Youth Programs

Junior Training

Regional orienteering training camps for Junior orienteers are usually scheduled in the spring and early summer.

Little Troll Youth Incentive ProgramLittle Troll program sticker

The Little Troll program was designed by Orienteering USA's Youth Committee under a grant from the U.S. Olympic Committee. The program's continuing support is funded by Orienteering USA membership dues.

The purpose of the program is to give parents a method of teaching their children to orienteer. All children participating in the program must be accompanied by a parent while orienteering on a String-O or White course held as part of a Orienteering USA member-club regular event. Similar activities held by orienteers outside of club events or held by Scout, school or other youth groups do not qualify to received Little Troll stickers or patch awards.

Cards and stickers are available, at no charge, to Orienteering USA member clubs by requesting them from the Orienteering USA Little Troll coordinator (address below). They are not available for use by any outside organization. Clubs should provide each child participating in the program with a new card when the child begins the program and whenever the child's card is full of stickers. The child's parent should decide the level card the child gets. Clubs are encouraged to help parents make an informed choice. The club may not charge for Little Troll cards or stickers, although the club may require its normal "meet fee" for participation in the club's event.

The Little Troll program is available to all children attending Orienteering USA member club orienteering meets, whether they are Orienteering USA members, club members or visitors. There is no membership requirement. Each child participating in a qualifying event can earn a maximum of one (1) sticker per participation day to put on his/her Little Troll card. At the time the sticker is issued, a club meet official should date and sign the child's card next to the sticker. If the child participates in more than one course on a given day, he/she cannot earn extra stickers. Each child can hold only one Little Troll card at a time. Although the child can start at any level, all levels must be taken in order: Little Troll (yellow), Chipmunk (orange), Rabbit (green), Roadrunner (red). If a child starts at orange level, for example, he/she cannot go back later and get yellow. If he/she starts at the red level, he/she cannot go back and get any other levels. The Little Troll (yellow) and Chipmunk (orange) levels can be done on either the String-O or White Courses. Rabbit and Roadrunner stickers can only be earned by a child accompanied by a parent on the White Course.

Once a child's card has stickers for each designated sticker circle (i.e., the card is full), the child's parent can mail the card, plus a $1 fee, to:

Little Troll Program
Orienteering USA
Box 7
Blooming Grove, NY 10914

Email contact: (add an 'at' symbol, @, between first column and second, and 'dot' symbol, . , between second and third column)

The child will receive an award patch from Orienteering USA for completing the card.

If the parent so wishes, the child can be kept at a given level through multiple cards. This should be done when the parent decides the child has not yet mastered the skills of that level. Therefore, a given child can receive multiple award patches at a given level. A child should only be moved to the next level when the parent is satisfied he/she is ready to orienteer at the next skill level. Directions for each skill level are on the back of the card.

Little Troll Program Guide for Parents

The Orienteering USA Youth Committee has developed a program for our youngsters. The Little Troll program is designed so a child of any age can start orienteering at a level just right for him/her and progress in a safe, easy manner until he/she is ready to solo. As parents, you may be assured that your child is learning to orienteer in a program especially designed with his/her needs in mind.

The program is in 4 levels. The first level, Little Troll, is the only one requiring a separate map and course, usually a String-O course. The string course consists of a short circuit only a few hundred meters long. The child (and accompanying adult) follows a string for the entire length, visiting controls along the way. Upon completion of each different course, the child gets a sticker for his Little Troll card. After completing 5 courses and receiving 5 stickers, the card is sent to Orienteering USA for a Little Troll patch.

Levels 2, 3 and 4 are done on the White course. They are, in ascending order of difficulty, Chipmunk, Rabbit, and Roadrunner. An adult accompanies the child on the White course and the amount of help the child receives from the adult is determined by the level the child is completing.

Chipmunk: A lot of adult help. The child is learning to:

  • Be comfortable in the forest
  • Read the basic symbols on the map
  • Check control codes
  • Become familiar with meet procedures

After five different courses, the child's card is sent in for a Chipmunk patch.

Rabbit: Some adult help. The child is learning to:

  • Know common map symbols and colors
  • Orient the map by identifying surrounding terrain
  • Keep thumb on the map near current location
  • Begin to consider route choices
  • Orienteer along a single path
  • Be aware of basic safety rules

After seven different courses, the child's card is sent in for a Rabbit patch.

Roadrunner -- Unassisted, adult follows for safety. The child should:

  • Keep map oriented during the course
  • Make his/her own route choice decisions
  • Orienteer from path to path
  • Know safety rules

After 7 different courses, the child's card is sent in for a Roadrunner patch.

Once a child has completed the Roadrunner level, he/she should be able to begin to orienteer on his own. Age is not critical, children can start at any age on any level and progress at any rate. It is perfectly okay to remain at any level for as long as the child need to learn the skills of that level. Cards and stickers will be available at club events (if you don't see them at your local events, ask the club organizers). All youngsters are welcome to participate.

Bring your child to the next event and let him/her experience the joys of orienteering!

Developed 12/98