National Junior Program
2021 National Junior Program Information
Welcome to Orienteering USA’s (OUSA) page of the National Junior Program (NJP), the competitive orienteering development program for US juniors. The NJP consists of the Junior National Team (JNT) and the Junior Development Team (JDT) and is overseen by the Junior Team Executive Steering Committee (JTESC).
The National Junior Program fits into Orienteering USA’s long-term athlete development model, the Orienteering Development Model (ODM). The OUSA Sport Development Group, led by former Junior National Coach, Erin Schirm, developed the ODM using Team USA’s American Development Model as a guide. All members of the NJP collaborate, elevate, and train in orienteering (Stage 3 of the model) while athletes named to the Junior National Team have risen to the elite competition and specialization activities of Stage 4. The overall National Junior Program supports the orienteering goals of its athletes and aims to inspire all members of the US orienteering community.
The National Junior Program uses a whole-athlete approach. Athletes train in three areas: navigational skills, physical running fitness, and strength and agility. In addition to developing technical and physical skills, the program aims to have athletes train so that they keep their bodies healthy, learn to be self-aware, and develop skills that will help them become strong orienteers and to be successful in life.
The National Junior Program has four guiding principles:
- To focus on the process needed to accomplish a goal rather than the result,
- To ensure that all training is backed by principles that transfer to other areas of life,
- To find creative ways to navigate through tough situations, and
- That athletes always strive for the best of themselves.
Each athlete is encouraged to develop self-awareness by reflecting on activities, identifying the best course of action in a given situation, learning to take care of themselves, developing good biomechanical form, and developing a structure for their training and daily life. Each athlete is expected to set goals that better the team, and the team is expected to be supportive of each individual. Dialog and clear communication are essential to accomplish these goals. In all coach/athlete relationships, we encourage both the coach and the athlete to take responsibility for initiating conversation. The NJP fosters communication among all members of the NJP and its supporters, and with the greater national orienteering community.
The NJP relies upon the US national orienteering community to provide local and regional coaches and mentors. In order to assist in NJP coaching, the National Pool of Coaches and Mentors was formally established in 2020 but, because of COVID-19, was implemented to a limited extent. These mentors and coaches participate by leading course reviews at local and national meets, facilitating calls among NJP athletes, distributing training activities, and serving as a personal coach/mentor for NJP athletes.
Each athlete participating in the NJP will designate a personal coach/mentor who has agreed to work closely with the athlete in their training and development. JTESC will help athletes identify a personal coach/mentor if necessary.
Each NJP athlete is required to complete an orientation conducted by Erin Schirm of Find Adventure Sports that will outline NJP philosophy, athlete responsibilities, physical and technical training, and tools that can be used to enhance training. A parallel orientation to the NJP for personal coaches/mentors will be offered and is strongly recommended. These orientations are designed specifically for athletes in the NJP and those who support them and are not alternatives to the various educational opportunities offered by Orienteering USA.
Information is provided below that describes each team more specifically. Read the team descriptions, paying particular attention to the commitments required for all members of the NJP and, if appropriate, the JNT, and fill out the application and other required forms. If you are under 18 years of age, talk over the information with a parent or a coach; a parent must complete the application form with you. If you have questions about the information provided here or the application form, please contact the National Junior Program at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Initially, JNT applicants are placed on the JDT and those who qualify are then named to the JNT. The fee for membership in the National Junior Program is $100 payable upon application. JNT membership incurs an additional $100 fee. Fee reduction is available for cases of financial hardship. Please contact the NJP for more information.
Junior Development Team
The Junior Development Team (JDT) is designed to help young orienteers who confidently orienteer on orange-level courses (M/F-16) transition to the advanced level and become nationally competitive. It is also designed to help athletes connect with other juniors around the country so that they become part of the larger U.S. junior orienteering community.
Members of the Junior Development Team will work with regional/local/personal coaches on navigation techniques, racing, physical training, and becoming competitive athletes. Juniors will engage with each other regularly, as allowed by COVID-19 restrictions, at regional and national meets and in periodic team calls where they learn from their peers. Focus events for Junior Development Team athletes, should they be held in 2021, are the Orienteering USA Junior Nationals, previously known as the Interscholastic/Intercollegiate Championships, the US Nationals, and competing on behalf of the USA in the biennial North American Orienteering Championships (NAOC).
