2019 National Junior Program

U.S. 2019 National Junior Program

Welcome to the 2019 U.S. Junior orienteering competitive programs page. The U.S. National Junior Program (NJP), consisting of the Junior Development Team and the Junior National Team, is overseen by the Junior Team Executive Steering Committee (JTESC) along with the Junior National Coach and the Junior Development Coach.  The National Junior Program uses a whole-athlete approach.  Athletes are trained in three areas: navigational skills, physical running fitness, and strength and agility.  In addition to developing physical skills, the program emphasizes self-awareness and individual potential.  Our goal is 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 Junior teams have four guiding principles:

  1. To focus on the process needed to accomplish a goal rather than the result,
  2. To ensure that all training is backed by principles that transfer to other areas of life,
  3. To find creative ways through tough situations, and
  4. That athletes always strive for the best of themselves.

Each athlete is encouraged to develop self awareness by reflecting on assigned 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.  Dialogue and clear communication are essential to accomplish these goals.

Information is provided below that describes each team more specifically.  Read this information, paying particular attention to the commitments required for members of the NJP and, if appropriate, the JNT, and fill out the application form.  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 Junior Program at: ousajuniorprogram@orienteeringusa.org

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 coaches at ousajuniorprogram@orienteeringusa.org for more information.

Junior Development Team

The Junior Development Team (JDT) 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 designed to help athletes connect with other juniors around the country so they become part of a larger U.S. junior orienteering community.  

Members of the Junior Development Team will work with the Junior Development Coach, Greg Ahlswede, and will receive coaching in navigation training, racing, physical training, and in becoming a competitive athlete. Juniors will engage regularly in team calls where they talk through training, receive coaching advice, and learn from their peers.

They will also receive support in learning how to practice more regularly for orienteering and will be invited to regional and national training camps.  In addition to regular local races and National Ranking Events, the main competitions for the Junior Development Team are the Orienteering USA Junior Nationals, previously known as the Interscholastic/Intercollegiate Championships, and the biennial North American Orienteering Championships (NAOC).

JDT member benefits include weekly at-home training exercises to improve navigational skills, monthly training calls with the JDT coach and teammates, coach-led course reviews at national meets, opportunities to stay in NJP housing when available, regional and national training camps, subsidized uniform items, and interactions with JNT 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. (Note: applications from JNT candidates are due on December 15, 2018).  Regular communication between the JDT coach and the team runs from January through June and from September to the beginning of November.  

Applying:  Please complete and submit the application forms (2019 NJP Basic Application + Medical and Travel, Waiver, and Athlete Profile) linked below as instructed on the application.  Juniors must reapply for the NJP every year.

Eligibility: Juniors between 13 and 20 years of age 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.

Coaches use the following guidelines 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 completed at least a M/F -16 category (orange) course at either a national or local event in the following per kilometer time.  

  • Women: 12 min per K
  • Men: 10 min per K

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 National Team 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 Junior World Orienteering Championship (JWOC) Team trials, the biennial North American Orienteering Championships (NAOC), and the JWOC races (by selection).  Athletes are encouraged to participate in training camps and races in Europe during the summer to build international racing experience and experience greater competition.

Timing: Junior National Team applications are to be submitted by December 15, 2018. The JNT team 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 December 15, 2018.  Initially, JNT applicants are placed on the JDT and those who qualify are then named to the Junior National Team.  JNT applicants who are placed on the JDT and who improve over the year may be moved up as they reach the targets for JNT membership.

Eligibility: Below are performance guides that coaches use to select juniors to the Junior National Team.

Performance Targets for JNT Membership

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.

  Women Forest    Women Sprint    Men Forest    Men Sprint  
  12.5 min/km    8 min/km    9.5 min/km    6 min/km  

Technique Knowledge:  Have attended at least three training days or a weekend training camp where you practiced intermediate and/or advanced level skills.

Physical Fitness:

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 towards  if not already attained.

Distance        Men     Women 
1 mile          5:10     6:20 
3 kilometers   10:15    12:30 
5 kilometers   17:50    21:25 

These times should be from 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.

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:

  1. Be a member in good standing of OUSA.Create and maintain a training log on www.attackpoint.org
  2. Help at NJP fundraisers when and as requested by the Junior Development Coach, JTESC, and other NJP volunteers.
  3. Assist with local club events at least twice a year.
  4. Fill out an athlete profile form which will be provided.
  5. Complete the SafeSport video training according to OUSA policy. Note, all parents of minor NJP members and all parents of adult NJP members who may be directly involved with NJP athletes, must also complete the SafeSport training. SafeSport training costs for all NJP athletes and parents is covered by OUSA. OrienteeringUSA is in the process of updating its safety rules and policies based on a new federal law, the Safe Sport Authorization Act.
  6. Sign, or if under 18 years of age, have a parent sign, the NJP activity waiver.
  7. Complete the Medical and Travel form.
  8. Sign, return, and adhere to the National Junior Program Athlete Agreement found on the NJP General Application form)

Note:  Juniors 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: ousajuniorprogram@orienteeringusa.org

JNT Athlete Commitments:

  1. Athletes selected to the Junior National Team will be expected to perform the following tasks, in addition to their NJP commitments.
  2. Update their www.attackpoint.org log at least once a week as required by the JNC.
  3. Have a personal/local coach and follow a training plan approved by the Junior National Coach (JNC).  The JNC will help in identifying a suitable local coach.
  4. JNT members must communicate immediately with the JNC if unable to train due to injury, sickness, or any other reason.
  5. Participate in weekly training group calls.
  6. Compete in at least four races at OUSA National Ranking Events or the equivalent when living abroad during the 2019 season.  
  7. Write public communications and blog posts as requested by the JNC or JTESC.
  8. Set courses, training exercises, or lead orienteering educational activities for at least one event per year as approved by the JNC.
  9. Team members who declare their intent to try out for the JWOC team must hold a U.S. passport valid through January 2020.

All of the forms to be submitted with the application for NJP are fillable PDF documents.  The best way to complete the forms and add signatures is using Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader.  If you don't already have it, you can download the Reader for free at https://get.adobe.com/reader/.

Related documents:

NOTE: Forms are fillable PDF. Please click links to download form(s) and open with Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader to complete.

updated 29 Jan 2019