I read the document... now do I get a hot chocolate?
Ideas? What are these "ideas" you speak of? All the best ideas were tried in the '80s, didn't work, and therefore we should never try again.
Also, Jukola is a spelled with a J. Duh.
Sweet document; do you mind if I link it on my log? It's a happening place, with at least 3-5 people visiting it every week or so.
I'm particularly impressed with much of Cascade's event organization - especially putting all your local events in series. Some of your conclusions surprise me (though I don't dispute them) - e.g. the comments about terminology like "race" and elites being a turnoff to potential orienteers. You guys also seem to do a really great job with promotion and publicity.
Two related questions:
1. What can OUSA generally do to help/support COC?
2. From your perspective, what can OUSA do to encourage more clubs to put on national meets? The obvious one to me seems to be lowering meet fees and doing a better job marketing our national calendar. Are there resources we could provide? For a club with as much technical expertise as COC, it's tricky to imagine you guys lacking stuff.
Also, Jukola is a spelled with a J. Duh.
That was Jourdan being funny and Bob not getting the joke.
The comments about terminology like "race" and elites being a turnoff to potential orienteers.
These comments are pretty much from one person, and he makes them all the time. And I can totally see him steering his table to conclusions like this. He also hates the term "permanent courses" so anytime there's a reference to "long term markers" then I know who's saying that, too.
You guys also seem to do a really great job with promotion and publicity.
Honestly, we've been pretty poor at this, to be honest. We're fortunate that we've been growing somewhat organically through the Winter Series & School League. But the rest of the year we can do better. And we can spend more money on advertising (which we're starting to do now that the new website is more robust).
Are there resources we could provide? For a club with as much technical expertise as COC, it's tricky to imagine you guys lacking stuff. what can OUSA do to encourage more clubs to put on national meets?
Operationally, we're pretty good. Online registration, live results on smartphones, a permament event director.
What we need help with, and perhaps O-USA is a part of the solution, is cracking the nut with events in Central Washington. It's obvious from the survey and the annual meeting that people want to go orienteering more often in Central Washington. But, in reality, it's a small subset of our participants, the ones most likely to fill out surveys and attend annual meetings.
Maps are far away: Salmon La Sac (~2 hours), Teanaway Complex (~2 hours), Moses Lake Sand Dunes (~3 hours), Fishtrap Lake (~4 hours). At these venues, we have lower attendance, in the 40-70 range, for the exception of Teanaway, where we can get about 100 sometimes. And it's likewise hard to get volunteers.
Maps are aging: Teanaway Complex (15-20 years old now, and definitely showing). One area we struggle with is hiring professional mappers for terrains like this, so the maps get old, and it's harder to draw people for a national meet.
The terrain is diffcult, and that intimidates people. We need to do better with training, because I think there are people that would be more willing to come out if they felt more confident in running in this terrain. The other issues also mix in here. Aging maps make people feel even less confident. And faraway maps force people into this conundrum: drive all the way out there for a shorter, easier course, or go for a longer course that's over their heads. Also related to this is that the harder terrain also reduces the numbers of people we get to design/set courses. If you look at the 9 events we've had since 2014 at these venues, 7 of those 9 events have been set by John Harbuck, Peter Golde, or myself. We've had 4 local events at Salmon La Sac since the National Event in 2009, and I've set 3 times, with the last 2 times where I was the the last resort.
Short usage window: It's May to September, which I've mentioned elsewhere means that you're also competing with the best weather, when people do other things. It's hard to get more than three events out here per year, so we're talking about just 10% of our event schedule, and just 5% of our annual starts. Again, the other issues mix in here. With the short usage window, it's hard to build up people's skills when most of the year's events aren't relevant and there are only a few times to get out in the terrain.
National reputation: Even our good terrain isn't really amazing in a national perspective. I have clubmates from OK that don't orienteer in Washington anymore because they got frustrated with all of the downed trees and such on our Teanaway maps back when they were brand new in the 90's. Salmon La Sac is quite amazing technically, but it's not especially fast running. Moses Lake is unique, but a lot of people don't like running in sand (and heat and mosquitoes). Fishtrap is the most special, but it suffers from being the furthest away.
So, at the end of the day, it's a multi-pronged issue that won't be fixed by, say, more publicity.
How did you guys get into the schools to get WIOL going?
Most of that is before my time, honestly. WIOL started in the 1980's and has been growing slowly ever since.
About half of WIOL starts are through JROTC programs, and they have their own communication network, and instructors/coaches that are consistent year to year.
The non-JROTC kids are oftentimes brought into it by parents and their kids. Lakeside HS has had a good over the last 10 years thanks to Holly Kuester. She was an orienteer already, and she started her own team (bringing in Tori Borish), and it's had enough momentum to still be around, despite being 100% student-led (no teachers or formal coaches).
The Bresemans built up the Woodinville Montessori middle school team, and now one of their former students is a teacher there and it's still going. The Forgraves did the same at EAS, and now the Bradys down at Tahoma.
I see, so we need to recruit more teachers into orienteering.
For long-term consistency, I think getting teachers on board is a good strategy for a schools league, because teachers are at the same schools longer than the students (and their parents) are, so they can build something and it's more likely to stick.
@iansmith certainly you may link. I should stress though that this doc should be seen as a summary of ideas from the membership rather than a statement of official club policy or intent - though we will no doubt implement or attempt to implement a good portion of it.
It may be easier to recruit local volunteers in far-flung locations than local participants (eg to work starts, drinks table or other non-tech tasks). And this could be good publicity as the volunteers explain what they will be doing next weekend.
I love the B'ham ideas. We're likely to end up with a cabin somewhere around there (parents live in the area). Jon and I have some big ideas for stuff to map in the future, but keep us in mind as you develop this one. If we're around during our gap year(s) or later on for vacations, we may be able to help out.
One more thought - Valerie Meyer is a wizard with the whole registration / download / tablet thing, might be worth picking her brain a bit?