in partnership with Orienteering USA, proudly announces Aubree Winters as the winner of the 2022 Iain Wilson Character Through Competition Award. This $1,000 award honors the memory of Iain Wilson by recognizing young athletes whose efforts demonstrate character through their commitment to growth and improvement in the sport as well as their contribution to the orienteering community through service and teamwork. Aubree is a native of Tahoma, Washington and member of the Cascade Orienteering Club. She becomes the seventeenth young orienteer to receive this award which offsets training and travel expenses.

Aubree came to orienteering in high school after joining her cross country team which helped her acknowledge that running wasn’t so bad after all (the Wilson Award’s supporters are members of Iain’s college cross country team so this makes us very happy!). She has quickly developed her running and navigation skills and aspires for more. Aubree’s enthusiasm is evident when she talks about the rapid growth and development she is experiencing, “To this day, I’m still learning, improving, and having a blast!” Looking to her future, Aubree is just as passionate about attracting others to the sport as she is in advancing up the ranks and competing at the National and International levels. Aubree’s application was noteworthy in that she spoke to the lessons she is learning from the sport and her coach which affect her beyond competition. She writes,  “Through orienteering, I know that if I metaphorically fall down, I can always stand up and try again.”

Aubree is catching people’s attention and positively impacting those around her. Aubree’s coach, John Brady, writes glowingly about her character, noting the number of young people she has attracted and recruited to the sport, the care and affection she shows her teammates, and her passion for bettering herself as an orienteer. Award committee co-chair Marc Balcer writes, “The committee is thrilled to recognize athletes such as Aubree, whose passion and motivation rekindles the memory of our  dear friend, Iain Wilson, who exemplified these qualities throughout his life.” 

Scout Troop 90 from San Juan Island in Washington State

The Wilson Awards also announce Scout Troop 90 on San Juan Island in Washington State as the winner of the $1,000 2022 Wilson Community Growth Grant. Scout Troop 90 operates a 15-acre property named Camp Bogardus. Funding is being used to develop two new orienteering courses on the island, a 2km course with signage during the summer of 2022, and a longer 25km course by spring of 2023. Funds also subsidize the acquisition of compasses, map reproduction, surveying, control/waypoint markers and card punches. 

Camp Bogardus serves numerous local organizations and hosts over 250 scouts from near and far each summer, with plans to host orienteering meets to extend their reach. As scout leader Eric Stone shared, “Camp Bogardus, was established in 1985 for the benefit of local island Scouts, as a non-profit trust, so that it would remain independent of national scouting financial constraints. This independent status has allowed the property to remain dedicated to youth and allowed it to prosper as one of only three tent camping sites on San Juan Island.” The new courses will take advantage of the scenic and unique terrain and the impact of the grant should be profound both to those already connected with the camp and those who will soon travel there for orienteering and recreation.

The Wilson Community Growth Grant honors the memory of long-time Orienteer, Iain Wilson. The committee is pleased to see the efforts of Eric Stone and the volunteers and supporters of Scout Troop 90 working to expand the sport with the creation of these two new courses. As a licensed Professional Land Surveyor and San Juan County’s Chief Surveyor, Stone leaves us with no doubt that the courses will have exquisite attention to detail and longevity. Anthony Belber, a college running teammate of Iain’s noted, “Iain has a passion and zest for traveling to scenic spots. He would be thrilled that this grant is going to bring more people to a beautiful corner of our country. What a lovely way to develop navigation skills and bask in the natural surroundings.” 

Applications for the 2023 Wilson Awards are being accepted now through February 1, 2023 and can be found at  www.orienteeringusa.org/about/recognition/.

Official Press Releases: Aubree Winters & Scout Troop 90

2022 Silva Award Winner: Cristina Luis

Cristina Luis of the Tucson Orienteering Club (TSN) is the recipient of this year’s Silva Award, given annually to an orienteer who has given exceptional service to orienteering over the past five years. Cristina has been involved in orienteering at many levels in the US for well over 5 years, most recently culminating in her role as Competition Manager for The World Games, bringing international orienteering back to the US for the first time in over 25 years. The games were a huge success due to the tireless efforts and managerial acumen that Cristina brought to the role.

Beginning in 2018 she was the liaison between Orienteering USA, the Birmingham Organizing Committee (BOC), the Vulcan Orienteering Club (VOC) and the International Orienteering Federation (IOF). For four years, she navigated the competing demands of many different stakeholders allowing the rest of the volunteer team members to focus on their specific tasks. No matter what the issue, she tackled problems and found solutions, inspiring the rest of the team to do the same. Through the sporadic emails and phone calls at the beginning of the process, to the biweekly, then weekly and finally daily Zoom calls, she kept the team focused and moving forward.

Cristina poses with World Games Livestream Announcer Boris Granovskiy at Oak Mountain.
Photo courtesy Peggy Dickison.

Most of the team had responsibilities that were limited in scope to some specific area (like course setting or starts or logistics or volunteer coordination); Cristina oversaw all of it. In addition to the usual aspects of directing a large orienteering event, the multi-sport nature of this international event meant she had to deal with many non-orienteering specific details such as athlete accreditation, IOF official accommodations, integrating TV coverage with different sports, negotiating with police departments, and the list goes on. But as she dealt with all of that, she also kept the orienteering specific parts of the competition front and center to provide the highest quality experience to the international elite orienteers who came to Birmingham to compete. She was the epitome of a good leader, knowing when to leave people to do their jobs and when to get involved to make sure everything was running smoothly.

