Phew, that is a lot of strenuous work involved. I would just make the casual observation that many of the items in the "could have gone better" column are things that were mis-match of expectations. Having more training events will hopefully take care of some of this for you, as adults and kids will start to know what to expect.
Great that you put together a rousing success. Kudos to you and your crew.
Loved the weekend, thank you, Boris and Alli!
Working results, I think it was important to have Valerie's radio control setup to allow tracking who was still out in the woods for the actual courses. You may be able to use that in training as well, as it just records start and finish. Placing those locations well is important, otherwise it takes a few hours to get the relays set up so it all talks to each other.
Doesn't take care of closing the loop on discussing how things went in the woods, but does help with accounting for lots of people!
Awesome event! Are you planning to make it annual?
Sounds like quite a weekend! Well done!
Impressed by the effort put into this by you and all the other volunteers.
Keep up the good work with the juniors!
This sounds fantastic. I am so glad you were able to get the kids together, enjoying the weekend together and being kids and bonding, as well as teaching them to orienteer. I'm amazed you were able to pull that off, even with your all-star coaching team! Kudos :)
I hope this becomes an annual event... I might come down for it!
It was a great event, and I enjoyed being part of it. I'll second the need for more clarity on the junior vs. adult activities and privileges. I don't think we should necessarily separate the camps, because it's nice to have the energy generated by large numbers. But many adults were confused and even discouraged by what they saw as inadequate or incorrect information. We can fix that with better communication.
The other thing I want to mention is parking. We had mass confusion when we opened the secondary lot in the middle of the night, and the Park Ranger's generous and prompt opening of the Camp 2 lot for us was not as useful as it could have been, because we were not prepared to take advantage of it. A number of participants on Saturday night and Sunday morning were really unhappy about the parking situation. Given the Happyland constraints, we need to have a parking plan clearly in mind and the volunteers ready to execute it.
Cabins - if housing is being offered, then I think there needs to be one designated as Female only, and perhaps one designated as CO-ED as well.
Parallel Camps - as Tom mentioned, the communication could have been better. Online information and registration should be totally separate, if adult & junior training programs are being done on the same weekend. This would make it easier to be clear on what was available for each program.
There were juniors who paid $5 for the adult program who participated and were fed through the junior camp. I don't think they purposely tried to cheat the system, since the system was so darn confusing.
Tom and Valerie>> Thanks for your suggestions, they are all very good.
I think that having separate registration for the adult and the junior camp would solve part of the problem.
The other part comes from the fact that the adult training is only aimed at beginner-to-intermediate adults, and thus advanced adults, such as Tom or Ken, would benefit more from doing the advanced junior exercises. We need to figure out how to streamline this and make it much clearer in the available information for next year.
And it definitely needs to be much clearer what is included in the camp fee, and what isn't.
As for single-sex cabins - I am not sure that could have worked this time, given that we basically filled up all the cabin spots and that there were many more males than females, thanks to the boy scout and JROTC groups. But it's certainly something to keep in mind and try to accommodate for next time.
I could be wrong to be concerned about providing female only accommodations. Think about it though - lone junior female - where do you put her so that her mother doesn't worry? ;-)
I think if they aren't going to be offered, then it needs to be very clear ahead of time, so that single females can take that into consideration when registering.
That makes sense, and I am happy to make sure that any females that are coming are aware of and comfortable with the accommodations that are offered.
So let's say we do something other than Happyland next year... Any ideas?
@vmeyer: right on, I was in my cabin when a young girl came in and complained loudly that there was no one but guys in her cabin. The person she was complaining to translated this as: there wasn't her particular (girl) friend in that cabin with her. But nevertheless, the thing you said would happen, did happen.
Congrats and well done Boris. I remain convinced that there is a huge interest and demand for 'juniors only' camps, training and races in North American orienteering. As we have discussed before it would be great to have a number of regional camps to get some inter-regional friendships developing. It's just unfortunate our geography is so vast as we are finding it hard to get juniors to travel outside the Golden Horseshoe as they are not used to it in most of the other sports they do.
I've organized several 75+ participant jr. camp weekends over the years so I'll think about what made those good or bad and send you an email shortly. But finishing the camp with a fun relay was always viewed as a positive.
Adventure Running Kids & Adventure Running X is about to start year#7 in 3 weeks here in Ontario. we just passed the 6000th all-time participant and we are closing in 600 kids for this spring and will likely top 800-900 again. Given the interest in your camp I really think there is huge potential for ARK/ARX like programs in many areas of the US.
A couple of notes for our collective memory:
1. The relay should be a highlight... not just one more thing the kids have to do before they leave. This may mean starting it earlier in the day. It might mean making it more prominent in the schedule. It might mean foregoing the local event to allow kids to participate...
2. Each course should have a unique set of numbers on its controls.
3. Controls for each course should be consistent (all pink streamers, all orange flags, etc.)
4. Coaches should know what these controls are and communicate these to the kids before they leave to run the course.
If you haven't already done so, you might chat with Tom Carr (or Lisa or any of the NTOA organizers) about their experience and lessons learned from TJOC.
