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Discussion: Orienteering USA Board Of Directors election

in: Orienteering; General

Aug 31, 2016 10:20 AM # 
Hello fellow orienteers and members of Orienteering USA. At OUSA's Annual General Meeting on September 17, we will have elections to OUSA's Board of Directors. Candidate statements came out last week and are available here. Five of us are running with a joint platform based on common interests. Please see our platform below. We are happy to provide more details, engage in dialogue, and answer any questions you may have.

We have come together for growth. We are a coalition of five candidates running for the OUSA Board of Directors. Our primary goal is to grow and strengthen the sport of orienteering so it remains a viable sport for years to come. In order to do that, we will engage clubs, focus on key projects, assess the budget priorities, and improve the functioning of the organization.

OUSA has stalled. Over the past decade, OUSA has made many improvements and provided new benefits for clubs. However, we have not seen overall growth in orienteering, and OUSA has been operating at an annual deficit, while cutting back many programs.

We can grow. We want to build youth, recreational and training programs that will attract sponsorships and grants, as well as increased membership. We will engage with clubs to share ideas and resources for programs that work and ways to attract and retain more participants. We will look at marketing and promotion. In conversations we have had with many people leading up to our decision to run for the Board, we have heard dozens of great ideas, and a willingness to make them happen. By focusing on growth, listening hard to clubs, and engaging more people at the national level, we believe we can grow this sport.

OUSA can function better and empower more people. In order to achieve these goals, OUSA must be more transparent about how money is spent, and what direct benefits and services to clubs this spending provides. The Board must also be willing to consider changes in operations and priorities that will further its mission. We want to empower committees and projects with clear goals, encourage them to look for new sources of income, give them control over their resources, and hold them accountable for results. We will take a hard look at the alignment between OUSA’s budget, organization, and its mission, and refocus where necessary.

We want to work with you. The orienteering community in the US is a wonderful and energetic group of people, and so many have devoted great time and energy to make it a reality. We want to learn from your experiences and continue those endeavors in the years ahead.

The candidates:

Barb Bryant, NEOC, Cambridge MA
Boris Granovskiy, QOC, Washington D.C.
Alex Jospe, CSU, Newton MA
Ian Smith, NEOC, Boston MA
Kevin Teschendorf, BGR, Madison WI

The OUSA Annual General Meeting is on Saturday, September 17 at 4 PM at the Hampton Inn in Danbury CT in conjunction with the US Classic Champs hosted by HVO. Part of the AGM will include the election of candidates to five open positions on the OUSA Board. We, the growth coalition candidates, ask for your support.
Aug 31, 2016 4:24 PM # 
From what I read, Secretary and Finance VP are not specifically voted on. Is that true? Do these two positions take any special skills? For example, does VP Finance require some knowledge of tax accounting?

Are any of these (or the other) candidates specially interested in these 2 positions?
Aug 31, 2016 4:52 PM # 
I believe the membership elects the board and then the board elects the officers. But your questions do raise some good points.
Aug 31, 2016 7:19 PM # 
The present structure of the board, as outlined in the Bylaws is that the membership elects the board. Then, at the first meeting after the election (which will immediately follow the AGM, the board elects its officers. The officers are: President, VP Finance, VP Club, VP Competition and Secretary. These officers make up the Executive Committee.
Aug 31, 2016 8:05 PM # 
It's meant to point here:
Aug 31, 2016 8:13 PM # 
Alex's post FTW.
Aug 31, 2016 9:26 PM # 
Apologies for the bad link! It should work now. I was typing on my phone, and it autocorrected to "herd" instead of "href"...
Aug 31, 2016 9:44 PM # 
Well, well, well. After what seems like a decade of complaining a few APErs have finally decided to step up and try to do something. It’s about time!

However, everything may not be as clear as it at first appears. The Coalition’s Position Statement presents a panoply of pablum and platitudes that attempts to distant many of them from their true agenda and past vitriolic attacks. A quick review of their past posts on AP and their AP blogs, however, reveals their true colors. And let’s not forget that behind the curtain stands a grisled old dude (god) pulling the levers to make sure his objectives are attained.

What the coalition really stands for (based on their past comments) can be summarized into two main areas: Eliminate or curtail the current Executive Director and Asst Executive Director positions and give more money to the teams.