While Cristina’s substantial efforts in organizing the World Games orienteering competitions were clearly ample justification for this years award, we would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge a few of Cristina’s other contributions to our sport over the years. She is one of the primary organizers of the popular weeklong Southwest Spring Week orienteering festival held each winter in Arizona since 2018, she served on the US Team Executive Steering Committee from 2012-16 (serving twice as team leader) and served on the OUSA Board of Directors from 2007-2010 including a stint as VP Competition.

The 2022 Silva Award was presented to Cristina at the Orienteering USA Annual General Meeting held online on September 29th, 2022.

2022 President’s Awards

The accolades for Cristina were not limited to the Silva Award however. At each year’s Annual General Meeting, the president gives out a number of President’s Awards and this year’s awards included actual competition medals from The World Games. The Bronze Medal was presented to the Vulcan Orienteering Club who provided nearly half the volunteer manpower required to make the orienteering competitions the world class events that they were.

The Silver Medal was presented to Anne Mathews of VOC for her extraordinary efforts as Volunteer Coordinator for The World Games (see below) and the Gold Medal was presented to Cristina Luis for being the catalyst that allowed The World Games to become the first class events that they were. A president’s award was also given to Clinton Morse for his efforts over the past two years as National Communication Manager for OUSA.

2022 Golden Service Awards

The AGM is also the opportunity to recognize those individuals who have provided exceptional service to the sport of orienteering that extends beyond the local club level by presenting them with Orienteering USA Golden Service Awards. The recipients of this year’s Golden Service Awards are:

  • Anne Mathews (VOC) – Anne, vice president of VOC, agreed early on in the planning process for The World Games to serve as Assistant Competition Manager and local representative in Birmingham for the orienteering competitions.
    • Among Anne’s many, many duties were the recruitment, training and organizing of the over 70 volunteers who were not part of the core Team Officials group. These volunteers (many had multiple roles) were assigned to teams including control watching, course marshaling, starts, quarantine, finish, venue prep and much more.
    • Anne also served as equipment manager for the games developing equipment lists, procuring equipment and supplies and coordinating their delivery and setup at the three different orienteering venues.
    • Anne secured dedicated work spaces in Birmingham to allow the team, many of whom flew in from around the country, to operate efficiently to bring the games to fruition.
    • Anne worked closely with course consultant Jon Campbell to identify a local printer and ensure that competition maps were prepared to the high international quality standards required.
  • Greg Fasig (OCIN) – Greg was involved with OCIN for about 10 years and certainly left his mark on the club although he is no longer in the Cincinnati area. Greg served as OCIN president for 6 years and volunteered countless hours to grow club membership delving into operational aspects like encouraging the club to procure additional electronic timing equipment, initiating a new competitive racing series, improving registration processes and developing a mission and vision statement for the club. Under his leadership OCIN produced new club uniforms, expanded their catalog of maps, redesigned the club website and began marketing through social media.
  • Tom Overbaugh (DVOA) – Tom Overbaugh has been a mainstay of DVOA for over 40 years. He has served as the President, Vice President, and Trustee at various times. Over the years he has scouted terrain; field-checked and updated maps; event directed; and set courses for many, many local events. He has played major roles in most of DVOA’s National Ranking events over the past 20 years including:
    • 2000 US Champs – Registrar
    • 2003 Return to the Water Gap – Course Setter Day 2
    • 2005 Fair Hill Long Champs – Course Setter
    • 2008 Chasing the Star Sprint – Course Vetter
    • 2009 Fair Hill O Marathon – Event Director/Course Setter
    • 2012 NAOC at the Water Gap – Director of Course Setting (all three days)
    • 2014 Mason-Dixon Classic – Course Setter Day 2
    • 2021 Back to the Woods – Course Setter for Sprint & Middle
  • Shinichi Shimizu (COO) – Shin is a course setter and mapper for both the Central Ohio Orienteers club as well as OCIN. His courses are always well thought out and challenging at the upper levels, while beginner friendly and encouraging at the white and yellow levels. This year Shin set the Friday middle courses at the 2022 Flying Pig NRE. He also traveled to Alabama and was a volunteer at The World Games in July. He helped out with control watching, both in the woods and at the two sprints, as well as helping out with a variety of set-up tasks.

Orienteering USA extends congratulations and its sincere thanks to all the individuals recognized this year for your continuing efforts to develop and promote the sport of orienteering here in the US.

Call for Nominations: 2022 Silva and Golden Service Award

The 2022 Annual General Meeting of Orienteering USA will be held online Thursday night, September 29. One of the highlights of the AGM is the naming of the recipient of the Silva Award.

The Silva Award is given annually to an orienteer who has demonstrated outstanding service to orienteering in the United States over the past five years. The essential quality of every winner has been service to promoting and sustaining orienteering, to making the sport work in this country, and in helping to build the organizations needed to make orienteering successful.

The AGM will also include the announcement of the OUSA Golden Service awards recognizing those individuals who have provided exceptional service to the sport of orienteering that extends beyond the local club level.

Nominations for both awards are being solicited between now and August 28th.  Full eligibility criteria and lists of past award winners can be found in the attached announcements.  Nominations for both awards should be emailed to Susan DeWitt (skdewitt@nullsnet.net) by August 28th.

Full Silva Award Announcement: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1b6RhQ-bJXHxShxo5Ndu_V3Fga7YWJiO1/view?usp=sharing

Full Golden Service Award Announcement: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1y5WV-7R_GwT9Mbeyl61G8Y17To-D2SZC/view?usp=sharing