Benefits: JDT member benefits include a required NJP orientation course offered in February 2021, a subscription to at-home training activities, opportunities to stay in NJP housing when available, access to the NJP uniform (blue “Eagle”) shirt, and other orienteering clothing at reduced pricing. The NJP will arrange for guided course review and possibly training at various meets, dependent on attendance by athletes and mentors/coaches, and will inform athletes of these opportunities. And last but not least, building a supportive community of athletes with fellow NJP members.
Timing: Applications to the NJP for JDT membership are accepted year-round. However, we encourage juniors to apply soon after application forms are available so that they benefit from a full year of participation. Naming to the JDT requires completion of the NJP orientation which consists of 4 hours of live online classes and additional activities to be completed individually. After the February 2021 orientation course offering, additional courses will be scheduled contingent on a minimum attendance of five athletes. (Note: applications from JNT candidates are due on January 3, 2021).
Applying: Please complete and submit the application forms (2021 NJP Basic Application, Waiver, and Athlete Profile) linked below as instructed on the application. Juniors must reapply for the NJP every year. Applications for the Development Team are accepted year round.
Eligibility: Juniors between 13 and 20 years of age who are OUSA members and are confident in the Racing Performance and Navigational Skills described below are encouraged to apply.
Please note: Juniors who have citizenship in another country and are currently living in the U.S. are welcome to apply for and participate in the Junior Development Team. We encourage you to reach out with any questions.
The following guidelines are used to determine if a junior is ready for the JDT:
Racing Performance and Navigational Skill:
JDT members must be comfortable with off-trail navigation and have confidently orienteered on an M/F -16 category (orange) course at either national or local events in the following per kilometer time.
|12 min/km||10 min/km|
Junior National Team
The Junior National Team (JNT) is for US citizens and is focused on helping juniors become internationally competitive. Juniors are selected to the JNT or moved up from the JDT when they have shown a level of orienteering competence and commitment that suggests they are ready for a higher level of engagement. As a member of the JNT, an athlete builds on their orienteering skills focusing on increasing their training and technical skills. Training moves from the fundamentals to more specific applications of skills for various settings and terrains. The main focus races for JNT are the Team Trials for selection to the Junior World Orienteering Championship (JWOC) team, the biennial North American Orienteering Championships (NAOC), and the JWOC races (by selection). Athletes are encouraged to participate in NJP-recommended training camps and National Ranking Events (NRE), and, if there is an opportunity, camps and races in Europe to experience larger elite competitions at the international level.
Benefits: JNT member benefits include a required NJP orientation course offered in late February 2021, a subscription to at-home training activities, a training plan to develop athletic and technical performance, opportunities to stay in NJP housing when available, access to the NJP uniform (blue “Eagle”) shirt and other orienteering clothing at sponsored, reduced pricing through bulk orders. The NJP will arrange guided course review and possibly training at various meets, dependent on attendance by athletes and mentors/coaches, and will inform athletes of these opportunities. JNT members have the privilege to acquire and wear the TeamUSA uniforms. And last but not least, building a supportive community of athletes with fellow NJP members.
Timing: Applications to the NJP and for consideration to the Junior National Team are to be submitted by January 3, 2021. Initially, JNT applicants are placed on the JDT and those who qualify are then named to the Junior National Team. In addition to fulfilling performance and training requirements, naming to the JNT requires completion of the NJP orientation which consists of 4 hours of live online classes and additional activities to be completed individually. JNT applicants who were not named to the JNT in January and who improve over the year may be moved up as they reach the targets for JNT membership. The JNT season runs from January through the middle of November with a break in the summer due to travel and overseas racing.
Applying: To apply to the Junior National Team, please submit the National Junior Program Basic Application along with the Junior National Team Supplementary Application by January 3, 2021. Links at bottom of page.
Eligibility: Below are performance guides that are used to select juniors to the JNT Team.
Performance Targets for JNT Membership
Attackpoint logs with training load, uploaded maps, and GPS tracks, or links to a tracking app such as Strava, provide a good record of training activities and fitness, especially in 2020 as COVID-19 has prevented competition in races and meets.
Racing Performance: Have previously competed in at least four national races or equivalent international competitions in F18-20 or M18-20 categories.