In an attempt to take the coalition up on its recommendation that “OUSA must be more transparent” and “that we want to work with you the orienteering community” and “We are happy to provide more details, engage in dialogue, and answer any questions you may have. “ , here are some questions that I hope will be answered:

1) The Coalition candidates advocate more resources to the teams (Smith even goes as far as advocating a 70% (5.9 to 10) increase in unrestricted funds to the teams). Why? It certainly is not for performance which has been abysmal and the benefits of this largesse go only to a handful of people. In other words, QUANTIFY (to the 95%+ of OUSA members who do not get a direct subsidy) the return on investment for any money spent on the teams? Be specific.

2) Donations. It is an unwritten rule that BOD members of not-for-profits (NFP) contribute financially to the organization. OUSA BOD has attained a near 100% participation rate for some time. According to March, 2015 ONA (couldn’t find 2016) Coalition candidates Granovskiy, Jospe, Smith, and Teschendorf did not contribute to the Annual Fund Drive. Is this the level of financial support we can expect from the Coalition in the future?

3) Donations 2: Donations are the life blood of NFP organizations, given the less than diplomatic comments of some Coalition members on AP and elsewhere regarding the OUSA BOD, what assurances can you give that major donors (including some current & past BOD members) will continue to support OUSA financially? What outreach has been done to maintain and grow this vital source of funds? Unlike some of your past AP posts, can you demonstrate the maturity, civility and patience to court these and additional donors?

4) Finances. Finances for NFP, in general, and OUSA, in particular, are fairly arcane. Who on the Coalition is an accountant, has served on OUSA Finance Committee or has any practical experience in NFP accounting and can maintain and advance the financial reporting of OUSA? Smith’s attempt at it (in his link w/candidate statement) leaves much to be desired. BTW, given Coalition goals, I would not expect extraordinary help from the current ED and AED, despite any assurances they feel obligated to give. Sometimes, it doesn’t pay to show your hand so far in advance.

5) Mundane Tasks. There are many mundane tasks involved in running an org such as OUSA. Many of these are performed by the ED and AED (who now will probably be engaged primarily in a job hunts) but many still fall to the BOD. Given the apparent lack of involvement in OUSA matters by some coalition members, please describe how you have volunteered in the past to help with these day-to-day function at OUSA. (Meet setting etc. is not included since it is not day to day). In addition, some Coalition candidates have posted their OUSA committee involvement. What committees have the others served on, etc.? How many Board meetings have you attended?

6) OUSA ED. Given past comments by many of Coalition members on AP regarding the current ED and BOD, what type of candidate can you get to fill ED (part time or full time) and AED? Since any candidate can, should and will review AP comments, why do you feel it will not be almost impossible to attract a qualified candidate?

Thanks for your time and I look forward to your responses. Feel free to post comments here and/or on Club Net (although I am not on Club Net so cannot post this there myself)
Aug 31, 2016 9:48 PM # 
I am not going to answer any of your points, other than to say that the performance of the Junior Team at the Junior World Champs this year was absolutely not abysmal. They have done a phenomenal amount with a tiny number of active junior orienteers, essentially no standard of domestic competition, and a lot of motivation. How dare you?
Aug 31, 2016 9:49 PM # 
Hi Sammy,

Thanks for your interest in our campaign for positions on the OUSA Board. In the interest of the same levels of maturity and transparency that you are demanding (rightfully) from us, can you please reciprocate and let us know who we are dealing with? I don't think that anonymous attacks on internet forums are the best way to steer a civilized, and much needed, debate.
Aug 31, 2016 10:00 PM # 
Who are you referring to as the AED? I don't think we actually have an Assistant Executive Director position.
Aug 31, 2016 10:50 PM # 
Mr Wonderful:
inb4 someone on ap requires identification prior to providing a response

Whoops, too late
Aug 31, 2016 11:08 PM # 
Hi Jens,

Can you please explain what you mean?
Aug 31, 2016 11:10 PM # 
Mr Wonderful:
It happens on here with some regularity - someone asks what to a lurkerish type looks like a legit question, and credentials are requested. Can we pretend it's a respected, valued member of the community so we can move on to the answer phase? It was more politely worded than you'd ever get if orienteering was a popular sport, so give it some props for that.
Aug 31, 2016 11:14 PM # 
Ok, I will work on some answers, as some of sammy's questions are legitimate, and I am happy to engage. But in terms of politely worded - sammy had plenty of personal attacks, including calling us immature and uncivil, without providing any examples. I don't think that qualifies as civil or mature.
Aug 31, 2016 11:25 PM # 
I wouldn't expect an ID from sammy, that's historically not his (her?) m.o. You can either engage or ignore him, but he seems to be a resolutely anonymous agitator. As such, he can present provocative questions, but he can't necessarily expect a response.

