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.