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Discussion: Teaching orienteering through parks and recreation

in: Orienteering; General

Apr 15, 2016 7:46 PM # 
I'm pondering the idea of teaching orienteering through the local parks and recreation department. We have plenty of nice orienteering maps nearby, and even more forest with government topos. It's been a few decades since I taught orienteering at my university. I'm interested in ideas on a good structure, progression, number and length of classes, exercises, etc., from anyone who has done similar, or has thoughts. I'm considering holding it on Saturdays in July and August, maybe late June or early September too, and possibly including some days at orienteering events held nearby by the local orienteering club, as well as other days on a map by ourselves. I don't know whether to include evening classroom sessions as well or not. There would certainly be a market for teaching on government topos for hikers, hunters, bicyclists, fishermen, adventure racers and the like, but I'm considering having an orienteering focus...ISOM maps and standard O courses, in addition to various kinds of practice in mapreading and technique...but I'm still at the ideas stage, mostly pretty broad at the moment, and seeking input. (I'll leave the topo navigation course for a friend of mine to teach, for people who want that.) Given the need for permits, I want to get my plans sufficiently detailed by mid autumn. Apparently the city has had such a course before, but I don't know details, and will check, but would like broader input on what has been done successfully elsewhere in addition to what has been done here.
Apr 15, 2016 7:48 PM # 
By the way, I'm thinking of a focus on adults and maybe older teens, rather than younger kids. I'm making a map of the local scout camp in town which should help the scouts teach the latter (led by a camp manager who is a longtime orienteer).
Apr 16, 2016 2:11 PM # 
Its an interesting idea that is certainly worth pursuing if you have both the market and the means to advertise to them. If your focus is sportsmen and such, they probably are going to be around the intermediate level to begin with. I would do a crash refresher to see where the people who sign up are and then build from there.

If you do decide to go with an an orienteering focus, I probably wouldn't call it that. Most folks are put off by big words that they aren't familiar with. You can reference the ARK program for success with that.

If you can pitch your courses as getting more folks out into the parks and participating, then you might not even have to worry too much about the permits. I know anything that I do as part of the school district my city waives permit fees (although I still have to get the permit, but its a minor formality once my school ID is on the table. We are very fortunate)
Apr 16, 2016 2:46 PM # 
Why do you want to do it through Parks and Recreation, rather than through the club? My club (Ottawa) has a few adult programs (from beginner through intermediate to advanced). Here's the info:

The program coordinator for these is Jennie Anderson, her email is at the bottom of these pages. There are also occasional orienteering clinics, as well as meet official and orienteering mapping workshops.
Apr 16, 2016 3:53 PM # 
My city's Parks and Recreation department prints thousands of activity guides twice yearly (for a population of 8000 in the city and 25000 in the county), thus helping promote the courses in it. (It's quite a nice production too.) They also handle registration, and have agreements to get deeply discounted room rentals. I've found going thru parks and rec helpful for an Awareness Through Movement class that I'm teaching, and got someone that I probably couldn't have reached, and saving a lot of effort and cost advertising myself. It's no risk and no cost for me to do it this way. And the head of parks and rec is great to deal with.

Permits are for the US Forest Service, and apparently were needed the last time that parks and rec held such a course.
Apr 16, 2016 3:55 PM # 
How many participants do you get for the Ottawa programs?
Apr 16, 2016 4:36 PM # 
You will have to ask Jennie for exact numbers in all courses, but the intermediate+advanced session last Thursday had about 25 participants (roughly equal numbers in intermediate and advanced, they are held in the same locations, but with separate coaches and different exercises).
Apr 16, 2016 5:03 PM # 
Jim, here is the synopsis for Orienteering Calgary's 5 week program for adult beginners. You can contact Jeff Teutsch (canadian on AP) if you are looking for more info. You also might find helpful info on some skills progression work that Orienteering Canada is developing. The work to date references juniors, but the skills progression is also helpful for adult beginners.

Makes good sense to use the promotional power of a parks and rec program to reach potential participants.
Apr 16, 2016 7:33 PM # 
Thanks Charlotte!

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