(I personally think that at least one of his insinuations is way out of line.)
Aug 31, 2016 11:36 PM # 
I have at least four of the five, maybe all five, coalition candidates in my favourites and I'm not aware of these "past vitriolic attacks" sammy mentions. Also, their doubts about the ongoing Executive Director initiative are hardly secret - quoting from Ian Smith's candidate statement:

" Instead of a broad Executive Director, I propose a much more limited publicity and marketing position whose responsibilities are disseminating information within the community and to the general public through social media and mass media and to assist local clubs in their publicity efforts."

For my part, I have to agree with the apparently strong current of thought on AP that the current board has done a piss poor job of explaining to the membership why, given OUSA's track record since he was hired, the ED is worth what he costs, more so than other things that could be had for the same (or less) money. It remains to be seen whether a contested election for nearly half the seats on the board is enough to elicit such an explanation and how convincing it will be should it be forthcoming.
Sep 1, 2016 12:52 AM # 
Take it easy, Boris. I think most people would agree you've done more for orienteering in the US than self-styled Sammy. Res ipsa loquitur
Sep 1, 2016 1:00 AM # 
Hi, all - it's very exciting to see all this discussion about OUSA strategic vision, and thanks to everyone for taking interest. I do think it will be much more productive if we discuss facts and make constructive observations than unleash vitriol and character assassination.

@sammy: You imply deceit when none exists. I do not speak for the coalition, but my views are quite public. Which of my comments were caustic? I assume that by "behind the curtain stands a grisled old dude" refers to Peter Gagarin; we invited him to run with us and join our coalition. He adamantly declined to run, and as far as I recall, he only commented on our effort once. He isn't explicitly involved, though I frankly think it would be better if he were.

I want to reply to your comments as fully as I am able, though it's not clear to me that this will be productive. Your thesis is factually incorrect:
What the coalition really stands for (based on their past comments) can be summarized into two main areas: Eliminate or curtail the current Executive Director and Asst Executive Director positions and give more money to the teams.

Not everyone in our coalition is in favor of eliminating or curtailing the ED role (who is the AED?). We were actually unable to come to consensus in our statement except to note that we want to evaluate and understand the position. From my perspective, the ED role was a bold experiment that ultimately has failed to achieve its stated objectives and is unlikely to do so in the future. Furthermore, it comes at enormous opportunity cost (and literal cost) and precludes many other worthwhile endeavors. In short, I don't think we're getting anywhere close to the needed bang for our buck, and after seven years, we have more than enough data to draw that conclusion. If you peruse the attackpoint threads - while I don't know that they are representative of the OUSA community at large - you'll find this a common sentiment.

I also have no idea where you get this impression that giving more money to the teams is our main endeavor. You're absolutely right that in my statement, I propose an 70% increase in discretionary spending on elite teams. But you couch it deceptively: 1.7x a pittance is a slightly larger pittance. According to my analysis, which I have richly cited and made public, the combined six elite teams receive 5.9% of OUSA's discretionary budget. This amounts to about $14,000. The amount spent on the senior team was on average, $5210. I'm not an expert on typical WOC costs - the first priority for this money - but IIRC, registration for a national team at WOC is on the order of $5k-10k. In other words, the moneys allocated by the board (excluding restricted contributions) do not even cover registration for the US national team at the world championships. To say nothing of air fare, food, or transportation. All of these athletes are paying for the privilege of representing their country.

Put another way, this "massive increase" you refer to - 4.1% of the OUSA discretionary budget - is what OUSA spends on the Executive Director in 32 days. Combining payroll, fundraising, and the ED expense account, I arrive at 48.5% of the OUSA discretionary spending.

One of my main points is that I don't think we're spending this 48% of our discretionary budget effectively. I would like to see this primarily invested in publicity and marketing, developing junior programs, and possibly a technical position to help support clubs - none of which have anything to do with "the teams."

2. Donations
One of my biggest concerns is that I don't know what OUSA is actively doing. Starts, membership, and national meets are all trending down over the past seven years. It is the responsibility of the federation to give donors a reason to contribute, and I have never been persuaded that donating would be constructive. Funding the creation of junior programs in the vein of WIOL and ARK would be an attractive reason to contribute if these programs were serious endeavors.