I'm sure Tom and Lisa will have lots of good info, and hopefully they can explain the workings of Battle-O (I think that's what is called), the genius TJOC team control retrieval competition.
I had a smile on my face the entire time when reading this.
The relay would have been really fun if it had been run out of the camp making it easier for spectating and cheering one another on, using epunch ;-), and earlier in the day, as mentioned.
@boris - only other map with housing options in the winter which comes to mind is Hemlock...
@vmeyer - what if we shoot for March?
Meaning in March at PWNF?
None of the other cabin camps are open before the end of April.
So, how do we make the available Camp 5 work?
One possibility is to also rent the education room at Turkey Run Ridge, and maybe one of the camp ground loops at TRR for parking purposes for one day (Saturday). The room is not giant, but it may be adequate for a command center to get people out on their exercises. And, there are heated bathrooms as well. I mention TRR because the terrain is nicer in that area.
Have the beginners and near beginners do their activities out of Camp 5, so that space at TRR isn't overwhelmed.
Carpool the more advanced groups to TRR. Provide bag lunches, or set out the sandwich makings at TRR for lunch.
Then back to Camp 5 for evening activities.
For Sunday, after breakfast some super fun relays around the camp area.
Just some thoughts off the top of my head. :)
These are good thoughts. I really like the idea of TRR, as it is pretty central and access a lot of terrain at PWNF.
How late in the fall can we book the other camps, out of curiosity? And what about other parks?
For 2016, the other camps are available - April 22 - November 6, 2016.
Info is available here:
Map is here:
Camp 3 is the one in the park, but it has the least number of beds with 76 - but they are divided into 10 person cabins. Not sure where the leftover number is. :)
Camps 1 & 4 are on the east side of the park, and they likely have the same issue of being a ways from the nicer terrain. Not totally sure about that though. Just remember having to cross the creek while holding on to ropes to get to the other side.
Not sure if they are heated or not.
Boris, et al, I worked the registration table from about 11:30 to close on Sunday. The only junior 'issue' I saw was for the raffle. I don't know if the juniors got raffle tickets when they signed in on Saturday/Sunday am....the ones that asked, I knew were members and were competing, so that's not an issue---but I think the club may want to consider including their raffle ticket with their packet/event fee (not a biggie just figured worth throwing out there).
Regarding general registration/beginner instruction/whistles...(@vmeyer and other QOC in charge types)....there was some confusion over who needed to fill out a yellow card to check out an epunch (I was scolded for making more work for the participant but this is what I was told to do); beginner instruction/the setup wasn't conducive, in my opinion (I think it was more of a layout/flow issue); and someone wanted to buy a whistle---but I couldn't find them and I couldn't spend time looking because the other volunteer scheduled to help was still on his course....and Heidi who was covering for him left to go with John to the hospital with a woman that broke (?) her wrist while out on a course and there was a large sum of money I wasn't going to take my eyes off of. Also, I think QOC may want to invest in a square
and the necessary tech equipment and/or log book/IOU book to track and keep in one place all of the people that have agreed to register/pay update. Would also suggest a scheduled "floater" volunteer (for large meets) to help out. It was great for me to still feel involved though I couldn't go out on any courses due to my leg.
Silly me, the Adventure Links camp at Hemlock Overlook didn't occur to me as possible accommodations for a training camp. I'm not sure what it costs or how many it can accommodate but it's at least worth looking into.
I wonder whether, with enough lead time and promotion to the MART and other junior orienteers within plausible range, we could get enough junior participants to offer a camp that was just for reasonably experienced juniors - mixing junior and adult training at all levels plus a regular QOC event or two does get to be several handfuls. And if it seems a waste to keep adults away from the junior training exercises, have the Saturday junior exercises open separately for adults on Sunday while the juniors are somewhere else doing completely different training. In principle, I like the efficiency of holding a training weekend and trying to accommodate all interested participants but it might work better to do something with a tighter focus.
ETA: the last time I checked, the park no longer rented out the classroom space at the Turkey Run Education Center to outside groups. Doesn't mean doing something there or with transport of juniors to there from accommodations elsewhere is a bad idea but it won't come with the classroom unless they've reversed that policy change.
Also, Cabin Camp 3 has convenient access to a reasonable amount of nice terrain west of it. And it's a much shorter drive to TRR from there than from any of the other cabin camps - maybe, if the later April to early November part is okay, do a Saturday of training there then have all the juniors pack up after breakfast, take a sandwich lunch or the like with them, and head off to TRR to train until mid-to-late-afternoon. Not that we couldn't do the same thing at Happyland - it's not that much further to drive, assuming enough vehicles can be mustered to move everyone who would have to go in one trip (maybe leaving behind things they wouldn't need for training, to be picked up again at Happyland at the end of the day).
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