Navigational Skills: Either forest or sprint average time per kilometer according to course length will qualify.
|Forest||9.5 min/km||12.5 min/km|
|Sprint||6 min/km||8 min/km|
Technique Knowledge: Have attended at least three training days or a weekend training camp where you practiced advanced level orienteering skills.
The athlete should be able to run continuously for at least 50 minutes, be comfortable doing physical training at least four days a week, and provide personal-best times for at least one of the distances shown in the table below. These times are guides that the coaches use to determine physical readiness. They are not hard standards, and navigation is the primary focus of evaluation. The times, however, are set at a level that indicates the physical ability necessary to compete at JWOC and should be worked toward, if not already attained.
These times should have been achieved in 2020 through an official race on a track, a USATF-certified (USA Track and Field-certified) road race, or a cross-country race, to ensure that the distances are accurate; or by time trial with a coach present. Since many athletic races were not held in 2020, physical fitness may be assessed through viewing of uploads of GPS tracks of individual training sessions on Attackpoint.
NJP Athlete Commitments
Membership in the OUSA NJP requires athletes to commit to their own training and supporting the team and program as a whole.
NJP Athletes must:
- Create and maintain a training log on www.attackpoint.org. A subscription to Attackpoint, which will allow logging of fitness data and GPS tracks is strongly recommended.
- Help at NJP fundraisers when and as requested by JTESC, and/or designated NJP volunteers.
- Assist with local club events at least twice a year.
- Adhere to the National Junior Program Athlete Agreement found on the NJP Basic Application form.
Note: Juniors, especially athletes applying for the JNT, are encouraged to obtain a U.S. passport as races may take place in Canada or you may be interested in traveling overseas. We recommend that the passport expiration date be at least 6 months beyond the end of any planned trip outside the country. If your passport expires in less than six months, we encourage you to renew it right away.
If you have questions please contact the Junior Program at: email@example.com
Additional JNT Athlete Commitments:
Athletes selected to the Junior National Team will be expected to perform the following tasks, in addition to their NJP commitments.
- Update www.attackpoint.org log with GPS tracks and performance data at least once a week.
- Have a personal/local coach, preferably someone with elite competition or coaching experience, and follow a training plan approved by the National Junior Program. JTESC will help in identifying a suitable personal coach.
- JNT members must communicate immediately with their personal coach if unable to train due to injury, sickness, or any other reason.
- Participate in coach- or athlete-led training group calls.
- Compete in at least four races at OUSA National Ranking Events, or the equivalent when living abroad, during the 2021 season, if possible.
- Write public communications and blog posts as requested by the National Junior Program.
- Set courses, training exercises, or lead orienteering educational activities for at least one local event per year.
- When representing OUSA, JNT members will wear the TeamUSA uniform.
NOTE: All of the forms to be submitted with the application for NJP are fillable PDF documents. Please complete the forms and add signatures using Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader. You can download the Reader for free at https://get.adobe.com/reader/. This is the preferred method of submission.
Please click the links to download form(s) and open with Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader to complete. After completing each form necessary for your application, use “Save As…” and add your name to the title of each file. Below is a list of links to tutorial YouTube videos for various platforms (PC and smartphones) that may help you if new to filling out and signing fillable PDF documents.
The “Basic Application” includes submission information, payment information, as well as a checklist at the end. It may be helpful to print out the checklist and check off steps as you complete them.
Completed applications (all necessary files) should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org. Any questions should be sent to the same address.
Applications and Forms
- 2021 Basic NJP Application
- 2021 Athlete Profile
- 2021 Waiver
- PDF of 2021 National Junior Program information
*Applications for the Junior Development Team are accepted year round.
2021 Junior National Team Members
The Junior National Team (JNT) is for U.S. citizens and is focused on helping juniors become internationally competitive. JNT members build on their orienteering skills focusing on increasing their training and technical skills.
2021 Junior Development Team Members
The U.S. Junior Development Team (JDT) is a group made up of juniors, of all ability levels, who enjoy orienteering. It is designed to help young orienteers who are capable of orienteering on orange-level courses (M/F-16) to transition to the advanced level and become nationally competitive. It is also helps athletes connect with other juniors around the country so they become part of a larger U.S. junior orienteering community.