3. Donations 2
What comments of ours are "less than diplomatic?"

4. I'm really not sure how to respond to this comment. I would remind you that the OUSA Board has 12 members, not 5. While addition is one of my strong suits, my main interest in vivisecting the OUSA finances was to determine what endeavors are being funded. This is quite a different purpose than accounting.

5. In my experience as a director of a 501(c)(3) organization, there are two classes of activities: upkeep - the set of tasks which while unexciting are necessary for maintaining a functional organization, and endeavors and projects - the major steps an organization takes to execute its strategic vision. Both are necessary for the success of the organization. I have not served on any OUSA committees, and I have only been to a handful of board meetings. But prior involvement with the federation is not necessary for board membership any more than interaction with the federal government is a prerequisite for the presidency. And if you have ever been to a Board meeting, I trust you will appreciate that Board meetings are not where the actual work gets done. In many respects, given that we're advocating substantial changes in the organization, there are many advantages to fresh ideas and a new vision.

6. Again, I really don't know what the ED does on a day-to-day basis, and despite poring over countless board documents, the documentation has not answered my question. This is not a personal criticism - I like Glen, and I appreciate and laud the efforts of the many people who have worked diligently towards the ED experiment. I think the role is poorly defined, and I find the strategic plan laid out unsatisfying. I had oversight of the event calendar for one of the largest clubs in the country, and not once was I contacted by OUSA to motivate some change or execute some plan.

The experiment has run its course, the return has not justified the investment, and it's time to try something else.
Sep 1, 2016 1:27 AM # 
Why support elite teams?

Sammy somewhat bombastically posed this question above, and I think it merits some discussion. It is a narrow interpretation to assert that the benefits of "this largesse" are so unequally distributed in the community because (1) it's a laughable pittance, (2) it is earned through national performance, and (3) actual OUSA funds have a comparatively massive Gini coefficient. Nevertheless, the question merits attention.

The national teams - and their performance - are the main marketable product of OUSA. You don't market databases or club services, you don't market scout-O. You market elites. Sport and competition give us insights into the limits of human capability. We are inspired by the extraordinary. Which of these images will appeal more to our target audience: scouts or images of elites?

There are countless examples of this in the growth of sport. What led to the rise of basketball in the late 80s and early 90s? The global phenomenon of Michael Jordan. What made a bunch of Americans care about ice hockey in 1980? Miracle on Ice. What led to the explosion of women's soccer from 1990 - 2000? The incredible success and tenacity of the US Women's national team, culminating in a World Cup title at home. When olympic sports market themselves, they don't present media of Steve Somebody the weekend warrior - they show Lindsay Vonn, Usain Bolt, Mikaela Shiffrin, Michael Phelps, David Rudisha, Mo Farah, Kenenisa Bekele, Simone Biles, Zatopek (!) - the greatest athletes.

And OUSA marketing reflects that; 3 of the 5 pictures in the banner on the facebook page and the website are national team members. That is the difference between a sport and an activity. (Though curiously, Magnus Carlsen and Alex Honnold have parallel phenomena.) It is true that the elite teams are not always competitive on the international stage. There are many reasons for that, but as Becks has said, recent efforts in the past few years in the Junior Program are already showing results. I would also note that the initiative for that endeavor came from outside of the OUSA leadership.

To summarize, OUSA should invest in its elite teams because there are substantial returns on that investment through marketing and community development. There are countless stalwart members of the orienteering community who in the past have been on national teams. OUSA gave more support to the teams in 2007 that in some recent years, and while there are many priorities for OUSA, financial support of the elite teams - in unrestricted spending - should be one of those.
Sep 1, 2016 1:40 AM # 
I would like to address the rumor that our "coalition" wants to do away with the ED position and cut programs to give money to the US Teams. This is incorrect. One of our members (Ian, above) is strongly in favor of reworking the ED position, but the other four are not willing to jump on that bandwagon. We do all agree that the entire membership will benefit from more transparency about what the ED position is doing for us as members and how it is benefitting us.

Regarding teams - I am a direct recipient from lots of OUSA team-restricted dollars (Ski-O Team since 2007, Senior Team since 2011). I have absolutely no intention of trying to increase that amount, especially for seniors. When it comes to junior development, however, I think most people (certainly all of the coalition and all of the existing BOD members!) would agree that this is our future, and a strong junior program is necessary to grow the heart of our sport. I don't advocate that we throw money thoughtlessly at junior programs, but that we continue to fund well thought-out initiatives, track their progress, and adjust the programs and their funding as necessary.

Regarding Sammy's point #5, where Sammy is asking what committees we have experience with at the national level - I was involved in the 2014-2015 Strategic Plan committee, working with several of the existing BOD members and current president and ED. We may not have arrived at a totally satisfactory product for everyone involved, but it was an important exercise to get started to help align the vision of OUSA. We're due for an update to that plan, hopefully with some clearer vision.

I've also served on the Ski-O Executive Steering Committee for six years, achieving major changes in our selection procedure and helping to bring the 2012 Ski-O World Cup to Tahoe.

Keep the discussion coming, this is great!
Sep 1, 2016 1:55 AM # 
To address Sammy's point 2 - contributing to the annual fund drive - I did not contribute. At this point in my life my contributions to orienteering have to be something other than financial. I write frequently for ONA wearing my senior team hat, I am CSU's Event Director, I host regional events (this year the Billygoat, Boston Sprint Camp, and the spring Park-O series), and now, I am trying to run for our national Board of Directors to try and make a difference at the top level. I would argue that my actions for OUSA are far more valuable than anything I could contribute financially right now.

I don't find it particularly productive to give preference to someone for their financial contributions or lack thereof.
Sep 1, 2016 1:56 AM # 
Addressing ErikEddy's question about the VP of Finance and the Secretary - I believe Barb Bryant is interested in running for the secretary. I am not interested in either position myself.
Sep 1, 2016 2:06 AM # 
For a person asserting an interest in financial management, oddly enough your argument lacks any actual calculation of ROI. Don't worry, though; the sad truth is that there's nothing special about orienteering in this regard - most amateur sports teams of all types sent to compete internationally are just holes in the ground for their national associations to pour money into. The question is simply how many $ the organization can afford to kiss goodbye to every year, and on AP, unfortunately the attitude of some Elites that they deserve to be sent on various Eurovacations every year regardless of past or predicted performance - or ROI - is just plain obnoxious. Fortunately some are appreciative even if they aren't the ones in your coalition.

It's already a given that the AP crowd (except sammy and a few brave others) lustily cheer every Elite who cries "Gimme More Money!", so that's just preaching to the choir. Every special interest group does their best to justify a land grab - why be ashamed of that? Just come out and say, "Our goal is gain enough power to take away the funding of an Executive Director who works on behalf of all clubs and orienteers, recreational and competitive, so that in turn we can give more to the Elite teams of our choosing."

Btw, if you look in the OUSA mission statements, you'll see that funding of elite teams is a given. Sure, there are some who think elites should get zero funding, but they are a minority. Most, including just about every USOF/OUSA Board member on record, support Team funding, even if it is obvious to any honest observer that it has, and probably always will have for this sport, a negative ROI. As long as you have the money, there's nothing wrong with that.
Sep 1, 2016 2:08 AM # 
Sock-puppetry comes to Attackpoint. This saddens me.
Sep 1, 2016 2:12 AM # 
A point about contributions... last time I checked (admittedly not very recently), un-reimbursed expenses for competing on behalf of a national sports federation are considered charitable donations. This obviously won't show up in the annual fund drive report but it's a contribution to the organization nonetheless.
Sep 1, 2016 4:52 AM # 
I was asked to run as one of the coalition candidates, but in the end declined due to commitments this year and next, and due to enough other candidates coming forward. I support the coalition's efforts.

In my forty years of orienteering (and volunteering), I've noticed that junior programs, like JROTC, interscholastic leagues, Canada's ARK and SOGO, and others have yielded development. The ED role, while a brave experiment, has not yielded much for the money. (Jon Nash's efforts several years earlier similarly showed the difficulty of orienteering succeeding with this approach, so now we've tried twice, once with an experienced professional from lacrosse).

Let's not wait more years and until the money's gone to refocus our money on another approach. Shrinking the ED role to PR and Web work, and hiring someone to support starting more junior programs (such as the above), or otherwise supporting the creation and spread of these programs, as well as making the discretionary budget sustainable, makes sense.
Sep 1, 2016 12:10 PM # 
"Sock-puppetry comes to Attackpoint. This saddens me."

I find it more disturbing to have sock-puppets on the board of OUSA.
Sep 1, 2016 12:20 PM # 
^^ :D ^^

In lieu of the "like button."

(I should add that I am not involved with the coalition, any opinions here are my own. I should also add that as a member of British Orienteering, I never saw it being worth my while joining OUSA until I realised that meets I planned were not necessarily insured were I not an OUSA member. It's the only reason I joined.)
Sep 1, 2016 12:33 PM # 
What, is that true about insurance? Really, even when held under club auspices? That seems silly. Unless membership is automatic.
Sep 1, 2016 12:37 PM # 
I wish i could remember where I read it. I don't remember now. The wording was such that I was concerned enough to join. I could very well be wrong.
Sep 1, 2016 1:35 PM # 
Mr Wonderful:
I don't read the insurance situation that way. From:

Who is an insured?
The “Commercial General Liability” policy lists Orienteering USA chartered clubs, Orienteering USA members, and members of Orienteering USA chartered clubs as named insureds for the purpose of conducting orienteering events and other orienteering activities

Ian, I appreciate the explanations - at the risk of breaking internet protocol, my position on some of your positions has changed as a result of explanation.
Sep 1, 2016 2:29 PM # 
You should be insured as long as you are a member of the club that you are putting on the meet for and the club holds a valid OUSA charter.
Sep 1, 2016 2:32 PM # 
I find it more disturbing to have sock-puppets on the board of OUSA.

I was being loose in applying the term to ToraTora's brand spanking new account created purely to flame this discussion anonymously - it's not as though I have proof that someone with another AP account is behind it - but I think applying it to any past, present or potential future board members is stretching it beyond the bounds of reason. It would be nice if we could discuss differences of opinion over the best means to improve OUSA's situation without being insulting to the organization's volunteers, regardless of whether the targets of the insults are specifically identified.
Sep 1, 2016 2:55 PM # 
(Don't want to derail the real conversation, but thanks for the insurance clarification guys!)
Sep 1, 2016 3:18 PM # 
With regard to insurance, the Bylaws were recently changed so that all people who run at a Charter Club's events is insured. There are now three classes of membership. Regular members pay their dues to OUSA and have certain benefits like meet fee reductions and ONA. All members of local clubs become Associate members of OUSA when they join the local club. People who are not members of clubs but come to meets become Day members of the OUSA as a result of signing the waiver. Therefore, all people running in Chartered Club events are insured. It should also be noted that people working at the meets, course setting, etc. are insured, too.
Sep 1, 2016 4:16 PM # 
Since the AGM is taking place on the same day as a sanctioned A-meet, do all participants who sign the waiver at the A-meet that day have voting rights at the AGM? I had a quick look at the bylaws and there is no explicit exclusion that I can see. There is an explicit voting rights exclusion for Associate Members, but not for Day Members as far as I can tell (Section B. Individual Memberships)

Also, Peter, you posted a message on Clubnet yesterday which seems pretty important to the current discussions. Do you want to post it here, or at least tell people about it?
Sep 1, 2016 4:25 PM # 
My understanding from Robin was that voting lists were finalized on July 31st.
Sep 1, 2016 4:31 PM # 
Ah, nevermind. I see it further down in Section A. Annual General Meeting. Day Members are explicitly disallowed.
Sep 1, 2016 5:02 PM # 
Are there 6 spots open now?
Sep 1, 2016 5:09 PM # 
I suspect Peter will be keeping his Board seat after stepping down as Prez.
Sep 1, 2016 8:13 PM # 
Rereading Sammy's post:

1) The Coalition candidates advocate more resources to the teams (Smith even goes as far as advocating a 70% (5.9 to 10) increase in unrestricted funds to the teams). Why? It certainly is not for performance which has been abysmal and the benefits of this largesse go only to a handful of people. In other words, QUANTIFY (to the 95%+ of OUSA members who do not get a direct subsidy) the return on investment for any money spent on the teams? Be specific.

I charge Sammy to quantify the return on investment for the entire OUSA budget. Be specific. What are we as a federation getting for our spending? And the question going forward: are there better ways to spend those funds to advance orienteering in the US?
Sep 1, 2016 9:24 PM # 

Here is my response to your statement on the elite team.

You mentioned performance of the elite team is abysmal. Abysmal is a strong word for someone who sounds like they've never competed in an elite-level competition. I believe you've got the system backwards. The money provided isn't a reward for good results. It is intended as support for good results. Sponsors give money for results. Races give money for results. Federations support their athletes.

It seems that there's been a misunderstanding. So, let me provide an example of what happens for the US at some elite competitions. I ran at the World Cup in Poland in May. Do you know what my lodging was? Sharing a sofabed with Giacomo in an apartment we were sharing with the Spanish team. Where were the Scandinavians? In the four-star official event hotel where they also received full meal service. What was the big difference between our accommodations and theirs? We paid for ours with our own money. They didn't.

I should have gone beforehand for the test races. But I don't have enough money to travel that much. The Scandinavians went.

If you say our performance is abysmal, then that means you expect us to be at the same level as them. And if you expect us to be at the same level as them, then we need more support than what we're getting.

We need to do test races like the rest. We mostly cannot. We need to do training camps like the rest. We mostly cannot.

I do NOT expect the US community to pay for all my expenses. I understand the limitations we face.
However, I cannot compete against them without support. I am 100% willing to keep training and fighting to improve. If I receive more support from OUSA, that would be great.

Will more support from the OUSA community help? Without a doubt. Of the aid I do receive, not a cent is spent on frivolous ends. In this sense, ToraTora's insinuation otherwise is downright insulting.
Sep 1, 2016 10:56 PM # 
I'd like to reframe the discussion somewhat to address what I think is the most important question for OUSA: What do we do going forward?

For the most part, everyone in OUSA has similar broad goals: we want the sport to thrive, to grow, to be a quality activity that is engaging, fun, fair, and competitive. I ruminated at some length about this question on my log and what my thoughts were. Obviously OUSA is not some all-powerful entity that can easily engineer these goals; it has finite resources. (Yay linear programming!)

The resources available are funds through various revenue streams, volunteer hours, a platform to engage the community, some materials, the national brand, etc. So what should we do with them?

The broad avenues I think are optimal for OUSA are:
1. Continuing and expanding club services - insurance, communication, best practices, quality control and training, technology infrastructure. OUSA does this well - but the impetus for action is on clubs, i.e. a bring a horse to water situation.

2. Publicity and marketing. I don't mean the occasional social media post - which mostly seems to bounce around with the community rather than newcomers. I want a full on marketing campaign, with tens of thousands of dollars spent per year on advertising, search ads, marketing partners (REI, sporting stores, maybe road races). I want to provide clubs infrastructure and platform to use things like - which NEOC and others have used to great effect. I want to figure out what methods clubs have found successful at publicity and spread the word. On the events side, it is also worth investing some effort building a marketable product beyond local meets, like goat and urban mass-start races.

3. Junior Programs. Hiring the Junior coach and investing more in junior development has already borne fruit after a few short years. This was the consequence of a donor in the orienteering community funding the position, not of an OUSA initiative. I want OUSA to invest substantial funds in kickstarting junior leagues and development programs like WIOL and Navigation Games because this is a major avenue to growing the sport. This is a hard process. OUSA can't write a check and instantly bring in 1000 new juniors. Club resources and motivated individuals (e.g. Barb Bryant) are necessary, but it is my belief that finding funding to support these initiatives is the main limiting factor. The parameters of this idea are still nascent, but I would like to see OUSA grants in excess of $10,000/year to several programs. WIOL and ARK are financially self-sustaining. I don't know exactly how much it costs and how long it takes to bring a junior league to financial sustainability, but OUSA should take upon the goal of stimulating these efforts.

Of course, there are many other aspects of these initiatives. And there are many important tasks of OUSA that don't fit these categories, but should still be executed (omitted for brevity).

What do you think we should do?
Sep 2, 2016 6:37 PM # 
My candidate response to the joint platform coalition statement beginning this thread (also posted to Clubnet).

I left the Board of Directors in 2012, after serving for 13 years, including four as the President. In the four years since I left the board, I have been asked every year to consider running for an open seat and coming back onto the board. Why? Because they value my opinions and experience. This year I said yes. I didn't sign back on until I felt that I was ready to give it the proper amount of commitment.

When I was asked I didn't expect to be in a competitive election. For years we've struggled to find candidates, especially candidates who are passionate about working hard and trying new things to meet our goals. I was surprised when I discovered how many candidates there were. I was encouraged by the list. Lots of new blood. Mostly people I've had positive experiences with and who I know are hard workers who care about the future of the sport. I've carefully read their candidate statements and followed their arguments on Attackpoint. There's a lot of real passion and thought there.

But I'm disappointed that they have chosen to run as a coalition block, because this campaign style is implicitly exclusionary. Rather than asking the membership to evaluate each candidate's individual merits and select the best possible board, they have gone out of their way to recruit candidates to fill their slate, sending the message that other candidates shouldn't even be considered.

The coalition platform states "We want to work with you...We want to learn from your experiences." But apparently this doesn't include learning from the experiences of seasoned board members or their fellow candidates.

I'm prepared to do what I signed up for. To provide insight and guidance based on my deep knowledge of board history to my fellow board members, whoever they might be. I really don't want to see this election as us vs. them. We all have the same goals. And I agree that we haven't been meeting them and some new approaches are welcomed. But I'm wary of the idea that the best way to implement new approaches is to replace all of the people who actually know how the system works.

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. - George Santayana

I encourage members to vote for the individual candidates that they feel will best lead Orienteering USA into the future. We're all in this together.

I welcome any questions you may have about my candidacy or position on the issues.

Clare Durand
Candidate for the OUSA Board of Directors
Sep 2, 2016 7:32 PM # 
one reason to run as a coalition might be that should you get elected you have enough pull to implement your new ideas and get things done. And there is still 7 other people on the board to provide balance, experience and wisdom.
Sep 2, 2016 8:24 PM # 
From the coalition's approach to me, I don't think they wanted to be exclusionary, just get enough board members to start exploring new directions and start steering the ship a different way. They spoke out of respect for other volunteers, but did think that things should change. Any significant change, done well, will take a while to achieve. I've known some of them for decades, and I trust them to work in a positive way.
Sep 15, 2016 10:36 PM # 
Thanks to Alex and Ian for their thoughtful replies to my questions. Disappointed that the others failed to respond. Perhaps an indication of how they will handle dissenting views if elected. (While somewhat hostile, my questions were relevant and rather tame by AP standards.)
Important because these five have formed a coalition that shares common goals and objectives and will likely vote en bloc on key issues (if not, why form a coalition?) Given the number of BOD seats and typical attendance, this coalition could control OUSA .
Are we ready to hand over the keys to OUSA to this untested coalition and their AP constituents?
Sep 15, 2016 10:39 PM # 
Sep 15, 2016 10:49 PM # 
When did at most 5 of 12 seats on the board become "the keys to OUSA"?
Sep 16, 2016 12:22 AM # 
Having read most of this forum's back and forth, I'm excited to support the pro-growth ideas and spirit embodied in the coalition. I've been waiting for OUSA to burst forth with innovation and a change of pace. Whether it's devoting resources to the national teams or broadening outreach to adventure athletes or JROTC, the "marketplace of ideas" approach that I sense is going on, is very much needed.

Will be seeing most of you at the vote come Saturday! Go Army Orienteering!
Sep 16, 2016 12:50 AM # 
"Are we ready to hand over the keys to OUSA to this untested coalition"?

Sure, particularly if the current board can't be bothered to show up.
Sep 16, 2016 2:35 AM # 
Whatever the outcome of the election, I can only hope the execution and debate of OUSA policy attracts as much attention and fervor as the process of selection of the leadership.
Sep 16, 2016 3:17 AM # 
Disappointed that the others failed to respond.

Disappointed that you still seem to think that sniping anonymously from the sidelines is an acceptable way to run an open, accountable debate on the future of your(?) national association. But I've seen too many trolls on the internet using your exact tactics to be overly surprised by it.
Sep 16, 2016 3:40 AM # 
+1 Juffy.

I have been feeling exactly the same way; anyone who posts anything on AP which is critical of others - for whatever reason - would do well to remember that this is a public forum and that people who live on the other side of the world can read all of your/my/our posts.

As a national board member (of Orienteering Australia), I'm well aware of the adage that people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones...but I doubt that I'm the only person who has found the methodology of much of this debate rather stomach-turning and I am truly horrified at the level of vitriol which has been displayed in some of the posts I've read.
Sep 16, 2016 6:47 AM # 
My best wishes to all the candidates running for election to the O-USA Board of Directors tomorrow. Best wishes to all of you tomorrow and going forward. Whether your individual campaign is successful or not O-USA is going to need the input of all of you in one capacity or another if the federation is going to reach your very similar goals.
As an O-USA member and co-founder of one of her newest clubs I would like to offer a particularly warm thanks to Peter Goodwin as he prepares to take leave from the office of O-USA president. Peter has been so very helpful in helping Suncoast Orienteering through our birthing process. Peter was one of the first orienteers from away to come to one of our events and test the unique southwest Florida terrain. He was very kind in his reporting orf our event. Fellow O-USA members I think it is just like the guy about to leave the White House: we won't know what a great president we had until he's gone. (with apologies to Joni Mitchell).
Sep 16, 2016 9:06 AM # 
+1 Juffy, also.

This discussion thread is closed.